Some of you might be familiar with the Roboat project
. Here are a couple of Austrian guys building an autonomous sailboat, and deciding that they need a good radar
input for their navigational algorithms.
What to do? Well, reverse-engineering the protocol for Navico's Ethernet-connected BR24 "broadband radar" seems like a good start.
protocol as well as the method they used to discover it is described in their excellent paper, and they have written a reference implementation in Java.
OpenBR24 | Free software downloads at SourceForge.net
I immediately knew that I had to get this implemented as an overlay in OpenCPN
. Then remembered that my C/C++ skills are a tad rusty...
I'm going to start playing around with this, but I don't expect to get anywhere fast, owing to the previously stated and a general lack of time. I suspect that I'm not the only one interested in these things, so if anyone else needs a(nother) pet project
, you might as well get crackin'!
I'm planning to purchase
a Navico radar
soon (sold under Simrad
, Lowrance, and a few other brands), to experiment
with. The Roboat guys used the 1st generation "BR24", since then the "3G" and "4G" models have seen the light of day. Still trying to decide whether to gamble on a 4G and hope that the protocol has not changed radically/been ruined with some data protection scheme.
The openbr24 SourceForge project contains a good-sized collection of sample data captured from a radar in operation (pcap dumps) - don't even need to dig in the pockets before hacking away on that plug-in...!
I'm excited! Are you?
In my world, Open Source marine
radar is one of the most critical puzzle pieces needed to bring the same revolution to marine electronics
that Open Source has brought to mainstream computing.
And the neanderthal marine electronics
industry could definitely do with some innovation and change.