Tidal Streams for SeaNav

You can now view the current and predicted tidal flow rates and directions live on SeaNav’s UK and IE vector charts.

We use the official chart Tidal diamond symbol, rotating it to point in the flow direction. Blue means the rate is decreasing, red and its increasing. The diamonds update in real time on the chart. For planning tap on a tidal diamond to see the rate and direction, tap i for more information and see the rate and direction for the next 3 days on a graph at the bottom of the screen. Slide the time cursor ( or just tap at the time you want ) and all the tidal diamonds in view on the chart update as you adjust it (not just the one you have selected). You can zoom in and out of the graph timeline using pinch gestures. The Tidal Stream information is cached for up to 7 days so will work when you are out. of internet coverage as well.

The new Tidal Stream feature requires SeaNav 5.3 or later and uses official data from the UK Hydrographic Office, updated annually. A current UK & IE chart subscription is required to view the data. We hope to add Tidal Streams for other areas where available if they prove popular ( FR, NL & BE, DE… ). Please email us and let us know.

Real-time internet AIS Sharing to Navionics, iNavX, OpenCPN etc. with Boat Beacon

Boat Beacon can now share its real time AIS feed from our global AIS aerial network via NMEA with other apps on the same device or on the same Wifi Network. Boat Beacon acts as a “Virtual AIS Receiver” with over the horizon coverage and is the first and currently only app out there that offers this.
Boat Beacon’s global realtime AIS coverage.
 We hope this will prove popular with folks who already have other Marine Navigation apps/charts like Navionics, OpenCPN and iNavX which support an external NMEA AIS feed but don’t have their own Internet based AIS network or feed available.
Navionics have worked closely with us on this with their Boating app  AIS feature and recommend Boat Beacon in its own category in their  Boating app – AIS Devices Compatibility Guide.
The new Boat Beacon AIS Share feature is free to trial.  If you find it useful you can use it any time when you are out boating for a small monthly or annual subscription via IAP.
You can get the latest version of Boat Beacon from the Apple App Store here and Google PlayStore here.
By the way, our own top selling marine charts navigation app SeaNav already has AIS built in as standard and if you haven’t tried SeaNav why don’t you give it a spin for free first, you can download it from here now https://apps.apple.com/app/seanav/id857841271 .
Here are some screenshots from Navionics, iNavX and OpenCPN using it.

Navionics connected to Boat Beacon on 127.0.0.1 TCP port 5353

On iOS

On Android
 iNavX on same  device ( using TCP 127.0.0.1 port 5353 )

OpenCPN running on a Mac via Wifi to Boat Beacon running on an iPhone ( TCP to 192.168.1.106 port 5353).

 

There are some simple step by step instructions on how to set up Boat Beacon AIS Sharing with the Navionics Boating app here:-  https://pocketmariner.com/setup-boat-beacon-share-ais-navionics/

and here is the description in our user guide:-

AIS Sharing

Share Boat Beacon’s real time internet AIS feed via NMEA with other apps on your device and on the same Wifi network, like Navionics, OpenCPN on your Mac, iNavX etc. so you can see live ship positions around you on their charts as well. Pocket Mariner’s AIS service is fed by one of the largest network of AIS shore receivers world-wide covering most major ports, harbours and popular coastal areas with over 60,000 live ship positions at any time. Boat Beacon acts like a virtual AIS receiver and can also share your live position via Internet AIS with other users and internet based AIS services like MarineTraffic. After purchasing the Boat Beacon AIS Sharing IAP (monthly or yearly subscriptions available) just set your other apps NMEA TCP settings to connect to the IP address and TCP port (default is 5353) shown in Boat Beacon’s AIS Share setting. If you are sharing with an app on the same device you can use 127.0.0.1 as the IP address to connect to instead of the actual device IP address so you never have to change the setting when you are on a different network. Boat Beacon must be in sailing mode when sharing with other apps on the same device so it can track your position and continually update the live AIS data around you in the background. Tap the SailBoat icon  bottom left to enable Sailing mode. In the unlikely event that you need to change the TCP port number in Boat Beacon to another number, tap on the AIS Share setting row and enter it. 

On iOS you can try it out at home when there are no boats around your location by putting Boat Beacon into Demo mode ( Settings/Demo mode) first and then set sailing mode. Make sure the other app is showing the same map location as the demo mode is. Make sure to turn sailing and demo mode off when you are done. If Boat Beacon is not displaying any ships around your location then no ships will appear in the other apps either.

