Saturday, February 27, 2010

What about ENC and Marine GeoGarage ?

geoTIFF raster (RNC) above and s-57 vector (ENC) below -courtesy from UKHO-

Vector maps (ENC in s-57 or s-63 encrypted format) are mainly used by onboard ECDIS or GIS applications.

Some Hydrographic Services have developed some servers using WMS OGC standards to deliver s-57 data to online compliant applications.

The Marine GeoGarage team is working on the possibility to display these maps online but using the pyramidal raster tiling scheme used in Google Maps, and also keeping the advantages of the additional chart info provided by the vector maps and stored in the geospatial database of the Marine GeoGarage server.

But as for the WMS access, it's not so easy to process raster tiles for the different scales using a rendering compatible with s-52 ECDIS presentation library which has not be studied for web application...

So additional work has to be done to provide both a reliable and sexy display for all map scales.

Friday, February 26, 2010


OpenSeaMap is a starting OpenStreetMap subproject to create some free nautical map with contributions both from official public data (with no copyright) and passionated individuals.

As the backend structure for the data is based on the s-57 vector format (used by official ENC), it could be a good tool to :
  • develop some cartographic online interface for implementing the info from the official Notices to Mariners (NTMs) which provides timely marine safety information for the correction of all the official navigation paper charts
  • use the power of collaborative crowdsourcing for implementing nautical POI such as port information, marinas, repair shops, shipchandlers, marine electronic dealers...
Of course, this interesting initiative can't be a 'competitor' of the official Hydrographic Services which are using sophisticated technical means (multibeam, RTK GPS, Lidar...) in order to propose nautical charts more increasingly accurate.

In this way, as the final result is open to all, why not imaging some OpenSeaMap layer in the Marine GeoGarage to get official chart corrections from NTMs and a complementary marine local guide ?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What about Google Earth and Marine GeoGarage ?

Example of kml network link to Marine GeoGarage for viewing seamless all the NOAA raster chart dataset in Google Earth (GE).

Unfortunately GE does not react well to big dataset such as several thousands maps, even with the advanced and fancy features of the network links. We tried two different techniques and GE either ends up by struggling with the amount of data or showed ugly stuff while (slowly) refreshing.

Right now the other question is to know if there are some applications for users for this overlay and in this case how to distribute it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

About Physical layer

The 'Physical' layer which can be selected in the 'background' layers such as Google Maps, Satellite/Aerial imagery and Terrain layers has been created as a composite imagery got from several sources of data :

  • 30 arc second global elevations grid model (bathymetry) from GEBCO,
  • high-resolution Shoreline (GSHHS) from NOAA/SOEST and
  • NGA vmap0 layers (lakes, rivers, political boundaries, green and relief areas...)
Contrary to nautical maps which are pre-processed and directly accessible on our servers, the raster tiles from this Physical layer are created on-the-fly by our map contour rendering engine in our servers.
This explains the display is much longer than for nautical layers.
More users will play with this layer in all regions of the world and for different levels of scales, more tiles will be created on our server, so available for all.
In the same time, the cache memory of the web browser will help to refresh faster when the user will display the same area.

Online live vessel traffic system

The GeoGarage team is leading some experimentation about the display of AIS live tracking online.

Using some specific hardware connected to a AIS receiver for sending AIS raw data automatically to the GeoGarage server (no need of additional PC), we have the following displays :

  • Nantes/Saint Nazaire harbor with nautical maps overlay courtesy from SHOM (authorization for reproduction n°140/2008 for charts #7395 and 7396)
  • Pointe à Pitre (Guadeloupe) harbor with nautical maps overlay courtesy from SHOM (authorization for reproduction n°409/2009 for chart #6948 and 7100)
Note : these two data flow are sent to MarineTraffic by GeoGarage for its own use

By the way, Marine GeoGarage is also studying the impact of nautical chart overlay on other Live AIS website such as :

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

About nautical chart updates frequency

The main advantage of the Marine GeoGarage server is to provide up to date nautical charts.

At this stage of the project, the time planning for the updates which depends on the distribution methods used by the different Hydrographic Services (HS) is the following :

  • NOAA : every 2 months (today 1024 charts / 2223 including sub-charts)
  • UKHO : every 3 months (today 667 charts / 1293 including sub-charts)
  • Linz : every month (today 323 charts)
  • Brazil : every month (today 242 charts)
* sub-chart : a paper chart might include a number of smaller detailed charts inset inside of it.

Note : in a future version of the Marine GeoGarage backend application, this scheduling will be reduced to match the update rating proposed the different HS servers (using automated distribution infrastructure provided by NOAA for example)

Historical maps

How to superimpose the past over the present and see both simultaneously ?

Quite simple with GeoGarage spatial image web server :

  • World Globe 1790 : this globe shows contemporary discoveries in the Pacific as well as the routes of three of Captain James Cook's voyages...
  • San Francisco 1859, one of th earliest maps of San Francisco Bay by the U.S. Coast Survey...
  • nautical chart of Cuba (1775), showing ship tracks, rhumb lines, currents, depths by soundings...
Click on to get access to 120 ancient maps from David Rumsey collection.
And don't forget to play with the transparent map slider option, it just gets better !

What about the source of the maps ?

