Tutorial 2: Recording A Session

Tutorial 2: Recording A Session

Posted: Feb 2, 2018
Categories: Tutorials

Prerequisite: tutorial Getting Started


In this tutorial we will record a session. At the end of this tutorial you will know more about:

  1. creating an event and session

  2. checking the server data stream

  3. the screen layout

  4. controlling the map

  5. setting the initial boat state

  6. configuring data cells

  7. building and activating a route

  8. adding the start line

  9. start mode

  10. laylines

  11. logging boat changes

  12. generated data and items

  13. adding a manual speed segment

  14. suspending and resuming a session

  15. inspecting data at a point in time

  16. the race report

  17. stopping the session

  18. uploading the session to the cloud storage

  19. sharing the session with others

  20. miscellaneous


Here we go!



1. Creating an event and session

We will first create an event and a session. An event consists of one or more sessions. An event often corresponds to a (multi-day) competition, in which a session corresponds to a single race. An event could also correspond to a training event, in which a session is a single training run.

  1. in the Events Screen, press the button to create a new event. Give the event a proper name, e.g. Volvo Ocean Race.

  2. press SAVE to save the event.

  3. select the new event in the list to show its session.

  4. press the button to create a new session. Give the session a name, e.g. Race 1.

  5. press SAVE to save the session. The app will now go to the Session Screen where recording commences.



2. Checking the server data stream

Just after you've entered the Session Screen the app tries to establish a connection with the annalisa server as indicated by the flashing CONNECTING message in the top of the screen. If a connection is successfully made then the app waits for the first incoming GPS sample. A session cannot be recorded without incoming GPS samples.

Next you are presented with the Network Monitor pop up. The Network Monitor allows you to check whether all data is coming in from the onboard server as expected.




The Network Monitor shows a grid of buttons where each button represents a quantity. Which quantities are shown here depends on which quantities you defined to be relevant for your boat here.

On each button the amount of data packets that have been received for that particular quantity are displayed in white between parentheses. A black button indicates that no data packets have been received. This might be normal but could also indicate a sensor problem or on-board (annalisa) server problem. It is highly advised to fix any problems before you press START SESSION or data loss may occur during the session! An orange button indicates that at least one packet of data has been received for that particular quantity.

  1. please verify that all data is being received as expected. Note that the system requires

  2. press START SESSION when ready. Note that annalisa requires the following quantities to function properly: GPS, SOG, TWA, TWS, TWD, HDG, BSP, COG.



3. Screen layout




The Session Screen is comprised of the following sections:

  1. the map: shows the boat, the track, waypoints, tacks, speed segments etc. in space. Optionally overlays a Navionics navigational chart. More info can be found here.

  2. the timeline: shows events, tacks, jibes and speed segments in time. The current time is indicated by the playhead (). By dragging the playhead you can go back and forth in time. More info can be found here.

  3. the left bar: a menu containing the main tools and settings. More info can be found here.

  4. the right bar: a menu containing race-related actions that are recorded in time. The right bar also reflects the boat state for every point in time. More info can be found here.

  5. the navigator: helps you find your way through all the data. E.g. you can have a look at the race by leg, or get a list of all tacks you made so you can compare those. More info can be found here.

  6. data cells: display quantity values, like BSP. More info can be found here.



4. Controlling the map

With regards to the map the following settings are important: 1. the Camera Mode setting and 2. the Map North Mode setting.

The map shows the world as seen through a virtual camera. The camera mode defines the behavior of this camera. The default camera mode is Bird. In this mode the camera is positioned high above sea level, looking downwards, like a bird. To control the camera in this mode, try the following:

  1. press and hold a point on the map and drag to pan.

  2. now, pinch and spread to zoom in and out.



For demonstration purposes, let's try a different camera mode, Orbit:

  1. in the left bar, press the button. This will open the Settings sub menu.

  2. press the button. This will open the Camera Mode sub menu.

  3. press the button to enable Orbit mode. In this mode the camera orbits the boat at close range.

  4. now press and hold a point on the map to adjust the orbit rotation angles. Pinch and spread to adjust distance.

  5. when you're done, please reselect Bird mode by pressing the button.

More information on the Camera Mode setting can be found here.

As mentioned, the other setting affecting the map view is the Map North Mode setting. This setting defines which direction the top of the map is pointed at. The default setting is Wind where the top of the map points at the direction the wind came from when the session was started. Another setting commonly used is Magnetic North, where the top of the map points to the north pole.

More information on the Map North Mode setting can be found here.



