SailTimer Wind Instrument, SeaNav and Pebble SmartWatch

Some of SailTimer’s customers asked them if their bluetooth WindInstrument would work with Pocket Mariner’s  SeaNav Marine Navigation app and if the wind information could also be displayed on our free SeaNav Pebble watch companion app. So SailTimer asked us.
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The SailTimer WindInstrument is completely wireless, no power of data lines, so the install is far simpler than for other marine wind vanes.  It is the first masthead anemometer  with a digital compass built into the wind direction arrow so you get true wind direction even when docked or at anchor. It sends the wind data via bluetooth and is solar powered with 24 hour running. The WindInstrument if fully weather and waterproof (submersible) and has innovative wind cup blades design to maintain equal accuracy when sailing heeled over.
Other key advantages over other instruments are:-
  • Wind direction equally sensitive all the way around;  no dead band at the end of the rotation as in wind direction sensors with potentiometers
  • The only masthead anemometer that works with rotating masts.
  • Battery uses advanced design for unusually wide temperature range from tropical heat down to -40 degrees (C/F).
  • Designed to work with third-party apps and hardware using the industry-standard NMEA 0183 format.
  • Transmits every second.
  • The first-ever masthead anemometer with crowd-sourcing of live wind maps.

We were impressed, so asked them to send us one of their WindInstruments to develop and test with. We added Wind Speed and Direction Gauges to the main SeaNav app and made sure the wind data is shared with the SeaNav Pebble Smartwatch too. Here’s what you can expect:- In SeaNav tap the top right IPC (Instrument Panel Cluster) button on the chart view to see the gauges and GPS status. IMG_0622ipctap

windinstruments
The Speed gauge on the left shows Apparent Wind Speed (AWS) in Knots and the outer dial shows Beaufort scale color coded with green being great sailing conditions and red being heave to and batten down the hatches.
Digital readouts of Speed over ground (SOG), Course over ground (COG), AWS, True Wind Speed (TWS),  Apparent Wind  Angle (AWA), True  wind angle (TWA), Apparent Wind Direction (AWD) and True Wind Direction (TWD)  are given. The GPS light is green when it has a good GPS signal and red when it doesn’t. Tap the GPS indicator to get more information.
The Wind direction gauge on the right shows Apparent Wind Direction (AWD) with the big Red needle against the outer red compass dial. Boat heading is shown against the red compass assuming the iPhone/iPad is pointing towards the bow. The Apparent Wind Angle is then read off the white inner dial.  True Wind Direction (TWD) is computed from  the iPhone’s GPS COG and SOG with the blue marker and red, port and green, starboard layline markers (assuming 45 degree best angle of attack ) against the red outer compass dial.   True wind angle (TWA) with the blue maker against the inner white dial, again assuming iPhone heading is correct. The dials also work in portrait mode.
This also works with the free  Pebble Watch  SeaNav app showing AWS/AWA and TWS/TWA and will also drive the watch even when SeaNav is in the background so long as SeaNav is in sailing mode (sailboat icon bottom left on map/chart screen).
awwind
You can get the SailTimer WindInstrument here :-
and SeaNav for iPhone and iPad here:-

New NAVTEX App for iPhone and iPad

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 16.30.45One of our AIS contributors, Duarte in Portugal, has recently written an interesting and unique marine navigation app that we thought we should let our readers know about. It allows you to view Navtex information directly on your iPhone or iPad without needing  an HF radio on board.  NAVTEX  provides navigational and meteorological warnings and forecasts, as well as urgent maritime safety information to ships.  You can download Navtex for free from the App Store here:-  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/navtex/id1065285995 . You can also try out all the features for free for a week.

Simulator Screen Shot 28 Dec 2015 17.45.23

There is a short video clip showing what the app can do here:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx-um26WoDE&authuser=0

and here is what Duarte has to say about his app:-

Navtex should be a requirement to any mariner, hobbyist or professional, regardless the type and size of vessel as it offers important Navigation Warnings that are safety-related while at sea.
Nearly 200 NAVTEX Radio Stations across the world form a global coverage network transmitting messages either in 490kHz, 518kHz, 4209.5kHz, 424kHz and 486kHz. 

