Digital Yacht launch Code Afloat Competition

Budding programmer or have a great idea for a new boating app?  Then this could be for you….

Digital Yacht’s new Code Afloat challenge is a competition for innovative code writers that seeks to encourage and recognise ideas and applications that ‘change the game’ in the field of marine navigation, communication, safety, control or entertainment. Applications and ideas will need to utilise Signal K, the new open source interfacing platform designed for electronics afloat.

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This competition is looking for game-changing and impactful ideas that have the potential to improve the way we utilise systems aboard boats, ships and other marine assets. It could be a new visualisation of instrumentation, social media integration, engine diagnostics, digital control, logging, charting, monitoring or security – but don’t let these be a defining boundary. Signal K makes marine application development easy with its plain text, JSON based format. Want to grab ship position, identity, wind speed and depth for your idea? It’s all easy with Signal K data.

Digital Yacht is a UK and US based marine electronics manufacturer with a special and altruistic interest in the Signal K project. In 2016, they developed iKommunicate – a NMEA to Signal K gateway allowing any existing marine electronics system to open up to the world of Signal K. It was created following a successful, 5x oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign which shows the interest in open source within the marine environment.

This means that 100000s of boats equipped with traditional NMEA based marine electronic systems can now integrate with this new platform using a simple, low cost iKommunicate interface – without the need to buy new, expensive sensors and transducers. iKommunicate makes it very easy to integrate tablets, smartphones, PCs and MACS to NMEA systems.

The competition will be assessed by independent judges – experts who lead the industry in the US and Europe. A headline prize of $2500 for the app award “Change the Game” is available and a 2nd and 3rd prize of $500 each for the best “Transform my boat” concept.  Lots of boat owners may have a great idea but don’t have coding skills to develop an app so this 2nd and 3rd prize is for them, to come up with a concept which may then be taken forward by professional programmers.

All apps will be judged on innovation, practical implementation and value.  “Open Source” web apps, that benefit the Signal K community are welcome and apps developed remain the property of the original author so they can also benefit from any future revenue stream. The goal of this competition is to increase the use of Signal K data on all apps, open or closed source and give boaters more functionality and choices.

Apps can be submitted for any platform – iOS, Android, PC, MAC, LINUX etc. and of course web server code running on Raspberry Pi type hardware or HTML5 web apps running in a browser are also appropriate.

The competition starts now and closes on the 31st October 2017, when all entries will be judged by an International team of judges, before the winners are announced in December.

More details on the competition can be found at a new dedicated website at http://www.codeafloat.com

Find out more about Signal K at http://www.signalk.org

Find out more about iKommunicate at http://www.ikommunicate.com

Check out more on our blog HERE

uAIS and ANT200 Go End of Line

Digital Yacht’s self contained uAIS and ANT200 AIS receivers are now end of line but we’ve replacement solutions that offer improved performance and allow for a more flexible installation.

uAIS was a self contained AIS sensor with a USB wired connection but this was limited to 5m.  In practice this often caused installation issues so we now offer a much neater solution utilising our AIS100USB with the QMax portable antenna (the same type used with our Nomad Class B portable AIS – details HERE).

The AIS100USB is self powered from the PC or MAC USB connection so there’s no need for a separate DC supply.  The QMax antenna features a neat sucker cup type mount allowing easy temporary placement.

ais100 plus qmax

This also has the advantage that the system can be used with other VHF antennas if required allowing for maximum flexibility.  A new part number for the bundle is available ZDIGAIS100QMA and this bundle is available immediately.  The QMax antenna is also available as a stand alone product, part number ZDIGQMA

Potential users of the older ANT200 can now opt for a regular AIS100 (NMEA version) complete with the QMax antenna as a replacement system – order as a ZDIGAIS100 plus ZDIGQMA

HF AIS – Encapsulated in Digital Yacht AIS products for better performance

HF-AIS is an advanced technology that ensures an AIS transceiver reliably processes all transmissions in real time without error. An AIS transceiver with HF-AIS will typically allow you to see up to 30% more targets than transceivers without HF-AIS.  All Digital Yacht transponder products incorporate this technology brought to us by our chip set manufacturer SRT

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You don’t know what you don’t see – if your AIS transceiver does not process (decode) an AIS transmission, you will not see that target on your display. This issue affects AIS Class A, Class B and receivers.

