13 October 2012

Crowdsourcing bathymetric data

It seems that the newest thing in the marine navigation is going to be that the boating users are going to provide their own depth data to themselves as well as to the general boating population. In other words, we're goin' Cloud Crowd Surfing!

As part of the recent Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch announcements Lowrance announced an initiative named Insight Genesis and have now produced a FAQ that explains what different options there are. Basically the Insight Genesis product will be a way to produce your own maps, using your own data. When you buy in to the program you will be able to download the maps generated using the data that you uploaded earlier onto compatible Lowrance chartplotters. Navico will also use the data generated through this program to improve the 'normal' charts that they provide.

Now today I learned from Navionics that they are going to provide SonarCharts, a high resolution bathymetric layer that will be provided via a webapp, as well as Android, iOS and Platinum+ charts. Source of the data will generally be the users themselves. The idea is that you will upload depth data obtained whilst boating, and that same data will then be used overnight to create updated charts.

I can't help thinking that these are somehow linked, as Navionics is the chart data supplier for large parts of the world for the Navico chartplotters. It might well be that the data uploaded for Insight Genesis will be used for SonarCharts as well.

Will be interesting to see how this will work in the fast changing sand banks that are my home waters. I'm saying that because some of the time the Navico Freshest Data seems to be really fresh, with buoys updated within a week, and sometimes not so much. Not being dependent on data supplied by the hydrographic office might speed this up considerably.