Free, augmented reality app
Nautisk’s NaviPlotter app gives workboats a basic route planning function on their iPhone or iPad – with an added layer of augmented reality that can see, even in the dark or fog.
NaviPlotter has, like its big NaviPlanner sister, AIS and GPS positioning laid over a solid electronic chart core. This is Nautisk’s speciality, and very cheap to access since the company decided the best way to retain its 120-year chart market is to make them as cost-effective as possible and easy to download on the fly.
On the other hand, as Simon Gliddon of Nautisk explained the other element is very focused on “forward-looking technologies”, and is making use of an app-based system.
Interestingly, the (free) app started out as a way of testing out the company’s newest technology, only recently taking on a life of its own when it was realised that all kinds of mariners could gain from information not immediately available to the naked eye.
Hold the iPad up to the horizon, and not only will you see the names and basic AIS and GPS data of vessels crossing your path along with landmarks; more, with a tap the information expands to give a detailed description.
Traversing a busy approach or harbour this will give you information about any nearby ships as well as buoys, bridges, marine structures and so on. The app also includes basic route planning functionality.
This is clever, but the next step is potentially even more useful.
Plug the handheld Apple device into a FLIR One camera and the screen will display the thermal image; a test carried out on someone jumping into the water showed that on ‘hottest’ mode, it was possible to discern their body image and even that they were waving.
However working in combination with each other, the Nautisk app and FLIR camera together will also display each structure or obstacle, labelling them in the augmented reality layer. So, it’s possible to hold up the screen to what appears to be a blank patch of darkness, and ‘see’ what’s ahead.
Gliddon concluded: “It has the capability to enhance safety and efficiency on smaller commercial vessels such as workboats. We will continue to add functionality over time, as well as keeping the basic app free of charge."
By Stevie Knight
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