Digital Yacht (stand 11A28) have developed a new, low cost navigation device for use with Apple's popular range of mobile products. Called iAIS, it wirelessly links a boat's navigation data to the Apple iPhone, iPad or iTouch. It also incorporates a highly sophisticated, dual channel Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver allowing compatible “apps” access to NMEA instrument, GPS and AIS data.
iAIS, which helps boaters identify other vessels that are equipped with an AIS transponder, communicates with the Apple devices via a WiFi interface. iPad and iPhone users simply turn on their device to wirelessly connect to the iAIS hot spot. No connection to the internet is needed and there are no cumbersome cables to connect. The AIS data (which brings information such as position, name, call sign, MMSI number, course and speed of other ships) then becomes available for any compatible application. This information is essential in alerting boaters to others in close proximity and can help calculate if paths are likely to cross and how soon. AIS is an essential piece of kit that enthusiasts and professionals alike will not set sail without, as it is proving to be key in collision avoidance.
iAIS also multiplexes any other NMEA data that is available on board the boat - for instance GPS, depth, speed, wind etc. All of this information is combined with the AIS data into the wireless feed. Some users have complained that the GPS devices incorporated into the iPhone and iPad suffer from jitter or poor lock-on, but by using your onboard GPS or even hand held marine GPS you will get substantially improved GPS readings on any compatible application. iAIS just requires a connection to a standard VHF antenna.
The most popular application for the iPhone and iPad, which can support a real time GPS overlay and AIS, is the iNavX app. Compatible with Navionic’s charts, iNavX provides a complete set of navigation functions that turns your portable Apple device in to a fully functional electronic chart plotter. Digital Yacht has also produced a free-of-charge, simple, AIS overlay app, which is available now.
iAIS is priced at 399.95 EUROS EX VAT and is also compatible with any PC or other application (Android, Windows Mobile etc) that can accept wireless (TCP/IP) data for navigation information. It is now available to buy from Digital Yacht and its dealer/distributor network.
When we say Apple, most people will instantly think of the iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac. It’s one of the ultimate must-haves in terms of gadgets and technology. Digital Yacht is also a leader in developing and producing innovative and affordable marine electronics. Apple recently introduced their new iPhone4 and sold nearly two million devices within four days of launch and nearly four million iPad’s were bought in the first three months of unveiling, so it’s clear that it will not take long for just about every boat owner to become i-enabled and take advantage of iAIS. All Digital Yacht products can be purchased at www.digitalyacht.co.uk.