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

iKommunicate – Welcome to next generation interfacing

iKommunicate is Digital Yacht’s NMEA to Signal K gateway which brings the internet of things to anything afloat and will introduce a new generation of interfacing and applications to the marine electronic’s world.

ik a4  intro postcard

Things are changing in the world of marine electronic interfacing with the introduction of a new open source platform called Signal K. It’s been developing quietly over the past few years by a group of enthusiastic and very bright  developers and boaters and is now ready for wide scale implementation. The name comes from the original Signal K (kilo) flag which indicates “I want to communicate”!

Signal K aims to be the next generation solution for marine data exchange. It is intended to be used not only for communication between instruments and sensors on board a single vessel, but also to allow for sharing of data between multiple boats, aids to navigation, ports, marinas, etc. It is designed to be easily implemented by web and mobile applications and to connect boats and ships to the Internet of Things Afloat.

Many of you will be familiar with NMEA data standards which have been prevalent over the past 30 years.  While reliable and proven, they are slow and also expensive to develop for as there are legal, certification and documentation costs.  These standards were developed when the instruments on the average boat were much simpler and less capable. Today’s world is a lot more connected and there are huge benefits of tablet, PC and smartphone integration for data displays, applications, sharing and control. However, we don’t see the NMEA standard disappearing over night but equally a new format is needed for the next advance in applications.  In fact, the combination of NMEA and Signal K on board is the best technical opportunity.  That’s where iKommunicate comes in – a full featured NMEA to Signal K gateway and server allowing existing marine electronics to integrate with Signal K apps.

Like any new standard, it would take early adopters and lots of hard work to flourish but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign in the back end of 2015, iKommunicate was created and is now in production.  Thanks to nearly 500 early backers, iKommunicate was designed and manufactured.  Now everyone can now start to take advantage of next generation interfacing.

ipad and ik lr

iKommunicate has inputs for both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 so it will work with the latest generation of marine instruments as well as legacy systems.  You can now integrate your older marine electronic equipment to the next generation of interfacing with tablets, PC and other devices.  To start sharing data, it’s designed to connect to a router and to complement iKommunicate, Digital Yacht have introduced iKConnect – a compact wifi router with easy integration for iKommunicate as well as a WAN port for internet connectivity.

ikc router

Out of the box, iKommunicate can do some really clever things

  • Converts NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 to the new Signal K Open Data format
  • Includes two Web Apps; iKompass and Instrument Panel so that you can look at the Signal K data
  • Re-transmits all of the NMEA0183 and some of the NMEA2000 data it receives in to TCP or UDP network data
  • Can host other Web Apps and documents (PDFs, JPGs, etc.) on its 8GB micro SD Card

With data in Signal K format, it becomes incredibly easy to write apps to make boating more fun, affordable and safe.  We’ve produced a simple SDK at our www.ikommunicate.com site to help budding developers. Popular apps could include

  • Logging – log your engine data and track any changes over time – a gradually rising water or oil  temperature can be diagnosed prior to becoming an expensive problem
  • Twitter and Facebook integration – create your own Facebook logbook and share your boating experience with friends. Auto tweet your boats position for an easy tracking solution
  • Integrate with hobby hardware platforms like Raspberry Pi to create a custom alarm or monitoring platform for you boat

In fact, the sky is the limit!  You can also download the iKommunicate manual from HERE

Lots of major app developers are starting to interface with Signal K and iKommunicate’s support of NMEA data over TCP and UDP connections makes it compatible with lots of older apps too.

iKommunicate is now available to order.  You can order NOW

Dealers, marine electronic installers and boat builders should read our iKommunicate Guide HERE

Welcome to next generation interfacing for everything afloat!

iNavX featured in Apple Developers presentation

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Tuning in to the live stream from yesterday’s Apple Developers Conference (WWDC), we were pleasantly surprised to see iNavX being used on a yacht in one of the presentation videos. It is not often that marine products are part of such a high profile event and it was great to see an app that we know so well, get worldwide visibility in the Apple video.

The video showed lots of people and the apps they use and at around 1min 40secs in Emily Penn appears and tells us how she uses iNavX aboard her yacht as part of the work she does with Pangaea Exploration

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The video was very well put together (it was Apple after all) and anyone that missed it can watch it again by clicking here but you will need Quick Time installed to view it.

It was fitting that iNavX was featured in this video as it was the first marine app to appear on the Apple Store and has continued to be one of the most popular marine navigation apps. Using Navionics charts, it provides a number of advanced features above and beyond what the hugely popular Navionics App does, including full support for wireless NMEA, instrument displays and a very good AIS implementation with CPA and TCPA alarms.

For anyone wanting to do serious chart plotting and navigation on their iPad or iPhone, iNavX is well worth considering and coupled with our wireless NMEA products such as the WLN10HS, NavLink or iAIS, it really does make iPad boat navigation a reality. For more information download our White Paper guide here iPad Navigation Afloat – a Digital Yacht White Paper

Best Marine Apps for Android Devices

Android Devices

 

Following on from our recent post about the best Apple iOS marine apps, I have finally collected together a list of the “best” Android Marine Apps. I tentatively use the word “best” as I did struggle to compile this list and found that the quality and quantity of marine apps for Android devices fell well below that for Apple iOS devices. Bearing in mind the number of Android devices in the market, I found this quite surprising and feel there is definitely room for improvement and opportunities in the Android App market for a good marine charting app that accepts wireless NMEA data.

