Squidd.io Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )

sQuidd.io: Frequently Asked Questions

Points of Interest (POI): Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does sQuidd.io help me discover new, interesting sailing destinations?

Mariners rely on a variety of sources to plan their sailing and cruising experiences: cruising guides, information from other mariners, charts, magazines and blogs. Until today, there wasn't a comprehensive, user-generated and easy to use application to make all this information available to your laptop, tablet of mobile phone through an intuitive map-based interface. If you use OpenCPN as navigation software, you can view all the sQuidd.io POIs for a specific area directly on your charts.
Whether you are sailing in the Australia coral reefs, looking for a marina harbor in Florida, or planning your upcoming cruise in Croatia, sQuidd.io is as indispensable as your navigation software and your marine charts. And it's available for free

Q. What type of POIs do you show in a search?

A Destination is a type of Point of Interest for mariners. Ports, marinas, anchorages, yacht clubs, public docks, ramps, fuel pumps etc.are the typical examples of boat cruising Destinations you will find on sQuidd.io. Each Destination has its own page. Destination pages are meant to provide mariners with a sense of how busy, well served and overall attractive a particular Destination is (through pictures and member-provided comments) as well as practical information, such as phone numbers or tips from other meriners.

Q. Do you show POIs worldwide?

Yes. The majority of POIs currently on sQuidd.io are in North and Central America, the Caribbean islands, the Mediterranean, part of the European Atlantic coast, Australia and new Zealand. However, thanks to an ever-expanding user community, we now have a large number of POIs in less frequented areas of the world.

Q. Can I view sQuidd.io POIs directly in OpenCPN?

If you use OpenCPN, the most popular open-source chart plotter and navigator software, you can install the sQuidd.io plugin. See the sQuiddio plugin section of this FAQ for additional information,

Q. The address, location or other data of a Destination is outdated or incorrect. Can I fix it?

Yes. If you are a registered user, you can click on the Edit POI button in he Destination page. This will allow you to add or update address, phone numbers, introductory message and other POI information, as well as reassign the Destination to the correct coordinates by simply pointing and clicking on the map. All the changes you make are reported in the User Feed section of that POI.

Q. You are not showing my favorite marina, anchorage or other sailing place. Can I add it myself?

Yes. Position the main map to the general area where you intend to add the new POI and right-click (extended tap on a mobile device) at the exact location where you want the POI to be. A dialog box will pop up. Fill out the simple form, providing a name, selecting a POI type (e.g. Marina, Boat Ramp etc.) and hit submit. Voila! Your POI has been added to the database for everyone to see. You can then click on the POI's icon in the map to view the POI's page, or edit its contents.

sQuidd.io will attempt to assign an address to the new Destination based on the geo coordinates. Please verify the address and if necessary correct it and add other contact information you may know.

Q. What are the criteria for submitting a new Destination?

For a submission to be valid, the POI needs to meet certain requirements. For instance, if you add a Marina, a Dock or a Ramp, the facility must be easily recognizable on a satellite map at the closest level of zoom available at the geo coordinates you have entered for the POI. When creating a new POI, please be as accurate as you can be in clicking on the correct position on the map. If you are submitting an anchorage, the location should appear to be in a natural setting which is suitable for overnight mooring. The sQuidd.io Webmaster reserves the right to remove submissions that are not deemed to meet these basic criteria. Also remember that users will be able to comment on your submission, and comments that consistently indicate that your POI is misplaced or invalid may lead to the removal of a user-submitted POI.

Q. I submitted a new POI in error. Can I delete it?

Yes. You can delete any POI that you have originally submitted. Just click on the POI's icon in the main map and hit the Delete button (which will be grayed-out if this is not one of the POIs you submitted.)

Q. What is the Traffic Index?

It is a measure of the POIs level of traffic and popularity (5 being the highest ranking) and is based on a combination of 1) the number of unique visitors over the preceding 12 months, and 2) the number of posts submitted by users to the user feed. A list of the busiest POIs for the area shown in the map is provided on the sQuiddio home page to help identify a suitable destination based on your needs and preferences.

Q. Should I enter a Destination's latitude and longitude into my GPS as a waypoint?

We strongly recommend you do not! None of the information you will find on sQuidd.io is intended for navigation purposes. Please continue to rely on official charts and publications to make navigation decisions.

