How to receive AIS targets on your tablet with Navionics ?

How to receive AIS targets on your tablet with Navionics ?

Navionics (Garmin Group) is known to be one of the best navigational aid tools. Whether on iPad or Android tablets, everyone agrees on the ease of use of the maps and the functionalities of this application.

However, a question was remaining: how is it possible to connect AIS to Navionics? Well, no AIS target could be displayed on Navionics charts even if you had an AIS receiver on board! So you had to go through third party applications, some of which can – for a subscription in addition to Navionics – retrieve Navionics charts to display AIS targets on top of them. So it was getting complicated, especially when competitors like iNavX, for example, had been doing this natively for ages.

No doubt Navionics had been working on this feature for a while. A few days ago the group finally announced the good news: Navionics can now display AIS targets!

How to activate the AIS function in Navionics on your tablet or mobile phone?

1/ You obviously need to download the “Boating” application (this is the name of the application developed by Navionics). You also need to take out a subscription as the functionality is not available on the free part of the Navionics application.
2/ Go to Menu => Maps settings  => and turn on the “AIS Target” option to activate it.

How to connect AIS to Navionics on your tablet or mobile?

The application must be able to connect to an AIS Wi-Fi receiver that you have on board. There are two important points here :
– If you are equipped with an AIS receiver acting as a Wi-Fi Multiplexer, then you can directly connect your tablet or cell phone to your AIS receiver.
– If your AIS receiver is not broadcasting over the Wi-Fi network, then you must go through a gateway to receive AIS information on your tablet or cell phone.

If you don’t have a tablet yet and you want to know which is the best navigation tablet of the moment, don’t hesitate to read the article we published a little while ago!

AIS receivers broadcasting natively in Wi-Fi

The following receivers are equipped with a Wi-Fi multiplexer and require nothing more for you to receive AIS positions on your tablet or mobile.

 Vesper Marine – WatchMateAlltek Marine – Camino, WideLink  McMurdo – SmartFindTrue Heading – Graphene w/ Wi-Fi 
 Trenz – Pilot Plug Cenkin – CP4 GlobPilot – WiFIAisEasyAis – EasyTRX2S 
 Ocean Signal – ATB1 em-track Comar 

AIS receivers that do not broadcast natively in Wi-Fi

If your AIS receiver does not broadcast natively in Wi-Fi, nothing is lost! Of course, it all depends on your electronic equipment, but the options available to you are as follows:

– Go through a NMEA 0183 Wi-Fi gateway. The Digital Yacht WLN10 gateway for example. Navionics lists other gateways, such as the Yakbitz, the Miniplex 3 from Shipmodul, Yach Devices products, PilotsTech or Navicom Dynamics products.

– You may not know it, but your plotter may already be equipped with Wi-Fi! If so, then you don’t need anything else, it will take care of the AIS information broadcast over Wi-Fi. The models concerned are the :

Zeus3 7, 9, 12 and 16, Vulcan 5, 7, 9 and 12 at B&G
HDS LIVE 7, 9, 12, and 16, HDS Carbon 7, 9, 12, and 16, HDS Gen3 7, 9, and 12, Elite Ti2 7, 9, and 12, Elite Ti 5, 7, 9, and 12 at Lowrance
NSS evo3 7, 9, 12, and 16, GO XSR 7; GO XSE 5, 7, 9, 12; GO 7, 9, 12. at Simrad

 Once this gateway is connected, the AIS data will be transmitted over Wi-Fi so you can receive it on your tablets and smartphones.

– And if finally your tracker is not natively equipped with Wi-Fi, the GoFree WIFI-1 Module allows you to add Wi-Fi functionality to some B&G, Lowrance and Simrad devices.

How to configure Navionics to display AIS targets?

Once the hardware is ready to transmit the AIS positions, you need to connect your tablet or smartphone to the Wi-Fi network broadcasting the AIS targets.

Note: You do not need an internet connection to display AIS targets! The data passes directly over a local network between the AIS receiver and the tablet / smartphone.

Go to Menu => Connect Instrument => Open Wi-Fi settings, to connect the AIS to Navionics :

Connecter l'AIS à Navionics

Your tablet or smartphone will send you to your Wi-Fi settings and you should be able to find a Wi-Fi network in the name of your AIS receiver (or gateway if your receiver is not directly equipped with Wi-Fi). In our case, we have a “Vesper XB” equipped with a Wi-Fi multiplexer. We select it and enter the password :

Reglages-Wifi Vesper

That’s it, we have now connected the AIS to Navionics. So we’re connected in Wi-Fi to our AIS receiver, we can go back to the application. Navionics indicates that it is receiving AIS frames:

Le Vesper est maintenant connecte !

If we look at the map, we now see the other boats! Magic this Navionics eh? In light green the boats at anchor or at dock, in darker green the boats in navigation.

Like all points on the Navionics map, it is possible to have more information about a boat by clicking on it: its speed, name, MMSI among others.

We hope you enjoyed this mini tutorial on “How to connect AIS to Navionics for your tablet or smartphone“. If you still have questions or problems, this is what the comments are for! 

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