Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Import/Export using DropBox and FileApp

One of our users points out SEAiq Import/Export can also be used with the DropBox and FileApp apps. SEAiq can save your data to the internet using DropBox, share it, and load it back (if you have an internet connection). FileApp also creates other methods for transferring data, including using WiFi to transfer to/from your laptop. When exporting from SEAiq, just select the "Open In..." option and DropBox or FileApp as the app to handle the data. When importing, use the "Open In..." method and select SEAiq to open the data.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

SEAiq 1.9.0: Import/Export of Waypoints, Routes, Tracks

We are pleased to announce version 1.9.0 of the SEAiq apps.  This release includes one of the most requested features: Import/Export of Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks.  As is usual, this release fixes all user reported issues and includes many other improvements,

Import/export of routes and tracks has many uses, including:
  • Backup your Waypoints and Routes to your laptop.
  • Send a Route to a friend.
  • Transfer your Waypoints and Routes to SEAiq on another iPad.
  • Transfer your Waypoints and Routes from SEAiq to another app (or vice-versa).
  • Display your tracks in Google Earth.
Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks can be exported in GPX and KML formats.  Waypoints and Routes can be imported in GPX format.  You can transfer data using email, transfer directly to/from your laptop (using iTunes File Sharing -- no internet connection required), or open them in another app.  Detailed instructions are included in the Routes Tab.

We've also improved NMEA/AIS support.  We now display most NMEA instrument readings.  For AIS, we store a database of vessel names so that previously seen vessel names are displayed immediately by name (rather than by MMSI).  Also, you can lookup detailed vessel information in the VesselFinder database (requires internet connection).

Friday, 10 August 2012

Transferring Your OpenCPN charts to SEAiq Open

Many OpenCPN users have been using SEAiq Open because it is the only chart plotting app for iPads that lets you use load your own charts. This is a step-by-step guide for OpenCPN users on how to transfer the S-57 or CM93 charts you use with OpenCPN into SEAiq Open. After completing these detailed instructions, you will have all your charts available in SEAiq Open on your iPad.

Before getting started: if you are in USA waters, we recommend trying SEAiq Free, which uses the vector charts that NOAA publishes for free. SEAiq Free (like SEAiq Open) is free to evaluate, with an in-app purchase to unlock all of its features. SEAiq Open works great with the NOAA charts, but SEAiq Free has special support for downloading NOAA charts and keep them up to date.

The main difference between SEAiq Open and OpenCPN is that charts are loaded into SEAiq Open using the Apple iTunes program and the iTunes File Sharing feature. iTunes Files Sharing works best if you only transfer a few files, so you first have to put each of your collections of charts into a Zip file and then copy that file onto your iPad. (A Zip file is just a file that can contain any number of other files.)

To figure out which folder(s) you should transfer, run OpenCPN and go to settings by pressing the wrench icon in the bar. Then go to the Charts tab. In the lower box you will see the different sets of charts that you have loaded into OpenCPN, one per line. Go to each of these folders on your laptop. For S-57 charts, look for the ENC_ROOT folder containing a CATALOG.031 file (as well as folders of charts). For CM93 charts, look for the CM93 folder containing files CM93ATTR.DIC and CM93OBJ.DIC (as well as folders of charts). If some of your charts are raster (BSB) charts, you will not be able to use those with SEAiq Open since it only supports vector-based charts.

To install the vector charts, you need to be able to create Zip files. If you are using an Apple laptop, it has a built-in capability to create Zip files. If you have a Windows laptop we recommend using free 7Zip (http://www.7-zip.org) utility.

Now you have the key pieces in place and can install the charts on SEAiq Open by following these step-by-step instructions.