The website has been derived in part from material obtained from different national Hydrographic Services (HS) with their official agreement :

  • NOAA (US) : Raster Navigational Charts (RNC) ® from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • LINZ (New Zealand) : our website contains data sourced from Land Information New Zealand. Land Information New Zealand gives no warranty in relation to the data (including accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability) and accepts no liability (including, without limitation, liability in negligence) for any loss, damage or costs relating to any use of the data. © Crown Copyright Reserved.
  • UK Hydrographic Office with the permission of the UK Hydrographic Office and Her Majesty's Stationery Office. The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and its licensors make no warranties or representations, express or implied, with respect to this product. The UKHO and its licensors have not verified the information within our product or quality assured it. © British Crown Copyright, 2010
  • GEBCO Digital Atlas from the British Oceanographic Centre (BODC) : the imagery (bathymetric contours) are produced on the fly from the GEBCO_08 Grid (version 20090202, 30 seconds) stored on our GeoGarage server (button 'Physical').
The catalog is expanding : additional nautical maps sources are in preparation. Stay tuned...

Marine GeoGarage, "Pathfinder of the Seas"

GeoGarage, cloud-based nautical charts streaming platform
just the mapping apps for the 70% of the world that Google Maps does not cover...

Though datafication’s been fundamentally enabled by advances in computing technology, the baseline of the Marine GeoGarage is a reference to the work of 19th century naval officer Matthew Maury, who painstakingly sifted through records of nautical books, maps and charts and inventoried barometers, compasses, sextants and chronometers to assemble new navigational charts that revolutionized trans-Atlantic travel.

Matthew Maury nicknamed "Pathfinder of the Seas" 
and "Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology"
and later, "Scientist of the Seas"

The “Pathfinder of the Seas” established and analyzed a huge body of data that ultimately led to cuts in the times of long voyages by a third.
Today, Maury would be a celebrated data scientist.

Chart by Lieutenant M.F. Maury, 1848

In some similar way, the goal of the Marine GeoGarage is to become the "Google Maps" of the seas, gathering all the nautical charts available at the international Hydrographic Offices, and proposing regular updates to keep the information the most precise possible.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why using the Marine GeoGarage services ?

The Marine GeoGarage is an integrated online marine tool, providing functions such as :
  • nautical charts display
  • voyage planning
  • waypoint and route monitoring
  • bearing and distance calculations
  • transfer displayed waypoints and routes to your Garmin GPS receiver via the Garmin Communicator plugin or save them in GPX format
NOTE : This chart display or derived product for mobile smartphone can be used as a planning or analysis tool and may not be used as a navigational aid.

Use the official, full scale National Hydrographic Service (HS) nautical charts for real navigation whenever possible. These are available from authorized HS nautical chart sales agents.

Screen captures of the on-line viewable charts available here do NOT fulfill chart carriage requirements for vessels.

Welcome to Marine GeoGarage News

Our website is dedicated to any sailor or mariner who plans to study his next trip at sea, comfortably installed at home.

Marine GeoGarage has figured out a way to overlay a complete set of nautical raster charts over Google Maps.
So nautical charts can be viewed online with advanced quilting process (mosaic image with removed borders -map collars- for a seamless rendering display of multiple charts), zooming in and out, panning in a continuous way for selecting the specified map scale automatically (so the appropriate map), by simply sliding the mouse roll, with full transparency management via layer opacity sliders (for terrestrial maps and orthophoto overlay) and Google local search (marinas, harbour services...)

Marine GeoGarage proposes a feature (without any Login process) where the user can drop waypoints and create custom routes but which can also be saved if the user asks for a free account.

What is really cool about the site is that you can export out those saved routes and move them over directly to your Garmin GPS unit via the Garmin Communicator Plugin.

Marine GeoGarage is world's first nautical charts web portal with data coming from International Hydrographic Services built as a Software as a Service (SaaS) available in free and pay-per-use model.

Marine GeoGarage uses a Freemium business model -mix of ad supported and subscription-, offering these Web services (described above) for free while charging a Chart Premium for accessing to certain nautical charts layers and certain privileges (Ad-Free).
So Marine GeoGarage is and will be sustainably FREE but you need to pay a monthly subscription if you want to access the UK/Canada/Australia charts (and in a next future some other Hydrographic Services additional charts).
The reason is because Marine GeoGarage is required to royalty fees to display them online.

What Marine GeoGarage changes is the concept of nautical electronic charts viewing:
you don't "own" anymore the charts, just "use" them and share them, anytime, anywhere you are via computer, mobile phone or any other Internet enabled personal device.
The Cloud computing part of the service provides some resources in back-end to ensure regular processes for updating the charts.

Enjoy !

Welcome to Marine GeoGarage Blog

Daily press review with marine general thematic

This blog is mainly dedicated to share other sources of news and press articles relative to the maritime world (including marine electronics, ocean conservation, sailing, shipping, underwater adventures, maritime events & industry trends...).
This daily press review (tagged with 'marine' label) is proposed to sea-lovers all over the world having a common passion for exploring this thematic. 

Views expressed in the different articles are the opinions of their original author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the GeoGarage team. 

By the way, this blog (with articles tagged with the separate label 'marinenews') is also dedicated to give tips about the use of the GeoGarage platform and experimentations from international Hydrographic Offices, but also to promote some experimentations lead in parallel by the GeoGarage technical team.

"The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul" -Robert Wyland