On Android get a 3 day free trial to try it out when you sign up for one of the subscription options. You can cancel the subscription at any time and will not be charged anything if you cancel before the end of free trial period.

Get the latest version of Boat Beacon from the App Store from here now and Google PlayStore here.

Entering routes and waypoints with SeaNav on a Mac

Here is how to enter routes and waypoints in SeaNav Mac
Left mouse click on the chart and select “Start new route here”
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A green pin will be placed on the map and the Navigation panel will display on the left with the first waypoint information.
To add the next waypoint move to another point and left mouse click and select “Add waypoint here”.

A red pin will appear with a blue line (route) from the first pin.
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You can add as many waypoints as you require and drag and drop the waypoint markers using a long mouse select on them.

Tap the i button on a Waypoint to give it a name ( optional) and view the full lat and long position ( including when you drag and drop it) so you can set its location precisely.

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Click on Done when finished and you can then sail the route at any time by pressing Sail. You can also select a previously saved route, Sail it , edit it or export it.
You can add a set of existing waypoints from a spreadsheet following this blog article:-
Here’s our guide on iPhone which also has some relevance to Mac. You can also export/import routes between the iOS SeaNav and Mac SeaNav app and also view them in Google Earth.
You can view the routes at any time by tapping the Navigation tab – there is a Demo route in the Solent included with the app that you can use to play with (tap the i button to view the route details and select Edit Route) :-
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SailTimer Wind Instrument, SeaNav and Pebble SmartWatch

Some of SailTimer’s customers asked them if their bluetooth WindInstrument would work with Pocket Mariner’s  SeaNav Marine Navigation app and if the wind information could also be displayed on our free SeaNav Pebble watch companion app. So SailTimer asked us and now it does…
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windinstruments
The SailTimer WindInstrument is completely wireless, no power of data lines, so the install is far simpler than for other marine wind vanes.  It is the first masthead anemometer  with a digital compass built into the wind direction arrow so you get true wind direction even when docked or at anchor. It sends the wind data via bluetooth and is solar powered with 24 hour running. The WindInstrument if fully weather and waterproof (submersible) and has innovative wind cup blades design to maintain equal accuracy when sailing heeled over.

Continue reading “SailTimer Wind Instrument, SeaNav and Pebble SmartWatch”

New NAVTEX App for iPhone and iPad

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 16.30.45One of our AIS contributors, Duarte in Portugal, has recently written an interesting and unique marine navigation app that we thought we should let our readers know about. It allows you to view Navtex information directly on your iPhone or iPad without needing  an HF radio on board.  NAVTEX  provides navigational and meteorological warnings and forecasts, as well as urgent maritime safety information to ships.  You can download Navtex for free from the App Store here:-  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/navtex/id1065285995 . You can also try out all the features for free for a week.

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There is a short video clip showing what the app can do here:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx-um26WoDE&authuser=0

and here is what Duarte has to say about his app:-

Navtex should be a requirement to any mariner, hobbyist or professional, regardless the type and size of vessel as it offers important Navigation Warnings that are safety-related while at sea.
Nearly 200 NAVTEX Radio Stations across the world form a global coverage network transmitting messages either in 490kHz, 518kHz, 4209.5kHz, 424kHz and 486kHz. 

At sea, safety is everything so our Navtex App will fetch the latest NAVTEX messages issued by the several official entities and present them to you whenever you want. 
You don’t need to connect your iPhone/iPad to any HF Radio. Only an internet connection is required. Synchronize and within seconds you have the worldwide updated Navtex information in your pocket.
You may select any of the available NAVTEX stations in the App and check their transmission schedule, frequencies, local data and latest important transmitted messages.

The Navtex Navigational Warnings will be collected from the internet and will be stored on your device, so you can read them even if you are off-line.

In Brazil, Australia and New Zeeland Navigation Warnings are not broadcasted via NAVTEX. However, this App will still fetch the latest Navigation Warnings from those regions and show them to you.

Additionally, you can also subscribe to APRS weather that is broadcasted by ham radio enthusiasts all over the world. It is a good backup system to gather weather information in case of failure of the vessels’s primary systems.

