How to import lots of Points of Interest using SeaNav POI csv to kmz converter

SeaNav lets you add individual Point of Interest (POI) at a tap of the screen in the app but what about importing a list of POIs that you already have? We have set up a service to make creating SeaNav Points of Interest from a list of latitudes and longitudes easier and faster. Simply upload a CSV file ( spreadsheet comma separated values) of the POIs using this web link

https://seanav.net/charts/poi_upload.form.php

A SeaNav ready kmz file will be downloaded to your desktop which you can then share and import to SeaNav via email or Dropbox. You can also view the kmz file in Google Earth.
The format for the csv file is very simple and contains one or more lines with:-
name,type (integer 1-6),description,longitude(DD.DDD),latitude (DD.DDD)

e.g. Bass here,3,Good spot,-0.473850,50.291134
The POI types are:

  • 1.  general
  • 2. hazard
  • 3.  fishing spot
  • 4.  diving location
  • 5.  race markers for club racing
  • 6.  favourite harbour or anchorage spot
  • 7.  bridge

These set the POI icon to be used as well.

The description can be html markup including an image link e.g.

“<img src=’http://myserver.com/mypicture.png’><br>Inlet</br>”

Be sure to wrap html descriptions in quotes as above.

There is more about SeaNav POIs here

SeaNav Favourite Places – Share POIs and Routes

and we have a large database of existing and publicly shared POIs including Marinas and Harbours that you can view and send to SeaNav here :-

https://seanav.net/charts/pois

 

 

Alexa Boat Beacon skill – talk with your boat

Boat Beacon now works with the amazing Amazon Alexa and Echo devices using our free Alexa Boat Beacon skill.

“Alexa, ask Boat Beacon my position”

“Sarita is travelling North East at 6 Knots in the English channel currently 5 miles south west of Plymouth”.

Or ask for “exact position” and hear : “Sarita. Latitude 52 degrees 1 minute North, Longitude 1 degree 52 minutes 34 seconds West, course 55 degrees true, speed 5 Knots.”

You can see a short 19s video clip of the Boat Beacon Alexa skill in action here :-http://boatbeaconapp.com/BoatBeaconAlexa.mp4

Just ask Alexa to register your Boat Beacon 9 digit BBSI number (without the BB prefix) to associate the Alexa Boat Beacon skill with your own Boat Beacon app and put Boat Beacon in transmit mode (sailing)  to update your location, speed and course in real time.

“Alexa, ask Boat Beacon to register 617648992”

Response: “Boat Beacon BBSI 617648992 has been successfully registered. You may now ask for its position”.

You can find your unique Boat Beacon BBSI number at the bottom of Settings/My Boat Details in the Boat Beacon app on your iPhone or Android device. See the iPhone screenshot below.

Friends and family can also use the Boat Beacon Alexa skill to follow your progress  when you share your Boat Beacon BBSI 9 digit number with them.

We have lots of other ideas up our sleeves for the Alexa Boat Beacon skill if it proves popular. “Alexa, ask Boat Beacon to alert me on CPA” , “Alexa, ask Boat Beacon to tell me if the wind exceeds 6 knots” and would love to hear your ideas. And if you want to know where another boat is by name or MMSI number you can use our free Boat Watch Alexa skill

Get the free Boat Beacon Alexa skill here now:-

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BDN2W6X

How to find your BBSI number

Open settings in Boat Beacon on your iOS or Android device, select My Boat Details and scroll down to the bottom to see your Boat Beacon Id  (BBSI). Use the 9 digit number (without the BB letters ) to connect Alexa with your iOS or Android device.

 

Latest Global AIS Coverage map

Here is the latest snapshot of our worldwide AIS coverage broken down into 0.25 degree squares. Zoom in to see the detail. We have recently added coverage for the whole of Finland, Norway and Denmark, the Black and Red Seas, Istanbul, The Suez canal and the Panama canal (East) and mucg improved coverage around the UK and IE. We are now showing over 50,000 live ship positions per hour; amongst the best in the industry. We only use real time data. We do not use satellite data which can be several hours behind real item like some other AIS services do.

