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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Review of Aqualuma Gen 4 Series Thru-hull LEDs, Aquatic AV BlueCube & Mariner Amphibious DRONE. Yachting Times Magazine, Spring 2015, page 66.

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http://yachtingtimesmagazine.com/issue/18spring2015/pageflip.html

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 16, 2015

Interactio Launches Kickstarter Campaign for
New Fuel Saving Device
and Mobile App

View real time boat fuel flow, consumption and range information using your Smart Phone or Tablet. New Optio Fuel wireless sensor from Interactio

November 16, 2015 (Victoria, BC) – Every once in awhile a deceptively simple innovation comes along that just makes sense. Optio Fuel is one such innovation.

Until now, the options boat owners had for monitoring their boat’s fuel consumption were either very expensive or difficult to retrofit, leaving boaters relying on instinct and math!

The Victoria, BC-based creators of Optio Fuel, Interactio Inc., will launch their first product on the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter later this month.

This new device makes it easy for boat owners to directly monitor their vessel’s fuel use using a free app on their smart phone or tablet. The fuel sensor and the mobile app is all that is needed to monitor fuel flow and consumption. Further, current range and optimal speed are also displayed on the device’s map in real time.

Preliminary tests show fuel savings in the range of 10-30% or more*. David Burton, Interactio’s co-founder said “In many cases Optio Fuel pays for itself in a weekend of cruising”. (*Numbers will vary depending on your boat, how often it’s used and your cruising style).

“Our goal is to raise $25k to fund the production of the Optio Fuel,” commented Roger Lines, co-founder of Interactio.

With the funds and awareness raised through this Kickstarter campaign, Interactio will offer a series of new products leveraging “Internet-of-things” technology to bring products to the marine market. As a new technology startup company looking to do things in new ways, Interactio is using modern crowd sourcing from Kickstarter to bring Optio Fuel to market. In true Kickstarter style, being an early supporter gets you a big discount when it’s delivered. Lines reports that the retail price for the Optio Fuel will be just US$199, but on Kickstarter, the first 100 units will be $99, the next 200 — $149.

The project launches November 28th and will run until the end of December. You can find out more at: http://bit.ly/Optiofuel.

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Here’s my latest Tech/Safety Gear Review in Yachting Times Magazine – America’s Bilingual Boating Magazine – Always available online!

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Download PDF Here:

YTM Autumn 2014-tech

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Here’s my latest Tech Review in Yachting Times Magazine – America’s Bilingual Boating Magazine – Always available online!

ytm-cvr-sum-2014YTM-Summer-2014-tech

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From: Boat US News:

It’s over 70 years old, a thin magenta-colored line appearing on over 50 different navigational charts covering the Atlantic Coast and Gulf, snaking along the route of the Intracoastal Waterway. Now, thanks to NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and a public-private partnership with Active Captain, an interactive cruising guidebook, NOAA will be updating the “magenta line” on all of its newly-issued navigational charts to help keep boaters in safe waters. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) submitted comments on the proposal to NOAA, who had initially proposed removing the line entirely. However, responding to BoatUS’ and other boaters’ comments, NOAA will tap into users of Active Captain to update the route in an on-going effort that will benefit the boating community.

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The thin magenta colored line marking the Intracoastal Waterway is like a yellow brick road for boaters transiting the East and Gulf Coasts. Credit: Boat US

“Some boaters had assumed the magenta line, which was last updated in 1935, was a precise route through safe waters,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Senior Program Coordinator David Kennedy. “However, over time the forces of nature made the line inaccurate as shoals shifted and underwater topography changed, leading some boats into shallows, over dangerous obstructions, or even into land. We thank NOAA for a change of course in keeping the magenta line, listening to boaters and coming up with a creative public-private partnership that recognizes the value of this important guide to navigation.”
The magenta line appears in charts covering all Intracoastal waters, and is essentially two distinct routes along the eastern US and Gulf Coasts totaling about 3,000 miles in length. Said Captain Shep Smith, chief of NOAA’s Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division, “Today’s decision to reinstate the magenta line is not a quick fix. It will take at least three years to fix problems that were 70 years in the making.”

Boaters may contribute to the updating effort by joining Active Captain at www.activecaptain.com.

Jeffrey Siegel, owner of ActiveCaptain said in his recent newsletter, “In September 2013, US/NOAA began asking boaters for feedback on the “magenta line” – the magenta colored overlay on US charts showing the recommended route of travel for the various US intracoastal waterways: New Jersey, Atlantic, Dismal Swamp, Florida West Coast, Gulf West, Gulf East, Okeechobee Lake, and Okeechobee Rim. The line first appeared in 1912, saw a major update in 1935, with only rare updates since then. This has caused many tense moments as the real channel has shifted away from the marked channel leaving boaters confused about the correct path. ActiveCaptain hazard markers have helped with those, “what do I do here?” moments.

The feedback from boaters was heard loud and clear by NOAA. They claim that 99.9% requested that NOAA maintain the magenta line rather than remove it.

