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Old 03-11-2010, 13:44   #1
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Question Boating Software Ideas ?

I've been a computer programmer for nearly 16 years. Frankly, I'm bored. The passion I had for my career has been lost. Now, it's just a paycheck. I'm at a point in my career, and life, where I'm ready and willing to work on a project I enjoy rather than just on whatever will pay. I greatly enjoy sailing and boating in general. I'd like to create software related to sailing and/or boating.

That's easy enough to say, but hard to do. I'm having difficulty finding something to create. Navigation is one obvious application of computer software, but there are enough options there already. Outside of that, what is there?

If you have ever thought, "I wish there was a program to do X" or "There has to be a better way to manage or monitor this (system/data/)" or "This program is old or does Y badly", I'd like to hear from you. Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2010, 13:57   #2
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Let me chime in. I would like a software does radar scans. Not sure what is out there now but I do not want another screen showing blips. If it integrated with sea clear even better. Everything on the boat should be bluetooth also. Enough with the wiring into tight spaces.
Thats my dream anyway.
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Old 03-11-2010, 14:02   #3
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combine all systems and monitor them from one console.
Nav, depth, auto pilot, maps, communication

this exist to some extent, but what if the same software could interface with your redundant systems to make sure they were 100% operationals. Also, control and monitor battery's, electrical usage, AC settings, and Cameras/security. and all in one boat health operation center.

that or porn, really only reason to use a computer.
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Old 03-11-2010, 14:37   #4
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How about a radar that combines AIS into an interface kinda like this?

!
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Old 03-11-2010, 15:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevingy View Post
I've been a computer programmer for nearly 16 years. Frankly, I'm bored.
It took me 25 years to get to that point. I've had enough of it as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevingy View Post
I'd like to create software related to sailing and/or boating.
Personally, when I walk away from the keyboard I'm done. The end. I've another 5 years to do and it is ALL devoted to my new project which is preparing for life as a non-programmer.

Forget about marine software - let some other bright-eyed, world conquering, Bill Gates do it. Or is what you really want a new programming challenge?

In my case, I want a completely new challenge. Programming is no longer an option.
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Old 03-11-2010, 15:37   #6
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I've wondered about the ultimate data logging software. New instruments like the Furnuno PB150 give you wind speed, heel, yaw, GPS, Temp, Pressure, etc all by NMEA. Add to that all the other data you can get over NMEA or other methods, and you have a vast, rich data source.

I want software that will monitor all that stuff, and turn it into useful information. For instance, tell me that with a true wind speed of 15 knots, a bearing 35 degs from the wind on a port tack, and a heel angle of 5 degs, the boat travels at a mean speed of 5 knots, st dev 1.0 knots, with an apparent wind of 17 knots, etc.

This is bascially a db app with some statistical front end stuff and a user interface. If the architecture is open enough, you'd be able to do a lot of data mining.

Of course, there's always existing projects like OpenCPN.

And don't let the burned out programmers put you off. They've just forgotten the beautiful side of programming (or else it's been beaten out of them).

Van
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Old 03-11-2010, 17:03   #7
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most mega yachts and newer commercial vessels all ready have these systems,along with engine management etc,all on one display at various locations around the vessel.

also on the larger raymarine plotter,c180 as well as interfacing with wind ,speed,depth,radar,ais it is possible to watch porn as it has a video feed!!!!!!!!!!

on another note the only round the world sailing record still unbroken would be a non-stop,un-manned,completely automated attempt.
be a bit of programing involved in that i expect?
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Old 03-11-2010, 17:31   #8
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Optimal Multi-Constraint Course Determination

I propose you develop an application that reads GRIB files and analyzes the predicted path of the lows/storms over the 96 hour forcast. It then develops an optimal course to steer subject to the following constraints.

1. user entered not to exceed windspeed (if possible) or lowest wind speed above the not to exceed.

2. want shortest course to destination waypoint (consider multi-waypoint route)

3. wind direction/boat speed function (can't sail into the wind)

4. wave height/direction boat speed function

5. progressive uncertainty (the farther out the forcast the more uncertainty) course family with high, medium, and low risk courses to select

All needed information is in the GRIBS and user entered for the boat characteristics.

