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Old 17-05-2017, 16:25   #16
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Re: Keeping track of our lifeguard rescue boats?
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Old 17-05-2017, 17:51   #17
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Re: Keeping track of our lifeguard rescue boats?

Originally Posted by Rince View Post

were wondering how we could keep track of our rescue boats, and if OpenCPN could be of any help
Weve got 14 rescue boats located on 10 different lifeguard stations (with internet).
The equipment is from nothing but a fast going engine, up to 3D deep scanners.

We cover about 25 sq mi.
Hmmm, is that 5 NM x 5 NM= 25 square NM, or is the area 25x25NM=625 square NM?
I guess it is the latter one, and even then to have 14 rescue boats available for such small area is a very good coverage!

Our basic idea:
For sake of simplicity, we would like something like this on every boat:

battery pack
3G or LTE for uplink
(kind of black box; once installed, forget it)

Our basic idea is creating VPN connections including the stations and the boats.

The 10 stations should be able to run their own OpenCPN instance and receive the GPS data from every boat.

As far as Ive been reading, OpenCPN is not able to handle different GPS data.

But using something like AIS could do the trick?

So, we would need a small program on each boat-RasPi receiving GPS data, converting it to something like AIS and making it available in our network.

So OpenCPN could receive these "AIS" signals and display the boat's location on the chart.

1. Is this possible?
2. Is there any software around generating AIS over network? (also if 10 instances of OpenCPN are trying to connect)?

3. Do you know any better (or working) solution? (perhaps something like a MQTT broker?)

Thank you very much in advance


Using any public servers is a no go...
There are many GPS tracker systems on the market, but they all demand a high purchase price, high subscription costs, and a high mobile or satellite connection costs.

It certainly looks like AIS technology is ready for what you want. The size of the area can easily be covered by its VHF broadcasts.

It has been already mentioned that the the initial setup cost using items like Vesper might be high, but using more simpler units without a will equally as well, see here for alternatives:

For simplicity, units without display might be better, here are 2 quality units for around $500:
AMEC CAMINO-108 Class B AIS transponder

I wondering.... if there is really a need for updates more frequent than every 2 minutes or so. If the charts with the overlay indicating the position of each vessel is at the (ten) shorebased stations only and not on the boats, then a position report every 2 minutes is more than ample in my opinion.

If there is a need to control a (group of) vessels while at sea (or ?inland waters), conducting a search, than that control is most likely based on the 'lead' vessel, who has control over the search. That control is not shorebased. The 'lead' vessel will then require an immediate position for all vessels, for ie conduction grid or sectored searches with multiple vessels. While AIS might be helpful, the best tool for that kind of control is radar on the vessel that has control of the rescue (SAR) fleet.

By the way, I have been involved in sea rescue for many years, and building/equipping rescue boats, and training rescue skippers. Most of our vessels are equipped by something like internet based 'Spot' tracker, more to satisfy burocrats than a useful rescue tool, in my opinion.
Wishing you all sunny skies above, clear water below, gentle winds behind and a safe port ahead,
and when coming this way check,_Australia
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