At sea, safety is everything so our Navtex App will fetch the latest NAVTEX messages issued by the several official entities and present them to you whenever you want. 
You don’t need to connect your iPhone/iPad to any HF Radio. Only an internet connection is required. Synchronize and within seconds you have the worldwide updated Navtex information in your pocket.
You may select any of the available NAVTEX stations in the App and check their transmission schedule, frequencies, local data and latest important transmitted messages.

The Navtex Navigational Warnings will be collected from the internet and will be stored on your device, so you can read them even if you are off-line.

In Brazil, Australia and New Zeeland Navigation Warnings are not broadcasted via NAVTEX. However, this App will still fetch the latest Navigation Warnings from those regions and show them to you.

Additionally, you can also subscribe to APRS weather that is broadcasted by ham radio enthusiasts all over the world. It is a good backup system to gather weather information in case of failure of the vessels’s primary systems.

ActiveCaptain with SeaNav and BoatWatch


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The latest versions of our SeaNav and BoatWatch iOS apps now include the fabulous ActiveCaptain database providing on and off-line access to information on tens of thousands of marinas, anchorages, hazards and local knowledge (bridges, locks etc.) , as well as reviews from other boaters, shown geographically on marine charts, satellite images, or street maps. The ActiveCaptain coverage is global. There is information on Marinas and Harbour side restaurants etc. from around the world including the US, Canada, UK, France, Spain  etc. . If you aren’t already signed up for ActiveCaptain you can do it for free in a few seconds here:-

https://activecaptain.com/register.php

We found Jeff at ActiveCaptain really supportive and helpful on the integration with his data and had some lovely comments back from him on how well we did it too “The Pocket Mariner developers have been exceptional to work with. They are real boaters who get out on the water with their own tools.” Jeffrey Siegel, ActiveCaptain.

We look forward to adding more features and the ability to post reviews from our apps too in the near future.

Hoegh Osaka – replay of grounding in 2 and 3D

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We used our AIS Fleetwatch service  to replay the final moments before the Hoegh Osaka was deliberately grounded on Bramble Bank in Southampton. You can watch the speeded up replay on 2D and 3D here http://youtu.be/5fW_LRDWUPo . Interestingly our replay correctly shows the ship heading onto the bank in a Northerly direction before she grounds. Other replays incorrectly show her moving sideways onto the bank. It may be that the gyros failed on the ship just before she started listing badly resulting in the list and an incorrect ship’s heading being sent.

 

New AIS Aerial at Davidstow Airfield, Cornwall

As part of the ongoing work to improve our global AIS coverage we have installed a new AIS aerial to provide better real time coverage for the seas around Cornwall in the UK.  There is a disused airfield at Davidstow. It was Coastal Command’s highest airfield in the UK at 300m (1000′) above sea level; a perfect place to get a long range view of the surrounding sea,  to the North, West and South of Cornwall.  We used a Digital Yacht AIS Net base station for the AIS receiver with a Shakespeare 6db AIS tuned aerial. There is no internet connection at the museum so we used a Huawei E3551 3G dongle and the excellent EE 3/4G data service to backhaul the AIS data to our servers.  You can check the live coverage from the new aerial here:-  http://boatbeaconapp.com/station/5353

Here is my son installing the aerial on the tower at the airfield.

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The DY AIS receiver hooked up at the base of the aerial.

 

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and live ships –  10,000 square miles of coverage including two major ports at Falmouth and Plymouth 🙂

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Many thanks to Steve at Davidstow Airfield and Cornwall at War Museum who is kindly letting us use his tower to mount the aerial on  (giving us another 12m (40′) of elevation 🙂 . The museum is very well worth visiting if you are in the area and even if you are not.

