European Space Agency and the International Space Station have AIS on board

Since 2010, the International Space Station has been equipped with a space-based AIS System receiver that allows it to track ships at sea from space. Since then, the system aboard the ISS has been receiving as many as 400,000 ship’s position reports from more than 22,000 different ships every day.

This video shows how this experimental system was used in 2012 to rescue a sole surviving crew member of a Norwegian vessel after it overturned in the North Atlantic during a storm.

For the technical, there’s details here on the scientific projects that the ISS is carrying out right now – click HERE.  We say get a Digital Yacht or Digital Deep Sea AIS Transponder on board today – and an AIS SART too!

dds family

 

 

Digital Deep Sea – Solutions for the professional market

Digital Deep Sea design and manufacture products for the commercial, fishing, workboat, naval and superyacht markets.  Here’s a guide for pro-market installers, users and dealers on our product line up which includes Class A AIS, wireless navigation solutions for Pilots and Captains and  a range of sensors.  Download it from here Digital Deep Sea Innovative Solutions

class a ais

New SmarterTrack Lite V1.04

SmarterTrackLITE_V1_04

Today we have released an update to our popular, free SmarterTrack LITE software. Version 1.04 has improved cursor Lat/Lon display in the Status Bar at the bottom of the screen and support for the AIS transponder VDO message which allows SmarterTrack LITE to take the boat’s position from the AIS transponder even if it is not outputting traditional NMEA0183 GPS messages like GGL, GGA or RMC.

A number of people have wanted to use SmarterTrack LITE with the Pilot Plug connection of a Class A AIS Transponder and the new version now supports this allowing you to plot the boat’s position and all of the AIS targets around the boat, via one of our Pilot Plug adaptor cables or wirelessly using our PilotLink product.

Other popular applications for SmarterTrack LITE are; testing a USB or Wireless enabled AIS unit on a Windows PC or for monitoring the local AIS traffic that our AISNet product is sending to Marine Traffic, AIS Live or any of the other internet AIS services. To download a copy of the latest V1.04 please click here.

Interesting AIS Applications – Tender Tracking

Most yachts above 50ft are now equipped with either a Class A or Class B AIS transponder.  Any superyacht carrying more than 12 passengers or over 300GRT is mandated to carry a Class A transponder like our CLA1000 – details here

But how about the yacht’s tenders or jetskis?

Adding a low cost Class B transponder to a yacht tender or jetski allows it to be easily tracked for safety and security. The Digital Yacht AIT2000 Class B transponder will provide regular 30 second transmissions of the tender’s position, course and speed and allow positive identification of the tender from the mother ship.  What’s more there’s no running costs or internet connectivity required for tender tracking with AIS unlike cellular based solutions.

The AIT2000 can also connect to a compatible plotter fitted on the tender to allow an AIS overlay of targets as well as making it easy for the helmsman to locate the mother ship.

Our new GV30 combo GPS-VHF antenna is ideal too for an unobtrusive installation.

 

jetski_ait2000VR 2

 

Here’s a reminder of some of the features of our AIT2000

  • AIT2000 – ultra compact Class B AIS transponder
  • Fit and forget solution – Waterproof to IP65
  • Supplied with GPS antenna – requires connection to VHF antenna or suitable splitter such as SPL2000 or can be supplied with our new GV30 combo GPS-VHF antenna
  • Features dual NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000 and USB interfaces for maximum flexibility
  • Remote silence/transmit inhibit feature
  • Class B AIS transmissions every 30 seconds for real time tracking

On board the mother ship, our  WLN10HS NMEA to WiFi server can be fitted to yacht’s main AIS system to allow wirelss tender tracking on crew or guest’s iPad/Phone – neat eh?  The WLN10 will typically footprint NMEA data over a boat up to 35m in length so crew can use an iPad or iPhone for navigation and tender tracking with apps like NavLink, iNavX and iAIS.

ait2000 plus wln10 for class a

GV30 Combo GPS-VHF Antenna – The Perfect Class B AIS Transponder Antenna Solution

Many users are put off installing a Class B AIS transponder because of the requirement for additional antennas on their space strapped pushpit rail or radar arch.

A Class B AIS transponder must have its own internal (built in)  dedicated GPS receiver so this requires a dedicated antenna.  It also needs a dedicated VHF antenna (ideally tuned to 162MHz) or connection to a specialist VHF-AIS antenna splitter if you want to share the main VHF antenna with the AIS and VHF.  Our SPL2000 splitter is a great choice here but this technology is relatively expensive.