ActiveCaptain with SeaNav and BoatWatch


ActiveCaptain750x1334ss-80

 

 

The latest versions of our SeaNav and BoatWatch iOS apps now include the fabulous ActiveCaptain database providing on and off-line access to information on tens of thousands of marinas, anchorages, hazards and local knowledge (bridges, locks etc.) , as well as reviews from other boaters, shown geographically on marine charts, satellite images, or street maps. The ActiveCaptain coverage is global. There is information on Marinas and Harbour side restaurants etc. from around the world including the US, Canada, UK, France, Spain  etc. . If you aren’t already signed up for ActiveCaptain you can do it for free in a few seconds here:-

https://activecaptain.com/register.php

We found Jeff at ActiveCaptain really supportive and helpful on the integration with his data and had some lovely comments back from him on how well we did it too “The Pocket Mariner developers have been exceptional to work with. They are real boaters who get out on the water with their own tools.” Jeffrey Siegel, ActiveCaptain.

We look forward to adding more features and the ability to post reviews from our apps too in the near future.

Hoegh Osaka – replay of grounding in 2 and 3D

osaka-ship_3157884b

 

We used our AIS Fleetwatch service  to replay the final moments before the Hoegh Osaka was deliberately grounded on Bramble Bank in Southampton. You can watch the speeded up replay on 2D and 3D here http://youtu.be/5fW_LRDWUPo . Interestingly our replay correctly shows the ship heading onto the bank in a Northerly direction before she grounds. Other replays incorrectly show her moving sideways onto the bank. It may be that the gyros failed on the ship just before she started listing badly resulting in the list and an incorrect ship’s heading being sent.

 

New AIS Aerial at Davidstow Airfield, Cornwall

As part of the ongoing work to improve our global AIS coverage we have installed a new AIS aerial to provide better real time coverage for the seas around Cornwall in the UK.  There is a disused airfield at Davidstow. It was Coastal Command’s highest airfield in the UK at 300m (1000′) above sea level; a perfect place to get a long range view of the surrounding sea,  to the North, West and South of Cornwall.  We used a Digital Yacht AIS Net base station for the AIS receiver with a Shakespeare 6db AIS tuned aerial. There is no internet connection at the museum so we used a Huawei E3551 3G dongle and the excellent EE 3/4G data service to backhaul the AIS data to our servers.  You can check the live coverage from the new aerial here:-  http://boatbeaconapp.com/station/5353

Here is my son installing the aerial on the tower at the airfield.

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The DY AIS receiver hooked up at the base of the aerial.

 

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and live ships –  10,000 square miles of coverage including two major ports at Falmouth and Plymouth 🙂

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Many thanks to Steve at Davidstow Airfield and Cornwall at War Museum who is kindly letting us use his tower to mount the aerial on  (giving us another 12m (40′) of elevation 🙂 . The museum is very well worth visiting if you are in the area and even if you are not.

AISWatch – Live AIS monitoring with geofences and instant history replay

Pocket Mariner’s AISWatch service automatically monitors vessel movements and AIS SARTs in real-time using easily customisable geofences with audible and visual alerts. All AIS data is recorded and our industry first AISWatch instant replay service allows operators to retrieve data and instantly review events for incident analysis, marketing and training purposes. The AISWatch system is cloud  based with easily accessible web views to display the live AIS positions and geofence states over chart or satellite maps. The same web view is also used to replay AIS scenarios from the stored AIS data.

AISWatch’s state of the art and cost effective port, ship, fleet and asset management services and apps including our industry first cloud based “Instant history playback” are used by Offshore platforms, Ports, Harbour Authorities, Fleet Managers, Marine Services companies and Shipping Agents. Our customer roster includes Portsmouth International Port , Bristol Port Company Avonmouth, NautiskTransas, James Fisher, E.ON, Scottish Power Renewables, RWE Innogy,   SevenCs, Solis Marine  and  nauticAi. We also provide our AIS Watch service to Search and Rescue organisations like the RNLI , SARA and the AVCG which they use for tracking and training purposes.

More details on the AISWatch service are provided below. If you are interested in learning more or have any questions please contact us at  business@pocketmariner.com or phone +44 1291 689202.

avonmouthAISWatch in use at Bristol Port Company operations centre. Showing 3D live AIS views.

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AISWatch Live view lets you monitor the current situation and geofence status on a live chart web view. Real-time ship positions and AIS targets with tracks, information and photos. 2D and 3D views available. Hydrographic office charts  with customisable chart overlays and objects ( cables, pipelines, station etc.)

AISWatch Geofences allow you to easily create and edit real-time visual and audible alerts for area entry, exit , crossing , status (arrivals and departures), SART MOB, AtoN Off Position  etc.. using a simple and easy to use visual web based map view.

AISWatch Playback allows you to replay all shipping movements in your area instantly from any time in the past to assist with event investigation, resource utilisation, market research, training etc. Playback can be run at normal time or faster and supports forward and backward time “Scrubbing” allowing you to view an hours data in seconds to quickly determine the event you are looking for. Our live and historical AIS feeds can be also used to power other navigation systems such as those on Portable Pilot Units (PPUs) and other monitoring equipment.