HF-AIS technology solves this critical and unseen issue, which can result in you missing up to 30% of available targets and data. An AIS transceiver can be required to receive and then decode up to 2,250 transmissions every minute – 37 every second – with each AIS transmission containing up to 300 bytes (your GPS position, MMSI, Speed, Course etc), that’s a huge amount of information that must be continuously processed. When this data is not processed due to the transceiver being overwhelmed with transmissions, the data is lost forever – often up to 30% of targets. The lost transmissions could be from a nearby vessel on a collision course with you – therefore lost data and targets are of critical importance to your safety.

  • Proven to see up to 30% more AIS targets and data with HF-AIS
  • HF-AIS ensures all available AIS transmissions are fully decoded and processed in real time.
  • HF-AIS is advanced core technology, that combines hardware and software, embedded in the ‘processing brain’ of our AIS transceivers.
  • HF-AIS is particularly beneficial in busy areas where the volume of AIS transmissions can cause processing errors and lost data in transceivers without HF-AIS.

hf ais

HF-AIS technology is a unique combination of hardware and software embedded within
our AIS transceiver. It comprises a high performance processor (chip) which has the processing speed to easily cope with reliably decoding large amounts of data in real time
on which is highly efficient software that uses specialist architectures and structures
normally found in data heavy wireless applications such as 3G and 4G cellular phones.
This unique combination of hardware and software is HF-AIS and ensures that our
transceivers will reliably process all available AIS transmissions in real time and without
error.

The ultimate benefit is that you’ll get outstanding performance and the best AIS capability from our transponders.

You can see the effect of the technology in action HERE

Digital Yacht at Sanctuary Cove Boatshow 2017

Digital Yacht will be exhibiting at this years Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, May 25-28 2017 on Booth 120

sanctuary cove show invite

At just over 10000 miles, it’s probably the longest boat show commute that the Digital Yacht UK team will undertake this year but it’s worth it with the opening up of Digital Yacht Australia to service this important market.

“We’ve already seen that Australian and New Zealand boaters like iPad and tablet navigation so it will be a perfect venue to showcase our new wireless innovations like Nomad, a portable AIS transponder which will launch at the show” commented Nick Heyes, CEO of Digital Yacht.

You can download our latest Australian product guide and price list from HERE

You can reach out to Digital Yacht Australia at +61 261 452547 and see more of the product range at www.digitalyacht.com.au

The Digital Yacht team

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Portable Navigation Solutions from Digital Yacht

More and more navigators are wanting a portable navigation solution either to move from boat to boat or have on their main vessel as a backup or easy installation solution.  The availability of low cost tablets and notebook PCs has made this really affordable and Digital Yacht have some great solutions to deliver professional navigation solutions from a portable package – and at great value too!

GPS Positioning – The Fundamental

A good quality GPS sensor with accurate positioning is the backbone of any modern navigation system.  Digital Yacht’s GPS150 DualNav GPS/GLONASS sensors provide highly accurate position, course and speed information with super fast updates and the GPS150USB makes an ideal positioning sensor for a notebook based navigation system.  It’s also powered directly from the USB port so there’s no extra cabling required.

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The picture above show the GPS150USB with Digital Yacht’s SmarterTrack software running on a notebook PC.  More details HERE and also on SmarterTrack software which is a great solution for a PC allowing Navionics chart cartridges to be shared between PC and plotter.