How will they go about fixing the magenta line?

That was part 2 of the NOAA Coast Survey announcement. They have added ActiveCaptain to their “cartographic toolkit in the chart evaluation system.” Last year NOAA licensed the ActiveCaptain data for internal use. We wrote some custom software to make it easier for the cartographers to use the hazard data you provide to help update charts and fix the magenta line. The first part of the software has been delivered to NOAA for their use.

NOAA approached us because they were already using the hazard data to locate problems but had to manually search on areas of interest to see what needed attention. Now hazard changes are automatically presented to them so they can quickly go through the changes and determine whether additional surveys or chart changes are needed.”

 

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Choosing the right navigation app is no easy feat. Some cost a few precious boat bucks just to download, and “free” doesn’t necessarily mean activecapt-screenshot“less” when it comes to features. With the recent news that NOAA will stop printing paper charts this April, iPads are fast replacing chart plotters on the bridge or in the cockpit.

As a former cruiser, I often relied on print cruising guides to learn about a new port or cruising area. As we all know, this kind of information is always in flux. And there’s the rub: How do we get the latest information, preferably from other cruisers? The answer: AC.

For the past few years ActiveCaptain (AC) has grown and expanded to include over 100,000 boaters who write reviews and updates on anchorages, ports, hazards, facilities and more, all around the world.

Sail with confidence with any of the five navigation apps below. They all include ActiveCaptain data as an overlay for members. (AC membership is free).

SKIPPER (Ver 1.2)
Trailerbehind, Inc. – Free

skipper-app-iconThe newest offering in the Apps Store is Skipper and the free version isn’t just a trial; it includes a handy NOAA online chart viewer for onshore planning and satellite imagery on shore. For the Pro version you pay an annual fee of $12/year and you don’t have to pay extra for the charts you’ve already paid the Government for in taxes. NOAA Charts are auto-updated (or choose Google Earth or Topo maps, including historic topos. What fun!). All is cached and displayed offline very seamlessly, except weather and Google Earth requires an online connection. It also does routes/waypoints and real-time navigation (which Garmin’s app doesn’t do). Your subscription syncs your personal data and routes, waypoints, tracks, etc. between your multiple devices. Raster charts (the best!) load fast and look great since they are mosaic-ed together and are only 1.8GB each for the smallest possible download size. Skipper’s creator, Andrew Johnson says that Inland Rivers Charts including all NOAA vector charts will be added soon and he is working on ways to integrate Open Street Map technology. Perhaps my dream of having one app that shows both Charts and Maps may soon become real!

garmin-iconGarmin BlueChart Mobile (Ver 1.4)
Garmin International – Free (Charts are available via in-app purchase and range from $30 -$70).

BlueChart uses vector charts with features such as search, routes, waypoints, weather stations (choose conditions overlay showing dew points, temperatures, wind direction and speed, water temp, visibility) GRIB weather with wave heights and period, celestial data, measuring feature, real-time tracking. Each icon gives great details when tapped. Lots of overlay features can clutter up the chart but choosing which ones to view is easy using the cool “radial chart object menu”.

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Charts & Tides (Ver 4.7)
Navimatics  – $19.99 *

The first full resolution, seamless charting iPad app. Charts&Tides uses NOAA and CHS vector cartography. Covers all of U.S. and Canada and cost $20-$40. New features include AIS support, Closest Point of Approach (CPA) computations and alerts, more connectivity options for GPS (WiFi, GPSD), new Dead Reckoning Mode and interface improvements.

*This just in… Now you don’t have to open a different app to chart a new area of the world. Navimatics has just added a newly developed chart engine to Charts & Tides for iOS and for Mac computers. Now the app is free and you can add  these two options:
– The entire US NOAA collection of charts: $19.99
– The entire US NOAA collection + CHS Canadian charts: $39.99

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PolarView MX (Ver 1.2.4)
PolarNavy – $3.99

From the folks who brought you affordable PC and MacOS charting. Their PolarView MX app for iPhone or iPad offers both vector and raster chart viewing combined with extensive instrument support that many mariners are seeking. Chart coverage includes U.S. and U.K. and world-wide charts are available.

SEAiq (Ver 3.4.0)
Sakhalin, LLC – $9.99

SEAiq-Open_iconDeveloped by software engineer/live aboard world cruiser, Mark Hayden. SEAiq uses free NOAA vector charts. Try SEAiq Free first, then upgrade to SEAiq USA or Open for $9.99 with in app purchase to enable all features. SEAiq Open allows you to use your own vector charts. (S-57, S-63, CM93, iENC, BSB, and KAP) or you can purchase charts for anywhere in the world from ChartWorld. Also, with Inland ENC support, you can download hundreds for free charts for many rivers in Europe. Other features: Import/export waypoints and routes. NMEA data, AIS, Track recording, GRIB weather downloads, anchor alarm, instrument data, TCP/IP WiFi NEMA data.

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