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.

 

New update for NavLink App for iPhones/iPads

iTunesArtwork

We are pleased to announce a new update is now available for our popular NavLink UK and NavLink US apps for iPhones/iPads. The update which existing users can get free of charge from the App store provides the following new features;

–  External NMEA GPS support – great for iPads without built-in GPS (also supports GPS from AIS transponder).
–  Rate of turn vectors showing bending ship course prediction.
–  Relative scale ship icons – so big ships appear bigger.
–  Ship names displayed on map – so you can see the ships’ names without having to tap on them.
–  Ships drawn at true scale size when zoomed in on the map – vital for seeing the size of the gap or passage around large vessels.

Our NavLink apps which work with all of our wireless NMEA servers are perfect for anyone that wants to wirelessly receive AIS and GPS data from their boat’s AIS system. For more information click on the links below.

NavLink UK which includes UKHO vector charts for UK+Ireland and optional in-app purchase for other North European charts.

NavLink US which includes NOAA vector charts for the US

If you do not already have an AIS but want to get one with this wireless capability, please look at our iAIS (receiver) or our brand new AIT3000 (transponder with splitter) products.

New Improved Marine Traffic AIS Service

New Marine Traffic

Marine Traffic, the popular live AIS website, has had a major upgrade. First released in 2007, Marine Traffic has grown to be the most popular vessel tracking service in the world, with a large network of contributors that have installed AIS receiving stations (like our AISNet product)  in their homes or offices.

During the past few months they have completed a full redesign of their website and mobile applications, with more data and many new features. A video that shows the new features can be viewed by clicking here.

While keeping the basic service free, they have introduced a number of paid plans, built for users that need to make intensive use of the system resources and wish to access the value-added services, such as:

  • SAT-AIS  –  Satellite AIS data for global AIS coverage, including mid-ocean vessel tracking.
  • Detailed Nautical Charts  –  global Nautical Charts for in-depth insight and situational awareness.
  • Export AIS data  –  Export data to CSV files directly from the website.
  • AIS API  –  Use MarineTraffic API data services to feed data directly into your applications.
  • Historical AIS data  –  Retrieve historical AIS data within the billions of position records archived from 2009 onwards.

For Professional users they can now offer extended fleet management and notifications, via email and SMS alerting services.

Anyone who has an office or home near the sea (with an internet connection) who would like to contribute to Marine Traffic can use one of our AISNet Base Station units, which are easy to install and configure and just need a network connection to your wireless router and an external VHF antenna (mounted as high as possible) to receive the AIS transmissions.  Contributors to the Marine Traffic network, get free access to many of the paid services and if your area is not that well covered, you will be helping the whole community in improving the network of receiving stations.

Reports of Strange Wi-Fi behaviour with iOS V6.0

iOS Update

 

We have recently noticed a number of iPhone/iPad customers reporting connection issues with our iAIS and WLN10 products. Fault symptoms have been; unable to connect to the wireless network, TCP connection time out and connection stability problems. A quick search on-line found evidence that other Apple users had found Wi-Fi issues as well and they all seemed to be centered around devices with iOS V6.0.0, V6.0.1 and V6.0.2.

Armed with this information, we recommended the customers that had contacted us to update the firmware in their iPhone/iPad to the latest V6.1.x and in all cases the strange problems/behavior disappeared and they started getting reliable wireless connections again.

We cannot find any “official” note from Apple that confirms the experiences of our customers but we would definitely recommend that any customer with iOS V6.0.x updates to the latest V6.1.x.