We also record all the AIS messages and store them for ever. We have global time stamped AIS data going back to 2014. If you would like to use our live or historic AIS data please contact us at support@pocketmariner.com

 

How to create and edit a route with SeaNav

Here is a quick guide on how to add a new route in SeaNav

Tap the route button at the bottom of the screen.

Long press on the chart where you want to add a waypoint and tap “Add Waypoint here” on the popup.

Add the next waypoint in the same way

And a third and as may as you want and then tap Done when you have finished. You can move the waypoints you have already added using a long press on one to select it and then dragging it to the desired position. You can also edit the exact position (latitude and longitude) later in the Manage Routes view.

After pressing Done the route will be shown on your chart. You can then start sailing the route or tap the Route icon again to Edit or Manage your routes.

Tap Manage Routes to see all your routes and select a different one of manually edit the current one.

Tap the i button next to a route to see more detail. You can also edit the fields on the detailed view. For instance change the route name from Route2 to Cardiff. Tap the i next to a Waypoint to add names for the waypoints and edit their precise latitude and longitudes. You can enter the latitudes and longitudes in most formats ( e.g. Degrees Minute Seconds, Degrees Minutes and Decimal Degrees (e.g. 52.1345) ) and you do not need to enter the degree, minute or second symbols. Here are some examples:-

DM : 28° 52.634 ́ N can be entered as 28 54.634

DMS :28° 52′ 48″W can be entered as 28 52 48W or   -28 52 48

This view also lets you export the route via email or dropbox to share with others, keep a backup or share with your iPad or Mac (tap the box with an arrow going upwards from it).

If you have any questions please email us at support@pocketmariner.com or view the SeaNav User Guide here:- http://seanav.net/help.html

Charter a yacht with Click&Boat – the Airbnb for boats

When I am travelling for business to places near the sea I always want to be able to charter a yacht to stay on instead of having to search for a hotel – I  just prefer the peace that this offers. I was actually able to manage it once while visiting Barcelona for a very large conference. You’d typically think that this would be just as, or if not more expensive but I was able to save a fortune compared to the cost of the regular hotels in the city. On top of this I  had a fantastic  sea view. Truthfully, at the time it was quite difficult for me to find and arrange. Although not any longer. I have discovered this great new website for yacht charter , Click&Boat.

The company is the boating equivalent of Airbnb. Boat owners create listing for their boats depending on their availability, they choose the price, dates and can offer charters with or without a skipper. Users simply enter in your search requirements, browse the range of boats available and take their pick. Once they have requested the boat they would like they are able to talk directly to the boat owner to make the final arrangements.

So in my case; I needed to stay in Southampton for a Boat Show. The exhibition hotel was over £300 a night and fully booked so instead I found a yacht to charter on  Click&Boat within walking distance of the show and for less than half of that price.

I am also thinking of putting my catamaran Sarita on the Click&Boat website – fancy a stay on the beautiful river Wye with power and water to hand?

Sarita alfoat again.

Click&Boat have more than 20,000 yachts listed on their websites and over 40,000 customer reviews. They are the European authority on peer to peer yacht charter and offer you a secure service.

Go take a look.

Augmented Reality with FLIRONE

Augmented Reality with FLIR ONE

MORNING_CALM_BB_AR_FLIR_IOSPocket Mariner collaborated with Practical Boat Owner to successfully complete a demanding night time sea trial of our popular marine navigation apps, SeaNav HD and Boat Beacon 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 iOS 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.

Continue reading “Augmented Reality with FLIRONE”

Boat Beacon transmitting live internet AIS for over 200 boats world wide

Boat Beacon allows folks to share their position and course in real time with other users and folks back home using just their iOS or Android device. Their position is also visible on other internet based AIS tracking services such as SeaNav and our free Boat Watch app and the very popular MarineTraffic service. Use your VHF assigned MMSI number or request a free internet AIS MMSI through us to be visible on the public AIS internet services. A lot of the CoastGuards use MarineTraffic so you can be visible on their systems too. For instance Boat Beacon is used by the Australian Voluntary Coast Guard for automatic tracking.

