ActiveCaptain Locations
Where are my friends?
It's a new type of navigation
ActiveCaptain Locations is a new app based on everything we've learned from the ActiveCaptain Companion apps. This new app is designed to have great capabilities for map and chart display along with data overlays of all types. This first release implements the online version of the mapping model along with a new multichannel data exchange capability that can efficiently share navigation data between users.

Locations shares your GPS data based on your privacy and profile settings in eBoatCards. This version shares data with your friends and nearby ActiveCaptain members. Make sure your Account / Privacy Settings have been set in eBoatCards before using the app.

Do not rely on the information displayed for any type of navigation and don't make any decision based solely on the displays of this app. Enjoy the capabilities and report any problems encountered (a feedback capability is built in under Menu / Feedback).


There are many chart and map options for the basemap display


How to use the app
When the app starts up, you see a Session Mode selection:


Send & Receive mode will receive the latest location data from your friends, group members, and nearby ActiveCaptain users as well as transmit your current location up to the server for sharing. Use this mode when the app is your sole data source to upload your location.

Receive Only mode receives the latest location data from others but it will not send your location to the server for sharing while running this session of the app. Use this mode if there is another device or app uploading your location data already. You should also consider using this mode if you're away from your boat. For example, if you're inland at a restaurant, don't send your current location with this session because it will make your boat switch to the location of the restaurant.

Receive Only mode should also be used if you're using a DeLorme inReach or SPOT Messenger satellite positioning device and it is interfaced to your electronic boat card. In that case, use that device as to report your boat's location and use Receive Only mode when running the apps.



Standard buttons
There are 6 standard buttons which are part of the basic user-interface displayed.

The Menu button provides access to all settings and secondary areas of work. It has the ActiveCaptain login section under Settings, which is required to gain access to all of the location display features.


The Find button allows you to quickly select, sort, and find friends, group members, and nearby ActiveCaptain members.

Use the checkboxes to select which boats to put into the list - Friends, Group, Nearby, and Stationary. A boat is considered stationary if it is moving less than 1 knot or the speed of the boat is unknown.

Use the sort list to select how the boats are sorted - Name, Distance, or Data age.

Tap on a boat in the list to center the selected boat on the map. Tap on the bolded name of the boat to open the boat's electronic boat card in the browser.


The Follow button is only visible when your GPS location is not locked in the center of the screen. Tapping the follow button will center your location and pan the map under your location as you move. The map orientation will automatically rotate based on the Follow mode setting of heading up, course up, or north up. See the Settings section for more information.



The Zoom buttons are only visible when the Zoom buttons setting is ON or for a few seconds after tapping on the map background. These buttons zoom the map as you'd expect. Pinch zoom, rotate, and pan is also supported for multitouch gestures. For more information refer to Settings below.





The Orientation button is only visible when the Zoom buttons setting is ON or for a few seconds after tapping on the map background. There are two types of icons shown in the Orientation button. One shows the rotation of the basemap providing the compass orientation for the up direction on the display. When the basemap is in a north up orientation, the second icon is used to emphasize that the display is north up. Tapping on this button will force the orientation to north up. If follow mode was being used in heading up or course up mode, follow mode will be turned off and the Follow button will appear.



The Menu button
Tapping the Menu button opens a callout for selecting the area of work you'd like to perform. There are 4 sections:

Settings - accesses the various settings and preferences for the app

Layers - controls map and overlay display layers

Messages - provides inbox access and other messaging functions

Help - help, feedback, and about/version information
  • Settings
    • ACTIVECAPTAIN / Login

      In order to take advantage of the features of Locations, you must log in with your ActiveCaptain email address and password. You must also have used your ActiveCaptain account to create an electronic boat card in eBoatCards. All of these accounts can be created for free.

      To create an ActiveCaptain account:
      https://activecaptain.com/register.php

      To create an electronic boat card:
      http://eBoatCards.com

      Once you are logged in, the setting item changes to Logged in.


    • ACTIVECAPTAIN / Session mode

      This setting allows you to change the session mode you selected when the app first starts up to Send & Receive or Receive Only.


    • DISPLAY / User-interface

      Controls the basic size of buttons, icons, and text in the user-interface. If you change the size, it will take effect the next time the app is started.


    • DISPLAY / Keep on (Android and iOS versions only)

      Turn this setting ON to stop the device from turning off its display. Be careful when using this setting and consider only using it when the device is plugged in. Some devices do not respond to this setting and will turn off based on the system settings for the device.


