Here is a tool I have found of use on occasion during a SOL race. It is called MB-Ruler, is free (the ‘non-pro’ version is anyway) and has the capability of drawing marks, lines, rectangles and ellipses over the top of any windows on the screen – even text. You can even set a scale, so that it will measure the line length, similar to the ruler tool (hence why it is called MB-Ruler). It has 2 ‘main’ tools, one is a triangular protractor screen overlay, which you can rotate and get angles and distances from. The other is a ‘variable’ coordinate tool, which starts showing a standard x-y axis on the screen, but you can then rotate each axis individually to whatever angle you like. The mouse then shows a parallelogram formed by the axes, current mouse position and defined by the angle of the axes. This can be very useful to see who is really ahead factoring wind! (note axes is the plural of axis, not a tool for chopping wood! 😉 )
As I said, it has NO connection to SOL, so zooming and panning in SOL will have no effect on anything you have on the screen from MB-Ruler.
Below are a few ‘mock’ screenshots, just showing some of what the tool is capable of. I also include a shot of a possible route over the weather viewer, which makes it MUCH easier to see how the weather will evolve along the track under investigation (instead of using a finger or just your imagination). I find more and more uses for this tool the more I use it! Click thumbnails for fullsize images.
You can add up to 4 different layers, and specify which are currently visible, and even include text on the screen. The tool allows you to save the current overlay as a bitmap file, and also to save whatever you have drawn as a standalone application to use again later (I can see this handy for marking out courses in practice races?). There are some handy functions such as automatically drawing another line orthogonal (at right angles) to an existing line, and you can also move objects around – ie draw a line at certain angle then move it on the screen for example to determine a layline. You can define a grid to be drawn over the entire screen, and turn any line into an ‘infinte’ line (going to the bounds of your screen). It will even compute the area of a closed polygon you draw – not that I see any relevance to SOL with this.
The best thing I can say really is – download it and play around. There is certainly alot to play around with… and Im sure you will find many uses for it in your SOLing!
In fact it has inspired me to create a similar tool, which IS aware of SOL, and so will change with zoom and pan etc (but this is still only just an idea brewing in my head).