Coastal Explorer AIS, plaudits!


How cool is that? In this cropped screen shot, Coastal Explorer is plotting a SAR aircraft that’s using the special AIS message discussed here the other day. Rosepoint’s Jeff Hummel, who sent the screen, says they’ve never actually seen message 9 data before, but this function was already built into CE, as are other obscure AIS and DSC capabilities. Jeff’s also proud that “Coastal Explorer works just fine on VISTA”, unlike the competition (and alma mater) he likes to tweak.
  By the way, Rosepoint can see AIS targets cross country because they’ve got CE tapped into the IP feed of Shine Micro’s receiver network. Coincidentally I just learned more about this CE ability yesterday, even tried it, thanks to Penobscot Bay pilot Skip Strong, who’s responsible for the series of Shine Micro receivers that I’ve been enjoying via Shine’s public live AIS site. Strong is a big fan of AIS in general and this setup in particular, as he and his associates use it to avoid wasted time waiting offshore for a ship that’s forgotten to call in late. The CE screen below, bigger here, shows the Penobscot Pilot which may have just put Strong aboard the Alouette Arrow (off screen). I’ll have more one day on this gentleman, and also on a trip aboard the pilot boat which I’m looking forward to, big time.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

11 Responses

  1. jlaffite says:

    BIG DEAL! I’m sure Mr. Hummel wants us to be enamored with seeing an SAR aircraft on Rosepoint. REALLY, how is this useful to safe navigation?
    Ben, it’s disappointing you didn’t check with other manufacturers to find out if their software was Vista compatible or would be soon, before posting this.
    If Mr. Hummel wants to impress us, maybe he can show you a chart correction he’s done using a Notice to Mariners or show you how to tie a carrick bend. Now that would be astounding!
    Keep us posted.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Why so grouchy, Jean?
    1. Displaying SAR aircraft is not a big deal, particularly, except that we’d been discussing this little known aspect of AIS in an earlier thread. On the other hand, if I were involved in a search and rescue, which could happen any time at sea, it could be useful.
    2. When Vista first shipped in January, I invited any and all ECS manufacturers/installers/etc. to report on compatibility. See:
    That’s pretty much what Rosepoint was doing.
    3. I’ve tied a lot of knots in my day, even sailed offshore on square riggers. I at least used to know a handful of bends really well; the carrick was not among them.

  3. Richard says:

    I use Coastal Explorer and find it to be the best navigation program for me at this time. Several of my sailor friends also use the program and we have all been wondering what is up with Rosepoint Navigation. There have been many promises of new versions and a major re-write of the software and including radar overlay as well as expanded chart formats, but nothing seems to be happening. Do you have any inside word that might ease our anticipation and growing doubt about the company and its future?

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Richard, I don’t really know what’s going on at Rosepoint, either, but did see them at both NMEA and FLIBS. Jeff Hummel was showing off radar overlay and a multi screen interface, but making no promises about a release date (as I recall). I don’t think Rosepoint is going away, but I do think that they will do things on their own schedule!

  5. Rick says:

    I share Richard’s concerns with Rose Point Navigation (RPN). In fact, at one point Jeff Hummel and I talked about their radar product and he offered me a shot at beta testing the radar but, of course, not for free. When I pointed out that I wasn’t about to throw down $3K+ in hopes I’d get (to paraphrase an old Steve Jobs line) an insanely great radar for my bet. I got a pointer to the Koden radar that’s being used to drive the product (sorry, but Koden isn’t a product line I get all thrilled about) and that was it (even after offering to sign a non-disclosure agreement so I could find out what my $3K was buying). My problems with the Raytheon R-20X (ooooh – now there’s high tech – not!) now on my boat have been resolved (or at least wrestled into something like submission), RPN has stopped talking about the product, and I’m nowhere as ready to spend money to replace the R-20X as I was.
    Additionally, there’ve been a couple of outstanding issues with RPN and Coastal Explorer (e.g., poor raster screen refreshing, occasional failures when launching CE away from the boat [COM port-related problem]) that have been unchanged in the past year. There’s supposed to be a new version in the works (promised, at one point, for the 2007 boat show season now past; the radar product was supposed to be part of that release) but clearly RPN isn’t talking or producing.
    The good news is that the current rev, although it needs some updating, is generally stable, works as expected, and that’s far more than I can say for my experience with Nobeltec’s VNS. VNS used to freeze on an all too regular basis both on my boat and (using another PC) on a friend’s boat. It took literally a year to get Nobeltec to resolve the problem (a conflict between two processes, each waiting for the other to complete before the other process would continue). I dropped VNS for CE and, even with the frustrations with RPN, don’t regret the choice.

  6. Dan (b393capt) says:

    I would like to give this product a try, especially the beta functionality for planning trips looks very interesting, called Voyage Planner Timeline feature.
    Any one try this feature ?

  7. Mark says:

    I used the CE Demo on a Windows 2000 laptop from San Francisco to San Diego.
    Besides having to keep relaunching the application (demo expires after 30 min), it worked very very well.
    I did NOT have it tied to AIS or Radar, just a USB GPS unit on laptop.
    The day/night interfaces were easy to read, even from cockipit (under dodger in shade) and the audio feedback, track plotting and data export tests came out quite well.
    I am no expert but enjoyed using this.
    The demo seems quite functional, I still use it now. I am waiting to see about AIS-B to determine what AIS hardware to get with CE.

  8. Richard (a different one) says:

    Ben – Its been a long time since you’ve covered any developments, if there are any, with Rosepoint and Coastal Explorer.
    It’s now something like two years that version 2.0 has been promised.
    Are they still developing the product? Is there any new, reliable news on what’s up with them?

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Different Richard, I did hear from Rose Point recently. Apparently they switched gears to their ECS commercial product for a while, maybe because it retails for $2,400 and they had 500 pre-orders! Besides I think they figured that all the existing users who wanted to update to CE 2.0 had already done so via the Beta program.
    But ECS is released now (features details here:
    and the latest is:
    “We are working on shipping Coastal Explorer 2.0/ 2009 before the end of the year. We plan to also release our Radar Product before the end of the year. Next year we will be releasing some other new products…”
    Personally I’ve had trouble getting the 2.0 Beta to work smoothly on either my XP and Vista machines, but I haven’t put much troubleshooting energy into it.

  10. Richard (the different one again) says:

    Ben – when they say “working on shipping Coastal Explorer 2.0/2009 before the end of the year…”
    Do they mean before the end of this year, 2008???

  11. Anonymous says:

    2.0 is out now. a very nice product, too. Ian

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