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How about a satellite IoT solution tied to OpenPlotter?
#1
Hello from (very rainy) San Francisco!!!

I am Peter, the designer of MAIANA. Now that the Open Source marine space has an AIS transponder option, I'm starting to think about the "next thing", and satellite connectivity caught my eye.

Seems that most people pay through the nose for things like Iridium, which is kind of silly when you think about the fact that we have literally thousands of nanosats from a multitude of companies at low earth orbit these days (in fact, LOE is getting congested). So I started looking at this half jokingly and half seriously, and as it turns out, I believe there is a path ...

Let me outline what I think is possible first. We're not talking Starlink and Netflix streaming in the middle of the Northern Atlantic here, OK?   Big Grin

I think it is possible to do the following:

  1. While a boat is moored, it can send just shy of 1KB of telemetry data per day anywhere on earth. JSON is definitely not the right format for this, so we'll need some clever compression (not a big problem I think)
  2. While a boat is sailing offshore, it can send its track daily (to share with family and friends) and get the latest weather prediction in response. Don't think full GRIBs of the ocean here, just what's expected along the route. I would need to know COG, SOG, recent track and expected waypoints. I'm pretty sure I figured out how to encode enough data into the daily downlink bandwidth I can get (which is smaller than the uplink). There will be some software magic on both sides of the link, but it's doable.
In terms of weather, I have at least 2 options: a) Using the NOAA data set and b) Using Spire (same source as PredictWind).


I believe that I can deliver this for about $120-$200 annually, depending on which weather data set we go with. But that's the catch, it has to be annual.

In terms of hardware, I am pretty sure I can supply a transceiver kit for about $200 (again, that's ballpark). It will be something like the AIS unit, mounted outside, and connected to the Pi via a USB breakout + 12V power.

What do you think?
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#2
(2022-01-06, 10:23 PM)maverick Wrote: Hello from (very rainy) San Francisco!!!

I am Peter, the designer of MAIANA. Now that the Open Source marine space has an AIS transponder option, I'm starting to think about the "next thing", and satellite connectivity caught my eye.

Seems that most people pay through the nose for things like Iridium, which is kind of silly when you think about the fact that we have literally thousands of nanosats from a multitude of companies at low earth orbit these days (in fact, LOE is getting congested). So I started looking at this half jokingly and half seriously, and as it turns out, I believe there is a path ...

Let me outline what I think is possible first. We're not talking Starlink and Netflix streaming in the middle of the Northern Atlantic here, OK?   Big Grin

I think it is possible to do the following:

  1. While a boat is moored, it can send just shy of 1KB of telemetry data per day anywhere on earth. JSON is definitely not the right format for this, so we'll need some clever compression (not a big problem I think)
  2. While a boat is sailing offshore, it can send its track daily (to share with family and friends) and get the latest weather prediction in response. Don't think full GRIBs of the ocean here, just what's expected along the route. I would need to know COG, SOG, recent track and expected waypoints. I'm pretty sure I figured out how to encode enough data into the daily downlink bandwidth I can get (which is smaller than the uplink). There will be some software magic on both sides of the link, but it's doable.
In terms of weather, I have at least 2 options: a) Using the NOAA data set and b) Using Spire (same source as PredictWind).


I believe that I can deliver this for about $120-$200 annually, depending on which weather data set we go with. But that's the catch, it has to be annual.

In terms of hardware, I am pretty sure I can supply a transceiver kit for about $200 (again, that's ballpark). It will be something like the AIS unit, mounted outside, and connected to the Pi via a USB breakout + 12V power.

What do you think?

One more idea which might have more market:

LoRa GPS dinghy tracker

2 devices:
One: waterproof LoRa transmitter with GPS and some MCU, waterproof and solar charged
Second: Cabin LoRa receiver with MCU producing AIS NMEA sentences for each dinghy location via USB serial or WiFi to a chartplotter.
Boat can have several dinghies so several transmitters would be needed.
This can be really cost effective solution compared to other asset tracking 4G/LTE/satellite
SeeedStudio has a prototype which is pretty close to complete solution

https://www.seeedstudio.com/LoRa-GPS-Tra...-5182.html

Instead of dinghy if transmitter is built-in into sailor's clothes (colar) it can be even safety feature. Solar panels can be epaulettes sewn into sailor's jacket.
Just an idea

Thanks
Download BBN Marine OS for raspberry pi 

https://bareboat-necessities.github.io/m...at-os.html
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#3
I think it's either the 5th or 6th time in the past few months that people have mentioned the need for a PLB-like device. I even had an artist in Germany ask me for something like this for one of his projects ...

