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Im a designer working on developing next generation scuba equipment. We are looking at designing an underwater map for scuba divers and would like some feedback on what features divers are looking for in such a product. We are considering having information on a)distance and directionfrom the diver to the dive boat b)location of dive buddy and other divers c) locations of dive spots/photography spots that might be of interest d) an option to download maps of different diving spots so divers can plan out their next vacations. If you have any comments on these features or suggestions for any othes, please let me know.
My project is part of an undergraduate thesis project and is purely for academic purposes. Any suggestions will be duly noted and credited!
From your description, it sounds as though you're considering a scuba incarnation of the sort of software that is available nowadays for PDAs and GPS systems. With respect to the location and orientation relative to dive boats, non-buddy divers, underwater dive sites, terrain and the like, it seems you need GPS capabilities.
I'm guessing that you can't detect GPS signals through several feet/meters of water, but we know that the technology exists to transmit signal (e.g. sound, sonar) through lots of water. Heck, we already have wireless air-integrated SPGs.
So me, my non-engineer mind envisions a sort of relay transmitter that sits on the water's surface above where you're diving. It locks onto the GPS system satellites and relays that info (perhaps via sound waves?) to hand-held units carried by you, the scuba diver, that have all this software that you've created loaded on them. One day then we have powerful systems that sit above a dive site, track all divers and relay all info to the computer on a dive boat.
My father is, literally, one of those rocket scientists/engineers who for years and forever worked on government contracts, and 90% of the time we didn't know where he was if he went on a business trip or what he was working on. He finally retires, and gives us an idea as to what kind of work he was doing all those years.
So, I had a pretty solid feeling technology like this just had to exist already.
When I first started diving I was not satisfied with a basic wisky compass. I looked and looked for an electronic compass that would work from a simple stored heading alignment. An electronic compass equiped with a TCAS like overlay would be outstanding. The airlines have been using this type of equipment for years.