Our professional services team can rapidly provide customised and tailored solutions for specific requirements and purposes.

You can try our history playback service in action here in 2D – boatbeaconapp.com/aisdemo – use the slider at the bottom left to move backwards and forwards in time and press the play button to play forwards. You can also see our 3D playback in action with this replay of the Hoegh Osaka grounding in 2015 – double click on a ship to fly in close up and then use your mouse to change the zoom (scroll) and viewpoint.

Pocket Mariner also provide global real time AIS monitoring and surveillance for ships far out of reach of shore based AIS systems using our innovative  Internet over Satellite AIS (iSAIS) service. with 98% global coverage (using Inmarsat services).

1. Live view

Real-time ship positions with tracks, information and photos. 2D and 3D views available. Hydrographic office charts  with customisable chart overlays and objects ( cables, pipelines, station etc.)

AISWatch monitors and records live ship positions via our local and global AIS services and when an event is triggered, forwards an alert via email and optionally SMS. The alert email includes details on the alert including maps of the alert area and ships around the ship’s current position. These maps can also be viewed via the web interface in 2D and our 3D service.

Our real time AIS feeds can also be used to power network aware AIS marine applications and systems such as  our own SeaNav AIS Marine Charts and Navigation apps and third party systems like Portable Pilot Units (e.g. Transas’s Pilot Pro and  SevenCs Orca G2 pilot. ).

2. Geofences

Geofences let you configure alerts for all ships (Zone Alerts) or your specific fleet of ships and AtoN’s (Fleet Alerts).  Fleet alerts are not confined to your zone of interest. They can be set anywhere in the world subject to our system having live coverage of the region. Many different alerts are available from entering or leaving an area, crossing a line, arrival and departure (status), anchor watch, proximity, collision, SART, AtoN off position etc.  Mobile Geofences can also be attached to moving ships and objects. When an alert fires an email/SMS is sent to all the alert addresses containing details for the event including a map of what and where triggered the event and a  second map showing the ship’s current position.

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You can create and edit the fences using this management screen or using our interactive map. Just click on the view fences button top left on either the Fleet Alerts or Port Alerts screens.

Tap View fences near the top left to view you currently configured fences on the chart. You can also edit existing fences by tapping on them and create new fences using the drawing tools. Rectangular, circular and polygon geofences are all supported (see example green fence areas below).

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In the detail view for an alert you can also see the geofence alert position on a map to help you identify and set it.

As well as sending alerts to email addresses all Alerts are recorded in the searchable Events table. Tap on an event and see a map showing where and when it happened. Alternatively you can use the Ships tab to see details on the most recent events for a ship. Tap on an event to see a map of where it fired and the geofence area that it triggered.

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3. Instant History replay – playing back ship movements and events

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AISWatch records all the time stamped AIS data for your port or area of interest second by second. The data is securely stored in our highly available (99.995%) and redundant cloud based computing platform for as long as you want from months to years or forever. You can retrieve ship movements from any day and time in your AISWatch past instantly at the click of a mouse button using a calendar picker and then replay them on our web map view and via dedicated internet ports to other AIS apps like our iOS and Mac SeaNav chart plotter with ENC vector charts and other marine navigation apps like on of our partners SevenCs’ Orca G2 Pilot (PC display with Vector charts).

When the AIS playback is running it also outputs the recorded AIS data stream over a dedicated TCP port so that you can connect other apps and devices to view it. The playback also has our unique enhanced Type 5 AIS messages added so the static data for ships show immediately a ship appears rather than waiting for the static AIS messages to be re-sent (which can take up to  6 minutes to receive).

Fast scrubbing playback view (see live demo here http://boatbeaconapp.com/fleetwatchdemo)

On the fast scrubbing view you can use the slide at the bottom left to scroll back and forth through the whole period. You can also press play to playback from the current scrubbing position.

External app (SeaNav) driven from AISWatch Playback using the TCP connection.

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Output from the playbacks can also be captured to video for viewing again independently of the AISWatch service. We recommend using the excellent and free VLC app on PC’s to capture the video or Apple’s free QuickTime app to record the screen on Macs.

You can see an example of a short video recording (1.5 minutes) replaying the arrival and docking of the Normandie ferry at Portsmouth International Port here :- Watch now

If you have any questions or for further information please contact us via business@pocketmariner.com or phone +44 1291 689202.