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Posted on Jul 13, 2012 in Next Cast, Chart Software, Fishfinders, Software, Sonar, ICAST 2012
Hit the Refresh Button on Your Sonar with Navionics' User-Generated Content
by Chris Woodward
BeforeAfter
Photo courtesy of Navionics
Left: Original NOAA chart view of shoaling near Nantucket, Mass. Right: A user-generated sonar update of the same region.

Navionics customers who use the company’s data chips or its mobile app have seen the rapid results from user-generated navigation content. Navionics says it has 30,000 “editors” ­— boaters from around the world — who have made as many as 200,000 changes to coastal and inland charts in a year’s time. Ninety-five percent of those alterations, such as new buoy placements, hazards, fishing spots and more, will not be available on official charts, says Shaun Ruge, Navionics’ product manager.

Yesterday, Ruge announced at the ICAST trade show in Orlando that Navionics has added sonar to that “freshest data” program. Here’s the basic description of how that happens:

  •   Boater records sonar track
  •   Boater uploads sonar recording to Navionics via the Navionics application
  •   Navionics integrates the recording to improve bathymetry, adjusting for keel-level offset and tides
  •   Navionics publishes an updated chart via Freshest Data within 24 hours

Ruge showed us a map of an inshore saltwater location he fished off Nantucket (above). He explained that during three consecutive weekends, the shoals moved, which consequently meant the fish moved. The final weekend he fished he uploaded his sonar track information and created an updated chart. What looked like one long shoal on the original NOAA chart was actually two separate sandbars.

Note that nowhere on the pictured chart does it show where exactly Ruge fished or whether he caught anything. So the updated information, which becomes available to all users, does not give away all the details of your best location. What it does is show you the constantly changing conditions you need to know to better fish a region, especially an inshore region.

The new chart data becomes part of the Fish Layer on your plotter or mobile device that you can turn on or off. Fish Layer updating for Platinum Plus users is available now (a year of free data uploads comes with purchase; in subsequent years, the price is 50 percent of new-purchase cost); app users will see it this fall (updates are currently free after app purchase).

For more information on Freshest Data, visit the Navionics web site.