Tablets, iPads and GPS…

Many tablets will have a GPS built in but some are very poor quality or use wireless assisted services which will not function at sea.  Also, once below, the GPS in the tablet may not function as the antenna is obstructed by the deck and the use of internal GPS massively decreases the battery life of the tablet.  A dedicated sensor is therefore by far the best solution and will give much better course and speed readings too.  While some Android tablets can take a USB GPS connection via an OTG cable, trailing a cable to the tablet is messy so a much better solution is a wireless link.  Digital Yacht’s NMEA to wireless products (detailed HERE) are ideal for connecting to existing systems

Nomad – True portability and includes Class B AIS…

A tablet or iPad makes for a great navigation device – lightweight, portable and with a touch screen they are easy to use and there’s a massive selection of charting and navigation apps which generally are a fraction of the cost of sophisticated PC software.  Digital Yacht have now introduced Nomad – a portable Class B AIS transponder (send and receive AIS data) with a wireless interface and portable antenna plus built in GPS.

nomad and vhf antenna

Nomad features a wifi and USB interface too which also provides power for the unit so you can utilise any 3rd party USB power bank or outlet for true portability.  Find out more HERE or download the information pack from HERE

Great new portable navigation solutions from Digital Yacht

 

iKommunicate gets a “facelift”

Normally web servers are powerful rack-mounted LINUX or Windows PCs running a full, Apache “LAMPs” software stack, where processor speed, memory and disk space are plentiful. Creating a web server on an embedded hardware device like iKommunicate is a bit more challenging and although our first attempt has done us proud, since we released it last summer, we have intended to update it for a while.

When you only have 128KB of RAM and 1MB of Flash, every byte counts and although we store a lot of the content on the micro SD Card, we still need to include the home page and admin pages in Flash memory, in case the SD Card is removed or corrupted. With this in mind, we have replaced the bitmap logos/icons with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) which take up much less memory.

This week we have released a new iKommunicate firmware (26th April 2017) and a companion SD Card image V2.00 which both feature the new SVG web interface. Although you can update one without the other, we do not recommend this, as you may get odd results, so please visit http://ikommunicate.com/firmware/ to download the new SD Card image V2.00, which includes the new firmware file. If you follow the instructions on the web page, you can copy the new image to your micro SD Card and when you re-insert it and power on your iKommunicate, it will upload the new firmware when it boots up.

 

Digital Yacht launch portable Class B AIS – follow the Nomad!

Nomad is a new, portable AIS navigation solution from Digital Yacht.  Designed for recreational boaters and professional mariners, it offers a full function, Class B AIS transponder with a wireless and USB interface built in for tablets and PCs – all in a portable, compact package.

NOMAD LR

It addresses the needs of so many boaters who want a portable yet sophisticated navigation solution with AIS and GPS and the ability to interface with tablets, PCs and smart phones. It appeals to charter skippers, professional mariners like delivery skippers and pilots as well as boat owners who don’t want the hassle or cost  of installing a dedicated transponder and like the concept of easy iPad and tablet navigation using their favourite charting apps with a detailed AIS overlay and real time GPS positioning.  As a full function Class B transponder, it also sends you boat position to other AIS users.

It incorporates an innovative USB power solution allowing the Nomad to be powered from any standard USB source. This can include low cost, 3rd party battery packs, a USB PC connection or 12V USB adaptors/cigarette lighter adaptors.  The GPS is built in and Nomad ships with a compact, 25cm external VHF antenna with sucker cup mount. It can also connect to any regular VHF antenna.

nomad and vhf antenna

WiFi and USB interfaces are standard and there are a wide range of free and premium compatible apps for iOS, Android, PC and MAC.  The wifi connection allows up to 7 tablets or iPads to connect

The unit can also act as an AIS/GPS receiver only if MMSI and specific boat data is not available

NOMAD SYSTEM DRAWING LR

Nomad is available now in Europe and priced at £475/€595 ex vat.  Further details at http://www.digitalyachtamerica.com or click on the download HERE for a full preview pack.

You can also download the installation manual from HERE

Please note that Nomad is not yet available in the US as pending FCC approval