What's the main use case? And why LORA? Care to elaborate?
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#4
(2022-01-09, 04:13 AM)maverick Wrote: I think it's either the 5th or 6th time in the past few months that people have mentioned the need for a PLB-like device. I even had an artist in Germany ask me for something like this for one of his projects ...

What's the main use case? And why LORA? Care to elaborate?

I think use cases were explained even in post before. 
Dinghy locator. (Example captain stays on the boat but inexperienced guests go on a dinghy to shore
and they coming back at night and not too sober. Common use case.)
Asset tracker. Let me add

LoRa is license free even to transmit. Distances up to 10km or so.
Transmitter is low power can work on batteries for years. 
Low cost. No subscription cost like with other GPS trackers. 

Realistically good for tracking any assets from mother ship as
they do not move away from it too far. LoRa range would cover it.
Download BBN Marine OS for raspberry pi 

https://bareboat-necessities.github.io/m...at-os.html
Reply
#5
The first one (satellite tracking) could reasonably compete with existing solutions in that space like the InReach and the SPOT. One aspect of these commercial solutions is the immediacy at which they can sent out "SMS" signals, which I think will be hard to replicate without a full "shell" of satellites.

I assume what you have in mind is just one satellite in a polar sun-synchronous orbit, right? That orbit passes over the whole earth twice every day, so it's a good choice to give intermittent but global coverage with only one sat. Bonus point is that higher latitudes get better coverage, which I think is good for these people who venture off the beaten path.

Anyway, I think 200$/200$ is a darn good price-point for that kind of global telemetry.

One concern is that this will _have_ to go through a centralized entity (even if non-profit), unless you want to launch your own sat.

Regarding the dinghy locator idea, why not just re-package a MAIANA? That way other ships don't run you over in your dinghy.
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#6
(2022-01-12, 08:45 PM)emilecantin Wrote: The first one (satellite tracking) could reasonably compete with existing solutions in that space like the InReach and the SPOT. One aspect of these commercial solutions is the immediacy at which they can sent out "SMS" signals, which I think will be hard to replicate without a full "shell" of satellites.

I assume what you have in mind is just one satellite in a polar sun-synchronous orbit, right? That orbit passes over the whole earth twice every day, so it's a good choice to give intermittent but global coverage with only one sat. Bonus point is that higher latitudes get better coverage, which I think is good for these people who venture off the beaten path.

Anyway, I think 200$/200$ is a darn good price-point for that kind of global telemetry.

One concern is that this will _have_ to go through a centralized entity (even if non-profit), unless you want to launch your own sat.

Regarding the dinghy locator idea, why not just re-package a MAIANA? That way other ships don't run you over in your dinghy.

Actually, the constellation that I'm thinking of is already in place and I'm currently DXing with. It's not fully built out yet, so I see 5-6 hour gaps on occasion, but I am very confident that by Q4 of this year it will be complete since someone with deep pockets just bought it last year. And, yes, they will only deal with a commercial entity (which I have).

You're right, LOE cube sats cannot offer real-time service, but this isn't strictly necessary. AFAIK, all those devices you mentioned require explicit operation to share your location. This would do it automatically, several times per day, and get back weather forecasts in response. And, unlike AIS, it is secure and private so you won't have to worry about pirates spotting you Smile

Besides a dedicated tracking page for family and friends, I'm also thinking of a dedicated, 24x7 phone number that will answer that phone call you hope is never going to be made ... the one following your EPIRB activation. I don't know if you're aware of this, but at least for NOAA-registered beacons, the Coast Guard will need to get some additional confirmation that you're really out there before initiating search and rescue. I've heard many calls on Channel 16 asking if anyone knows anything about vessel "xxxx" which shows an EPIRB activation. That's what happens when the primary phone contact for a beacon does not answer that phone call. The result? Many valuable hours wasted.
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