KayakNav FAQs

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Here are some answers to the questions that you may be asking.

Report Bugs via email to Support

Why is the map centred near Africa?

If KayakNav is only showing a map centred on a point near Africa, you need to authorise KayakNav to use your GPS. Without this, it is unable to determine the current location and it will always centre the map on Lat=0, Lon=0. Open the Settings App and enable "Privacy"-->"Location Services".

Where can I find news items?

See more about News here. These items are loaded dynamically from our web site when you have an internet connection and you start KayakNav. A new message is indicated by a small red number on the info icon at the bottom right of the screen.

How does the tide Info Cell work?

See more about Tide Calculations here.

Can't get out of the "Loading Route" screen

Just tap on the cancel button.

Gestures not recognised

Some devices are a little slow to complete the map rendering and will not react to drag, tap and pinch gestures immediately. In these cases, please wait for the map to complete rendering before attempting to move around on the map.

How is Data Recorded?

Whenever the KayakNav app is running, data is being recorded continuously to the internal database.

The log is only cleared when the following events occur:

  • When you cross the Start Line.
  • When you cross the Finish Line and the data has been attached to an email.
  • When you hit the "Reset" button.
  • When you hit the "Email" button and the data has been attached to an email..
  • When KayakNav is uninstalled.

Why the Sim and Live Modes?

During the development of this app, the only practical way to test the navigation logic was to simulate the paddler following a test course with some random variations in direction and speed thrown in. By adding a Simulator, the development and testing was simplified. The simulator was left in the app so that it could be used as a demo mode and for users to run over their route to check waypoint messages and expected map displays. It also caches the map tiles if they are not already stored in the database, although this will not cover all zoom levels, so it is recommended that you hit the "Map Tiles" button to do this with the route loaded. Simulators for heart rate, stroke rate and compass are also built into KayakNav. The path followed by the simulated GPS is along your loaded route and interpolates with random compass and speed changes to simulate the paddler moving at about 30 km/hr. In LIVE mode, the simulators are stopped and data is used from the in-built GPS, compass, accelerometer and any BLTE heart rate monitor that you are wearing. The loaded route determines where the waypoints and course are shown on the map, and KayakNav assumes that you will be following the course from start to finish. When you cross the start line, the counters are reset. When you cross the finish line, the data is bundled into a CSV file, attached to an email and the data cleared. The "RECORD" button allows you to set off without a pre-loaded route and to record your path.

I just want to record my paddle.

Choose the "Empty.gpx" route to start recording your outing and email yourself the CSV file. This will provide you with all of your paddle statistics. You will also receive a GPX file attachment that can be loaded by KayakNav for your next trip. If you want KayakNav to use a route that you have planned on the map, record a route using GoogleEarth and email this to your device. Instructions to do this are included in this help screen.

What is the light grey paddler?

This is the virtual training partner. It follows the current route and gives you a reference point to maintain your pace during time trials, training and marathons. See the settings section for configuration of the virtual training partner operating mode.

What are the dotted grey lines on the map?

These are bisect lines that KayakNav uses to determine when the paddler passes each Turning Point on the map. Even though they are only display as 100 metres either side of the marks, you are deemed to have passed a mark when you are any distance from the mark and cross the line extended out to that distance. The start and finish lines are special bisect lines that are longer and coloured green and red respectively.

Is there a simple way to control screen brightness?

You will either have a waterproof iPhone 7 (or newer), or have your device in a waterproof case and finding small icons in the Settings app is difficult in bright sunlight. Just swipe left or right on the compass at the bottom of the screen to decrease or increase the brightness by 20% per swipe.

Why does the animated icon change?

This icon changes based on the speed, current Activity and the colour of the map under the Current Location. When you are on water and moving, it will show a paddling icon, but over land and moving it will be a car icon. The Animated Paddler Icon will paddle with a cadence that is proportional to your speed. If the icon is stopped, this shows that the paddler is resting or the car is stopped. If you pass under a bridge, the icon may briefly change to portage or car because the map colour under the current location changed from water colour. By default the colour of water is determined as the colour of the map pixel under the start mark coordinate. The Activity Info Cell can tell you what the current Activity is.

The Acacia map server generates maps with a consistent light blue colour for all navigable waterways. It assumes that the colour of the map under the start point is water, and checks the colour of the map under the paddler. If it looks like water (i.e. similar colour) the Animated Paddler Icon will be a kayak with a paddling animation. If the colour is different, it assumes you are heading to or from the water and shows a car with the boat on top. Because of this auto-surface sensing, the icon will change if your path crosses land such as where a bridge is shown across the waterway.