Q. What do you mean by checking in or out of a marina, anchorage or other POI?

Checking into a marina or an anchorage is a way to associate your current position with a sQuidd.io POI in order to let other users know exactly where you are, how long you have been there etc. It also enables sQuidd.io to compile interesting statistics about the nature of a POI's traffic (e.g. how busy? What type of vessels use it etc.). By checking out of a Destination you inform your followers that you have left that Destination, and when exactly you did that.

Q. How do you check in or out of a POI?

Checking in and out is done automatically by sQuidd.io, based on your reported positions, upon your vessel entering or exiting an area of approximately 1 km by 1 km surrounding the POI. See the Vessel Tracking section for imformation about reportting your position to the system

Q. How do I add a photo to the image carousel of a POI's page?

Images greatly contribute to the POIs page, so user submissions are strongly encouraged. To add your photos to a POI's page, scroll down to the pull-down section titled User Feed and open it. You will see a small form for submitting comments and, optionally, uploading a photo. You must include a brief comment to every photo you submit, which will be displayed in the carousel as a caption underneath the photo. User photos take precedence over the default Flickr images that many POIs display in the carousel, so your photo(s) will appear at the beginning of the sequence, the more recent ones first.

Cruising Aids: Frequently Asked Questions

What are Satellite Maps?

Satellite Maps of a particular POI can be very useful in planning the approach to a port or an anchorage, as a compendium to your navigation charts. They are also very useful for getting an overall feel for the nature and attractiveness of a POI. In order to be helpful, maps need to be precisely overlayed on your electronic charts, and easily removed when an unobstructed view of the chart is needed. They should also be available at different scales and levels of definition: larger, less detailed maps to help plan an approach and check the surroundings, smaller more defined maps to examine, for instance, the detailed layout of a marina.

Squidd.io provides an easy way to select and download Google satellite maps for virtually all of the over 30,000 POIs in its database, in a format that can be readily imported into OpenCPN or other navigation apps. Read this blog post for additional information on Satellite Maps

Under no circumstances should Satellite Maps be relied upon as substitutes for Navigation Charts! Satellite Maps should be viewed exclusively as compendia to up-to-date, officially recognized Navigation Charts.

How do I download and install Satellite Maps?

There are 2 ways of importing Satellite Maps in your Navigation software:

What are Weather Beacons?

Weather Beacons are virtual POIs that aggregate up-to-date weather reports from nearby sources, such as weather buoys, weather reporting ships, or, increasingly, other sQuidd.io users sharing their NMEA data (see the Vessel Tracking section for details about using the OpenCPN plugin to report weather data). In some cases, Weather Beacons are shown at the exact coordinates of an existing weather buoy, in other cases, they aggregate reports from multiple nearby buoys and ships to reduce clutter (...hence the word virtual). In the latter case, the distance from the original source to the icon's location on the map will be shown

Information reported by Weather Beacons may include temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction, wave height and period, wind gust, sea surface temperature, air pressure, tide and other environmental variables. In general, updates have a frequency between fifteen minutes and an hour or longer. Check out this blog post for additional information on Weather Beacons

What are AIS Aids to Navigation (AToNs)?

AIS Aids to Navigation (AToNs) have become a widely utilzed way to supplement traditional Aids to Navigation as reported in charts, such as buoys or markers, by broadcasting AIS messages that create a virtual representation of the AToN on your AIS-enabled chart plotter. Squidd.io collects and maintains an up-to-date database of AIS AToNs and makes them available for download. This can be useful when planning a passage by showing the AToN long before it is rendered on your chart as a regular AIS object. Only AIS AToNs that have been received recently are shown.

Under no circumstances should AIS AToNs be relied upon as substitutes for the information in your Navigation Charts. Always ensure that the you receive the proper AIS signal of the corresponding AToN as you come close to it, and disregard the sQuiddio AIS AToN if the corresponding AIS signal is not received when you are within radio reach of it!

Vessel Tracking: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Vessel Tracking feature?

Vessel Tracking is a feature that enables you to share your position, speed (SOG) and heading (COG) with other users on sQuiddio, as well as to see their most recent position, speed and heading, through either the squiddio web site or the OpenCPN plugin. If you are sailing with a group of other boats, chartering with a flottilla, participating in a regatta or simply want to follow your friends from the comfort of your home, Vessel Tracking is a convenient way to stay in touch with other vessels at sea.

