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Smart-phones, AIS, and social networks

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by chuckb, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. cgernaey

    cgernaey New Member

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    LGB
    My AIS megayacht database and directory at:

    tinyurl.com/megayachts1
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I m resurrecting this old thread as it come up in a search after reading an article in the January issue of yachting rag

    I m not sure I get it... Yachting rag make it seems like it s a tech breakthrough but Smart chart AIS seem to offer more or less what other apps are already offering (boat beacon, mRine traffic,etc) so I m not sure what makes it special enough to have received $750k from homeland security according to the yachting article.

    Actually it s not even available for ios download so it doesn't do what others already offer.

    I m also trying to understand how this augmented reality will work... How the heck do you drive the boat, looking at plotter, radar, engine instrument, depth while holding a camera up in front of your face? Does it sound cool? Sure... But practical? I doubt it. What s wrong with having he active captain markers on your plotter/tablet/computer instead if getting a cramp holding the camera up.

    "ActiveCaptain started in the US, has a good following with the Aussies, and is getting traction in Europe. Their app is equally dependent on internet access, so thats an indication of where potential use is. "

    This statement is not accurate. Active Captain which I ve been using since almost day 1 only depends on Internet access to update data. Content can be viewed from a number of charting apps offline, without Internet connection
  3. chuckb

    chuckb Senior Member

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    Pascal,

    Thanks for asking! The development of the App has taken much longer than originally expected, and iOS is very close to release. Overall the user reactions (for Android, which has been out for a few months now) have been very positive. The recreational boating market is almost 80% iOS, and also very unforgiving of apps that are not reliable, so we're biting the bullet and not doing an iOS release until we have it right.

    I think the major new aspect of this the introduction of what we call AIS Class E, essentially an AIS surrogate used over the wireless networks. The intent is to ultimately get a national, and then international standard in place that all can use. The simple fact is that traditional AIS isn't practical for the average recreational boater. We've spent a lot of effort identifying the best architecture for this, including moving away from MMSI numbers (which should still be used by large vessels), and creating an identification means by which very portable devices can still be used to enable vessel track sharing.

    There are other similar products out there, but they all only talk to themselves. We are about to start offering a free interface that any chart plotter provider can use free of charge, and will be putting the protocols in the public domain as we move forward. There's lots of technical detail, and I've been in meetings with RTCM, NATO's maritime folks, NIST, plus have the support of a group that has a US patent that covers not only what we're doing but also what the other companies you mentioned are doing. Ultimately, wireless networks will carry this type of information… the real issue is a VHS vs. Beta question… and establishing standards that work for all.

    I could drag on forever… but will spare you the gory details. That said, feel free to ask questions!

    Chuck
  4. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I'm not sure I see the benefit of moving away from MMSI since it is used by VHFs, so why not encourage all boaters to apply for an MMSI they can use in their VHF and for AIS on mobile devices

    I agree that conventional AIS isn't going to be embraced by most rec boaters but I m not sure what you mean by similar products not talking to themselves. Both the Marine Source and Boat Beacon apps display both app based/Internet AIS data as well as conventional in addition to broadcasting the user's data. Isn't that what Smart Chart is going to do?

    When the ios version is released, will there be an iPad specific app as well?

    One thing I find missing in the existing apps is the ability to quickly select a profile so that when switching boats you don't have to manually change the data
  5. chuckb

    chuckb Senior Member

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    The MMSI scheme was developed in the 70's and the US has <999,999 total available numbers, and over 10 million recreational users, so eventually we'd run out of numbers. On top of that the AIS RF slot is already near bandwidth saturation in busy ports… it simply can't sustain the traffic that adding the recreational community would bring. Lastly, the original scheme was based upon an AIS transceiver being bolted to a specific vessel, and false IDs from "moving" radios are becoming a significant problem.

    Its the app-to-app issue. e.g. observing on your phone/tablet the other vessels in the vicinity that are running apps on their phones/tablets. All apps can reflect AIS A or B data because there's a recognized standard. But less than 1% of the vessels out there broadcast AIS A/B, and assuming 20 years from now most boats are broadcasting not VHF but wireless AIS, what's going to be the standard for interoperability? That's where AIS Class E comes in. The Smart Chart AIS app is what the industry refers to as a "reference implementation", an example of how it can be done, but that's a straw-man meant to spur affected parties to come up with an optimized solution.

    Yes, but not in the first release.

    The Smart Chart AIS scheme has 2 types of ID: User and Vessel. The User is you as an individual, which in our app then has "authorized" vessels. Thus, when you go down the dock and choose whether to take out the go-fast tender or the laid-back day-sailor, you get to choose from a pull down menu your "boat-du-jour". Likewise, if 4 folks are out on the same sport fisherman, they can all run the app, but all logged into the same vessel (so only one vessel is shared to other apps). You can message them individually OR as a vessel group. Once you get into the megayacht with a dozen crew, various guests, the "mothership" and a half dozen smaller craft… the possibilities get interesting.:)

    Lastly, since the feds have paid for its initial development we offer the app for free... the intent is to get to the critical mass that will support standards development. But the real goal is to define what AIS will be in the future for the users and communities that aren't served well by the existing AIS VHF model.;)