5. Setting the initial boat state

One important function of the right bar is that it reflects the boat state for every point in time. It is important to ensure that the boat state as defined in the right bar actually reflects the current real-life state of the boat. Note that we defined all possible boat state values when we configured the boat.


The following boat state related buttons exist:

  • MAINSAIL (): indicates in white the sail currently selected as the mainsail.

  • HEADSAIL (): indicates the sail currently selected as the headsail.

  • STAYSAIL (): indicates the sail currently selected as the staysail.

  • MAST (): indicates the currently selected mast setting.

  • CREW (): when pressed opens up the crew sub menu which lists buttons for each defined role. Every button indicates the crew member currently selected for that role.


Now, if a current setting is not correct then please press the corresponding button and select the right setting. Repeat this until the boat state reflects the real-life boat state.



6. Configuring data cells

Data cells display quantity values in realtime, e.g. BSP.





There are two types of data cells:

  1. numerical data cells. A numerical data cell displays the value of one quantity numerically.

  2. graph data cells. A graph data cell displays the value of one or more quantities as a graph, with time on the horizontal axis and the value range on the vertical axis. Values in the graph are 30s averages. The current value (i.e. corresponding to the timeline playhead) is at the far right. Up to four quantities can be displayed simultaneously allowing you to discover trends and relations. Additionally, the graph can display long-term averages for non-boat-relative quantities, like TWD.


An overview of all available quantities is given here.


Let's add a numerical data cell for TWA:

  1. in the left bar, press the button to open the settings sub menu, then press the button to add a numerical data cell.

  2. press the data cell to reveal its buttons. Now press the button. A popup will appear.

  3. press the TWA button. Next press OK.


You can move the data cell around by pressing its center and dragging. To resize the data cell you must grab one of its corners and drag.


Now let's add a graph data cell for VMG:

  1. in the left bar, press the button, then press the button to add a graph data cell.

  2. in its settings popup, select VMG. The graph data cell can plot up to 4 quantities simultaneously. Since we only want VMG, uncheck BSP.


By default the graph's vertical scale is automatically adjusted to the current values. You can also manually set a vertical range as follows:

  1. press the data cell to reveal its buttons. Now press the button to enter adjust scale mode.

  2. now press and hold a point on the graph to pan vertically. Pinch to zoom.

  3. when done, press the button again to exit adjust scale mode.


You can minimize a data cell by pressing the button. Pressing a minimized data cell will maximize it.



7. Building and activating a route

Annalisa offers full navionics chart integration. Refer to the Getting Started tutorial for information on how to set this up.


Creating marks

In order to navigate we need to define a route. First we must create some marks. There a multiple ways to create a mark:

  • by importing from a gpx file. A mark will be created for every waypoint in the gpx file. More info can be found here.

  • by pinging relative to the boat or start line. More info can be found here.

  • by entering longitude and latitude coordinates. More info can be found here.

  • by manual placement on the map. More info can be found here.



In this example we will go for manual placement on the map:

  1. in the right bar, press the button to open the Marks sub menu.

  2. near the bottom of the right bar, press the button to enable place mode.

  3. now press the button to place a mark.

  4. place a couple of more marks. Note that you can always undo you last action in case you made a mistake. Just press the button on the left bar. Also, if you want to adjust the location of a mark simply press its icon on the map and choose MOVE in the popup.

  5. you might want to give each mark a sensible name. To do so, press a mark icon on the map and choose RENAME in the popup.



All marks are listed in the Navigation Screen on the MARKS tab:

  1. in the left bar, press the button to go to the Navigation Screen.

  2. press the MARKS tab in the top of the screen to get the list of marks.



Creating a route

Now that we've placed some marks we can build a route:

  1. press the ROUTES tab in the top of the screen to get the list of routes.

  2. now, press the button to add a new route.

  3. enter a name and press SAVE.

  4. select the route just created to show its marks.

  5. press the button to add a mark. Note that you can also add a gate ().

  6. pick a mark from the list. Note that you can define how the mark must be rounded. In this case we keep the default (TO MARK).

  7. keep on adding marks until your route is complete.



Activating the route

Now the route is complete we can activate it:

  1. press the ACTIVATE button to activate the route. The button is located near the bottom of the screen.

  2. in the left bar, press CLOSE to return to the Session Screen. Go to the Navigator's Route tab to see that your route is indeed activated.



Setting the target mark

Now that our route is active we need to tell the annalisa which mark is the current target mark, i.e. the one we're sailing to. There are 2 ways to do this:

  1. press the corresponding leg on the Navigator's Route tab.

  2. or, press the mark on the map to select it and then in the popup press MAKE TARGET.



