News & Events for Chesapeake Bay

New Capabilities of Waterway Guide Integration into Popular Navigation Apps

Date Posted: 2018-08-14
Source: Robert Sherer, contributing editor

New Capabilities of Waterway Guide Integration into Popular Navigation Apps

Waterway Guide continues to open its database of marine-related information to users of popular navigation apps that now include Aqua Map, SEAiq and iNavX, with more pending.  The information is shown as overlays on the charts as one of six symbols that include an alert for hazardous conditions, marinas, anchorages, free docks, bridge data and lock information. Tapping a symbol results in a popup containing detailed information on the item of interest. Best of all, the data is stored in the app and no internet connection is needed except for periodic downloads, which can be accomplished when in range of an internet connection.

For Nav Alerts embedded in the Waterway Guide Explorer web app, a text box shows information that is posted by staff editors and verified when posted by other boaters. Examples include how to find the deepest path through a shallow spot and, for some Alerts, a chartlet is provided along with a GPX file route that can be downloaded directly to the app.

When shown on the SEAiq app, the information is presented only as text. iNavX shows both the text message and the chartlet of the best path through the hazard. Aqua Map shows all three: the text guidance, the chartlet and also a link to the GPX file. Except for the GPX file, all of the information is stored inside the app including the chartlet of the hazard. In the case of Aqua Map, the chartlet can be moved with your finger to show all parts of the chartlet and also zoomed into with a two-finger spread. To download the GPX route, you do need an active internet connection or you can plan ahead for a day’s travel and download the GPX route while still in a marina connected to WiFi.


Above is an example of the Aqua Map implementation for the New River Alert where you take the famous “Dip Route” around shallows. The black line is the Recommended Track per the USACE, it’s known to boaters that use Garmin charts as the “Magenta Line.”  The yellow triangle with an “I” in the middle is the Waterway Guide Alert icon. Tap on the icon first and you will see the view below. Then tap on the “I” as directed and the next view pops up.

After tapping the “I,” a popup box will appear as shown above. The text provides guidance on how to best negotiate the shallows in the area. The red circle has been drawn to indicate what the GPX file link looks like that’s available for downloading to your navigation app. (Note that there is more information below the Description field. We’ll get to that after downloading the GPX file.) 

After tapping on the route name (circled in red), a screen like the one shown above will appear, asking you to which app do you want to download the GPX route? In the example above, the default choice is Aqua Map Marine. However, if you want to download the GPX route to a different app, just tap on “More…” and choices will appear. Select the one you want to use. You’ll be asked if you want to accept the download. Answer yes.

 

After tapping “Open in Marine,” the chart above will appear in Aqua Map with the GPX file ready for navigation. Very easy. Full details on the use of GPX files can be found by tapping on GPX File Use.

 

Going back to the text box with the description of the Nav Alert, you will notice a chart at the bottom that’s been cut off. Simply slide the chart upward with your finger to see more of it. You can see that the right side of the chart is also cut off. Move the chart around to view what you want.


In the view above the chart has been moved to better see the entrance from the right. The yellow dotted line is the USACE recommended route, which has been loaded into the GPX file.


But we’re not done yet. Suppose you want a better view of the route close to R72A. Zoom in with a two-finger gesture to expand the view there. The moveable chart and zoom capability are only present in Aqua Map for now. Other apps are free to add the feature. Except for the downloading of the GPX file, an internet connection is not needed. The chartlet was downloaded as part of your last Waterway Guide update and the chartlet moving and zoom capability is part of Aqua Map.

Waterway Guide is continually sharing its expertise with the apps that you use on the water. There’s no extra charge for this capability in Aqua Map so why not take advantage of all the information available in our modern world of navigation. After all, being on the water should be fun. Don’t let a grounding in some of the trouble spots out there spoil your day when it’s so easily avoided with advice from Waterway Guide and its team of experts, editors and contributors!  

View location on the Waterway Guide Explorer

  • Comment submitted by David A Morrill - Fri, Aug 17th

    NIce job.  Should help boater's confidence in new waters.  Sonar also helps to confirm depths along lines of travel.

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