I attended the meeting of Germans famous forum-schiff.de user group Saturday, 30th of August near Rendsburg at the Kanal-Cafe. A Good place to shoot ship-images on the Kiel-Canal, even though the image background at the spot was a bit difficult to manage :)
So everybody was almost all the time outside, spotting and of course talking with each other.
I met Tomas Pinas from Oslo again and we spoke about the developments towards commercializing of shipspotting.com and the next user meeting in Rotterdam in May 2009, also had interesting talks with “hafenfreak”, Martin Leuschner (VT), Dieter Kannengießer, Martin Witte und Christian Costa about spotting and monitoring and could took images of about 15 ships during the day.
Also, beeing in the fields means a good chance, to check on live signals compared to the live situation. The monitoring of AIS signals in the canal happened in three different setups. A small Shipplotter installation with antenna, scanner -discriminator and laptop was available for comparison against AISlive, vesseltracker and Digital-Seas, which where accessed over a mobile-vodaphone connection on the internet. The big picture on the Canal has been available at all three ways, but only SP with antenna and DS showed no distinction, when looking at the live situation. Complete coverage of the area and no delays of the signal are the DS guaranty for beeing usefull and made me kind proud.
I would have liked a bit of program over the day to make efficient use of the time and talk about our niche topics as spotters. But the relaxed athmosphere and seeing everybody relishing the perfect day, was a nice impression too. I missed the night talks and the Sunday, since I had to leave in the early evening for my three hour drive back to Rostock.
Thanks to the organizers of www.forum-schiff.de for the beatyful weather, the nice place and the chance to meet and talk in the Kanal-Cafe. Hope to see everybody next year again.