Thursday, 31 May 2012

Introducing SEAiq Free

We are pleased to announce a new app, SEAiq Free.

SEAiq Free is a free version of SEAiq USA.  It has all the capabilities as SEAiq USA including super easy NOAA vector chart download and great vector chart display for the US waters.

Some features require an in-app purchase to enable.  The in-app upgrade ($9.99) is the same price as SEAiq USA.  So SEAiq Free is a great way to try out SEAiq USA before purchasing the upgrade or SEAiq USA.

If you are interested in charts for areas not covered by NOAA vector charts, check out our other new app, SEAiq Open.

Introducing SEAiq Open

We are pleased to announced a new app, SEAiq Open.

SEAiq Open is a full featured marine chart plotter app for vector charts.  It is the only app for iPhones and iPads that lets you supply your own vector marine charts.  It supports charts in both the S-57 ('ENC') and CM93 formats.

SEAiq Open has all the features as SEAiq USA, the only difference is that instead of downloading charts from NOAA you supply your own charts for the app to use (for USA waters, we recommend use of SEAiq USA or SEAiq Free since they make it easy to stay up to date with updates from NOAA).

Features include:
  • Universal app: iPhone and iPad
  • Chart quilting
  • GPS
  • Waypoints & Routes
  • Support for wide variety of units and display settings.
  • Customized chart display using Shallow, Safety, and Deep depth settings you provide for your vessel
  • Full access to all data embedded in charts
  • Evening/night color modes
Visit www.seaiq.com for more information about SEAiq.

SEAiq Open is a free app.  Some features require an in-app purchase to enable, including the ability to display charts at scale less than 1:50,000.  We encourage you to try your charts out with the app before purchasing the upgrade in case there is an incompatibility (but let us know if some of your charts have a problem so we can fix it!).

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

NOAA Vector Chart Updates

Our SEAiq USA users are probably a little surprised at how often NOAA updates charts.  We know we were.  Every day it seems there are new updates to many charts.  Partly, it was recognizing how often these charts change that made us realize how important it was to make it super easy for users to update their charts.

We also decided someone should monitor NOAA chart updates.  So we wrote some software to track chart updates.  We have some data for the first week or so that we have been monitoring this.  We'll follow up later with longer term data, but for now this should give some concrete idea of the rate of updates.

First, some background numbers.  There were 938 charts across all of NOAA regions as of May 18.  Since then, NOAA has actually added 3 charts, making 941 charts total.  The 941 charts in total contain about 1 gigabyte of data.  During the 10 days we tracked NOAA, there were 119 chart updates,  or more than 10%.  The most updates in a day were made on May 24/25, with 56 updates.

Below is a graph of the number of updates by day:


As we said, we plan to follow up with some longer term data that gives a better view of the normal rate of changes for these charts.  We are also planning an option to SEAiq USA that should show up in the next few releases that allow you to have recent changes highlighted for you on the chart so you can know

In the mean time, hopefully this give everyone some incentive to keep their charts up to date.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

We are pleased to announce the release of SEAiq USA version 1.4.1.

We have added a Maps-like arrow button in the top-left corner of the navigation area.  If you tap the arrow it turns magenta and the display will start to follow your vessel (assuming you have a GPS fix).  Just like in Maps, if you move the display at all, the follow mode will be turned off.  This is the same as going to Settings and turning on "Follow Vessel", just more convenient.

Behind the scenes, we've also improved the performance a good deal.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Protecting your iPad on board

i-Marine Apps blog has a great review on options for protecting your iPad.

Vector vs Raster Chart Comparison

While most iPad marine navigation apps are for raster charts, many people are not aware of the many advantages vector charts have over raster charts.  We'd like to point to our "Advantages of Vector Charts" page to people who have questions about the differences between the two.  We give an overview of those differences and then dive into many specific things vector charts can do that are just not possible with raster charts, including a bunch of screen shots from SEAiq.

Short review of SEAiq

Our friends at Psellos put up a short review of SEAiq.  We should preface this by saying that they provide some of the programming technology used in SEAiq and so they are coming from a technology perspective rather than marine.


We would like to thank Psellos for their contribution to the development of SEAiq.  About a year ago, they released a development environment for building apps for iPads using a programming language called Ocaml (http://caml.inria.fr/ocaml).  SEAiq uses Ocaml for the core charting engine that processes all the vector chart data to prepare them for display to the user.  Ocaml is both very fast and it is very safe: before Ocaml will accept your program, it has to prove to itself that many common errors are not present in it.

We could not have developed SEAiq without that key bit of technology Psellos provided.  If you're thinking about developing an app for iPads, you should give their stuff a try!

And certainly take a look at their Master Shapsen/66 apps.  They are a lot of fun!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

SEAiq USA 1.4.0 Available

We're pleased to announce version 1.4.0 of SEAiq USA is available on the App Store.

This version includes a number of major improvements to the display.  We've posted many screen shots on the Screen Shots area of our site.  The biggest improvement is use of symbolized lines and area patterns.  Symbolized lines make it easy to tell the purpose of a line.  In cases where the line borders an area, such as an anchorage, the symbolized lines make it clear which side of the area is marked.  Area patterns identify important features such as warning areas, dredged locations, etc.  The combination of these changes give vector charts more of the feel of a raster chart.  We believe SEAiq USA is the only iPad app to support symbolized lines and area patterns. Check out the screen shots we've posted.


On the new iPad 3, we've enabled use of full resolution of the device, making the display incredibly sharp.

We've also improved our feature for examining details of a feature.  We provide helpful information for some of the chart attributes that are not obvious.  We also display the units for numerical values.

When downloading charts, we've groups NOAA regions by the geographical area they are in, so it is even easier to figure out which regions to select.

Finally, we have made numerous other improvements behind the scenes, including faster performance.

We hope users will be very pleased with our newest version!