Charlotte — Your Digital Crew Member

Charlotte, Hanse 388, digital logbook

With a frozen sea, you can’t sail (in the water anyway), so you have to do something else. Here’s an update about the boat tracking and digital logbook system I’ve been working on.

First, some disambiguation, since there are a lot of things called ‘Charlotte’ in this blog:

Charlotte, is foremost, and most importantly, the name of my wife!

Charlotte, coincidentally (or not! 😇), is also the name of our boat.

And lastly, Charlotte is the name of a digital entity (meaning computer software) responsible for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing all of our sailing data.

This blog post is about Charlotte, the computer software!

Collect, Analyze, Visualize

The system itself is quite simple, and it’s put together using the following components.

To collect the data, we have a Raspberry PI connected to the NMEA2000 network. The Raspberry listens to all the NMEA traffic (there’s a lot), stores it locally, and whenever possible, transfers it to the cloud.

Raspberry PI on s/y Charlotte Hanse 388
C for Charlotte!

The brain of the system resides, more or less, in the cloud. First, the data is stored in a time-series database. Then, a few different pieces of software try to make some sense of it. The digital entity Charlotte isn’t very artificially intelligent yet, but there are certainly some cool ideas on the road ahead. At the moment, the analyzing part is mostly concerned with figuring out where the trips are and what the real (true) wind parameters were.

Screenshot of sailing data from s/y Charlotte Hanse 388
A screenshot from the database with a couple of queries. The first one is for the top 10 wind speeds measured (in m/s, 6s averages). The second query shows the top 10 wind speeds measured while we were out sailing, i.e. when the boat was moving at least 1.5 m/s = 2.9 knots.

Finally, putting all of this together, there’s the web user interface, where you can check out the recorded data, as well as all the images and videos we’ve added.

1 Minute Tutorials

Because seeing with your own eyes is sometimes better than just reading about it, I’ve put up some short tutorial videos about how the system works.

Without further ado, here they are!

#1: Open Charlotte Boat Tracking

#2: How to Move Around

#3: Checking Out Images and Videos

#4: The Trip Logbook

#5: The Trip Slider

#6: How to Replay a Trip

#7: Looking at the Data

Next Steps

If you want to jump into it and try it yourself (using our boat’s data), it’s all public and available right here: https://charlotte.lc.

If you’re interested in adding your own boat, please let me know, and I’ll help you out! 👍

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