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Old 04-18-2013, 09:55 AM   #1
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AIS app

Good morning,

I thought I would share an app I have had for awhile but did not really try until this past weekend when I moved our boat from Tacoma to Anacortes. The app is called Marine Traffic. It was/is very similar to AIS that I have seen on some plotters. $3.95 it shows ships, gives their info by selecting their icon and shows their track. It came in very handy as we came up on several tugs, freighters, ferries and fishing boats. I have it on my Android phone and my ipad now. Does anyone else use this app?

We were tracking the Victoria Clipper and noticed it had stopped on the screen. 15 minutes later it is still in the same spot on the screen. We catch up to it and find it slowly following a pod of Grey Whales off Whidbey Island. The app also had photos of the vessels along with their data.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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I been using this free site for years http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/ It might be the same site as yours. However you need a internet connection. We have Samsung 3 g note pad using Verizon broad band, which is also a hot spot for other applications/users. We have had Verizon broad band for years on the boat.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:24 AM   #3
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Phil,

We have Verizon as well and that is how we access the AIS from the app. The site looks very similar to what I see on my phone and ipad.

Keith
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:49 AM   #4
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Keith:

I hadn't heard of AIS being available as an app. Tuesday of this week I crossed the Gulf from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands and was discussing the cost of a real AIS with my brother (crew). I just went to the App store for my Android phone and found only one AIS app, $15.00. I then went to the google store and found another, called Boatbeacon, for $9.95. I will try it out. Sure beats the price and installation hassles of a dedicated AIS, or even the radio with AIS built in. thanks for the tip.

This is one very cool App! One more thing to distract me, until I get blasé about it!

Keith
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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Ours came from the google store on our android phone. Type in Marine Traffic, $3.95. Also available from the Apple iTunes Store. We like it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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In June I ma installing new Navtec Software that I bought at the Seattle boat show for 200 bucks that supports AIS. The VHF radios only received AIS they do not send, so if you want to send and received requires a separate AIS box for about 600 bucks. The AIS box does not require connecting to a VHF radio if you have navigations software. Most think that AIS requires VFH radio, which it does not.

It does require a antennae to send and received so the VHF antennae can be used/split of. Also my understand is all brand of AIS put out the same signal, and connect the same. I have not gotten that far yet. The reason I am installing is becuase we plan on crusing in areas broad band and cell phone might not be available in remote parts a Alaska/Canada.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:44 AM   #7
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The remote cruising areas are definitely an issue for Internet access and AIS. This was a convenient app for US coverage I already have. Canadian coverage I do not know about be ause data charges are very high for my cell plan.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:05 PM   #8
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Personally, I would not rely on internet based AIS for anything but entertainment. marinetraffic.com relies on land based volunteer receiving stations for their information. There is no guarantee a station is active at any point in time. Nor is there a guarantee the information is accurate. From the marinetraffic.com site ...

"Notices: Vessel positions may be up to one hour old or incomplete. Data is provided for informational reasons only and is not related by any means to the safety of navigation."

Many stations show availability less than 50% of the time. Stations Status & Performance - AIS Marine Traffic

There are many places in the northwest where marinetraffic.com does not have a land based station (and therefore no AIS converge) and many places where there is no cell reception to receive whatever data they may have.

VHF to VHF is the only reliable source of AIS information.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:10 PM   #9
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Thanks Rusty. Good information to know. We did not experience the delay you mentioned and our visibility was very good during the trip, but you are right, I would not want any issues in another situation like poor visibility, night or fog.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kolive View Post
The remote cruising areas are definitely an issue for Internet access and AIS. This was a convenient app for US coverage I already have. Canadian coverage I do not know about be ause data charges are very high for my cell plan.

True when we are in Canada we will have to have a different plan. With Verizon you can buy coverage in foreign companies for an additional fee. Our Sales employees that travel into Canada have an additional cost for Canada. When sale employees travel to Europe I have to activate the international coverage for that area/country. So you have to manage your coverage. In some countries, China/Indonesia/Japan, its better to buy a temporary/throw away phone to use in that country.

We have radar and before we head out will also have a back up radar, so we are not going to rely on just AIS. The biggest concern is very few pleasure boats, 50+ ft, can send AIS. They mostly received.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Personally, I would not rely on internet based AIS for anything but entertainment. marinetraffic.com relies on land based volunteer receiving stations for their information. There is no guarantee a station is active at any point in time. Nor is there a guarantee the information is accurate. From the marinetraffic.com site ...

"Notices: Vessel positions may be up to one hour old or incomplete. Data is provided for informational reasons only and is not related by any means to the safety of navigation."

Many stations show availability less than 50% of the time. Stations Status & Performance - AIS Marine Traffic

There are many places in the northwest where marinetraffic.com does not have a land based station (and therefore no AIS converge) and many places where there is no cell reception to receive whatever data they may have.

VHF to VHF is the only reliable source of AIS information.
Correct. http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/ is fine for entertainment but that's it. You want to know who is around you (providing they are transmitting AIS information, you need an AIS receiver on your boat.

