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OpenSeaNav - AIS Multifunction Display


OpenSeaNav is a concept development for an AIS multifunction display, which supports the digital chart OpenSeaMap. The project was implemented in cooperation with csoft - Web and IT Solutions.

The multifunction display is primarily used for navigation in the maritime area. It allows connection to conventional AIS radio receivers, so that vessels and their specific data and information can be displayed on the chart. This allows to make informed navigational decisions, should thus avoid collisions and increase safety on sea.

NMEA enabled instruments can be connected to OpenSeaNav using appropriate interfaces. This enables users to visualize data of external GPS sensors, depth sounder, radar or fishfinder.

The software of OpenSeaNav features an open apps interface. The functionality can be extended directly through the community, which allows implementation of individual solutions that do not limit the scope of the multifunction displays for navigation only.

What is AIS?

AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and is a communication system that operates over registered channels within the maritime mobile VHF band as a self-organizing time slot method (161.975 MHz and 162.025 MHz). It is based upon an open, unencrypted protocol with which information is transmitted and received autonomously with no interaction from ship or operating personnel. In addition to this autonomous mode, capabilities are also provided for the transmission of short, safety-related messages when there is human interaction.

The information generated autonomously and transmitted to other ships or to shore via a broadcast is dynamic information such as position, speed and course, but also static and cruise-related information such as draft and ship type. Transmission is at regular intervals, whereby the interval depends on the speed and any course changes of the particular ship. This information is processed by the receiver and can be visualized on a display, generally an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). Current position information is referenced geographically with the respective ship identification of the AIS stations received and displayed on a digital map.

For further information see

See also Moitessier HAT, USB AIS receiver, AIS-SART, Wi-Fi AIS receiver/multiplexer.

Presentation of the Prototype

The video (German) was created for the competition "Zukunftspreis Kommunikation".


  • design, schematic and layout of the assembly
  • porting of the embedded linux kernel
  • creation of the file system
  • implementation of various linux device drivers
  • EMC testing
  • porting of the U-Boot bootloader
  • implementation of a failsafe software update algorithm

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