Crowdsourced soundings on the ICW, CruisersNet & more

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

7 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Incidentally, the ActiveCaptain screen above shows one of the new starred marina icons that are part of the sponsorship program they’ve devised in part to avoid the clutter of banner ads:
    Note that has lots of banner ads that don’t show in my screen shots. But I think both types of revenue generation can work, and I certainly hope they do. In fact, when I’m actively using these sites I intend to show a little love to the businesses that support them. (And of course I appreciate how you all pay attention to Panbo’s advertisers!)

  2. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    What are the biggest challenges being faced in communicating this new information on 2D maps / what are the leading ideas to identify soundings that are recent/crowd sourced vs. decades old?
    Will there be some reconciliation of a rock symbol with a sounding of 12 ft depth? E.g. can rocks and wrecks ever be removed from our existing maps?

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Neat! Mark and Diane Doyle of On The Water ChartGuides also seem to be collecting soundings as they work north on the ICW. They’ve posted a taste on their Facebook page:
    Dan, there are many challenges to sharing, validating, and presenting user generated soundings data, and I think that we’ll see them shake out. The Doyles are apparently using a facility built into Coastal Explorer, though I wish the screenshots were bigger.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    More is revealed about Navionics crowd sourced soundings by my colleauge Chris Woodward on her Sportfishing magazine blog:
    What I hadn’t understood but makes great sense is that the UGC soundings will go to the “fishing” layer and not to the regular chart layer. In other words, Navionics is not going to mess with “official” soundings without further investigation, but we are going to able to share our own sounder research. Many plotters let you switch easily to a Navionics fishing chart or even have one windowed alongside a regular chart. Non fishermen may want to learn about this feature!

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Navionics SonarCharts can now be seen online:
    I think this is what was originally called UGC 3D in the entry above, but it looks more like the data seen on a Navionics fishing chart. I’m confused.

  6. Rick R says:

    I’m confused too. This is not my idea of a navigation chart. It is really a topographic map.
    And the question I have for Navionics is How did they gather this information? or Where is their “crowd” if they claim crowdsourced data.
    As far as I know, in eastern US, only ARGUS can claim crowdsource charted depth data. (I am part of their “crowd”). And of course, there are several other websites such as Cruisersnet and ActiveCaptain which publish crowdsourced warnings of troublespots.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Rick, both Navionics and Navico are now accepting boater collected depth files sort of like Argus does.
    I find the SonarCharts easy enough to understand for navigation, and I like how you can flip back and forth with the ‘official’ chart data (which isn’t necessarily more accurate). But I was confused about the data sourcing until I found this in a recent press release:
    “While the SonarCharts™ layer is made up of data from multiple sources, its evolution over time, incorporating new sonar logs from the boating and fishing community, is revolutionizing cartography. It’s simple and convenient for anyone to record sonar logs and upload them to”
    So SonarCharts include more than crowd sourced data, a lot more it looks like to me. I think that you have to own a current Navionics chart card subscription to see SonarCharts on your plotter or to contribute data, but it’s neat that the Navionics WebApp lets us see all their charts worldwide plus the SonarCharts for the U.S.:
    PS And more on SonarCharts including coverage areas:

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published.