AIS Watch – 2D and 3D Live monitoring, instant history replay and geofences

State of the art professional and cost effective port, ship, fleet and asset management services and apps including our industry first cloud based “Instant history playback” capability for Ports, Harbour Authorities, Fleet Managers, Marine Services companies and Shipping Agents. Our customer roster include ABP SouthamptonPortsmouth International Port , Transas, James Fisher, SevenCs, Solis Marine and Port Harcourt in Nigeria. We also provide our AIS Watch service to the RNLI and AVCG on a pro-bono basis which they use for tracking and training purposes. Read more below and please contact us at aiswatch@pocketmariner.com  or telephone +44 1291 689202 for more information.

 

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AIS Watch – AIS monitoring and replay services

Fleet and Port Watch provide real time AIS feeds,  instant replay of events, Geofence alerts, historic event information and ship movement for all the Vessels , Stations and Aids To Navigation (AtoN)  in your fleet or port, both around port and coastal areas using our network of AIS shore stations to anywhere across the globe using our isAIS system.

Playback allows you to replay all shipping movements in your area instantly from any time in the past to assist with event investigation, resource utilisation, market research, training etc. Playback can be run at normal time or faster and supports forward and backward time “Scrubbing” allowing you to view an hours data in seconds to quickly determine the event you are looking for. Our live and historical AIS feeds can be also used to power other navigation systems such as those on Portable Pilot Units (PPUs) and other monitoring equipment. Alerts include area entry, exit and crossing (GeoFences), directional traversal across boundaries and status alerts (arrivals and departures), AtoN Off Position alerts etc..

You can try our history playback service in action here in 2D – http://boatbeaconapp.com/fleetwatchdemo – use the slider at the bottom left to move backwards and forwards in time and press the play button to play forwards. You can also see our 3D playback in action with this replay of the Hoegh Osaka grounding in 2015 – double click on a ship to fly in close up and then use your mouse to change the zoom (scroll) and viewpoint.

Ships, alerts and playback are easily configured, managed and viewed using a dedicated and secure AIS Watch web interface.

Fleet and Port Watch monitors and records live ship positions via our local and global AIS services and when an event is triggered, forwards an alert via email. The alert email includes details on the alert including maps of the alert area and ships around the ship’s current position. These maps can also be viewed via the web interface in 2D and our 3D service

Our real time AIS feeds can also be used to power network aware AIS marine applications and systems such as  our own SeaNav AIS Marine Charts and Navigation apps and third party systems like Portable Pilot Units (e.g.  SevenCs Orca G2 pilot. ).

Pocket Mariner also provide global real time AIS monitoring and surveillance for ships far out of reach of shore based AIS systems using our innovative  Internet over Satellite AIS (iSAIS) service. with 98% global coverage (using Inmarsat services). Here is an example from one of the ships we monitor 75 miles off the coast of Nigeria http://boatbeaconapp.com/station/7002 .

More details on the service configuration and use are provided below. If you are interested in learning more please contact us at  business@pocketmariner.com or phone +44 1291 689202.

Here are some examples of the web interface:-

1. Viewing live ships positions and playing back ship movements

FleetWatch records all the time stamped AIS data for your port or area of interest second by second. The data is securely stored in our highly available (99.995%) and redundant cloud based computing platform for as long as you want from months to years or forever. You can retrieve ship movements from any day and time in your FleetWatch past instantly at the click of a mouse button using a calendar picker and then replay them on our web map view and via dedicated internet ports to other AIS apps like our iOS and Mac SeaNav chart plotter with ENC vector charts and other marine navigation apps like on of our partners SevenCs’ Orca G2 Pilot (PC display with Vector charts).

Here is the playback management view.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 13.47.44

Tap “Live view” near the top left to view and track the current ship positions on a marine chart.

Click on an existing record to view an existing historical playback record.

Tap “new record” to create a new history playback record.

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Enter a description (optional). Select a date and time on the Calendar picker. Leave AIS as 1 (default) to run the AIS replay service. Set it to 0 to use the “Scrubbing” replay service.

Tap  “View history playback” to go to the Web playback view. You can stop and start the playback and set the playback speed with the controls at the bottom left on the Playback chart view.

