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Old 29-06-2017, 03:54   #31
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

So what sets it apart? Sophistication, freedom and advantages of modern technology are generic marketing terms that mean nothing in and of themselves.

What are the actual differences?

We love Active Captain but it's mostly about the data and they are several years ahead of you on that (the application is good also but it's really about the data), so what is better about your "mouse trap" that we would leave that data behind.
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Old 29-06-2017, 04:50   #32
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
So what sets it apart? Sophistication, freedom and advantages of modern technology are generic marketing terms that mean nothing in and of themselves.

What are the actual differences?

We love Active Captain but it's mostly about the data and they are several years ahead of you on that (the application is good also but it's really about the data), so what is better about your "mouse trap" that we would leave that data behind.
Personally I like the feel of it, quick and easy to put in pins. Plus less "corporate" feel to it. If it gets locked into Opencpn then that really would make a difference to an awful lot of cruising sailors over active captain.

Plus you don't have to leave anything behind, you won't get arrested for looking at more than one site
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Old 29-06-2017, 05:47   #33
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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Personally I like the feel of it, quick and easy to put in pins. Plus less "corporate" feel to it. If it gets locked into Opencpn then that really would make a difference to an awful lot of cruising sailors over active captain.

Plus you don't have to leave anything behind, you won't get arrested for looking at more than one site
I saw the generic advantages listed as corporate jargon. Software engineers can define the look and feel without resorting to generalities. I have no allusions that they won't try to monetize it at some point and that's perfectly fine, so a corporate feel doesn't bother me as long as it's good.

Tying it into Opencpn would be nice for either but so far isn't an advantage as they don't offer it.

Yes, you can use multiple sites but that's not convenient. With crowd sourcing, there is a major advantage to having things pooled. If you divide the market up, all the products are reduced as most of the crowd won't post information to multiple sites. This is also the biggest hurdle to this project being a success. There may be a small segment of the market that isn't happy with Active Captain but they have a huge lead on their crowd sourced database. I've run across this with a few forums where the was a debate of moving to a new platform...and if you can't transfer the underlying data it's tough to make the transition as a better box doesn't make up for the box being empty.

I'm not saying they haven't built a better mouse trap. They've told us it's a better mouse trap, so I'm asking what is better?
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Old 29-06-2017, 23:01   #34
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
So what sets it apart? Sophistication, freedom and advantages of modern technology are generic marketing terms that mean nothing in and of themselves.

What are the actual differences?

We love Active Captain but it's mostly about the data and they are several years ahead of you on that (the application is good also but it's really about the data), so what is better about your "mouse trap" that we would leave that data behind.


Hi Valhalla,

Thanks for your feedback. At this early stage, we are grateful for any and all feedback and you raise some valid points.

Just wondering if you had a look at the introduction video posted on this tread? It explains many of the functions available on the site however I have added some detailed answers below to answer some of your comments.

I thought I would tell you a little about our intentions when we decided to create Zulu Waterways. We set about building this platform to be very easy to use and intuitive, ultimately to create something that will make sailing to unknown destinations more rewarding. We felt is was important that the platform be available to everyone, on all devices with any computer skill level. We felt that the easier that it is to use, the more sailors would participate and continue to add information as they travel. We are not programmers, nor do we come from any tech background, we are just a sailing couple who worked alongside the programmers who helped us develop it.

When creating the program, we didnít want any restrictions on what people can add and how much they can add. This was achieved by providing users with a large variety of icon types, from anchorages to bin icons, walking tracks and repair shops. Really, any icon type can be added upon request. While the main function is that users can add information about the icon types, they can also add personal accounts and form discussions about it in the comment section attached to each icon. All the contributors to a piece of information is also displayed which allows you to contact the user and discuss information further. We check the information added to make sure itís accurate, and users are also able to Ďreportí information that may be incorrect or outdated. We do not require verification for information added, meaning that all information added is instantly live on the site. After users can edit and add to any of the information added within the icons. This offers great freedom to keep information detailed and up to date. You donít even have to be registered to view any of the information on the map.These are some of the points which we meant when we said, Ďfreedom of access and functionalityí.*

We used Google maps as the platform because people are familiar with it and know how to use it. Google maps is of course a very well designed and easy to use program. By using them as our maps source we have gained the advantages of this modern technology. It has allowed us to make the program fast running without long loading times. By using google maps users can view an area either by using map view or satellite view and turn on the labels. Google maps already has icons for shops, local business and marinas etc. You can even see a location unclose using google street view. These were the advantages of using google maps technology, which is an example of what we meant by Ďadvantages of modern technologyí.*

Zulu isnít only an interactive map program. We have combined the map functions with a social connection tool for sailors. Every user has a profile page in which they can add detailed information and pictures about themselves, their crew, their vessel and their travels. They can drop location markers on the map so family and other sailors can view where they are in the world. Each of these location markers, along with any text and photos gets added to their activity feed which ends up reading like a blog. Users can message on each otherís walls, read their posts/blogs and ask advise of each other.* You can find other users by searching the name of their vessel, any of their crew or their email addresses which should be good for finding old cruisers you have lost touch with. Or you can look at the map around you and find sailors nearby by checking out who has dropped location markers in the area. This is an example of how we have tried to improve the experience of the program and are features we believe which set us apart from similar cursing map programs.

Concerning open CPN or some other version of offline functionality. This is something that we see as a valuable addition to the program and it is on our wish list to add as soon as possible. This was always a main goal of ours from the very beginning and we will keep everyone updated on how thatís developing.