Navigator - Route tab

The Route tab of the Navigator gives a leg-based breakdown of the active route. For each of the legs useful information is given like bearing to mark, time to mark and recommended sails. Note that if the leg's mark is set as the current target then this info is based on the boat, otherwise it is based on the previous mark.




Finally, it is good to know that marks and routes are stored per event, allowing you to easily reuse them for future sessions of this event.

If you even want to share marks and/or routes between events then simply export to gpx for one event and import from gpx for another.



8. Adding the start line

One piece that is still missing is the start line. The start line consists of two marks: a starboard-end mark and a port-end mark. To add these marks please follow the coming steps:

  1. in the right bar, press the button to open the Marks sub menu.

  2. press the button to open another sub menu.

  3. now press the button. A popup will appear. Confirm placement of the port-end mark by pressing PING.

  4. repeat the previous step for the starboard-end mark. When placed the map will automatically draw a line between both marks to indicate the start line.



At this point we've fully prepared the session and are ready to for racing.



9. Start mode

Start Mode is a different view, that will enable once the timer has started. It will tell you which end is favoured, and where you are relative to the line.




Let's start the countdown:

  1. in the right bar, press the button to enter Start Mode. The countdown clock will appear.

  2. use the -1 and +1 buttons to adjust the countdown time.

  3. press START to start the countdown.

  4. during the countdown you can press the SYNC button to sync to the nearest minute.



During the countdown some relevant information is given in the map view:

  • laylines and times-to-laylines are shown, provided that sufficient layline data exists at this point in time. More info on laylines will given later on.

  • Distance to line indicates the shortest distance from the boat to the start line in meters.

  • Time to burn indicates how early (or late) you are, using your current VMG to the line. This can change if you accelerate quickly!

  • the favorable end is shown as a map overlay on the start line marks.

    A green line originating from the starboard end mark means that starboard is favorable. A red line originating from the port end mark means that port is favorable. The value at the other end of the line indicates by how much distance (in meters) the particular end is favored.

The race starts once the countdown reaches zero. When this happens a race start icon () appears on the timeline.



10. Laylines




Laylines are displayed for the target mark. If a gate or start line is the current target then laylines are shown for both marks.

Laylines are based on various (short-term and long-term) averages of COG and TWD values in which distinct averages are maintained for upwind, downwind, starboard-end and port-end segments.

The app needs sufficient historical data to be able to display reliable laylines.

Data from the current and (optional) previous sessions is used. If no laylines are visible for a target mark then the app needs more data to be able to determine long-term averages.

The laylines are displayed as a pair of fans. The thin line of a fan is based on the long-term COG average. The fat line of a fan also takes a short-term TWD average into account, i.e. short-term wind influences.

The time to each layline is displayed in the top of the screen, depending on the boat position relative to the fat (w/ short-term TWD) layline.

We believe that laylines based on historical COG data yield the highest reliability. However, be aware that the tide can have impact on the reliability of the laylines.



11. Logging boat state changes

During the session, whenever you e.g. change a sail you should also adjust the boat state in the right bar. All changes will be stored as events on the timeline and on the map. The change events can be relevant for future analysis of your performance.

For instance, let's change the headsail setting:

  1. in the right bar, press the HEADSAIL button.

  2. from the list, select a sail that is not currently selected. Now notice the emergence of a sail change icon () on the timeline and on the map.


Here's a list of all possible change events and their corresponding icons:

  • sail change event ()

  • mast setting change event ()

  • crew change event ()


Note that you can add comments to every item on the timeline. Comments can be useful to describe context like sea state or weather for speed segments, tacks or jibes, or to motivate change events. To add a comment:

  1. press a speed segment, tack, jibe or boat config change event to select it. A popup will appear.

  2. press the button to open the comment editor.

  3. edit the comments and press SAVE.



12. Generated data and items

While the session is being recorded annalisa analyzes the incoming data to generate:

  • values of various quantities, for instance VMG%. VMG% or BSP% values are color-coded onto the map track and speed timeline. Blue indicates a BSP% or VMG% value of 90% or lower. Orange indicates a values of 105% or higher. You can toggle between BSP% and VMG% display as described here.

  • tacks and jibes. These can be recognized by the tack () and jibe () icons on both the map and the timeline. You can press an icons to get detailed info on the corresponding tack or jibe. All generated tacks and jibes are also listed in the Navigator on the TACKS and JIBES tabs. The color of a tack or jibe indicates its rating. Blue indicates a bad tack or jibe with a meters lost value of more than twice the boat length. Orange indicates a good tack or jibe with a meters lost value of zero or more.