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AIS Playback screen:-

When the AIS playback is running it also outputs the recorded AIS data stream over a dedicated TCP port so that you can connect other apps and devices to view it. The playback also has our unique enhanced Type 5 AIS messages added so the static data for ships show immediately a ship appears rather than waiting for the static AIS messages to be re-sent (which can take up to  6 minutes to receive).

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Fast scrubbing playback view (see live demo here http://boatbeaconapp.com/fleetwatchdemo)

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On the fast scrubbing view you can use the slide at the bottom left to scroll back and forth through the whole period. You can also press play to playback from the current scrubbing position.

External app (SeaNav) driven from FleetWatch Playback using the TCP connection.

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Output from the playbacks can also be captured to video for viewing again independently of the FleetWatch service. We recommend using the excellent and free VLC app on PC’s to capture the video or Apple’s free QuickTime app to record the screen on Macs.

You can see an example of a short video recording (1.5 minutes) replaying the arrival and docking of the Normandie ferry at Portsmouth International Port here :- http://youtu.be/5Jc4Y9qvKwQ

2. Configuring Alerts

Geofences let you configure alerts for all ships (Zone Alerts) or your specific fleet of ships and AtoN’s (Fleet Alerts).  Fleet alerts are not confined to your zone of interest. They can be set anywhere in the world subject to our system having live coverage of the region. Many different alerts are available from entering or leaving an area, crossing a line, arrival and departure (status), anchor watch, proximity, collision, SART, AtoN off position etc.  When an alert fires an email is sent to all the alert addresses containing details for the event including a map of what and where triggered the event and a  second map showing the ship’s current position.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 17.14.30

You can create and edit the fences using this management screen or using our interactive map. Just click on the view fences button top left on either the Fleet Alerts or Port Alerts screens.

Tap View fences near the top left to view you currently configured fences on the chart. You can also edit existing fences by tapping on them and create new fences using the drawing tools. Rectangular, circular and polygon geofences are all supported (see example green fence areas below).

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 17.17.36

 

In the detail view for an alert you can also see the geofence alert position on a map to help you identify and set it.

3. Setting up a fleet.

To set Fleet alerts for ships or AtoN’s you are specifically interested in you need to enter a fleet of ships to monitor. Enter the details  including MMSI and IMO (optional) for the ships/AotN’s you want to monitor. Select a ship to view its recent alerts, current position, photo and last alert.

ships

Tap “View all current ship positions” near the top left to view all your fleet’s current positions and status on a map.

shipsmap

4. Fleet alerts

These are configured in exactly the same way as for Zone alerts but are not restricted to your zone of operation. We have extensive world-wide live AIS coverage amongst the best in the industry.

shipdetails

5. Browse events

As well as sending alerts to email addresses all Alerts are recorded in the Events table. They are ordered most recent first. You can re-order the list by tapping on the top of each column. You can also search for particular records by tapping the eyeglass symbol on each column.

Tap on an event and see a map showing where and when it happened. Alternatively you can use the Ships tab to see details on the most recent events for a ship. Tap on an event to see a map of where it fired and the geofence area that it triggered.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 17.24.57

 

If you have any questions or for further information please contact us via support@pocketmariner.com or phone +44 1291 689202.

Transas iSailor app now powered by Pocket Mariner’s live AIS service

Pocket Mariner’s real time AIS data and photo API service has been selected by Transas , a global leader in marine navigation systems, to use with their iSailor iPhone and iPad app. The latest version 1.7.0 of their app  now provides a real time map view of ships around you with instant details including name, range and bearing together with a photo of the ship to help you recognise it.

