Isle of Wight council creates rival to Floaty Finder and Ferry Spy

IWC have created a duplicate of the pre-existing Ferry Spy and Floaty Finder services. Opening up choice for the public, or duplicating effort and expense? The choice is yours. OnTheWight has the details.

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Isle of Wight council has created their own services on the Web showing a live video feed of the Floating Bridge, as well as showing its current position on the Medina.

Existing services
Two existing Isle of Wight-developed services already offer these features – Ferry Spy and Floaty Finder.

  • FerrySpy has been showing a live video feed of the Floating Bridge’s journey across the Medina since November 2015 – Nearly three years.
  • Floaty Finder automatically monitors the position on the Floating Bridge, letting people know which side of the Medina it currently is and if it’s in service.

Both of these services were built and are run with the expense bourne by the individuals / businesses behind the services.

Questions to council
News OnTheWight contacted the council to ask if they’d considered using the already existing services and what the council’s development/setup and ongoing monthly costs were.

At the time of publishing they’ve failed to respond.

Pros and cons of IWC video feed
The council’s video feed does appear to be of a superior quality.

Given its low placement, it has disadvantages compared with the Ferry Spy camera, such as not being able to judge how busy the service is while loading on the west side at high tide, as the view is obscured by FB6’s prow.

Click to see the comparison
IWC camera view of West loading at high tide
FerrySpy view of West loading at high tide

Its positioning does however give a clear view of why the current floating bridge, with its chains having been lengthened (after Cowes Harbour Commission lodged a formal complaint) in an attempt to stop yachts snagging on them, needing the additional assistance of a tug at certain times. Without this it floats off course.

The assistance of the barge wasn’t needed with the previous floating bridge.

Floaty Finder approach
Floaty Finder (on Web, mobile and App) takes a simple and stripped down approach to showing the data, displaying a graphic of which side the Floating Bridge is currently loading and if the service is running.

Floaty Finder showing Floating Bridge location

IWC approach: Mapped
The council’s approach is to embed the maps of an external service, MarineTraffic, which plot the current position of the Floating Bridge in real time.

If it’s static the bridge is shown as a blue dot. If in movement, the graphic changes to a rectangle, with an arrow showing the direction of travel.

Above this is displayed the council’s view on the current operating status of the service.

IWC AIS positioning of Floating Bridge map

What Floaty Finder devs says about it
News OnThewight asked the developers of Floaty Finder what their view of the new IWC offering was:

“We applaud any effort by the council to improve their customer service, but we think they’ve kind of missed the point.

“Most people don’t care too much where the bridge is right now – they’re much more interested in whether it’s is actually *in service*.

“During the recent floating bridge outages, the council’s ‘live status’ page has been happily saying ‘RUNNING TO TIMETABLE’ 12 hours after the bridge has been withdrawn from service!”

They went on to say,

“We created Floaty Finder because Floating Bridge users needed a more reliable data source that would show at a glance whether the Floating Bridge is running.

“Across the Website, Android and iOS apps we’ve had nearly 200,000 page views so we think and hope we’re doing something right.

“If the council want some support getting their site up to scratch we’d be more than happy to help.”

The services
IWC Floating Bridge video feed and AIS positioning
Ferry Spy live video
Floaty Finder

Image: kaoticsnow under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 9th October, 2018 8:58pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Roads, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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6 Comments on "Isle of Wight council creates rival to Floaty Finder and Ferry Spy"

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Once again, just like the design and manufacture of FB6, the IW Council spend our money without any discussion, let alone collaboration, with local people who know what is really needed.

Another Perspective

Let’s hope this bunch of incompetent idiots haven’t spent another £17000 of Council taxpayers money on 20 cameras to provide this platform, that incidentally is already being provided for free by others.

What’s wrong with our Council, are they REALLY that stupid?

Erm. Marine Traffic is a web based AIS converter and has a few minutes lag in it, it’s good for noseyness, but not navigetionally accurate. I’ve been watching their evening – sad – and on IWCs new page the AIS position runs 2 or 3 minutes behind the video, showing ferry one side on AIS and the other side in Video. Floaty finder must be using a… Read more »

Spot on, jess. And this is something that could have been done 18 months ago, but instead Islanders rise to the occasion to help the people – for free – and the Council duplicates their effort and does a poor job of it as well. It appears that the Council may be disrespecting Islanders and island businesses when it comes to things like this.


Clearly the public were clamouring for the council to throw more of their money into the Floating Bridge Black Hole. This one is particularly good because it has zero discernable benefit to the situation and improves nothing.


1984 here we come…