With cellular data  coverage around most of the popular coasts extending out to 12NM or more the range is excellent. Here are the Boat Beacon boats out around the world right now:-

Clicking on an individual boat shows more details and you can also use view their track (layer control top right).

All the Boat Beacon boats currently transmitting their position can be seen here:- http://boatbeaconapp.com/kml/findlive.php

Our Boat Beacon app also tracks all the boats and ships around you in real time via internet AIS and uniquely provides proven constant collision avoidance detection, even in the background. Other popular features in Boat Beacon are our AIS augmented reality view, anchor alarm, theft alarm and MOB features. Boat Beacon is available now in the App Store for iPhone and iPad and in the Google Play Store for Android phones and tablets.

SeaNav Augmented Reality goes Vertical

Never get stuck under a bridge again! We are pretty excited about the unique Augmented Reality (AR) feature we have just added to our popular SeaNav  iOS marine navigation app. Set a SeaNav POI (Point of interest) marker for a bridge (or cable) on the SeaNav map view, set your boat’s Air Draft in SeaNav’s settings (5.5m for our test boat with its mast down) and see this as you approach the bridge in SeaNav’s AR view on your iPhone or iPad:-

This is one of the 3 low bridges we have to pass under on a tidal river around High Tide (12m at Springs) to get out to sea from our mooring. With the horizon line lined up with the sea level at the bottom of the bridge, the bold red line shows the height of your boat at the bridge. With the latest iOS camera APIs we can get the FoV parameters for any iOS device which allows us to do the relative drawing. The SeaNav POI feature comes included with our free version of the SeaNav App, Air Draught is now included as part of the SeaNav Pro In App Purchase feature ($10) which adds Augmented Reality and live ship AIS positions.

SeaNav Favourite Places – Share POIs and Routes

We have received a lot of requests from our SeaNav users wanting to mark a favourite fishing or diving spot, beautiful anchorage etc. You can now do this in SeaNav with the new Favourite Places feature.  Add custom markers to your charts for places you want to remember, share with friends or even better share with the rest of the SeaNav community. There are several types now available:-

  • fishing spots
  • diving locations
  • favourite anchorage spots
  • hazards
  • race markers for club racing
  •  information/reminder
  • bridges

Set up a series of race marks or route for your local club and share with all. Update them in an instant if there is a change in the wind. Add a reminder for which VHF channel to call a marina or VTS. Use your local knowledge to mark a hazard to warn other users. Let people know about a service or marina that is available and provide recommendations/ details/ contact numbers in the description. Note the clearance under a low bridge that is not marked on the chart.

You can add a title, description and a photo for a POI. You can backup/share your POIs via email and dropbox and now you can also share POIs straight from the app with the whole SeaNav community via the SeaNav web page  SeaNav Routes and POI service . You can share routes and download them from the SeaNav pages too.

You can read more about how to use the POI and Routes features in our SeaNav user guide on the web or in the App under Settings/Help, FAQ and Demo.

 

Quark-Elec AIS receiver review and Boat Beacon

For inshore (less than 10NM from the coast) our real-time internet AIS service for Boat Beacon and SeaNav has a lot of advantages over VHF AIS receivers and reception, it is very cheap, easy to install (no aerial required), easy to use and provides incredible range including “seeing” round corners and over headlands and islands. However if you venture further afield and go out of range of internet coverage, for instance when half way across the English channel between Southampton and Cherbourg and in the main shipping channel you need a VHF AIS receiver!

Many of our Boat Beacon and SeaNav users use our apps both for internet AIS and as a display and CPA alert device for their on-board VHF AIS receiver. There is a new and relatively inexpensive range of AIS receivers out on the market from Quark-Elec and also the dAISy. They are less than a quarter of the price of the usual AIS receivers from the likes of Digital Yacht, Comar and Weatherdock etc. . We wanted to try them out for use with SeaNav and Boat Beacon on iPad and iPhone.

iOS does not support USB connections so to get local AIS data into your iPad you need to connect via Wifi and will need an AIS receiver with Wifi built in or get a USB to Wifi adaptor. There are no USB to to wifi adaptors available on the market! It is possible to build your own for around £50 using a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black as we have done but for this comparison this rules out USB only AIS receivers such as the dAISy unfortunately.

