Enhance Your Marine Navigation With Crowdsourcing Technology

Enhance Your Marine Navigation With Crowdsourcing Technology

Introduction to TimeZero and Marine Crowdsourcing

TimeZero pulls together data for ultra-efficiency.

Crowdsourcing is a powerful way to gather and organize data and make marine navigation safer and better. For example, if you are underway and can make a note using a marine app about a new and present danger, like a partially sunk boat along a well-traveled waterway, that information could avert a disaster.

One definition of crowdsourcing is “the practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.”

Marine navigation crowdsourcing can work when a company like TimeZero, the maker of the PC-based software TZ Professional and TZ Navigator, cartography TZ Maps and the TZ iBoat app, utilizes the increasing connectivity made possible by the Internet, mobile networks, and smartphones.

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Key Features of TimeZero’s Navigation Software

“Users can access their personal interface, such as My TIMEZERO, for online services,” explains Frederic Algalarrondo, sales and marketing director for TimeZero. “That includes free weather forecasts, the TZ Cloud ecosystem and synchronization, the TZ iBoat iOS app, and access to the TZ Community. User comments, photos, and ratings are recorded with the aim of creating a community database that will allow you to discover moorings that combine beauty and comfort.”

TZ Navigator PC software was designed for recreational boaters’ needs. The software can take you from leisurely cruising on your powerboat or sailing boat to racing in regattas. 

“TZ Navigator offers seamless integration with your Furuno radar and sounder,” says Algalarrondo. “In addition, TZ Professional, created for professional seafarers, and TZ Navigator, are now compatible with our new TZ MAPS, which include both Vector and Raster formats as standard for improved compatibility.”

TZ MAPS is TIMEZERO’s new development in maritime cartography with high-resolution satellite photos and bathymetry. It also offers Dynamic Mooring that automatically classifies nearby anchorages based on weather forecasts and topology. A color code (Red, Orange, Green) is used to quickly advise the user dynamically of upcoming wind direction to optimize the comfort of your anchorage. 

“What’s also beneficial is that this data is also available on our TZ iBoat app,” adds Algalarrondo. “We believe that our TZ iBoat app is very user friendly and does not require a lot of time to get comfortable with. To help our customers, we also organize online training sessions for all the TZ products on a regular basis.”

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Community Contributions: Marine Navigation Crowdsourcing

Regarding crowdsourcing and the TimeZero community, TZ Maps collates data from tens of thousands of users around the world. TZ MAPS allows you to edit the different chart objects in order to benefit from the most reliable and precise information. 

“When a TZ Maps user makes changes to a buoy’s information, the modifications will be automatically submitted for other users present in the area to vote on,” Algalarrondo says. “If the feedback is positive, we will validate and make the new data available to our entire community. An essential and, above all, unique aspect of this function is that this includes photos, comments, and ratings.”

TimeZero users can take photos of objects like lighthouses, buoys, and reefs and document them by adding comments, for example, noting a “dangerous rock at low tide.” Having access to this information will become standard when mapping out a route.

Other important features with TZ Maps includes BathyVision, Smart Search, and Smart Zone. BathyVision allows the user to display bottom data dynamically, including color depth shading. The user can then configure both the density of contour lines and associated shading, perhaps to precisely identify an excellent fishing area.

Smart Search is a search engine seamlessly incorporated into all TZ products. It allows users to effortlessly locate various forms of information within TZ Maps charts, such as tide stations, geological formations, buoys, and objects within the user’s database.

Smart Zone is a utility that enables users to establish an alert mechanism for when their vessel enters or exits a designated region on the nautical chart, such as a restricted area. Users have complete flexibility to configure the types of zones that trigger alerts. Plus, there is an option to display a dedicated NavData list of all the areas within which the vessel is situated.

Navigating with Confidence: TimeZero’s Smart Solutions

TZ Navigator and TZ Professional come with extra benefits, including Smart Radar and Trips. In Smart Radar mode, the system uses vector chart data and AIS/ARPA targets to discriminate radar echoes, allowing you to focus on “unknown objects” to improve situational awareness. “To clearly identify echoes from buoys or AIS targets, it is possible to customize the associated radar color,” explains Algalarrondo. “This function is only available with selected Furuno radars.”

The Trip function records all the user’s data (such as position, speed, depth, wind) and combines them with any photos, catches, or events you may have created during your navigation. Trips displays directly on the chart and can also be viewed from a list where statistics (duration, distance, average speed, speed graph) are displayed together with your photos, events, and catches. When a Trip is selected, you can replay it on the chart using the time bar located at the bottom of the screen.

Navigation is key to a safe and economical voyage, and TIMEZERO has designed a solution to give boaters the best maritime information available. 

-by Doug Thompson

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