  • (manual) speed segments. Speed segments are race segments with either very low or very high speeds (with respect to the speed polar). Speed segments are either generated by annalisa (depicted by icon ) or created manually (depicted by icon ).

    Press a speed segment icon for detailed info.

  • legs. All legs are listed in the Navigator on the UPWIND, DOWNWIND and REACHING tabs, depending on their type.



13. Adding a manual speed segment

As mentioned in the previous topic, speed segments are automatically generated by annalisa. However, for every leg, only the speed segment with the lowest performance and the speed segment with the highest performance are stored. If you believe a certain other segment is also significant then you can manually add a speed segment.


To place a manual speed segment at the current time do as follows:

  1. in the right bar, press the button.

A manual speed segment will be placed at the current boat position (on the map) at the current time (on the timeline).



To place a manual speed segment somewhere in the past do as follows:

  1. in the lower-right corner of the map view, press the button to pause playback.

  2. drag the playhead to the desired point in time.

  3. in the right bar, press the button.

  4. resume playback by pressing the button.



To delete a manual speed segment:

  1. press the speed segment in the map or on the timeline. An info popup will appear.

  2. press the button to delete the speed segment.



14. Suspending and resuming the session

Once the recording is started it is not required per se to keep the app running or even keep the iPad on all the time. Data is first and foremost stored on the annalisa on-board server and can be transferred to the app later on. Just make sure to resume the app session when the race is done to officially stop the session. Any missing server data will then be transferred to the app.

When you resume a session the app resumes its generation of tacks, speed segments, etc. from the current point in time, likely leaving a gap.

You can force the app to regenerate all data and items up to the current time by pressing the button in the left bar. Before regeneration can commence the app first has to download all missing data from the server so please be patient.



15. Inspecting data at a point in time

Sometimes you might want to go back in time to e.g. lookup a certain boat state or check the value of a certain quantity. This can be done as follows:

  1. in the lower-right corner of the map view, press the button to pause playback.

  2. now you can drag the playhead to any point in time. Notice how the data cells, map view and right bar are updated accordingly. To zoom in on the time window around the playhead press and hold the button. Press and hold the button to zoom out. Notice how the track in the map view is adapted to the changing time window.

  3. resume playback by pressing the button.



16. Race report

The race report gives a summary of the (ongoing) race and provides a rating on a scale of 1 to 10.

To open the race report:

  1. in the left bar, press the button to bring up the race report. If the button is disabled then this means that the race was not yet started or no route is active.






The screen consists of a race section that gives overall information, upwind, downwind and reaching sections that give information about all upwind, downwind and reaching legs, and a rating. The rating is based on the average VMG% of the upwind and downwind legs and the average BSP% of the reaching legs. An 8 means that you managed to equal the polar performance.


A detailed overview of the race report is given here.



17. Stopping the session

To stop the session do the following

  1. in the left bar, press the button.

  2. press the STOP button to stop the session.

The app will now try to get all missing data from the server. This might take a while: t he speed depends on the quality of the Wi-Fi network on the boat, but it should not take more then a couple of minutes. This step is important as it is the last chance to obtain the data from the server, so please be patient. When the transfer is done the app will regenerate all (item) data before returning to the Events Screen.



18. Uploading the session to the cloud storage

Now the session is recorded and all it is good practice to sync with the cloud storage to store the precious session data in the cloud. Press the button to start synching. A working internet connection is required.



19. Sharing the session with others

You can allow other people (e.g. team members) access to the session through their own iPad devices. This can be done by giving them your sharing key.

This allows them to view all your data in the annalisa app (which they have to install on their devices). They will only be allowed to modify event and session data on their own device, they will not be able to upload data to the cloud storage, so they cannot break anything for you.

The sharing key can be found on the annalisa website. Go to Account->Order History and then click on View Order next to your first order. The sharing key can now be found under the Public Notes.



20. Miscellaneous

Increasing battery life

Follow these tips to increase your iPad's battery life while recording a session:

  • minimize touching the screen. Whenever you touch the screen the app has to update the screen at 60Hz to be responsive. When the screen is not touched the refresh frequency drops to 1Hz, which has a significantly lower energy impact.

  • suspend the session when realtime feedback (e.g. for tactics or navigation) is not needed (for a while). This way the wifi connection to the server is suspended which saves a lot of energy.

    You can suspend the session by pressing EXIT in the left bar and choosing SUSPEND, or simply by pressing the iPad's home button.



And that ends this tutorial! Thanks for following this all the way through.



© annalisa B.V.

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