One of the first after-dive task you learn is your logbook. You use it to chart your progress as a student, record your pressure groups, chart your bottom times, weights,depths, air comsumption and surface intervals, and generally show your dive experience. There is often a place for twenty or thirty words of comments. Often divers get tired of them as they just become bare stats. Little to seperate one dive from the next. Many divers stop using them after a while, other just keep going to prove a milestone. While dive center websites often state divers must present their log books, I have never been asked for one. It has been about ten years since the first electronic log books came out. I remember adding my first hundred dives into the PADI dive logs. While I have always been an earlier adapter, the electronic logs never really suited me, and while I have tried a number of different electronic logs I have stayed with a paper logbook. I will balance my neutrality with the point that my dive computer is old and does not have a computer interface.
Recently I came acoss a dive log that goes beyond the old traditional logbook and adds the power of online mapping and images to a dive entry that is more a journal than just a log. Diviac short for Dive Maniac, has recently released both an android and an apple mobile applications for its cloud base service. Diviac started in 2013 as a cloud based service for divers. The power of cloud base storage allows the company to bring more than just a location to store data to their program. Elements of social interaction and information sharing have been incorporated into their program.
The starting point would be the logs. The logbook is a journal, Not just a record of technical facts. The log entries include all the customary items and is compatible with any computer that is compatible with a computer. There are also the ability to upload images that you have taken on the dive. You can also share your log with your dive buddy and they can validate your entries. As you enter your information, there is also the opportunity to access related information on the cloud. As an example, you may find additional information based on the dive center you are using or the dive site. This information may be from diviac information or information provided by dive centers or previous divers. When you set up your account, you can set your privacy and determine who, if anyone, can view your information. You can set different levels of controls on different items you are sharing.
The program has a different look for each of the three groups of potential users: dive centers, dive instructors and divers. It may be easier explaining some functions by starting with the dive centers. Dive center who register with Diviac can load their basic data. Like trip advisor or Google business listing they provide the basic information. Dive centers are also encouraged to list there dive sites, giving the GPS location so that it can be mapped and basic site information. The centers can provide depth and current information as well as a description. Diviac has a marine life database of over 14,000 listings. Dive centers can create a fish card based on the marine life they frequently encounter using the information in the database. They can also upload a gallery of images taken around the dive center and at the dive sites.
When a diver opens a new log entry, thy have a option of entering the dive center they are diving with. If that dive center has logged the information, the list of dive sites will appear in a drop down box. Selecting a listed dive site will populate the map with the proper information and show the site descriptions. A useful bit of information for pre-dive planning. Also available will be the fish card for the location and photographs from the dive center and previous divers who shared their photographs.
For divers with computer compatible dive computers, after the dive,information can be loaded directly into the logbook. Those using a manual entry will find a clean graphic interface allowing easy entry of the data. There is a nice graphic for filling in depths, water conditions, times and the other items in a traditional log. There is a section to upload your images to your log entry or you may select one from the data base. To record the marine life you saw, just bring up a fish card. Each region has a fish card with the top 50 most common sightings, or you could select a dive center card if one is available. Another marine life option is a search function or the family tree. Each entry in the data base has a basic information page. You can review that information when you complete the log entry or at any time by clicking the image in your logbook.
The program has a free option and a premium offering. The items already discussed are all available in the free option. The premium offering has the ability to run reports based on the data you entered. If you want to chart your air consumption, it just a matter of a few clicks. Art of your dives on one certain dive site, no problem. One interesting premium feature is to follow a dive site. When you are following a dive site, anytime someone publishes a log publicly from your followed site, you will get a notification.
Dive instructors have a few options open to them. One of them is to create training templates. The templates can be used to show the training objectives. The instructor simply selects a template they set up, add the site information and share it with their students. The student can then add their individual information. Dive instructors are given free lifetime upgrades to the premium service.
I am sure in time something better will come along, but in my view this is a huge leap forward in the electronic logs.
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