    • DISPLAY / Zoom buttons

      Turn this setting on to always display the zoom and orientation buttons on the basemap display. If this setting is OFF, you must tap the basemap to expose the buttons for a few seconds.


    • DISPLAY / Follow mode

      Controls the way your GPS location will be followed when you tap the Follow button. Course up uses your movement to determine your bearing. Heading up uses a compass sensor, if one exists on the device. North up uses a north orientation when following. If you select Heading up but no heading sensor exists, Locations will switch to course up.


    • SOUNDS / Friend locations

      Plays the changed data sound when one or more of your friends have moved at least 0.1 nm.


    • SOUNDS / Group locations

      Plays the changed data sound when one or more of members of the selected group have moved at least 0.1 nm.


    • SOUNDS / New nearby boats

      Plays the changed data sound when one or more new nearby boats were added to the display.


    • UNITS

      This section controls the units you'd prefer to use for distance, depth, height, and position latitude/longitude.


    • GPS/DATA

      This section allows you to configure GPS and NMEA data to use for setting your own location. Current selections are:

      Internal GPS - use the internal GPS that is built into the device. This will be the typical setting for phones and tablets that have a GPS inside.

      NMEA 0183 over IP - use GPS/NMEA data over the network. This requires a GPS/NMEA server and the IP/server address of the device. Products like PolarView, Coastal Explorer, and OpenCPN can create an NMEA server to share the GPS data they are using. If the NMEA server is running on the same PC, use the Local checkbox. For more information on using and creating an NMEA server, see:
      https://activecaptain.com/locations/nmea_servers.php

      Signal-K - use Signal-K data over the network. Signal-K is the emerging standard for marine electronics data over WiFi. Using this requires a Signal-K server and the IP/server address of the server. If the Signal-K server is running on the same PC, use the Local checkbox. For more information on using and creating a Signal-K server, see:
      https://activecaptain.com/locations/signal-k_servers.php

      USB/Serial (Windows and Mac OSX only) - select the port and baud rate. For most USB and Bluetooth devices, the baud rate is ignored.


  • Layers
    • There are 4 layers in Locations where content is displayed.
      • Basemap

        The basemap is the underlying map or chart that is always shown. Tap the Setup button to select the basemap to use. Currently there are built-in online selections and custom selections. The custom selections allow you to enter a template for other map servers available on the internet. An example is:
        http://tile.stamen.com/watercolor/${z}/${x}/${y}.jpg

        There are many map tile servers on the internet. Locations should be able to access most of them. More information about how to find them and access them will be coming later.


      • Nearby

        The nearby layer contains the ActiveCaptain members who are within 5 nm of your location and are sharing their location with other nearby members. The layer is only displayed when the checkbox is selected.

        Allowing nearby members to see your locations is controlled in eBoatCards under Account / Privacy Settings.


      • Group

        The group layer contains all the members of the group you selected who are sharing their location with the group. By default, group members do not share their location. In order to share your location in a group, go to the eBoatCards group and click the Group Privacy link on the lower left. That allows you to specify whether your location is shared to members of that group.

        The layer is only displayed when the checkbox is selected.

        Tap the Setup button to select the group you have joined from eBoatCards to use for displaying members in this layer. The list of groups you belong to is only loaded when the Locations app first starts so if you join a new group, you will have to restart the app in order for that group to show up in the list for selection in the app.


      • Friends

        The friends layer contains all of your eBoatCards frields who are sharing their location with other friends. The layer is only displayed when the checkbox is selected.

        Allowing friends to see your location is controlled in eBoatCards under Account / Privacy Settings.


    • Messages
      • The messages section will be the gateway to accessing a new Locations messaging system. It ties together multiple messaging platforms to send messages to other members. This system will be the major feature added to the next version of the app.


    • Help
      • The Help section provides a brief help system to assist you in using the app. There is also a feedback section for sending comments back to ActiveCaptain. The About section contains version information, terms of use, and attributions.




Monitoring your friends' locations
The purpose of Locations is to give you a single display where you can view the location of your friends, group members, and nearby boats and follow their movements. When you're running the app, you're optionally uploading your GPS position to the server so that your friends can also see your location.

Friend relationships are defined in your eBoatCards electronic boat card. Find your real friends there through the Resources groups or by searching for boat names you know at the top of the eBoatCards page. Go to their card page and click Add to Friends to submit a friend request. You'll be notified when they've responded to your request.

The display of your location is controlled by your Account / Privacy Settings in eBoatCards. This allows you to determine who can see your location - friends, Sponsors, or any ActiveCaptain members within 5 nm of your location. Make sure you have reviewed those settings.

