GPS and Internet

Why does Seapilot (in iOS) not present position from my Bluetooth-GPS?

When Apple in April 2015 released iOS 8.3 many users soon found out that there is a bug preventing position information from Bluetooth GPS devices being fed into most GPS-dependent apps.

The problem has been experienced worldwide by GPS manufacturers, app-developers, boaters, pilots and any user with iPad depending on external Bluetooth-GPS. The bug is not affecting data from built-in GPS-receivers, and note even all external (but most) Bluetooth-GPS.

Apple was early notified, and is said to have worked out a fix for this in forthcoming update – iOS 8.4, expected to be released in June 2015.

Check for FAQ or other info on your GPS-manufacturers web, for updated info.

Do I need Internet coverage for Seapilot to display AIS targets?

Yes, to see AIS targets, Internet is required (Mobile network or WiFi), unless you attach your Seapilot device via WiFi-NMEA to a local AIS-transponder onboard your vessel.

Seapilot supports NMEA, by which you can receive and display AIS data from any other AIS-transponder within VHF-radio coverage from your boat.

Do I need Internet coverage for the GPS function in Seapilot?

No, provided your device supports GPS data (built in or externally attached sensor), no Internet connection is required for navigation. The GPS signals are received directly from GPS satellites, not via the Internet. Most tablet or smartphone models with 3G (space for SIM card) are also equipped with built in GPS-receiver. Other models may require input from external GPS sensor attached, for secure localization and navigation.

As soon as you have installed your purchased charts, internet coverage (via cellular network or WiFi) is only required for certain extra funcionality  in Seapilot, like “Internet-AIS” and “Weather forecast”.

Can I connect external GPS receivers to a device that lacks built in GPS receiver?

Yes, new GPS products appear on an ever-extending market. With an external GPS connected via WiFi and NMEA interface, navigation with your Seapilot-device will function with optimal accuracy.
You may also find different kinds of external GPS sensors on the market, e.g. for Bluetooth-connection.
Due to the complexity in possible combination of different devices of different brands, Seapilot cannot provide support for, or recommend, any specific third party product or solution.
Before purchasing, make sure such third party product actually supports communicating properly with apps in your specific Seapilot device.

Please note, an older GPS receiver working without problem as attached to a traditional nav-application in PC, might not be able to feed Seapilot with GPS-data. Seapilot is an “app” with the special requirements that come with all apps available in app stores. Apps do not support data communication via serial ports etc, in the way traditional PC-programs normally do.

What is the margin of error on the GPS position displayed in Seapilot?

It all depends on the GPS-receiver used.

The average accuracy, or margin of error, from a built-in GPS-receiver in your smartphone/tablet, is normally within 10-20 meters (30-60 feet).

A Bluetooth-connected external GPS may improve accuracy to below 5 meters (15 feet)

If using e.g. the Seapilot Vector GPS Compass connected via NMEA to your Seapilot device, this provides accuracies of 0.5-1m (2-3 feet).

Internet connection, via cellular/3G or WiFi, will help speeding up determination of “first fix” to GPS-satellites, as well as providing additional location data when within cellular coverage.

Out in open sea however, you will depend entirely on dedicated positioning signals from GPS-satellites in orbit up in sky, and thus a GPS-receiver is necessary – built-in or externally connected.

Why doesn’t the positioning in Seapilot work on my tablet or phone?

In order to avoid hazardous risks in navigation, Seapilot verifies if the position-data received is within required accuracy. Without accurate GPS-input, Seapilot will only present dashes instead of figures as own position, rather than fooling you with a false position.

Make sure you your device does have proper GPS-data input (built in, or attached GPS receiver). Also make sure that Localization Services in your device is turned on, in general settings as well as for Seapilot as specific app.

Why does the instrument displaying Own Position, sometimes turn to red?

If accuracy of own position according to GPS-input received is within 20 meters, the instrument is white. If the instrument turns red, this is to caution you of accuracy of more than 20 meters.
Disappeared value of Own Position, indicates either that your GPS is not feeding Seapilot with data, or a useless/hazardous accuracy of more than 100 meters – a position not to rely on when navigating, therefor disregarded.

Does Seapilot work on all tablets and phones?

Seapilot is available for iOS and Android devices.  The processor and graphics engine in an older device might be less powerful which may cause the chart experience to be “sluggish” when panning / zooming. Due to the enormous amount of device models in use, it is impossible to define exactly which device will work and which will not. However, oldest platform (OS)-versions supported by Seapilot are: (iOS 5.2 / Android 4.0.3 ICS).