Concerning Active Captain. We actually only heard of Active Captain a couple of months ago after we had finished the bulk of the program. Iím not sure why that is, but perhaps itís not used as much in Australia as it is in the rest of the world. It looks like a fantastic program that has been a very useful tool for many sailors for many years. We developed Zulu very much independently of other similar programs and believe that both programs should be able to exist side by side. I did not mean to downplay the value of other platforms, we are just so proud and excited by what we have created.

We arenít a corporation nor are we associated with any corporation or company. Itís just me (Niki) and my partner Lauren who developed and now run the program. We are sailors currently in Northern NSW in*Australia living aboard our modest steely 36ft Herreshoff Neriea yacht (waiting for our first child to be born). Developing the program started as an idea, an idea which Iím sure many sailors have had, and it developed piece by piece to become Zulu Waterways. As we kept working on it we just focused on doing whatever we could to make it as good as possible. At the end of the day it is just a platform, it is up to sailors and people on the water to use it and the program will ultimately become what we all make of it. We believe that the way it functions makes information adding easy, and that that will result in information being added quickly and frequently. People are online a lot more now then 5 or 10 years ago, which means there are a lot more people interested in participating in such an endeavour, weíve just given them a platform in which to do that.

So what makes Zulu Waterways worth a try. The programs user friendly interface makes it accessible for everyone. Users are given full access along with all the tools to edit and comment on any information. With a detailed profile section users are able to document their travels and to stay in touch with other sailors. This is place to exchange advice and connect with others with similar interests.

The program has only been live for 6 days now with 140 users registered and around 200 markers added. If this keeps up then we can expect it to become a very useful tool for everyone soon. Thanks for your comments and hope this helped to answer some of your questions, but please go onto the site and try it out for yourself.
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Old 30-06-2017, 05:43   #35
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

Thanks for explaining about the philosophy and background to the product.
I had a look, and thought the new program and service looks great.
There is a major problem though: The current web-based product requires that the user has a constant internet connection. This means it is not suitable for use on a boat - especially when it is needed the most, which is in unfamiliar places.
So as others have said, you really, really need to provide offline functionality. Personally, I'd go with an Android app rather than, or in addition to, the web platform. Maybe also an iOS app in order to cover the more fashion-conscious sailors :-)
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Old 30-06-2017, 08:31   #36
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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Hi Lars,

I posted on your activity feed in Zulu, but to say again, I will add a pump out icon to the list of icon types (although I'm struggling to think of what symbol to use). Ideas?
💩 I think this would be universally understood as a pump out location😁
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Old 30-06-2017, 22:14   #37
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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I think this would be universally understood as a pump out location

Yes it certainly gets the point across! Best suggestion yet. We will just have to trust people will still take the program seriously when their map is littered with thousands of little poos. Hehehe.
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Old 30-06-2017, 22:22   #38
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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Originally Posted by Zven View Post
Thanks for explaining about the philosophy and background to the product.
I had a look, and thought the new program and service looks great.
There is a major problem though: The current web-based product requires that the user has a constant internet connection. This means it is not suitable for use on a boat - especially when it is needed the most, which is in unfamiliar places.
So as others have said, you really, really need to provide offline functionality. Personally, I'd go with an Android app rather than, or in addition to, the web platform. Maybe also an iOS app in order to cover the more fashion-conscious sailors :-)

Hi Zven,

Thanks for taking a look at the program and giving us some feedback.

We absolutely will have offline functionality. We wouldn't have considered doing this program without offline access as a function. The program is still in its early stages at this point, and the decision had to be made of when to launch the site to the public. After much debate we felt the functions, as they are now, was enough for people to understand the concept, get involved and start adding icons. Adding offline functionality will come, but not for a few months. One feature we really want to include is a way for users to be able to add icons while in offline mode, which then get uploaded to the live server when they reconnect to internet. At the moment open cpn looks like the best option but I'm not willing to lock anything in yet. I will keep everyone updated on how that is progressing.

If anyone had experience with open cpn plug ins, I would be interested in their advice.
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Old 30-06-2017, 23:18   #39
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

Will Not Locate My Android phone,But Would Like To Check It out
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Old 30-06-2017, 23:50   #40
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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Will Not Locate My Android phone,But Would Like To Check It out

Can I ask what android device you are using? We are making changes to get the program working on all devices this very moment.
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Old 07-07-2017, 16:58   #41
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

We have finished rewriting the code to make the program compatible with android devices. So anyone who had trouble accessing the URL shouldn't have trouble anymore. Let me know if there are any problems.
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Old 11-07-2017, 05:19   #42
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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I'm missing an icon for a waste (black water) pump out station - knowledge about where to find these is essential (at least in Sweden)...

.
Hi LarsD. I added a pump out icon. Decided on a plunger as the icon image. What do you think?
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:48   #43
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

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Hi LarsD. I added a pump out icon. Decided on a plunger as the icon image. What do you think?
I still like the poo emoji , but I think the plunger is a good choice.
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Old 15-07-2017, 21:01   #44
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

Herreshoff, I've been trying to get into your app for several days now (2017/07/14) but none of my systems can connect with your site. I'm open to the problem being at my end, but I'm not having bay connecting to the standard sites (e.g. Google, FB, etc).
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Old 15-07-2017, 21:16   #45
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Re: Looking for interest in a new program for cruising sailors

Herreshoff, I figured out how to get onto your site. I have to specify https (the default is http). Silly me.
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