There are three colors of markers displaying locations.

Friends are displayed with a darker blue marker.

Group members from the selected group are displayed as a dark blue bordered white marker.

ActiveCaptain members who are nearby but aren't in your friend's list are displayed with a lighter blue marker.


There are also three modes for each color of marker giving immediate information about their current state based on the last known information received from the boat.

When an arrow is showing, the boat was last known to be moving. The arrow direction indicates their last known course of travel.

A dot indicates that the boat is not currently moving or the position was manually entered.

The omni-direction icon indicates that the boat was last known to be moving but the course of travel is unknown.


Tapping on a friend, group member, or nearby ActiveCaptain member will display the latest information about their location. It will show the age of the data and their actual speed reported if the boat is moving. If you tap on the bolded name of the boat, the eBoatCard page for that boat will be opened in your default web browser. You must have logged into eBoatCards and requested it to "Keep me logged in" in order for their card to open seamlessly.

This shows the boat is probably anchored. The data was collected by this ActiveCaptain app. And the data was collected at the boat 2 hours ago.

Installation Instructions

iPhone & iPad

ActiveCaptain Locations v1.3 is available in the Apple iTunes app store. Search for ActiveCaptain Locations in the App Store app or go directly to the online preview page at:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/activecaptain-locations/id991573720?mt=8




Android phones & tablets

ActiveCaptain Locations v1.3 is available in the Google Play store. Search for ActiveCaptain Locations or go here:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.ActiveCaptain.ACL.android



Windows

ActiveCaptain Locations v1.3 is installed by downloading and running this installation file:
Locations_v1.3_Windows.msi



Macintosh OSX

ActiveCaptain Locations v1.3 is installed from this zip file:
Locations_v1.3_MacOSX.zip

Download the file, unzip it, and place the resulting ActiveCaptain Locations.app into the Applications directory.





Version history

New features, bug fixes, updates


V1.3

  • Messaging support
  • Unread messages waiting button and counter button added
  • Send message added to boat display callouts when tapped
  • Voice manager implemented
  • Tom & Samantha voices added
  • Optional voice support for new messages and partner messages
  • Additional settings for sounds and voice support
  • Layers/Setup buttons line up with Done button
  • Reduced space for find items displayed
  • Boat display callout added distance display
  • Standardized distance display units for find items and popups
  • If there's no GPS connectivity, it will use your posted location for the red GPS cursor
  • Better detection of profile changes for friends and group members
  • Proper wordwrap of boat name in popup callout
  • Rotation indication reversed to show north location of map
  • Changed NOAA's tileservice server location to released server
  • Changes to Find list scrolls the list to the top
  • Settings, Layers Basemap, and Help lists remember scroll position when returning from submenu
  • Signal K updated for latest API changes (iKommunicate verified)
  • Better detection of profile changes
  • Immediately remove old group members when switching the group selection
  • Help updates


V1.2

  • Send & Receive or Receive Only session mode settings
  • Layer architecture added for all basemap overlays
  • Group layer shows group member locations for selected group
  • Signal-K base support
  • New callout selection for menu button: Settings, Layers, Messages, Help
  • "Use scrollbars" setting option for desktop versions
  • If a member's location data is more than 24 hours old, their icon is drawn as a dot
  • Graphic display of current course in the Find list
  • Added Aqua Map charts as built-in basemap selection choice
  • Added NOAA's tile server as a built-in basemap selection choice
  • Search text entered in Find is not case sensitive
  • Removed blinking issues of moving members that overlap
  • If the basemap is displaying north up, more twisting is needed to rotate
  • Done button consistently put on right side for all menus
  • Help was rewritten
  • Other bug fixes and minor enhancements
  • Normalized main button placement for UI size selection
  • Settings group heading label changes
  • Compass cardinal abbreviations corrected for east vs west
  • Distances shown in nm, km, ft, m based on units preference and distance
  • Layers selection for Baseman, Nearby, Group, Friends
  • Group layer selection and display
  • Fixed encoding errors when an apostrophe existed in the full name
  • Find boats updated to handle finding group members and layer control
  • Better detection of processing a previous heartbeat to not start another
  • Better handling of undefined COG
  • COG fixed in Android where possible timing problem gave incorrect data at times
  • Nearby sound logic fix when basemap is zoomed out far
  • Member details don't spill over side of callout display
  • Added sound setting for new and moved group members
  • Session mode request before app starts
  • Server notification when a friend was removed or a group was unjoined

V1.0

  • Initial release