Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saild Online Logbook

Applicaton: iPhone, iPad
Function: GPS Trip and Tracks
Cost: Free

If you are a boater, you know you need a log book to keep track of your yachts travels.  The log becomes the historical record of the life of your yacht.  The method to record the log can be an actual book or be done on a computer or other electronic means.

Duncan Malcolm has created the Saild app and website as a way to record a log. Saild has improved on the old static paper logbook with an online interactive logbook. Saild has the ability to share your logged tracks, photos and comment of your trip. The Saild website and accompanying blog will help you get started. 

The Saild app, which is free, runs on your iOS device and records the tracks as you sail or motor along.

  • Logs the track of your trip while running in the background
  • Add photos 
  • Write a short description of your trip
  • Enter the max and min wind speed 
  • View GPS position, trip distance and speed over ground
  • Tracks and trip are uploaded to your the website account
  • View trip, tracks and photos on the Saild website
The app is easy to use, simply download the app and  create a user name and password. When you step on your boat activate the app by selecting the Start Trip button.  The app uses the internal GPS of your iPhone to record your GPS position and create the track of your trip. When your done sailing, select End Trip.  A short description of your trip can also be made at this time. The app will also allow you to take pictures and enter max and min wind speed.

You can use this app for recording all kinds of trips, not just your boating adventures.  It would be great for hiking, kayaking, skiing, or any activity where you want to record your adventures.

I have spent a little time with the app. It seems to record any trip you take and correctly creates the track as advertised. I took a picture and that uploaded to the website too. I am not sure how often the app saves data, on long trips you might want to save your log each day.

When your done with your trip, select the End Trip button to stop your track and upload it to the Internet. This is when you can edit the trip name and enter the max and min wind speed. The text box allows you to enter any other observations or comments about your trip. I am not sure how many characters you can enter in the text box. In a normal log most people enter log entries throughout the day.  One feature that might make the app more usable is to allow log entries while your recording the trip, not just at the end of the trip.  I am a little old school and still like the old paper logbook. I don't want to rely on any electronic device to record the log. I sometime doodle or draw pictures in my log to record what I see and observe along the way. That kind of functionality is hard to duplicate.
Once you have stopped recording your trip it will be uploaded to the Saild website. I am not sure what happens if your are out of cell phone range or not connected the Internet. I assume it will save the logs on your iPhone and upload the log to the website once you are back in cell range.
You will need to login to the website to view your trip log details. The website has a Dashboard which lists all of your logs.  The tracks are displayed on a Google map. Any photos that you took will also appear in your log on the website. You can add additional information or videos to the website too.

The site allows you to see other members from around the world and you can elect to follow your friends and view their logs also. The way it is set up now you don't need permission to follow anyone. It would be nice to be able to screen who is viewing your logs.

The Saild app would work great for daysailers who want to quickly share their adventures with their friends.  If this works for you, pick up the app and give it a try! I am not sure it will ever replace my old log book.

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