The Commute

An informative and entertaining discussion on our ferries and highways with Kitsap Sun reporters.
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Watch Ferries Bounce Across Screen in Real Time

February 25th, 2010 by ed friedrich

Washington State Ferries has launched a new and improved Vessel Watch tool on its Web page. A Beta version, it’s a work in progress, but already cooler than its primitive but useful predecessor.
The new Vessel Watch pretty much does the same thing as the old, but better. They’re both basically maps with little icons representing the boats so you can see which ones are on a route and where they are at the moment.
The new map is more detailed and looks a lot nicer, which doesn’t really add to its functionality, but you can zoom in and out, which you can’t on the old one. Every few seconds you can see the new boat icons move across the water, like green jumping beans. It uses GPS coordinates from the boats’ transponders. On the old map, you had to hit the refresh button for the little blue arrows to move to their approximate locations.
They’re still working on some advanced features. If you click on a boat, a screen pops up with slots for next departure, estimated arrival time, heading, speed, longitude and latitude. Today, only the heading is working. I’m pretty sure the latitude and longitude were there when I looked a few days ago. The next departure time is supposed to be available by the end of the month.

One Response to “Watch Ferries Bounce Across Screen in Real Time”

  1. Craig P Says:

    yes, it looks like WSF is about to provide something useful. Next it needs to be a IPhone app and we will be liberated from sitting in the ferry terminal!