Seapilot App Helps You See What's Ahead

By Rich Armstrong

You want to know where the big boats ahead are, even if you can't see them. This new app puts AIS on your smartphone.

Seapilot appThe Seapilot app enables boaters to monitor nearby boat traffic they may not be able to see.

Seapilot, a Swedish manufacturer of Automatic Identification System (AIS) solutions, GPS compasses, and app navigation, has introduced its Seapilot Navigation app for iOS and Android mobile devices. "Today, more than 30 percent of electronic navigation is done on smartphones and tablets, and the percentage is growing rapidly," said Anders Bergström, executive chairman of True Heading AB, parent company of Seapilot. "We put professional navigation technologies, AIS boat tracking, and up-to-date nautical charts on your mobile device in a user-friendly way."

The Seapilot app is capable of displaying current position information, course, and speed vectors for AIS targets, and allows boaters to set routes and waypoints on downloaded charts, mark objects, and assess the bearing and range between plotted points and the vessel. The customizable display has settings for day, dawn/dusk, and night, and the orientation can be changed between North-Up and Heads-Up views, all in high definition.

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More than just a backup to a dedicated AIS device, Seapilot delivers automatic updates of preferred chart data, a Social Boating function to share your location with friends and post on Facebook, updated real-time weather forecasts and routing (GRIB), race planning, and NMEA connectivity for up-to-date instrument data.

In addition to real-time weather information provided by the AIS system, boaters also have access to a five-day weather forecast from MeteoGroup. Users can tap the Seapilot screen to get a forecast for a location of interest. For sailors, a POLAR diagram describes how fast a boat may go at different wind speeds and in different angles to the wind. Every type of sailboat has a POLAR diagram computed from hull shape, weight, rigging, and sail setup. Seapilot uses POLAR files and forecasted wind and current data to compute the fastest course for simple race planning.

All users can access AIS and GPS data as well as course information from a GPS compass through NMEA (as long as the boat has AIS and GPS installed). Depth data is also available for Android users. 

— Published: May 2017

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