As some of you know, but most of you don't, Mark is an amazing computer programer and has been working on a new navigation app for iphone/ipad. When I got pregnant last year, Mark realized that he was going to need a project to fill some time. He had been toying with the idea of writing a new navigation app and it seemed as if the timing was right. Initially he thought it'd be a quick project that only we would use but he gradually realized that what he was working on others might find useful. So he showed it to a few cruiser friends and got a lot of positive feedback. His fun little project went from just that to a more serious endeavor and exactly a year later he has released the first version in the Apple iTunes app store.
Why did Mark want to do such a thing you might ask. Well we've used a lot of charting software - we have pretty much purchased all of the ipad apps out there and just weren't happy with certain things about them:
- One of the things that really annoyed us about certain apps is that you have to pay for the NOAA chart regions individually. The charts are actually free from NOAA so really you should just be paying for the software once to read them.
- Another issue we had was that they are all raster-based which means they are basically just paper charts made digital. Mark really wanted to be able to use the Vector charts that NOAA offers because they include a heck of a lot more data and allow more customization. I love that Mark added in a feature that allows you to set your vessel's draft (depth) and based on it the display on the charts change; meaning that if you have a boat with a two foot draft the coloring on the charts is different for you than it would be for our 6'7" draft, highlighting places that can be dangerous for you. You can also choose what measurement you would like to have the charts displayed in (feet, meters, or fathoms). There are other things too but those are the two that come to mind as the most important to me.
- Third was that with many of the other programs, your charts are out of date as soon as you get them. NOAA updates charts almost daily. Mark put in an update feature so every time you go out you can do a quick update and if a buoy has moved you'll have that info.
There are a ton of other things that Mark has improved on and done with the app but I'm not going to go on and on. I just wanted to throw out some props for my husband who has done an awesome job!