Navigation with iPad trainings : a complete solution

With Weather4D PRO and Iridium Mail, associated with a satellite phone Iridium, we now have a complete solution, reliable and low cost to receive, display and manage GRIB files in open seas with iPad.
iNavX and Navionics cartography also provide a complete navigation solution, supporting files transfers with Weather4D PRO : GRIB, routes, tracks, that allows simultaneous display in both applications.

These solutions, fully complementary and mutually consistent, were tested on more 2800 NM in the automn during a crossing from Canaria to the Caribbean, on board Catana 47 " Gust ", token place in ARC rally 2011. In addition, Olivier Bouyssou was able to improve his Weather4D Pro application "over time", correcting, adding and optimizing daily development onboard.

Travail intense à bord de "Rafale"

Intense work aboard "Rafale"

Christophe Mahé skipper, developer Olivier Bouyssou, and I, were able to implement a daily basis following hardware and software.

We had :

  • Two Iridium phones (9505a et 9555)
  • An external antenna connected to the 9505A
  • A flat magnetic antenna for 9555
  • Iridium AxcessPoint router provided by GMN (*)
  • Un iPad 1 (wifi 3G)
  • Two iPad 2 (wifi 3G)
  • One iPhone 3GS
  • One iPhone 4

And applications for iPad / iPhone :

  • iNavX
  • Weather4D PRO (The first version was published on 22 November)
  • Iridium Mail & Web app
  • Files Connect (for files transfer between our touchpads, smartphones and MacBook onboard).

The hardware in order to work

Responsible for testing AxcessPoint for Global Marine Network (*), application designer of Iridium Mail iPad / iPhone on behalf of Iridium, Olivier was also able to test the quality and connection times, depending on the type of antenna used, and test the usability of the application.

Luis Soltero, director of GMN, sent us this e-mail :

" You are getting amazing transfer rates over Iridium […] at 58 K in 3 minutes, that is a raw throughput speed of 3118 bps significantly higher than the 2400 bps.
Note that this is not the effective throughput which was 4700 bps for this transaction, but the transfer of the raw data. That is about the highest figure raw transfer rate I've ever seen over Iridium. Very impressive, if I may say so myself.
Luis Soltero, Ph.D., MCS
Director of Software Development, CTO
Global Marine Networks, LLC "

The implementation of these devices will be detailed in future articles on this blog.
We can already confirm that the solution set works on both iPad iPhone, including with my "old" 3GS.

Be patient and stay tuned…

(*) Global Marine Network


9 Replies to “Navigation sur iPad : a complete solution”

  1. We just finished the same deckchair in St Lucia, and by the lack of wind at the end was awesome. What to do …
    For the weather we have used both gribs via Iridium or received via Sailmail.
    For cons for files and synoptic forecasts by zone or area meta-, satellite images and other we have used only functions provided by Sailmail mode weather fax or mail to request specific files.
    How did you recupre files T0 and a synoptic forecast, a 12, 24and h?
    While the gribs are a must to get the wind but what will happen are not always sufficient.
    I guess you have charge via the Iridium by queries (NOAA or other sepcifiques).
    Are you still in St. Lucia?
    The pontoon boat is on the E2 (UFO 445 red), If you have time for a drink …

    1. On the server Navimail from Meteo France, we were able to get free maps and Analy frontology PREISO to 12, 24, 36 or 48 heures.Cependant these cards weigh 110 to 130 KB, which is much (too) for transmission Iridium.

  2. Given the performance in terms of speed can you give us the cost in terms of communication iridium
    Or duration of use to communicate files with Weather 4dpro
    Thank you for all the info

    1. I am unable to give you an accurate cost, let's be serious ! What I can say, on the other hand, over two weeks we practically halved the communication minutes compared to traditional "blind" connections, without knowledge of the passages of the satellites. The 25 euros de Weather4D PRO sont vite amortis !

  3. strongly the next info, it looks promising.
    good end of year 2011 and thank you, Francis, for all the info especially clear and well documented.

  4. Hello,

    I have a very basic, but to which I can not find an answer: Is it necessary to have a sim card (on or off) in order to use iPad iNavX ?

    I intend to use an iPad for coastal navigation, but I do not want to take a subscription with. So I'll buy my iPad without SIM Card. Could I use it as-is, or do I need to 'activate it one way or another with a sim card?

    Thank you

  5. We were waiting for your arrival strongly since the release of the AxcessPoint, no one really speaks nowhere …
    Strongly the rest of this article because it is much to want to lighten our computer.
    Some outstanding issues in cons :
    It is there a limit to the number of devices connected to the AxcessPoint ?
    Is it the router at the same time (to transfer files between iDevice) ?
    He seems to be compatible with older phone models iridium, you it works as fast ?
    And I have lots of other, but it is likely to respond to the next post …
    Made in, will you be back for Nautic ?
    Good end of trip you all and welcome back…

    1. The AxcessPoint is a full featured wifi router. You can have any number of devices connected to it at any time. Since its a router you can use it to share data between computers. Just like you would at home or in the office. You do not have to have the satelite phone hooked up to use the router. The router uses DHCP to supply IP addresses to devices on the network.

      When using the satellite link only one AxcessPoint mail session user at a time is allowed over the satellite link. However, all users can have access if they wait their turn.

      One of the best things about the device is its built in firewall. The firewall is configured to block all traffic going over the satellite link except email and compresses web browsing. This is why the team was able to get such good performance. They were able to get their grib files in just a few minutes of connection time.

      The AxcessPoint works with all iOS devices using v 4.0 or newer. It also works with Mac OS X 10.5 and newer and also with Windows PC XP or newer.

      Take care.


      Luis Soltero, Ph.D., MCS
      Director of Software Development, CTO
      Global Marine Networks, LLC
      StarPilot, LLC
      Tel: 865-379-8723
      Fax: 865-681-5017


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