  • Make sure your laptop is connected to the internet.
  • Attach your iPad/iPhone to your computer with the white cable.
  • Run the iTunes application.
  • Select the iTunes Store on the left hand side of the window.
  • Type "SEAiq Open" in "Search Store" in the right.
  • Install SEAiq Open on your iPad (or iPhone) for free.
  • SEAiq Open initially comes only with a base chart. This is a good time to spend a moment trying it out. Press the Navigate tab and try moving around the world using standard iPad gestures.
  • For each of your chart folders, you need to create a Zip file
    • Windows
      • If you have not done so already, download the free 7Zip utiity http://www.7-zip.org and install it.
      • Go to the folder containing the the folder named ENC_ROOT or CM93.
      • Right click on ENC_ROOT or CM93 folder.
      • Select 7-Zip sub menu (if it is not there, then there may have been a problem installing 7-Zip).
      • Select Add to CM93.zip or Add to ENC_ROOT.zip option.
      • Wait for the Zip file to be created. This can take awhile.
      • When done compressing, you should now have a file called ENC_ROOT.zip or CM93.zip.
    • MacOS
      • Select the folder named ENC_ROOT or CM93.
      • Select File from the bar at the top of the screen.
      • Select Compress "ENC_ROOT" or Compress "CM93" (mid-way down the menu).
      • Wait for the Zip file to be created. This can take awhile.
      • When done compressing, you should now have a file called ENC_ROOT.zip or CM93.zip.
    • IMPORTANT: You may want to rename the file if you are installing multiple sets of charts because each Zip file you transfer to SEAiq Open must have a different name. If you only use one set of charts, this is not an issue.
  • Go back to the iTunes application.
  • Select your iPad/iPhone on the left side of the iTunes window.
  • Select the Apps item in the upper bar.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the window until you see the File Sharing section. In iTunes on MacOS, the apps listed under Sync Apps scroll separately from the window frame they are in. This can sometimes be confusing. If only the list of apps is scrolling, then you may need to click on the area outside the apps list.
  • Select SEAiq Open in the Apps section underneath File Sharing.
  • Press the Add... button.
  • Find the Zip file you want to install on this iPad/iPhone.
  • Press the Open button.
  • The small activity window at the top of the screen should show the file being copied. Be sure to wait until the copy is complete before proceeding.
  • You should now see your file listed in the SEAiq Open Documents.
  • Return to SEAiq Open on your iPad
  • Press the Charts tab on the bottom of the display
  • Each of your Zip files should be listed along with information about how many charts each contains. If not, press the Help button at the top of the Charts tab and read the Troubleshooting section (toward the bottom).
  • Press the Navigation tab on the bottom of the display.
  • You can now explore your charts. Remember: only charts above 1:50,000 scale are displayed until you purchase the upgrade.
  • If you are happy with SEAiq Open, you can purchase the upgrade so it will display all of your charts and to unlock all of its features.
    • Make sure your iPad/iPhone is connected to the Internet.
    • Select the Store tab at the bottom of the window.
    • Press the Buy button.
    • Enter the purchase information.
    • After purchasing the button should read "Installed".

Thursday, 2 August 2012

SEAiq 1.8.0: Graphical editing of waypoints/routes, NMEA, AIS

We are pleased to announce version 1.8.0 of our SEAiq USA, Free and Open apps.  This version includes several of the features most requested by users.  Improvements in this release include:
  • We've fixed all user-reported issues.
  • Touch-based editing of Waypoints and Routes: Create and edit waypoints and routes directly on the chart display.
  • External NMEA: Optionally use GPS and sensor information from your ship's instruments. Requires WiFi-enabled NMEA.
  • AIS: Display vessels reporting their location using AIS (Automatic Identification System).  Showed vessels on your display at their reported location, with heading, predicted course (including rate-of-turn), and true-scale ship representation.  Requires WiFi enabled AIS or internet connection to AIS feed.
  • GPS sharing.  Lets iPad's without integrated GPS use GPS from your iPhone or other iPad that does have GPS.
  • Many other improvements, including:
    • Variable sized fonts for feature names
    • True/Magnetic conversions use US Department of Defense World Magnetic Model
    • Highlighted safety contours
    • Option for highlighting shallow depth areas
Please note NMEA and AIS support are considered experimental.  We'd like to hear back from you how it works with your gear.