You can get the latest version of  iSailor from the app store now

IMG_0022           Mikhail Andrianov, Product Manager at Transas says “We are really excited to provide our Transas iSailor users with live AIS data on their charts via the Internet. Pocket Mariner’s live AIS API, SDK and sample code made integration with our product easy and fast. This option makes it possible to show on charts the next AIS target types: AIS Class A, AIS Class B, AtoN (Aids-To-Navigation, virtual or real), Shore Base Stations. This functionality will be useful for users of different kinds: from sailors, boaters or water tourists, – who have no AIS Class B or receivers on board to ship owners, dockers and marine logistics personnel, who need to monitor vessel traffic in a given area. To use this functionality, you will have to have WiFi, 3G or 4G/LTE internet access on your Apple device.” Steve Bennett, Pocket Mariner’s CEO commented: “This is another great endorsement of Pocket Mariner’s “real time” AIS data service and API’s that we use to power our own Marine Navigation Apps and we look forward to providing additional AIS data services enabling Transas’ iSailor users to share their boat’s position and course in real time using our internet AIS transmit and track api’s”.   IMG_0052

Portsmouth Pilots choose Pocket Mariner’s AIS Live and Replay services

Pocket Mariner’s real time AIS data service, FleetWatch,  has been selected by the Pilots at Portsmouth International Port  to use with their Portable Pilot Units (PPUs) running SevenCs ORCA Pilot G2 solution.  The Pilots use Pocket Mariner’s real time AIS data feed to display live ship positions and courses on and around their client’s ship as they travel out to pilot it. Ben McInnes, Deputy Harbour Master and Portsmouth Pilot said: “The real time internet AIS feed allows us to “virtually board” the ship and assess the situation before we even get there.” Portsmouth have also selected Pocket Mariner’s AIS Replay service to review and playback incidents and for training purposes.
Steve Bennett, Pocket Mariner’s CEO commented: “This is a great endorsement of Pocket Mariner’s “real time” AIS data service that we use to power our own Marine Navigation Apps and we look forward to them using our additional AIS data services including geo-fence event triggering and instant history replay capabilities “.
Please contact us at business@pocketmariner.com to learn more about how our FleetWatch and PortWatch service can help you.
Here is a screenshot of live ship traffic around Portsmouth using the Pocket Mariner AIS service and SeaNav charting app:-
IMG_0284
To learn more about Pocket Mariner’s AIS data services, SDK and API’s please email us at business@pocketmariner.com

New NAVIOTAB+ tablet with built-in Boat Beacon for AIS

 

We have been working with IntelliWeather Inc. who have been developing an exciting new marine-rated rugged and waterproof navigation tablet device. The device is now launched and we are delighted they chose to build in our Boat Beacon AIS – Marine Navigation app  to provide a fully operational AIS collision avoidance system. Here are some more details on this exciting new device.

 

NAVIOTAB

A new IP66 rated waterproof and dirtproof Android tablet for marine use provides an all-in-one solution at a fraction of the cost of traditional separate marine electronic devices. It provides navigation, AIS collision avoidance, weather radar, weather bulletins, communications, entertainment, and optional fish finder/sounding capability in one portable device.

The NAVIOTAB+ tablet has been introduced by IntelliWeather Inc., a provider of weather instrumentation, weather display systems, and weather content and comes pre-loaded with ready to run applications and navigation charts for the United States. The user has options to purchase additional navigation charts for most regions of the world provided by Navionics. In addition, in an agreement with PocketMariner of the United Kingdom, the NAVIOTAB+ comes ready to use with a fully operational AIS collision avoidance system. Making use of the built-in GPS and Internet connectivity capabilities to provide a real-time AIS radar like display of vessels near your position in highly trafficked ports and navigable waterways worldwide. This provides an extra level of accuracy and protection allowing you to “see and be seen” with or without MMSI registration.

The NAVIOTAB+ also comes equipped with free weather radar plots and weather bulletins in the USA, including marine weather bulletins. The data is provided free by NOAA and has no subscription requirements. All that is required for live weather radar data and live AIS is an Internet connection via the built-in 3G/4G data capability of the NAVIOTAB+. This can be via a SIM card and most any cellular data carrier that supports a “bring your own” plan for connectivity. Alternately, NAVIOTAB+ can communicate via any 3G/4G capable cellphone that is WiFi hotspot enabled, or any other WiFi Internet connection.

When equipped with a SIM card and cellular data/voice plan, users can initiate and receive telephone calls using the built-in speaker/microphone, earphone, or use a Bluetooth enabled speaker or headset like they would with any cell-phone. Web browsing, email, and MMS messaging are also standard features.