Why is there a torch beam on the map?

KayakNav implements a navigation mechanism based on targeting a point along the route that you need to aim for in order to travel the minimum distance. The Targeting Beam shows the point out in the distance that that KayakNav has selected based on total angles of marks along the path. This is a key point that is used to calculate the optimal heading and show a distance next to the beam. The targeting beam is also used to decide how to pan, zoom and move the map for best display. To avoid continually adjusting the map, only when there is significant change to heading, the target or the paddler are not shown on the map is it adjusted. This also helps to reduce battery consumption. It also means that for long straight segments the map automatically zooms out, and when turns are tight, the map zooms in to allow navigation of bends. Because of the way this works, you can still drag and zoom the map and it will keep that perspective until the next zoom level cycling or the paddler or target moves off the map. You may notice that re-targeting occurs before you pass each mark so that you can look ahead with a zoomed map. The Retargeting distance varies depending on the turn angle at the bend.

Why does the map zoom in and out?

KayakNav must function as a hands-free navigator and will automatically show the map rotated, zoomed and centred near your current location for the best view. Most of the time it zooms out so that the last target and the current target mark are shown. Periodically it zooms out to show you the next significant landmark so you can see how you are tracking. It then shows the entire course before cycling back.

Map Tile Caching

KayakNav automatically caches every map tile displayed in the app into an internal SQLite database. This minimises your data usage and allows off-the-grid paddling. If you run the simulator over your entire route, all tiles will be loaded for the full route at zoom levels from 7 to 18. If you tap the "Map Tiles" button, all tiles for all zooms covering the extents of your selected route will be loaded into the cache and will never be loaded again unless you reinstall KayakNav. All cached tiles can be used off line, so you can head off into the dark with WiFi and 4/3G turned off and still get the same functionality.

How do I record my path?

Tap the right side of the compass to see the right panel command buttons. Tap on the Record button. KayakNav will treat the current location as your start point and record your path. When you return to the same location, if auto-emails are enabled, you will be prompted to send the recorded path and statistics. The path will be converted to a GPX file and become your default path for your next paddle.

How do I create my own route?

Open GoogleEarth, create a path then email the KML or KMZ to your device. In the email on your device, double tap the GPX, KML or KMZ attachment and select KayakNav as the app to open it with. The route will be added to the routes on your device. KayakNav automatically optimises any routes when they are loaded. Excess points are removed, right-left-right turns are removed and points that are very close or have a small angle are also removed. Points with large angles are automatically flagged as waypoints and are shown with bubbles and timestamps as you pass them. If you want to add text to waypoints you need to start with a GPX file. Add name, comment and description setting like those shown below. These waypoints will always be shown with bubbles and will not be eliminated by the optimisation process.

<trkpt lat="-35.22814423" lon="149.06433214">
<cmt>Macdemott Place</cmt>
<desc>6.7km. Push Yourself!</desc>

Why do the info cells have shadows?

Because the text must overlay random patterns and colours on the map, the text is black with white shadows to enhance readability.

How do I find out which route is loaded?

At the bottom left of the screen, the currently loaded route name is shown in very small print. If the text is black, the route hasn't been successfully stored in the database and will be loaded from the GPX or KML/KMZ file next time it is selected. If blue, the route is stored in the database and will be loaded much more quickly next time the app is started.

How do I skip targeting

KayakNav will attempt to layout the optimal path along the route that you have planned, but there will be times when you just don't want to follow. It may be that you want to skip a branch or just want to go home. Tap and hold the map to force KayakNav to select a new target. This is similar to when your car GPS finally gives up and lets you drive to your destination along another route without any further nagging. Note that in simulator mode, the paddler will continue to follow the planned path and not skip ahead.


In the event that KayakNav locks up, there are a number of things that you should try

  • Rotate the device. Changing the orientation causes the automated layout system to fix screen display problems.
  • Hit the Home button and kill the app by double tapping the home button and swiping upwards on the app.
  • If the Home button doesn't work, reboot the device by holding both the Home and the Power button down together for 10 sec.
  • If you are consistently getting problems, try reducing the number of info items on the screen at once.
  • Add the CPU/RAM info item to the screen and see if your selected route is using more than about 150MB of memory or the CPU is high for extended periods. If this is occuring, please send the KML/KMZ or GPX file to us for some analysis.

