FLIR ONE Marine Navigation with Boat Beacon and Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality with FLIR ONE

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MORNING_CALM_BB_AR_FLIR_IOSPocket Mariner recently collaborated with Practical Boat Owner to successfully complete a demanding night time sea trial of our popular Boat Beacon  app with the  FLIR ONE Thermal Imager for iOS; a new, low cost , infra-red thermal imaging camera for the iPhone.  The FLIR ONE  makes thermal imaging affordable and accessible to a much wider audience at a fraction of the cost of the higher end marine IR imaging devices. Pocket Mariner have ingeniously integrated the live thermal image with their widely acclaimed Boat Beacon Augmented Reality mode providing identification, distance and bearing of the ships and Aids To Navigation in view at night and in fog.  We wanted to see how well and how far off we could spot ships via their infra-red signature and if the FLIR ONE could help with searching for a Man Overboard (MOB).

Practical Boat Owner, the UK’s leading boating magazine, bravely deployed their editors, David Pugh and Ben Meakin, together with Ben’s Impala 28 yacht , “Polly” and intrepid “Woman Overboard” volunteer, Laura, along with Pocket Mariner’s CEO, Steve, on a pitch black night in Southampton water.

Here’s what we saw.

This is a screenshot from Boat Beacon’s live AIS map view showing our position in “Polly” (grey boat with red vector heading 172º) with the “Morning Calm” cargo ship on her way out of Southampton approaching on our starboard quarter about 1NM away

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Here’s the view at the same time through Boat Beacon’s Augmented Reality view with FLIR ONE camera support – as clear as daylight even though it was night time. We could still spot large ships with the FLIR ONE over 2.5NM away.

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The Viking Constanza’s funnel clearly stood out when she passed us a little later:-

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Here’s what the Viking Constanza looks like in daylight for comparison (photo courtesey of Machi )Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 14.27.42

 

and somewhat ironically the Red Funnel ferry passed by , she really does have a Red Funnel 🙂

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Later, Laura, our volunteer “MOB”, dropped over the side to test the MOB capabilities of Boat Beacon and the FLIR ONE. It was pitch black.

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We drifted away.  We couldn’t see a thing with the naked eye,

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but we could still make out the MOB 30m away with the FLIR ONE!

 

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Just to be safe we were tracking her on Boat Beacon’s MOB display too.

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We and the PBO crew were suitably impressed.  The FLIR ONE worked brilliantly in the dark and it should help in fog and misty conditions too. It also works in daylight. FLIR ONE support is now included as standard in Boat Beacon’s AR mode including zoom and you can get the FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS Devices from Amazon here now:-

Amazon UK                                Amazon US
              

 

And Boat Beacon for iOS is available here:-

https://itunes.apple.com/app/boat-beacon-ais-marine-navigation/id494877039

And we now also have an Android FLIR approved app – CompassEye

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.electricpocket.compasseyewithflir

 

Instructions for using AR mode in Boat Beacon

To turn AR mode on in Boat Beacon Tap the “eye” icon at the top left, then tilt your device up to see a live camera of the scene ships and AIS aids to Navigation (AToNs) around you. As you turn round and view ships, their name, range and bearing will pop-up when they are in the center of the view and a yellow line will show your course if you have Sailing on. You can also tap on the ships to get more information. Tilt back down or tap the eye icon again to see the map view. Tapping the “eye” icon again turns AR mode off. You can pinch to zoom both the map and camera views. To use IR camera mode just attach the FLIR ONE camera to your iPhone or iPad and switch it on. There is a toggle setting on the view to switch between IR colour mode (white/yellow hot through red warm to blue cold) , and IR Hottest mode where only the hottest areas are coloured red and the rest is grey scale (with white hottest and black coldest).

In AR mode our unique “AR Lock On” feature lets you select a ship on the map view and then easily locate it in the Camera view using a grey arrow to tell you which way to turn to spot it when its not directly in view.

Your course over ground (yellow line) will also be visible overlayed on the camera view.

The horizon is set by the zoom scale of the chart view – e.g. zoom out on the chart view to see further out in the Augmented reality view.

You can try out the AR feature in demo mode. In demo mode a simulated seascape background is shown with the real AIS ship positions around you overlayed. In real use this is replaced with the live camera view or FLIR ONE view if it is attached.