As an entertainment system, NAVIOTAB+ provides a built-in FM radio tuner as well as streaming music services such as Pandora Internet Radio (free) and Sirius XM radio (subscription). Both come installed and can be operated without external antennas. Movies can also be played from streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and others as well as locally stored files.

Unlike traditional marine electronics, the NAVIOTAB+ is not married to your boat, it can be taken “on the go” anywhere as a regular tablet and can also serve as an automobile navigation system via the built-in Google Maps application.

To round out the features, with the addition of a DEEPER Bluetooth enabled transducer, fish finding, water temperature, and depth sounding capability can be added to the NAVIOTAB+.
A powerful 10,000 mAH Lithium-Ion battery provides operation which can exceed 8 hours. The tablet can also be continuously charged/powered directly from your boat via the included Blue Sea Systems marine rated 12 volt cigarette lighter to USB power adapter and the included USB power cable.
Sporting a Quad-core 1.2 GHz A9 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8GB of FLASH storage, the NAVIOTAB+ is fast and responsive. Storage can be expanded up to an additional 32GB with insertion of a micro SD storage card. The bright 7″ screen is protected by toughened scratch resistant glass and can be seen in daylight, plus offers automatic dimming for night use. The built-in GPS receiver system does not require an external antenna, and is accurate to within 3 meters (10 feet).
Weighing just 1.36 pounds, NAVIOTAB+ is easily portable, and easy to secure to windshields, dashboards, and rails with a wide variety of readily available tablet mounting systems. It also comes with a palm rest/strap to enable portable use.
Tally up and compare the cost of all the separate marine rated devices that are replaced by the NAVIOTAB+ and you’ll understand why it makes the most sense for the recreational boater that doesn’t want to spend a fortune on getting their boat equipped. For the professional mariner, NAVIOTAB+ also makes a great backup system for your bridge, or as an emergency navigation system.
The NAVIOTAB+ has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $649.00.

Dealer inquiries are invited.

For further information these resources are available.

PRODUCT WEBSITE: http://naviotab.com

SPEC SHEET: http://naviotab.com/docs/NavioTab+_flyer.pdf

 

Adding a set of waypoints or marks in SeaNav

Here is how to import a list of Latitude and Longitude positions as a set of waypoints and route  into SeaNav.

Step 1. Create a spreadsheet with the Latitudes and Longitudes either in Degrees, Minutes, Seconds or Decimal degrees with a header line including latitude and longitude like so:-

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One caveat – If your co-ordinates are West of the meridian like mine are you will need to enter them as negative values before dropping on the kml converter! Ditto south of the equator.

I use google docs to create the spreadsheet and then download it as a csv or excel spreadsheet to my desktop.

Step 2. Next use this excellent free online converter tool at http://www.mapsdata.co.uk/online-file-converter/

If you have entered the co-ordinates in decimal degrees then you can just drag and drop the xls/cvs  file you have just created and downloaded onto the kml converter tool:-

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 16.10.10

But if like me you are stuck in the DD MM SS  world then you need to use their Convert DMS to decimal” tool first. Drag your xls/csv file onto it , edit the resulting csv file to change the existing DMS latitude and longitude fields to a different name, e.g. dmslatitude etc. and then drop the resulting file onto the KML Converter box above.

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Step 3. Convert the kml to a kmz file. Simply compress/zip the resulting kml file and rename the extension from .zip to .kmz.

e.g. ClubMarks.kml -zip-> ClubMarks.kml.zip  -re-name-> ClubMarks.kmz

and then email the kmz to yourself so you can pick it up in email on your iPhone.

Open it in the iPhone email client. Here are screenshots of the final step of the import process:-

Open the email and tap the kmz icon.

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Press the button at the top right to import the file.

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Select your flavor of SeaNav (UK, US ) from the list of options to open the file with:-

 

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And there are the three waypoints in SeaNav:-

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Here is a set of Club marks for the Marina Del Rey Yacht club created using the technique above and displayed in google earth and in SeaNav

 

MDR_Marks

 

 

 

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