September 2004 Archives

A Cruising Concierge From Marinalife And Maptech

Sep 27, 2004

I really like this cooperation between Marinalife and Maptech. It will make life easier for boaters by integrating lots of services with Maptech's interface. I hope this is just an example of what to expect in the (near) future.

"Marinalife has created a centralized Internet-based reservation system for marinas, kind of an Expedia for recreational boaters that it calls a "cruising concierge" system. The five-person company is combining its system with technology developed by Amesbury, Mass.-based Maptech to bring a range of navigation and communications tools to boaters on the water. Maptech has consolidated and simplified a range of electronic navigation technology that enables boaters to check the weather, access radar images and send and receive e-mail with a few touches on a computer screen. By joining forces, the two companies aim to become an online travel agent of sorts for boaters. They'll be able to create navigation charts and, from the water, reserve a slip at a marina and make dinner and hotel arrangements for after docking."

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Not All Electronic Chart Databases Are Equal

Sep 23, 2004

Electronic chart manufacturer C-MAP has obtained ISO 19379 certification for its CM-93/3 and NT-Link electronic chart databases. ISO does not necessarily say anything about the quality of the product itself, but nevertheless it is an important step towards safer boating when using electronic charts.

"The emergence of several privately produced electronic chart databases over the past few years can give the impression to customers that all electronic chart databases are equal,� said Ken Cirillo, vice president and general manager of C-MAP/USA. �But this certification and �seal of approval� from the ISO is a testament of the highest regard to a private electronic chart manufacturer, as it clearly demonstrates the level of quality of a product with this approval."

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At The Monaco Yacht Show

Sep 22, 2004

I am at the Monaco Yacht Show today and the coming 3 days. Lots of beautiful ships and electronics over here, I will report on them later. Don't expect a lot of posts this week however... To hot to carry around a laptop;-)

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GPS Visualizer, A Nice Ship's Log Tool

Sep 19, 2004

Still using pen and paper for your ship's log? How about this great tool that will allow you to publish all this information (even in real-time) to a website/weblog...

"GPS Visualizer supports uploaded GPX track and waypoint files, OziExplorer track and waypoint files, LOC files, IGC log files, Garmin Forerunner Logbook XML files, tab-delimited or comma-separated text files, Cetus GPS and PathAway .pdb files, and NetStumbler log files. You can also enter waypoint data manually, if you just need to plot a few points."

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Free Current, No More Mosquitos!

Sep 19, 2004

Wouldn't it be great to watch the sun going down while listening to a mosquito powered entertainment set in your boat's cockpit...;-)?

"We know what you're thinking. A robot that totes around human sewage, digesting living beings for energy? What, you�re not inexorably excited about this? The EcoBot II (ah, what a benign, nonthreatening name) is fed flies into 12 sewage-based bacterial fuel cells, which break them down, digest them, and use the electrons released as current."

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Simple General Purpose Onboard PCs

Sep 19, 2004

Instead of buying this extremely pricey Itronix GoBook III I wrote about yesterday, you could also take a look at how PCs are entering the automotive environment. For most boaters this will be a perfect solution to all their entertainment and navigational needs. And since the car industry is providing economies-of-scale, prices will come down very fast.

"The compelling argument comes from the fact that a modern computer can do anything a car stereo can do and much, much more. Currently you can install name brand DVD, MP3, TV, radio, XM and navigation hardware into your car, costing you thousands and the possibility that it wont all work together. A computer in your car can offer up all those options and lots more to make sure you're distracted enough to plow through a farmers market. Internet access, encoded movies, gigs of MP3s, email, web browsing, in-car gaming, and even, *gag* office applications are just some of the things that a little box in the trunk can offer."

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Itronix GoBook III

Sep 18, 2004

I have to agree with Gizmodo's statement that this is not the best looking laptop I've ever seen, but I'm sure some of you might still be interested in putting this machine to work on a boat...

"I feel kind of stupid, but Itronix actually told me about their new GoBook III here about a week ago, and I kept putting it off. Easily remedied, though, and gladly, because this ugly fucker actually hides a really nice laptop - Pentium M 1.8 GHz, Ati Radeon Mobility, all that good modular radio stuff - inside the typically ruggedized Itronix case."

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Making The GPS Connection

Sep 16, 2004

A how-to over at the Marine Maintenance Magazine.

"Most GPS units have I/O terminals and a cable for connecting to other devices. To transmit information from the GPS to the computer, connect the GPS signal ground wire (SG) to the serial port ground wire (NMEA B line). Next connect the GPS transmit data (TXD) to the serial port receive wire (NMEA A line). If you intend to upload data, such as waypoints and routes, from the navigation software to the GPS, you will need to connect the GPS receive data (RXD) wire to the serial transmit wire. Not all navigation programs or GPS units allow data uploading. These wires are identified by color code in the user's guide."

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Tested: Chartplotter And Video

Sep 14, 2004

A problem with many of today's (marine) electronics is that they can do so much. And many are simply to proud to read a manual or watch an instructual video. But if they do...

"I recently upgraded the electronics on my 20-foot Bayshore skiff with a Lowrance LCX-15MT combination GPS/chartplotter/sonar unit. The compact combo fit nicely into the helm pod and utilized the pre-installed transducer. The only trouble was that it required a new electronic chart and had more features than my old unit. Both dilemmas were quickly solved with a Classic chart from Navionics and an instructional video from Bennett Marine Video."

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America's Cup Technology

Sep 10, 2004

I'm sure these are electronics and software most of you don't have any experience with, but I would not be surprised if they will eventually come available in one way or another to amateur racing or even leisure sailing.

"During training, salient data is taken from various optical-fibre-based devices that measure strain on the boat, as well as various sensors that measure boat speed, wind speed and direction. Fibre optics change their refractive index when put under strain so the strain can be measured by measuring the change in wavelength of the light transmitted. The data is read via a wireless LAN connection into data files, which can then be quickly and easily manipulated in MATLAB on a support boat. The results can be visually displayed in a variety of different ways to help the team make quick decisions about changing the yacht�s set-up."

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