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Old 07-20-2017, 12:27 PM   #1
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SEAiq iOS app

For the last couple years I've been looking to get more functionality out of my existing Raymarine installation. I wanted something that could work to make route planning and management easier and could integrate with my existing network to give better situational awareness and AIS display. As part of net I have a vYacht router that'll handle NMEA 0183 via TCP and UDP.

I've looked at various iOS charting apps over the years and never found anything that really met my needs. I was very close to just biting the bullet on Coastal Explorer but wasn't happy with that choice for various reasons.

I went back one last time to look at the app world and found an app I had liked and rejected a year or so ago: SEAiq Pilot. There was a lot to like about the app but I'd be danged if I was going to spend $400 on an iOS app.

However... I discovered I was confused by how they sell their apps. There are really 3 different versions available:
  • SEAiq Pilot is intended for use by professional pilots on big ships. It has a lot of features focused on that market such as showing separate course vectors for the bow and stern, showing the swept path of the vessel, showing a trial Rate of Turn, and tons of stuff I don't understand. $400
  • SEAiq USA is the 'recreational' version of the program. It has 80%-90% of the functionality of Pilot. It can download and display NOAA and Army Corp of Engineer charts (vector and raster). $25
  • SEAiq Open is the same as SEAiq USA but adds the ability to install S-63 as well as charts from PRIMAR and ChartWorld. $50

As a recreational boater my take on this is: $25 if you need the US Govt charts; $50 if you want to buy and load international charts. This is NOT the app if you want Garmin or other US charting services.

So what did I get for my $25? The things that are important to me:
  • Integrated, free downloads of NOAA charts
  • Management and quilting of both vector and raster charts
  • Decent WP and route creation (and no auto-route)
  • Very nice route export/import/backup via GPX files
  • Export of WPs to my MFDs via WPL sentences
  • Very nice import/export/backup of the app configuration via files
  • Excellent NMEA 0183 handling including diagnostic displays of sentences received, data, and errors
  • Excellent handling and display of AIS data. AIS data is much more useful to me in this app than on my MFDs.
Nice to haves include:
  • Tide and current options (several options, free and paid)
  • Download and display of GRIB data
  • Active Captain integration
  • Various alarms
  • A very cool anchor monitor
Also include with the app is the most detailed documentation I've seen in a product of this kind. The doc is available from within the app even when the app isn't connected to the internet. Maybe this is old-school but I view it s a huge positive.

Now sure there are some things missing I'd like (some of which are only on the Pilot version). Things like suppressing ATON AIS targets and current effects in ETA predictions and TTM handling. But these kind of shortcomings and few and minor to my needs.

I've dealt with their support on a few questions and received some of the best answers--quick, complete and informative. In some cases I've learned a lot about charting standards in the process. Example: IHO S-52 (Google it).

I'll also note the apps are updated in the app store every few weeks. Again this appears to me to be a 'professional grade' offering with serious ongoing development.

I've been using this app for a few weeks now and on a recent 10 day trip. I like it.

I also appreciate that for less than the price of Coastal Explorer I can get the functionality I need from this app and also buy a new iPad to run it on.

Disclaimer: No disclaimer, I'm just a satisfied customer.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:38 PM   #2
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I use my iPad as an adjunct to my chart plotter while underway to look ahead, find distances to go, etc. I have been using Navimatics for this, but it uses vector charts and I really like NOAA raster charts. My favorite for this is MxMariner for Android but they don't make one for iOS.

So I downloaded SeaIQ. The basic version is free and it works very nicely. Either I hadn't figured out how to enable GPS or that is part of the upgrade for $25. So I downloaded the upgrade but it didn't change anything.

Will have to play some more with it and get the GPS working. One other thing I use a lot is tides and currents. I see the Ts and Cs on the chart but when I click one all I get is a description of the marker and no data.

More to come.

David
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:07 PM   #3
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If you mean the internal GPS on the iOS device, I *believe* that is used if the NMEA option is off. Otherwise I *believe* the app looks to NMEA for the position.

For tides and currents, once you've selected a source and downloaded it, tap once to select the marker and then double-tap to open it.

For a better answer to these questions, I'll point to the doc at SEAiq Manual.

Their customer support at support@seaiq.com has also been very helpful.

PS. In my original note I should have included the link to the app: Recreational | SEAiq Pilot
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:50 PM   #4
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Yes I am talking about the internal GPS in my iPad. The NMEA setting didn't help. I suppose I will have to contact customer support by email. Dissapointing that it doesn't work right out of the box like every other iPad nav app.

I did get the current data working. You have to double click on the location brackets, not the dialog box. And it seems that you have to download the data for each individual T or C station and of course that depends on an internet connection. Others like Navimatics do it all offline.

Again, more to come.

David
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Old 07-21-2017, 06:20 AM   #5
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Update:

I got the GPS working. I checked the iPad settings for the SeaIQ app and saw that location (gps) services were set to off. I thought that when I installed it I selected "only when app is active", but maybe not.

So all is working. I would use it as my exclusive auxilliary tool when cruising if it had off line tide and current data like Navimatics (and my chart plotter) but alas it has to separately download each and every tide or current location.

I will keep Navimatics for general use and only use SeaIQ when I want the detail of raster charts.

I do like the look and feel of it very much. It seamlessly knits together the NOAA charts and unlike say Active Captain, where you sometimes have to zoom way in to get beyond a note or something on the larger scale chart, SeaIQ shows the detail at wider zooms.

There is one interesting feature that I like- the ability to display internet sourced AIS data. You have to be online to get this data, but with cellular data it should be usable in most areas. In Narragansett Bay for example there are dozens of targets showing, most at anchor.

David
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:32 AM   #6
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Further update:

With Danderer's help I got the offline tides and currents working. Turns out if you have both online and offline turned on, it always uses online which means you have to dowload every point. With the "unofficial" offline only turned on, you get data for each location without having to download each one individually. This "unofficial" version is probably what my chart plotter uses or something similar.

So I now give SeaIQ my unqualified support.

David
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:40 AM   #7
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Since I wrote the original review here I think I owe folks an update. Consider it a PSA.

I spent my $25 for SEAiq USA last year and still like the program. However:

The developer has changed their distribution and support model. If you get SEAiq USA from the app store today, it is "free". You can then pay $5 in the app to unlock the "Premium Features". Those features bring the app up to the functionality I reviewed here last year.

As I understand it, if you bought SEAiq USA before this change (for $25), you no longer have SEAiq USA. Huh? Well, it seems about 4 months ago the program you bought was renamed from SEAiq USA to SEAiq USA VPP. A "new" SEAiq USA program, using the new pricing model, appeared in the app store. At that point those two programs were identical, but not the "same" program from an app store perspective.

Most importantly, your purchased copy of SEAiq USA VPP has received no updates, fixes, or new features since then and likely never will. To get future updates and fixes you need to spend $5 for the new program.

From the developer: "..you paid $25 for a product and continue to use it as long as you wish, including forever. If at some point you want new functionality, updates, or fixes, you can pay our new and dramatically lower price of $5"

So, if you paid your $25, check the app on your devices. If the name and icon for the app includes the string VPP, you're not running the latest code and won't get any updates.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:41 PM   #8
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Update

Thanks for the info on updates. I tried to update my 2 year old $25 version but it now says mine is the free version and will not update. The chart updates still work. I think I will look into Aquamap before upgrading this program again
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