Actisense NGT-1

Fugawi Offers Avia Instrument Display Software

Fugawi's Avia Motor Pro Instrument Software

Fugawi's Avia Motor Pro Instrument Software

Fugawi announced today the availability of its new Avia Motor and Avia Sail instrument software.  If you have NMEA 0183 or 2000 data streams, you can use this software to set up a nice monitor configuration that suits your preference.  The software will read 0183 data via a standard serial port input, or using an Actisense USG-1 Serial Gateway that will emulate a serial port in a USB plug.  For NMEA 2000 data, an Actisense NGT-1 NMEA 2000 t0 PC gateway is required. 

One of the neatest things about this is how Fugawi illustrated the software in action — on an HP Tablet PC.  Tablets may have a ways to go before we can all use them in bright sunlight on the flybridge, but in the pilothouse they’re going to be a real boon, soon.  See our piece by Christine Kling on the iPad’s utility aboard a boat for some examples.  Although the Avia software is only available in a Windows version now, I would be surprised if Fugawi doesn’t offer a Mac version somewhere down the road.  Fugawi already offers its iMap Topo Software for iPhones and iPads, compatible even with the latest iOS4 operating system.  And X-Traverse is also iPad compatible.

The Avia software comes in both Lite and Pro versions, for both “Motor” and “Sail” applications.  The Pro versions include more instrument templates and accommodate dual engines and some overlay capabilities.  Interestingly, even though I’m a powerboater, I might choose the “Sail” version because of its integration of wind data.  The Pro version will let you create and save 4 custom displays of instruments you choose, in digital or analog formats.

The software has native compatibility with both flavors of NMEA data streams, but the fact that you need hardware translation to use that data on even a remotely new laptop is just plain dumb.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Fugawi’s fault, and they’ve handled it nicely by identifying the sweet (if somewhat expensive) Actisense connector/translators.  It’s just another example where the standards in marine electronics (NMEA) are still WAY behind even basic shore-side consumer electronics expectations.  A serial port?  Really??  I haven’t had a computer with a serial port for 10 years.

NMEA rants aside, I like the idea of this Avia instrument software, and I’d like to try it out on my laptop with the Fugawi Marine ENC.  If any of you already have, let me know in the comments and we’ll talk.  Meanwhile, look forward to seeing this at your next boat show.  I’ll look for it at Miami next month.

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Posted by Tom in Electronics, seamanship, Technology