Sonar - crowd sourcing sonar data


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Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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HELP MAKE OUR SEAS SAFER

It goes without saying that every mariner wants access to charts that are as accurate as they can be for the areas in which they regularly navigate. Much of the charted depth data currently being used originates from sources that are often many decades old and gathered by simplistic methods that provide a fraction of the accuracy attainable by the latest technology.

The cost of carrying out full professional bathymetric surveys is prohibitively expensive, resulting in them only being undertaken for major new projects or in waters most commonly used by commercial shipping. Thankfully, today there is a way that we, as users of the sea, can help improve charts immeasurably in our favourite fishing, diving and sailing grounds, with very little effort or cost. Crowd-sourced data collection might be fairly new to some of us, but it’s undoubtedly the way forward when it comes to improving the accuracy of information we all need for safe navigation.

Geo-survey specialist and marine software development organisation, TeamSurv, has launched a community-based project to enable all of us who use the seas, whether for pleasure or work, to effortlessly share valuable bathymetric data with the International Hydrographic Office and other relevant marine authorities, enabling them to produce the most recent chart updates in areas that might not have had a full survey for nearly a century, if at all.

Each vessel’s input is bundled together with a host of other data resources to create an overall picture of the seabed in any particular area. Once the logged data is received by TeamSurv, the information is filtered and processed through a powerful computer that also adds other satellite-derived depth and tidal data into the mix, before extracting bathymetric data accurate enough for hydrographic authorities to incorporate into its nautical charts.

If your vessel has a depth sounder and a GPS then you too can take part in this hugely beneficial project. All that is required for you to be able to participate is the quick and simple DIY installation of one of TeamSurv’s smart data logging modules that continuously records your GPS position and depth data. Currently, TeamSurv will loan one of its USB data loggers free of charge to anyone who wishes to participate in the project, in return for a commitment to upload the recorded data occasionally. This merely requires you to remove the USB stick supplied with the logger from time to time, plug it into any computer with a USB port and Internet access, and upload the collected information to its database with a few simple mouse clicks.

TeamSurv is also about to launch a Wi-Fi version of its data logger that will be able to transfer the recorded data directly onto a smart device such as a tablet or smartphone. This will not only make uploading easier, but will also enable the user to view all of the data available within their instrument network on a free app available from TeamSurv. Although there will be a small, one-off charge for this Wi-Fi device, the app and all future software updates will be totally free. Additionally, all participants will have access to their own tracked data, which, once processed by TeamSurv, will be made available for you to view online or download and to view locally on the app.

If your boat is already fitted with one of the very latest WiFi-enabled Multi-Function Displays (MFD) with a memory card slot, the instrument data can often be collected automatically without any additional equipment and then sent to the TeamSurv online database by simply inserting the SD-card into an Internet-enabled PC, just as you would with TeamSurv’s basic USB logger. That way not only can you place an instantly updated bathymetric layer onto your chart display if you have the latest chart software, but you can also upload the bathymetric data for further processing.

If you are interested in helping to take marine cartography to another level and would like to participate in this project please go onto the website www.teamsurv.com for further details, including equipment compatibility information. Alternatively, should you wish to discuss this matter in person, please contact Shannon McGinley via email on shannon.mcginley@teamsurv.com, or simply call TeamSurv on +44 (0)1865 582711.

**NEWSFLASH**
TeamSurv is offering boat owners the chance to win a free NMEA-0183 WiFi logger in advance of its Kickstarter launch date on 17 May 2017. Log onto teamsurv.com today for full details and the chance to enter for free.
Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell
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is this for UK only as the map on their website might indicate?
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Alex,
This is the covering note that came with it. No mention of being UK only.
"Hi Anne



As you probably already know I am an established yachting journalist writing regularly for most of the UK’s yachting press. I’ve been working on a feature involving crowd-sourced information from boat instrument systems and have recently had dealings with a company called TeamSurv that has created a project to try and collect bathymetric data from boat owners, in order to assist the various hydrographic authorities with their chart updates. The way they plan to do this is by asking owners to install a small box (around the size of a cigarette packet) to their instrument systems, where a connection can be made via NMEA to the echo sounder’s signals. This usually means a simple 3-wire connection to a chart plotter or similar.



While I have no direct connection to the company, I am interested in the project and how it might overcome various problems encountered by leisure craft navigating the high seas. Over the past few years I have tested other methods of collecting this data, notably the Navionics Sonar app, together with a variety of wired and wireless hubs. The TeamSurv hardware also looks like it might fit the bill, but is considerably cheaper and simpler to date, so I thought I’d let the UK Clubs and Owners Associations know about it should any of their members might be interested in participating.



I’ve taken the liberty of attaching a brief summary of the project and the equipment involved, should you think it might be of interest to your members. I would also be happy to write a brief technical feature on the subject that you can publish in Flying Fish, should you think it suitable.



Please note I have also sent this email to Jeremy, but please feel free to contact me for further info, should you need it.



Kind regards,

Duncan"
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Alex,
Duncan confirms that this project is worldwide.
Simon
Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell
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we are signed up
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