Saturday, November 19, 2011

Digital Yacht - iOnboard

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Function: Marine data display
Rating: ***
Cost: $6.99

Digital Yacht has had quite a year with an introduction of many new electronics for the yachting enthusiast. They were just recently awarded the DAME 2011 NMEA award for marine electronics. The company creates devices that take your onboard navigation, instrumentation and AIS data and through WiFi makes this data available to mobile devices. The Digital Yacht WLN10 NMEA to wireless server the BOATraNet and iAIS systems provide these wireless data networks.

The iOnboard app is used on your iPhone or iPad to display the data from the wireless network. GPS data, instrumentation, navigation and AIS data are easily viewed when and where you want.  The iPad or iPhone are more mobile and less expensive than a full blown stand alone multifunction display.  Through a wireless TCP/IP link the data is transferred from the onboard server to your mobile device.

The app has four soft keys across the bottom. These access the GPS, navigation, instruments and settings pages.  The GPS page list the typical GPS coordinates, speed and course over ground, date and time. Additional pages show the list of GPS satellites and locations.

The navigation pages show course, heading and track displays to keep you on course. The instrument pages provide gauge like dials showing additional navigation instrument.

Digital Yacht also has another free app called Digital AIS.  This app displays AIS data on your mobile device from an onboard wireless AIS network.

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system used on ships and by Vessel Tracking Services for identifying and locating ships by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and VTS stations.

The Digital AIS app has a radar like display showing ships in your area and provides important information about the ships name, speed, course, heading and length.  AIS is valuable tool to keep track of possible collision courses with surrounding ship traffic. 

Both of these apps require that that you have onboard instrumentation networks and a WiFi network setup to broadcast the NMEA data. If all of your ships data is connected to your laptop you can set up an adhoc network to send this data to your mobile devices.  Digital Yacht has several WiFi devices that can be setup to create a WiFi network on your boat also.  There are many data display apps out there. The iOnboard app provides similar data to the NMEA Remote and MID+WiFi apps that I have reviewed. At $6.99 for the iPad version this is cheaper than the other two.  Take a good look at them all to see what fits your needs the best.

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