We drove out to nearby Dial hill in Clevedon overlooking the Bristol Channel at a height of approximately 100m above sea level. At this height the VHF horizon should be around 32NM for spotting ships. We used a standard marine 1/4 wave whip  AIS aerial (£50) on a tripod and our SeaNav app on a laptop in the car to run a comparison test to see how the Quark-elec compared to the Digital Yacht AIS receivers that we normally use.

ais_tests

and the view

IMG_1487

First off the devices:-

The dual channel Digital Yacht AIS wireless receiver at around £365.  http://www.cactusnav.com/digital-yacht-iais-wireless-receiver-p-11569.html. This also allows you to attach other NMEA data such as wind, speed and depth etc. to your iPad via the Wifi channel.

iais web
The Quark-elec A026 Wifi enabled AIS and GPS receiver at £94.79 . http://quark-elec.com/products/marine/147-qk-a026

A026_System_diagram

This looks like an amazing device as it also includes a GPS receiver and a NMEA multiplexer so you can combine data from Wind instruments, Speed log and Depth over Wifi too. You can get one without GPS for £79 – the QKA-024. So price for price this is less than a quarter of the price of the Digital Yacht equivalent!

The results

Quark-elec A-026

QuarkA026Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 11.06.38

Digital Yacht iAIS

(note all the ships around Hinkley point near Burnham-on-Sea to the south, busy helping with the build of the new Nuclear reactor there).

DYScreen Shot 2017-05-06 at 11.01.47

The Quark picked up ships out to around 20NM from our location. It did not pick up the weaker Class B transmissions  from about 11NM away (purple boat in Cardiff and orange boats in Barry and Hinkley point in the Digital Yacht screenshot). The Digital Yacht maximum range was 39NM just over the expected VHF horizon.

Conclusion

The DY device was far more sensitive than the Quark with nearly double the range for picking up large ships using Class A AIS (12.5W). Class B AIS is much lower power than the class A that ships use and at only 2.5W has a maximum power limited range of around 8-10NM which appeared to be within the Digital Yacht’s capabilities but just beyond the Quark’s.

If you are on a small boat and your AIS aerial is at most 10m above sea level the VHF ship spotting horizon range will be about 12NM (see note at end on calculating VHF horizon range). The Quark easily met that target for spotting ships. With the built in GPS version you can provide GPS to your Wifi only iPAD too. The Quark-Elec A026 would be a great buy on that basis if you want to use it on your boat with SeaNav so you can pick up AIS when out of range of our live internet coverage, for instance when half way across the English channel between Southampton and Cherbourg.

By the way, you don’t have to buy and install an additional aerial to get VHF AIS on your boat, you can share your existing marine band VHF radio aerial via a lossless splitter like this one from Glomex:-http://www.marinesuperstore.com/marine-communication/vhf-antennas/glomex-ais-am-fm-splitter-ra201ais

At Pocket Mariner we are also interested in using AIS receivers for our real time global AIS shore based AIS network which we are continually growing, now picking up live positions from over 40,000 ships around the world at any one time with  several hundred AIS receivers and aerials. Although the price point of the Quark is tempting, when you factor in the costs of installing and connecting up an aerial, the 4 fold increase in coverage area the Digital Yacht devices give us wins for shore based AIS stations.

VHF Horizon

VHF travels in a straight line and its range is limited by the curvature of the earth. The higher the aerial is placed above sea level the further it will see. A simple rule of thumb for calculating the range of an aerial is the square root of its height above sea-level in feet in NMs. So an aerial at 25′ will have a range of 5NM. To get the range that you can pick up targets at you need to combine the range of your aerial and that of the target. So for aerials both at 25′ the range will be just over 10NM. If you prefer metric, take the square root of the height above sea level in meters and then double it to get range in NM. e.g. 9m gives approx 6NM range. An AIS aerial mounted at deck/guard rail  level will only see large ships to about 8NM out!

http://www.literasea.ca/radar-horizon.html

vhfhorizon