Thursday, June 27, 2013

LINZ NZ launches app to report sea hazards

 Datacom and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) today announced the release of an industry first mobile maritime application called ‘Hnotes’, which can be used to streamline the reporting process for hazards out at sea.
Currently, mariners are requested to notify the New Zealand Hydrographic Authority at LINZ when new or suspected dangers to navigation are discovered.
Mariners complete an online process and this information is then sent to a dedicated address that determines the immediacy of the response.

A new smartphone app that streamlines the reporting process for hazards at sea is now available for download thanks to a collaboration between IT company Datacom and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

‘Hydrographic Notes’ – or ‘HNotes’ – allows users to photograph hazards at sea, note the location, and send the information to the New Zealand Hydrographic Authority (NZHA) at LINZ to be reported to the maritime community.

NZHA Manager Andrea McDonald is excited about the product, and the flexibility that it offers to mariners.
“We encourage mariners to report hazards, and issues with charts or navigation, to the NZHA.  However this is currently a manual process – limited by the need for mariners to return to land to report hazards either online, or by fax or phone.
“But ‘HNotes’ streamlines this process by giving mariners the ability to record hazards while they’re still faced with them – while they’re in the moment – and then report them to the NZHA.”

Developed by Datacom in consultation with the NZHA, ‘HNotes’ is the first cab off the rank in a number of planned LINZ smartphone applications.
As part of the ongoing Datacom-LINZ partnership, the ‘Ideas and Concepts Forum’ Innovation programme has been developed to identify and develop industry-leading mobile applications.
Datacom New Zealand CEO Greg Davidson says the mobile maritime app is the first of a suite of applications identified and designed through the Datacom-LINZ innovation programme, "The app has been designed to allow people to report hazards immediately on a multitude of devices using Apple iOS, Google Android and Blackberry."
LINZ chief executive Peter Mersi says that, with the increasing popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices, it made sense to create apps like Hnote.
"Everyone seems to have a smartphone these days, so it seems sensible to take advantage of this technology.
"This app will enable mariners to report hazards and issues with charts or navigation to the NZHA while they’re still faced with them - rather than having to wait until they get back on dry land."

The mobile maritime app can be used far out to sea, as it stores information locally until the user is back in range of a network.
“Smartphones are increasingly commonplace these days, and it seems sensible to take advantage of this.  The application is free, and is available for both Apple and Android devices.”
‘HNotes’ is suitable for iPhone, iPad, and for Android devices on the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and above.  It can be downloaded, free of charge, from the Google Play or iTunes store.

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