Map is Jumping

KayakNav is designed to automatically position you on the map so that you have the best view of the path ahead without ever having to touch the device. If you drag the map so that the paddler or the targeting waypoint is no longer visible, KayakNav will reposition the map within a couple of seconds.

Compass Bearing Wrong

If the compass in your device is reporting incorrect bearings, the map or north pointer will face the wrong way. This is probably caused by a magnet or large metal structure near your device. Phone cases often have a magnetic clip, so remove your device from the case to see if this helps. Most waterproof cases will not have this problem.

North vs Direction

KayakNav defaults to rotating the map so that the paddler is generally moving up the map, with the map moving and rotating for best view automatically. If you want the top of the map to always face North, just double tap the north pointer icon at the top left of the map. The North Pointer changes colour to indicate the GPS signal strength. When green signal good, orange indicates fair and red indicates poor signal strength (or simulation mode). After you load a new route, it may take a couple of seconds to start receiving data from the GPS and to update the map for the best view. KayakNav contains a dead-man timer that monitors GPS signals. If the GPS signal is lost for more than 4 seconds, it automatically generates GPS signals to estimate your location and continues to update your location on the map based on compass bearing and your average speed to that point. This is similar to when your car GPS enters a tunnel but keeps working.

Why are some parts of the map Blurred?

If the zoom level changes and Map Tiles are not already cached for the new location and zoom level, KayakNav will attempt to use another title covering the same area which may be of lower resolution when stretched to fill the area. If your device has web access, the correct tiles will be fetched and cached for current and future use.

Info Items

KayakNav continuously captures many statistics relating to your current paddling Activity. These values are automatically logged to the CSV file, and are also available to display on the screen, overlaying the map. Internally, all reported values are stored in SI (metric) units and these are reported in the log file. However on the screen the values are translated on the fly to your preferred imperial, scientific or maritime units. On top of this, the values are automatically scaled to an appropriate unit and scale for best readability. For example you will see the distance travelled increase from 1.1 km to 19.9 km then the display will show 20 km to 999 km before switching to 1.0 Mm

Stroke Monitoring

If you have displayed any stroke related info cells, KayakNav applies signal conditioning algorithms to the internal accelerometer to monitor your stroke. The acceleration of your kayak during the power phase of your stroke is sampled 50 times per second and in conjunction with the paddler and vessel data in settings, the paddle power and energy expenditure are calculated. You stroke rate is also recorded and can be graphed in the info cell. Future versions of this app will also include dynamic calculations of drag and paddler stroke efficiency.

I have signed up to MapBox. How can I use my custom maps?

If you want to use another map server, just configure the URL inside the SETTINGS app. Note that this URL **MUST** begin with HTTPS or it won't work due to restrictions in iOS9 and newer. For more details, refer to the settings section.

Maps are very slow to load

The default map tiles are served up by the Acacia tile server and may be a little slow depending on usage. See the Settings section for details on using your own tile server. Once map tiles are loaded, they will be retrieved much more quickly from the internal KayakNav tile cache and will not be downloaded again.

What can I touch with all these overlays?

All of the Info Cells that overlay the map are transparent to touch. You can drag the map around, double-tap to zoom and use pinch gestures to zoom in/out as if the overlays weren't there at all.

Why is my lake/river not shown on the map?

We understand that some of the waterways in OSM were the subject of a dispute over copy-write and were removed. We are currently working to add missing waterways back into the map, but this may take some time to complete. If you can't wait and have an account on another OSM map server, please go to the settings app on your device and change to that Map Server. You may need to run the "Reset" action on the right menu bar to clear the cached maps from the KayakNav database in order to see tiles from the other map server. Note that any alternative map server must have a HTTPS web address or it will not work due to restrictions in iOS9 and newer.

Where is my data stored and how does this affect backups?

KayakNav needs to store routing data and off-line maps within the storage of your device so that it can provide the best performance and minimise battery usage. It should be noted that all files will be lost and revert to defaults if you uninstall/reinstall KayakNav.

  • Statistics and Routes - stored in a Sqlite database in the app documents folder but will NOT be backed up to iCloud.
  • Map tile cache - stored in another Sqlite database in the app documents folder and will NOT be backed up to iCloud.
  • Route GPX files - stored in the app documents folder and WILL be backed up to your iCloud account if configured.
  • Email attachments - stored temporarily in the app documents folder only until the email is sent.

Why doesn't the screen saver kick in?

KayakNav disables the screen saver whilst it is running. This is needed so that it can run in Hands-Free mode and not require that you stop paddling to unlock it every couple of minutes. You should however be aware that this increases battery drain.