Integrate all into FUGAWI or a stand-alone application.
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Old 03-11-2010, 18:25   #9
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that or porn, really only reason to use a computer.
never thought about using the computer to manage stuff on the boat
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Old 03-11-2010, 18:37   #10
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All I want is to be able to select an area on a map and let your app interface with Google Earth to pre-cache that image data into an overlay for OpenCPN (or whatever), with no limitations aside from the size of my hard drive.
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Old 03-11-2010, 18:43   #11
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never thought about using the computer to manage stuff on the boat
That's because it is very impractical and defeats the whole purpose of cruising which to live the KISS principle. Layers of data only distract the user - the single-hander or the half of a couple who is on watch - from keeping the boat trimmed, free from hazards and afford some time for navel lint contemplation.
- - It does not take long for the "high-tech" data machines to crash and lock up in the salt environment and usually in a location where you cannot reload/rebuild the trashed machine.
- - It is not difficult for a cruiser or cruising couple to mentally keep track of what is on their little vessel and what they need to buy. Reverting to the hands on simple life is a great part of what cruising is all about. Turning yourself into a data collection, keypunch operator is not part of the program of cruising.
- - Beyond a good navigation program, communications (Skype/email),and and a source of weather information - there no need for sophisticated computers and applications.
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Old 03-11-2010, 18:45   #12
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Boat management perhaps. Logging each job done on the boat as well as recurring tasks that need doing. like reminders to do oil changes,

Inventory of jobs done.
Replacement parts/costs
Additional gear/costs
Outboard maintainence schedule.
Genset maintainence schedule

Registration dates
Insurance date and information

and so forth.

Its would most likely be used as a management system for commercial vessels rather than private yachties. But the concept is there.

Cheers
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Old 03-11-2010, 20:25   #13
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Boat managements systems - nothing new under the old sun. Most of the PC based navigation suites have a module for inventory and scheduled activities included. I started using such a program/application 10 years ago and after several months gave up. It was too much trouble entering all the data fields and worse I never looked at it again.
- - What I did instead was use a "flat file" spreadsheet to build a "logbook" for the boat and added an additional "sheet" to the spreadsheet for "gripes and resolution /date- To do list." The basic daily "logbook" sheet has a column for "maintenance" and columns for refueling, etc. The spreadsheet flat file is so simple to use that I actually do use it.
- - I can look up when an items was done or how many hours ago I changed the oil/fuel filters, etc., etc. The whole thing is KISS which means you will use it. If nothing else, entering the daily log of where, when, how and what is not that much trouble.
- - One new thing I am/have been doing is converting documents to digital and storing them on the hard drive in a directory for the boat. You can download PDF versions of operating, parts and maintenance manuals for each item of the boat like pumps, refrig, a/c, and a hundred other things we put on the boats. Then rather than digging through a couple of shelves trying to find the original paper documents that came with the mechanical part, I just access the PDF version on my hard drive.
- - Same thing with insurance, documentation, decals and assorted other ship's papers, etc. They are on the hard drives and can be taken with me if desired. Keeping hundreds of paper instructions and installation and operation manuals is getting burdensome whereas the digital versions are so convenient.
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Old 03-11-2010, 20:51   #14
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Boat managements systems - nothing new under the old sun. Most of the PC based navigation suites have a module for inventory and scheduled activities included. I started using such a program/application 10 years ago and after several months gave up. It was too much trouble entering all the data fields and worse I never looked at it again.
- - What I did instead was use a "flat file" spreadsheet to build a "logbook" for the boat and added an additional "sheet" to the spreadsheet for "gripes and resolution /date- To do list." The basic daily "logbook" sheet has a column for "maintenance" and columns for refueling, etc. The spreadsheet flat file is so simple to use that I actually do use it.
- - I can look up when an items was done or how many hours ago I changed the oil/fuel filters, etc., etc. The whole thing is KISS which means you will use it. If nothing else, entering the daily log of where, when, how and what is not that much trouble.
- - One new thing I am/have been doing is converting documents to digital and storing them on the hard drive in a directory for the boat. You can download PDF versions of operating, parts and maintenance manuals for each item of the boat like pumps, refrig, a/c, and a hundred other things we put on the boats. Then rather than digging through a couple of shelves trying to find the original paper documents that came with the mechanical part, I just access the PDF version on my hard drive.
- - Same thing with insurance, documentation, decals and assorted other ship's papers, etc. They are on the hard drives and can be taken with me if desired. Keeping hundreds of paper instructions and installation and operation manuals is getting burdensome whereas the digital versions are so convenient.

Yeah, I get what you're saying. Thats why I suggested that it may be more usefull for Commercial entities. Particularly those running several vessels. On our own boats we all pretty much know what jobs need doing immediately and what is needed in future.

Commercial opperations tend to miss things as there is so much going on. Sure it has been done before. But so has much of the other ideas mentioned here. Its up to you to improve on whats been done before.

Perhaps write the app for PC but allow it to be updated via ipad/phone, then the user can go to the vessel/s, do the work, use the sofware on the phone/pad then return to the parent PC/software and update it.

Cheers
Oz
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Old 04-11-2010, 13:58   #15
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keving, I see its been quite a while since you posted. Are you still interested in doing something? I have been interested in starting an OS boat management system in Java.
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