iNavX has been been one of the most popular marine navigation apps for iOS devices for years and in this article we are providing detailed instructions for configuring the devices and iNavX.
iNavX has a number of advanced features and has always supported the display of AIS targets overlaid on raster or vector navigation charts. In addition to AIS support, iNavX includes an anchor alarm, collision alarms and the ability to display additional vessel information such as heading and depth. Selecting the AIS vessel icon displays additional information about the target. One subscription will allow the user to install and use iNavX on both iPads and iPhones. The iNavX app can use a variety of chart types with the NOAA raster charts for the US included with the iNavX subscription. Navionics vector charts are also available for an additional charge.
Fortunately, it is pretty straight forward to get AIS to work with iNavX. For this article, I will use the popular AMEC B600W SOTDMA Class B AIS Transponder with Wi-Fi support as the device connected to the iNavX app. The same steps can be used to configure the AMEC CAMINO-108W CSTDMA Class B AIS Transponder as well.
To start, make sure you have the latest version of the iNavX app installed on your iOS device.
Next we’ll assume you have installed an AMEC B600W on your boat using the Wi-Fi Access Point defaults. The B600W creates its own Wi-Fi network to broadcast AIS and GPS NMEA data to mobile devices that join its network and passes the data to supported apps. The B600W can also join other pre-existing Wi-Fi networks on your boat using Client Mode but for this exercise, we’ll assume you use the default setup.
If you have connected the B600W to a NMEA 2000 network and have other sensor data such as depth on the network or other NMEA 0183 devices, this data can also be passed iNavX and other apps that support marine data beyond just GPS and AIS. If you want to gateway and multiplex data from other devices such as depth sensors, be sure to turn on that feature using the AMEC AIS Configuration program which is available for a Windows-based PC or a Mac. After connecting to the B600W, click on “More…” in the top left Configuration quadrant, then “More…” in the “Advanced Configuration” section in the bottom right and check the box for “Enable NMEA converter”.
Now, assuming you are using the default Wi-Fi settings on the B600W, join your mobile device to the “AIS-WiFi” Wi-Fi network using the settings app on your mobile device. For example, on an iOS device the screen would look like this:
Note the B600W “AIS-WiFi” network has no password by default. You can use the AIS Configuration program to set a password if you like.
Now that your mobile device is joined to the B600W network, it is time to launch the iNavX app.
In the iNavX app, click on “Instruments” on the bottom menu bar, then click on "TCP/IP" in the top left corner. On the TCP/IP screen, you will want to enter the following:
- Select "TCP" at the top of the screen
- In "Host" field, enter 192.168.2.1
- In the "Port" field, enter 3333
- Turn off "Location Services" if it is on as the B600W will be providing the position information to the app.
- Now, slide the "Link" control near the top of the page to the right so that it is highlighted green.
- You should see green NMEA message text start scrolling with a black background at the bottom of the page. If you don't double check the settings in steps 1 to 5 above.
- Click on "Done" on the top left to save your changes.
Now go back to the chart display by clicking on “Chart” on the bottom left.
You should now see your iNavX chart screen with magenta or brown AIS ship icons with brown boxes showing MMSI or vessel names. If you want your own vessel in the center of the chart, click on the arrow in the circle on the bottom left. Your vessel should show up with a blue triangle if moving or a blue circle if not moving.
Note as this image shows, there is one very annoying "feature" with iNavX which is the display of charts and AIS targets are always oriented north up, even if you have your display set to display heading up. Perhaps if you find this as unhelpful as I do, send feedback to the iNavX development team.
If you click on a AIS vessel icon you will see more detailed information on the AIS vessel. In some cases, you will only see the vessel MMSI number and not the vessel name. It may take up to 6 minutes for the full vessel information to be displayed. Note, in the image below we are viewing a portion of the AIS vessel info. You can scroll the vessel info box to view more attributes.
You will also see additional vessel information such as your speed and course over ground in the ribbon on the top of the screen. If you have multiplexed depth, heading, wind, water temperature and other data in the Wi-Fi data stream coming from the B600W, then you will also see that information on the top ribbon which can be scrolled right and left.
You can also see this information if you click on "Instruments" in the bottom menu.
The setup is very similar for other supported AIS devices such as the Vesper Marine XB8000, the AMEC CAMINO-108W and the WiFi-enabled models of em-trak B900 series (i.e. B922, B924, B952, B954). We have tested each of these with the iNavX app and each worked in a similar way, i.e. connect to the Wi-Fi network broadcast by the AIS device and then launch the iNavX app and configure the network properties that are appropriate for your AIS device. Other Wi-Fi gateway devices, such as the Comar i320w should also work in a similar way.
It is also possible to use the B600W in client mode and join it to another WiFi network on your boat. For example, on my own boat, I have joined my B600W to my Garmin Wi-Fi network which means I have a non-standard IP address. By using the AIS Configuration program I was able to join the Garmin network and note the new IP address assigned by the Garmin network. I then enter that new IP address on the TCP/IP screen. Then be sure to click “Done” on the top left.
That’s it. If you are not seeing AIS targets, ensure that a) your B600W is on b) you are connected to the “AIS-WiFi” network and c) check the TCP/IP screen in iNavX to make sure the "Link" slider is on and it sees your device.
Enjoy and Safe Boating!