Wi-Fi for your boat has come a long way. We don’t just mean your connection to the online world, we’re talking about connecting to the wealth of information from your boat’s instruments. Imagine an encyclopaedia attached to the outside wall of your house. Useful? Yes. Convenient? No. Now imagine that encyclopaedia in your pocket. Would you be more likely to interact with all that information now that it’s convenient and portable, wherever you are on the boat? Absolutely. This is the idea around connecting instruments to smart devices via Wi-Fi. It’s a super convenient way to access all that lovely information about your boat, its surroundings, and the voyages you have dreamed of.
Nowadays apps are everywhere, but the marine environment has been slow to catch up. This is due to many things, but one of the main contributors has to be the disproportionately high price of getting all that juicy data from your instruments into your smart device via a Wi-Fi connection. Current prices for most NMEA to Wi-Fi interfaces are upwards of £135 inc.VAT ($153 ex VAT), with some approaching £390. Also, quite a number of apps work over just TCP or UDP, or require a specific port number, and many devices are not flexible enough to work with all these apps.
Enter TeamSurv, a little British company that’s making a big difference. After having reviewed devices already on the market for use with their forthcoming app, they decided that they could do better, using the latest developments in electronics technology. Launched through Kickstarter, it’s come on the scene to provide a real alternative. It costs less than any of the leading brands and has just as many, if not more, Wi-Fi features. It doesn’t, however, include a multiplexer, or Seatalk or NMEA2000 interfaces, as most people don’t really need them. It works with virtually all apps, including the forthcoming TeamSurv app. It’s Wi-fi for the many, not the few.
“We’ve developed this as the first of a range of hardware products to produce a high quality but cost-effective way for people to connect apps to their instruments, including our forthcoming TeamSurv app.” Tim Thornton, Director
Product name: NMEA0183 Wi-Fi Gateway
NMEA: Bi-directional opto-isolated NMEA0183 interface. Data rates from 4800 to 38400bps
NMEA Network Interface: Simultaneous TCP and UDP interfaces. User settable port numbers
Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n with internal antenna. Can act as a stand-alone Access Point (AP), or be part of your boat’s Wi-Fi network. User settable Wi-Fi channel, WEP-2 security password, IP address and subnet mask
Power: 12/24V DC with internal fuse
Configuration: Web browser interface, accessible through a QR code on the device label
Price: £99 inc VAT/ £82.50 ex VAT (approx. €113 inc. VAT / US$112 ex VAT)
Available now from: http://www.nmeatools.com/Wi-Fi
Comparison against other Wi-Fi devices: http://nmeatools.com/Wi-Fi/Comparison
TeamSurv started in 2010, developing high quality crowd sourced bathymetry, initially using a USB data logger. In addition to having their own fleet of contributing ships and boats, they also work with organisations such as OpenSeaMap to process their members’ track data. They are also working on developing crowd sourced bathymetry with other organisations, such as the IHO (International Hydrographic Organization)’s Crowd Sourced Bathymetry workgroup, and Europe’s EMODnet initiative for mapping the seas of Europe. The Wi-Fi device has been developed both as a product in its own right and to enable wider take-up for its forthcoming app.
Kickstarter is a crowd-sourcing rewards web site for technical, creative and artistic projects. Founded in 2009, over 350,000 projects have been launched on its site, raising a total of US$3.3 billion for the 35% of projects that get funded.