Q. How do I create and manage my Vessel Tracking list?

You can add any vessel you come across on the sQuiddio web site to your Vessel Tracking list by hitting the Follow Vessel button on the vessel's page (note: you must be logged in to use this feature). You can then view and delete vessels from your Vessel Tracking List in your user profile on the web site (click on the Profile button in the top bar)

Q. How do I share my position and logs?

There are two main ways vessels can share their position and logs:

Q. I own an AIS Transponder. How do I use it to share my position on sQuiddio?

If you own an AIS transponder (note: a simple AIS Receiver will not do the job!), you can make your position available to other sQuiddio users, assuming the system is operating properly and provided you are in the coverage area, by entering your MMSI identifier in your vessel profile on the sQuiddio web site. To edit your vessel profile, click the Profile link on the top bar (you must be logged in) of the web site. Carefully note the following:

AIS updates do not propagate to sQuiddio instantaneously. Several minutes may elapse between the time your AIS transceiver sends a position update and when the update is reflected in sQuidd.io or OpenCPN.

IMPORTANT: sQuiddio relies on AIS position updates available on the Internet and provided by a network of private and independently operated AIS Base stations around the world. Coverage is therefore limited to certain areas, mostly within a 20-50 mile radius of heavily populated areas. THIS SERVICE IS THEREFORE PROVIDED ON A BEST EFFORT BASIS and should not be relied upon when sharing your position with others reliably and at all times is critical. Check our AIS service provider's coverage map to find out what areas are currently served.

IMPORTANT: as a result of partial AIS coverage, not all registered MMSIs are present in our database. We record a new MMSI in our database when we receive the first AIS report from that vessel. Therefore, you may not be able to add certain vessels to your follow list.

Q. How often are my log updates posted to the system?

OpenCPN Squiddio Plugin: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I access sQuidd.io directly in my OpenCPN chart plotter?

Yes! If you are like thousands of boaters worldwide who have come to rely on the leading Open Source chart plotter and navigation software OpenCPN, you can now enjoy some of sQuidd.io's unique features through an OpenCPN plugin:

Q. What are the requirements for using the plugin?

Q. What steps are required to use the plugin?

Q. How do I obtain the API key?

(Required only for Vessel Tracking) Log into your sQuiddio account and click on the Profile link in the top bar.

Q. How do I view POIs for a specific region using the plugin?

Once you have enabled the plugin, simply right click on any location on your chart and select Download local sQuidd.io Destinations from the contextual menu. If you have Internet access, and if there are POIs in the database for that area of the world, your POIs will appear as waypoints on the chart. Double-clicking on the waypoint will display the POI's dialog box, which includes address and other information, as well as a link to the POI's page on sQuidd.io.

Q. Can I add a POI through the plugin?

Yes, You can create a new POI from within OpenCPN. Right click on the exact location on the map and select Report a Destination at This Location from the contextual menu. This will bring you to a page on sQuidd.io where you can enter information about the POI and submit the POI for inclusion in the database. The POI will become available in the database immediately (although sQuiddio reserves the right to delete a POI that does not meet certain criteria. (Of course, you can also submit destinations on the sQuidd.io web site, as outlined above )

Q. How does the Vessel Tracking feature work in the plugin?

The plug in will retrieve the latest log updates from vessels in your Vessel Tracking List and will send your own GPS position, SOG and COG at regular intervals over the Internet. The plug in provides a choice of various time intervals, from ten seconds to once a day. Optionally, you can also choose to include a select number of NMEA sensor messages to each log update you share. These additional NMEA messages (such as wind speed, direction, water temperature etc) are collected and displayed in a number of time-series charts on the vessel's page in sQuiddio

Q. How often should I retrieve and send log updates?

Your choice will depend on the quality and cost of your Internet connection. While crossing an ocean and using an Internet-capable satellite phone or satellite-powered Wi-Fi hotspot, a couple of updates a day may suffice, whereas if you have always-on connectivity through your cell provider or StarLink, you may choose to send more frequent updates. Please note that your log update will only be sent to sQuidd.io when Internet access is available. Should you temporarily lose data coverage all log updates in that period will be lost (in other words, the plug in doesn't manage a queue)

Q. What if I do not have Internet connectivity?

You will not be able to retrieve and visualize your friends log updates. However, you may still be able to share your position updates with your follow-list using your AIS transponder, if you have one installed. Please understand that AIS position updates are only available on sQuidd.io on a BEST EFFORT BASIS. See additional important information on sQuiddio's support for AIS