Perhaps because of the faster adoption of “Droid” phones in the US, many of the charting apps are very US focused and use the free NOAA raster and vector charts, although it was good to see that some of the app developers were now supporting charts for Europe and the Rest of the World. Do look closely at chart coverage and prices though, when selecting a charting app otherwise you could find yourself sailing with Google or OpenStreet Maps rather than real marine charts.

This list is not definitive and does focus on apps that support electronic charts and/or wireless NMEA but it will give you a good reference point to start your search from. Pricing is purely indicative and is based on the cost of the app, cost of the charts (if applicable) and the functionality/value that you get.

Click on the table below to enlarge and click here to download a PDF version that includes the web links to the Google Play Store.

Marine Android Apps

NavLink UK App – Features You’ll Like!

Our new charting and navigation app for iOS is now out with UK chart coverage.  You can download via the app store and its just £19.99 including detailed UKHO (Admiralty) charts covering the whole of the UK & Eire.  The US version will be available soon and others areas are coming once charting royalties and licencing with hydrographic offices is resolved.  Here are some neat features and more will follow in later posts:

Route Sharing

Building a route is as simple as tapping on the screen.  Once you’ve created your route, you can export to another user via email (great for briefing the crew) or even export as a Google compatible KMZ file for overlay on Google maps.  Nice!

weather lands end

Weather Info

Weather buoys which are situated around our coast provide local wind, temp, pressure and swell/wave information.  Tap on the “info” feature to bring up current conditions.  The pic below shows the weather off Land’s End (by the Seven Stone’s) last night – not nice, 43 knots of westerly wind!!

route

A-B chart ruler

Want to measure a quick bearing and distance – just use the A-B chart ruler – there’s even a quick recriprocal feature too

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Digital Yacht launch NavLink UK marine charting app for iPhone and iPad navigation afloat

Digital Yacht launch NavLink UK marine charting app for iPhone and iPad navigation afloat

Bristol,
4th January 2014

Digital Yacht have launched a new low cost marine charting app for the iPad and iPhone called NavLink UK

With NavLink, you can explore, plan and navigate your boating trips in real time and in high resolution using the latest UKHO (Admiralty) digital vector marine charts covering the whole of the UK and Ireland which are included with the £19.99 app.

Whilst using an iPad and NavLink is an attractive alternative to the cost of a dedicated touchscreen chart plotter, it does not compromise on features. Charts can be presented north up or course up and routes and waypoints are created and edited using a simple touch screen
interface.  Real time navigation shows your current position, track, course, speed, ETA, VMG, bearing and distance to next waypoint.  There’s a simple A-B chart ruler too and you can tap on an object such as a buoy or nav-aid and get a pop up data window of its characteristics. Its sharp, high-definition display enables simple zooming on detailed vector format charts, as well as allowing chart data to be layered and therefore de-cluttered.

It’s also designed to work seamlessly with Digital Yacht’s  NMEA to WiFi devices so will integrate with your boat’s GPS and AIS systems.
If AIS data is available, you’ll see AIS targets overlaid with all their identity information and a heading line as well as alarms for CPA and TCPA.

Utilising your on board GPS with these wireless servers means you don’t need a GPS enabled iPad.  Even if your device is GPS enabled, it significantly reduces battery drain when using an external source.  It also means your iPad/Phone can be used below deck and generally, the boat’s GPS is superior for marine based navigation.

Other advanced features include tidal information, weather data from weather buoys showing current local conditions such as wind speed/direction and swell and full route planning capability with sharing – useful for keeping all the crew updated!

NavLink also helps with your watch keeping and lookouts.  In its unique HorizonView mode, you can use the camera on the iPad to scan the horizon.  You’ll get an overlay on the camera screen of nav-aids, AIS targets and waypoints which serves as a great visualisation tool.

NavLink is priced at just £19.99 including detailed UK & Ireland charts. Further details from Digital Yacht TEL + 44 1179 55 44 74 www.digitalyacht.co.uk or go to the Apple app store

DIGITAL YACHT 2014 IS ALL ABOUT NEXT GENERATION NAVIGATION, COMMUNICATION AND ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEMS FOR YOUR BOAT. BOATING SHOULD BE FUN, SAFE AND EASY AND OUR PRODUCTS INTEGRATE INTO EXISTING AND NEW BOAT NETWORKS TO BRING A POWERFUL DIMENSION TO YOUR ON-BOARD ELECTRONICS.

Digital Yacht is a UK based manufacturer of specialist marine electronics. We produce a range of innovative products including AIS receivers and transponders, WiFi servers for on board NMEA data, long range WiFi internet devices and a range of sensors including GPS and electronic compasses. Digital Yacht won the prestigious METS DAME Electronic Product Award for iAIS as well as the NMEA technology Award for BOATraNet in 2011.  The GPS150 was nominated for a DAME award at this year’s 2013 exhibition in November

For further information, please contact:

Nick Heyes
(Direct Line 0207 100 9116)

Digital Yacht Ltd.The Technology Centre, Green Lane, Failand, Bristol. BS8 3TR. UK.

Telephone:
+44 (0)1179 554474

Email: sales@digitalyacht.co.uk  http://www.digitalyacht.co.uk