I'm surprised that wasn't the first response.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:23 PM   #12
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Very interesting, I didn't know about that. I didn't buy an AIS because I'm cruising to Brazil and I can't change the datas in the AIS (name, port,...)
I'd rather to buy another radar and another GPS to cruise.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:04 PM   #13
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Very interesting, I didn't know about that. I didn't buy an AIS because I'm cruising to Brazil and I can't change the datas in the AIS (name, port,...)
I'd rather to buy another radar and another GPS to cruise.
If you go to the site you can click on any area in the world as its world wide. That is how some of us are following Daddyo.

VHF radios do not send AIS they can only receive which is what most pleasure have,so its not VHF to VFH is AIS transponder to VHF and/or navigational software. Why buy a VHF that only receives for 600 bucks when you can by a AIS tranreceiver that sends and receives for 600 bucks. The transponder as a sim chip that you send away with your informaion to be programmed that is included in the price.

I use radar as primary and AIS as secondary informational. The few times we have used it there was no delay, and if there was I used it for a large general area, Seattle to Everett – 30+ miles. Its nice to know what is way out there beyond the radar. However, most of what is normal out there I would expect anyway. Ferries cross at certain points, ships are in the shipping channels, a few smaller commercial and pleasure scattered around the sound.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:24 PM   #14
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We've had the Marine Traffic app on our iPad for a year now. It's sort of handy but it's no substitute for a real AIS. For one thing, it's not consistently real time. I've been told by people who have used this app in comparison with a real AIS on their boat that some positioning info in Marine Traffic can be up to 30 minutes off. Also sometimes vessels simply "disappear" off the screen or reappear somewhere else on a screen refresh.

The app in your device (iPad, etc) is not recieving actual AIS signals, of course. It's simply displaying AIS positioning info that other sources are gathering and turning into a signal that can be sent to the app in your device and painted on the screen. Thus the sometimes lengthy delays in positioning updates depending on the rebroadcast refresh rate and the refresh rate of the app itself.

So it's not anything a boater would want to actually depend on for collision avoidance because the targets on the iPad are apparently rarely exactly where the vessel is (the actual vessel will be farther along on its course) and the potential intermittent updates of the vessel's progress can sometimes be delayed by a fair amount of time. For example we've watched the target for a freighter inbound to Vancouver sit in one spot for five or ten minutes and then suddenly jump several miles ahead, then sit there for awhile, then jump seveal miles ahead, and so forth.

And of course the app won't work at all unless you are actively on-line with it either via wifi or a cellular signal. Given the tendency of cellular signals to fade or drop out momentarily in the islands where we boat, that makes the Marine Traffic app even less accurate and dependable. A real AIS is not dependent on any sort of connectivity at all other than the direct signals it is receiving from the vessels within range.

So it's not anything you'd actually want to stake the safety of your boat on.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
VHF radios do not send AIS they can only receive which is what most pleasure have,so its not VHF to VFH is AIS transponder to VHF and/or navigational software.
Probably a poor choice of words for my explanation. AIS does not transmit using a VHF radio. An AIS transceiver is a VHF radio. AIS transmits on VHF channels 87 and 88 using the VHF radio antenna or a dedicated antenna (in our case). The AIS receiver is also a VHF radio using the VHF radio's antenna or a dedicated antenna.

At least as I understand it ...

As for marine traffic.com, I can usually see our boat on Lake Union. It makes me nervous when it occasionally disappears for hours when I know it should be at the dock. I have an alert set up in marinetraffic.com to alert me when the boat moves out of the area.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:45 PM   #16
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Ais send & transmit app

As you all are probably aware of regular AIS is transmitting and receiving the signal over the VHF of the vessels.

Now there is a new app called mAIS, this app is netbased and your signal is sent from your phone / pad or whatever, to the marinetraffic site on the web!

For an AIS signal you will normally need a MMSI number and registered VHF, that is not applicable for this app! You may be assigned a artificial MMSI number and you are good to go!

Your AIS signal will of course not be sent to other vessels via VHF - so it will only appear on the web based site marinetraffic. Still quite a cute app in my opinion!
If you want to let other people trace your route, this is just brilliant!!

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iais-...0310?ls=1&mt=8
market://search?q=pname:com.marinetraffic.iais
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Probably a poor choice of words for my explanation. AIS does not transmit using a VHF radio. An AIS transceiver is a VHF radio. AIS transmits on VHF channels 87 and 88 using the VHF radio antenna or a dedicated antenna (in our case). The AIS receiver is also a VHF radio using the VHF radio's antenna or a dedicated antenna.

At least as I understand it ...

As for marine traffic.com, I can usually see our boat on Lake Union. It makes me nervous when it occasionally disappears for hours when I know it should be at the dock. I have an alert set up in marinetraffic.com to alert me when the boat moves out of the area.
Email me when it "disappears"- I live on Lake Union, and can take a peek to see if it's still there.....
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:39 PM   #18
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Rusty I think you're saying you leave your AIS transmitting when you're docked? You probably drive your neighbors w AIS crazy bc they have the "dangerous target" alert going like mad as they enter and exit the marina/ their slip.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:53 PM   #19
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I have used this app for a couple of years. My best use for it is when we are tanker surfing. We need to know the speed of the ship. If it is less than 10 knots it will likely be a dud. 12+ is what we are looking for!!!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:39 PM   #20
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I'm with Pineapple Girl, whenever I turn on my chartplotter I get repeated AIS alarms as other boats move around our marina or adjacent marinas. Why not put it in silence mode when entering the marina.

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