Every dive computer manufacturer has their own version of an electronic dive log that is shipped or optional available to download, log and review your dives from your dive computer. Some are good, some opt for function rather than aesthetics and usability and some are just a token gesture at best. So what are the options? I am not a pen and paper man and the thought of scribbling some notes in a book and drawing a little dive profile doesn't exactly encourage me to log my dive. I want to be able to share my experiences with my fellow divers and friends, incorporate photos or videos, map where I dive. With that I turned to the ultimate resource that is the internet. There is a surprising number of online dive logging sites available, some significantly better than others and a few that stand out from the rest. The sites below are that I liked, you may prefer others and I would appreciate you leaving a comment below if there is a great online log site that I may have missed.
Dive Seven is a nice, easy to use site. There are plenty of interesting graphics and statistics displayed at the overview level and everything seems to have been well thought out, designed, developed and the way everything flows works well. The dive log screen is a very visual affair with all the critical information displayed as a dive profile graphic similar to something you'd draw in an offline log book. The ability to add your own dive sites (including lat/long location) is great and by using existing sites or adding your own you'll be populating the map with your dives. This not only displays them on a global map in your profile but also makes then available and searchable to other users who might be looking for dives in that area.
Although Dive Seven is a great platform it doesn't tick all the boxes for me.....I want photo / video integration and I'd like more social sharing options other than just Facebook. Two other minor annoyances for me is that the profile picture is taken from a Gravatar account with no obvious way to change it and you have to log in using a third party authentication such as Facebook or Google (I prefer creating separate accounts) Website: www.diveseven.com Twitter: @diveseven Facebook: http://facebook.com/diveseven
ScubaEarth is a PADI venture and is currently still in Beta testing. If you are a Padi Pro and are signed up to their Pro site with an active membership you can access ScubaEarth through there. I imagine there are still a lot of bugs to work out and features to finish off but it is looking like a promising site. Not a lot was working 100% when I was navigating around but by looking at the menu system and features we can expect to see an in depth logbook and dive site system with similar functionality to Dive Seven but with photo and video media uploading as well as more advanced social sharing options. The new dive site and log entry system was a little clunky but this is to be expected whilst it is still in Beta testing but provides a searchable dive site map with the option to add your own if it doesn't exist. Additional features include a 'Gear Locker' to record all of your dive equipment and assign relevant equipment to specific dives. This could be useful to see how often or perhaps the last time you used a certain piece of kit. I am assuming here but if it were me I would add an option to automatically pull in your personal details if you are an existing PADI member. Website: www.scubaearth.com
The Movescount site is a little different to the others so far in that it is a sports community site covering everything from cheer leading to triathlons but does also support scuba diving. Suunto made a bit of a move a year or so ago that took their dive logging away from offline storage to their online community. What is particularly useful is that there is no need to input the dive time, depth, profile details, etc in yourself and instead this information can be sent directly from the offline Dive Manager Software to your online profile, leaving you with just the dive site to locate, buddy to add and a description to write. All the profiles, warnings, alerts, saturation levels and air consumption figures (if you have a wireless transmitter are clearly presented in the new dive log for review. Media can be imported from Flickr and Youtube but there is no direct upload options and there is a ridiculously number of ways you can share your dive logs with others online.
Suunto have really tried to make this a social site so there is the option to take yourself and your profile public, making your dives visible to to the world. This also means you can find local dives or divers that are in your area. You can follow other users and they can follow you, leave comments about a 'move' they have logged in the past and also join groups (or create your own) of like minded people. Movescount can be used by anyone whether you have a Suunto dive computer or not. Dive logs can be created manually but to make the most of all the features you'll obviously need a Suunto device with a PC/Mac interface. Website: www.movescount.comTwitter: @Movescount Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Movescount-Powered-by-Suunto
Personally I think I have saved the best to last and Diveboard just ticks all the boxes for me. Here you'll find pretty all the features listed at the other sites above including dive site mapping, media uploading (images and video have a monthly cap but you can purchase upgrades), dive site and dive centre exploration, images galleries, gear records, lists of buddies, logbook statistical overview, etc but there are additional features that make this site stand out.
After downloading and installing a driver the site is able to transfer your dive profile information straight from your dive computer and sets up partially completed logs for you to complete. The list of computers it supports is massive and I'm sure new computers are adopted almost instantly. Diveboard also allows offline backups and exports from dive computer software to be imported if you already have logs created for your dives. Diveboard also has a big (and growing) database of marine species that you can tag in your dive profile. These species are visually searchable by category or by searching for the name if you know it. There is also the option to help Divers Alert Network (DAN) out with a little observational research to help study and analyse the risks of decompression illness by answering a short questionnaire about your dive, health, etc which is sent to DAN along with your dive profile information.
The guys at Diveboard are super nice and are very helpful. If you have a problem, spot a bug or want to request a feature then a quick tweet, message via site or give feedback options will be quickly answered.
Website: www.diveboard.com Twitter: @diveboard Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Diveboard If you know of a site that I haven't mentioned here that is worthy of a look then please leave a comment for us and other readers to take a look at.