Digital Yacht now have a great new solution – the compact GV30 combination GPS and VHF antenna, tuned specifically for 162MHz AIS frequencies.  Physically its around 75mm in diameter and has a compact helical stub antenna fitted to the top.  Two (10m) cables exit the unit (for GPS and AIS) with low profile connectors to make running the cable through the boat easy.  Adaptors are supplied for connection direct to our AIT2000 transponder.  Despite the compact stub antenna, performance is actually very good and it makes for a rapid installation.  Of course, range is slightly limited (typically 5-8 NM)  but range isn’t everything – actually too much range can cause too many targets to be received and overcrowd the plotter display!

GV30

Note that the GV30 is shown here fitted to a 1″ standard deck base (stainless steel) which isn’t supplied.  The GV30 has the industry standard 1″ female thread to fit a wide variety of 3rd party rail, deck and pole adaptors.

It will of course work with other AIS transponders but there’s some good reasons here to choose our brilliant AIT2000 Class B transponder

 

PilotLINK with NavLink UK app – Nice Solution

PilotLINK is our portable wireless gateway for Class A AIS systems.  It connects direct to any Class A pilot plug connector and allows AIS and GPS data to be streamed over a wifi link to iPads, iPhones or other tablets.  Just find the PilotLINK hotspot and connect.  There’s an internal 9V battery or you can power via a standard USB format adaptor.  Designed for maritime pilots, its also finding applications with delivery skippers, captains and crew.

ipadair_navlink

NavLink UK is our full featured iOS charting and navigation app using Hydrographic Office vector charts.  It supports real time GPS tracking, waypoints and routing plus an AIS target layer and works beautifully with PilotLINK.  There are now chart options for France, Holland and Germany (available as low cost in app purchases) and a separate version (NavLink  US) for the US market.

 

If you’re an Android user then our new AISView app for Android is now available on the Google Play Store.  You can get details here.  This provides a really nice north up or course up view of local AIS targets with drill down target information.  Here’s a busy Rotterdam port this week

nexus 7

AIS Sales In the UK – A job well done by AIS Companies

The annual J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island situated off the south coast of England. The race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.  It started today at 0630 and the screen shot below at 0900 shows just how many boats have AIS transponders installed.

IPAD 4

It also shows that the AIS system is robust and even in confined areas can handle large amounts of traffic.  The image below uses our latest iPad navigation app NavLink UK to show a realtime view of AIS targets.  NavLink turns an iPad into a full function touch screen chart plotter with tracking and routing plus real time AIS overlays for just £19.99!  Here we can see sailing vessel Amorelle and all the targets around.  Of course these views only show vessels equipped with a transponder but there’s also thousands of users utilising AIS with just a receiver – seeing what’s around but not sending their location information.  Either way, AIS can only be a brilliant step forward in marine navigation safety and boating fun!

IPAD 1

This week we also launched our FIRST Android app called AISView.  Unlike NavLink it doesn’t have detailed charts but instead uses either a Google map or radar like PPI/range ring display to show AIS targets.

AISView is the ideal App for anyone wanting to display “live” AIS data from their boat’s AIS receiver or transponder on their Android tablet or smart phone. AISView is designed to receive and display wireless NMEA data from any of Digital Yacht’s NMEA to Wifi devices like the WLN10, NavLink, iNavHub or iAIS.

Although a “wire free” connection is the easiest way to get data in to the tablet, if you do not have one of our wireless NMEA products, you can also connect using Digital Yacht’s USB-NMEA adaptor. Connect this cable to the NMEA0183 output of your AIS and plug the USB connector in to a suitable USB OTG cable for your tablet and you have a simple and cost effective method of getting AIS data in to the tablet

Even if you have a full featured AIS display on your main plotter, having an extra display on a tablet is useful as a repeater or 2nd display. Utilising the internal GPS of the Android tablet, you will also have a completely separate backup system, which should your main plotter fail, will display your position, all of the AIS targets around you and also provide anti-collision alarms with CPA and TCPA calculations.

AISVIEW 2

Once installed, you’ll see an overlay of AIS target information onto a background Google map. Tap on a target and you’ll get a drop down list with identity, heading and closest point of approach (CPA) information. A heading vector makes it easy to see potential collision course targets. Google maps can now be cached if you don’t have an internet connection but even if this feature is not used, AISView will present an attractive radar like visualisation with range rings overlaying the targets around your vessel.  Note in the pic above the Lymington – Yarmouth ferry making its way through the Round the Island race fleet!

AISView also supports a simple bearing and distance ruler, compass heading display and current position and track history from the device’s built in GPS. Alarms can be configured for closest point of approach and AIS SARTs – useful for MOB applications. If you have a live internet connection, you can also supplement the real time overlay with AIS information obtained from the popular BoatBeacon internet AIS app (if this is installed) allowing you to view AIS targets in remote ports or locations.

All these are exciting developments for Digital Yacht and we can see how consumer devices are really taking part in real time boat navigation