• Announcements

    • Zapata

      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

      Underdawg did an excellent job of explaining the rules.  Here's the simplified version: Don't insinuate Pedo.  Warning and or timeout for a first offense.  PermaFlick for any subsequent offenses Don't out members.  See above for penalties.  Caveat:  if you have ever used your own real name or personal information here on the forums since, like, ever - it doesn't count and you are fair game. If you see spam posts, report it to the mods.  We do not hang out in every thread 24/7 If you see any of the above, report it to the mods by hitting the Report button in the offending post.   We do not take action for foul language, off-subject content, or abusive behavior unless it escalates to persistent stalking.  There may be times that we might warn someone or flick someone for something particularly egregious.  There is no standard, we will know it when we see it.  If you continually report things that do not fall into rules #1 or 2 above, you may very well get a timeout yourself for annoying the Mods with repeated whining.  Use your best judgement. Warnings, timeouts, suspensions and flicks are arbitrary and capricious.  Deal with it.  Welcome to anarchy.   If you are a newbie, there are unwritten rules to adhere to.  They will be explained to you soon enough.  
B.J. Porter

Active Captain acquired by Garmin

Recommended Posts

I don't know if anyone else uses Active Captain for crowdsourced cruising information, but they were recently acquired by Garmin.

To date, AC was a home grown operation started by a couple that cruises part time on a Trawler on the East Coast. It's a reasonably good resource, though far better in the US than out since most of us in more remote places are blazing the crowdsourced trails there.

It integrates with various packages, e.g. I can see ActiveCaptain reviews and data on my MaxSea software.

If I recall SmackDaddy may be a huge fan?

https://www.tradeonlytoday.com/2017/05/garmin-acquires-developer-of-activecaptain/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ActiveCaptain said:

...they cruise full time on their pocket freighter, Red Head.

Ah, I thought you guys were still spending part of the year in Castine. My mistake.

I won't pretend to know the difference between a trawler and a "pocket freighter" since I've never heard of the latter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why BJP - you freakin' pot-stirrer! Heh.

Yeah, I tweeted about this the day it happened, and also JUST posted about it here and on my blog - so I won't repeat it here. It will be interesting to see which way this goes. Let's just say I'm not convinced this is "awesome". AntiqueCaptain was problematic and kind of fading anyway as far as I'm concerned. I think there are far better products out there.

So, as a bit of a BoatingTechGeek, I'm in the meh column on this one. But who knows, maybe Garmin can fix this kind of outcome...

AC_Rudderbust.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

Why BJP - you freakin' pot-stirrer! Heh.

Yeah, I tweeted about this the day it happened, and also JUST posted about it here and on my blog - so I won't repeat it here. It will be interesting to see which way this goes. Let's just say I'm not convinced this is "awesome". AntiqueCaptain was problematic and kind of fading anyway as far as I'm concerned. I think there are far better products out there.

So, as a bit of a BoatingTechGeek, I'm in the meh column on this one.

I've found it to be very useful in the U.S., less so out of it since many places I went there were no entries. Especially on the Pacific side of the canal, there was more information in the Caribbean.

I've not seen any other crowd-sourced, free site that provides any similar data in other parts of the world. I know there are some commercial options.

While I don't always see eye-to-eye with them on his recommendations for things (we have very different cruising styles, boats, and geographic locations), on the whole I still find the program worth while. Some good deals still come through on the weekly newsletter, I hope that continues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

I've found it to be very useful in the U.S., less so out of it since many places I went there were no entries. Especially on the Pacific side of the canal, there was more information in the Caribbean.

I've not seen any other crowd-sourced, free site that provides any similar data in other parts of the world. I know there are some commercial options.

While I don't always see eye-to-eye with Jeff on his recommendations for things (we have very different cruising styles, boats, and geographic locations), on the whole I still find the program worth while. Some good deals still come through on the weekly newsletter, I hope that continues.

I don't know if you've seen it BJ, but I did an EXHAUSTIVE (and widely read according to the Google results) side-by-side review of AC and Waterway Guide on my blog (linky) and then slogged it out forever with several chuckleheads on one of my epic SN threads (linky). Since I did that review, Waterway Guide Explorer (linky) has improved even more while AC has remained in Flash-based Purgatory falling further and further behind (my previous point). On my blog post in the comments, you can also see where ACDude was bragging about having 500K users by the end of 2016 - where this new release from Garmin states only 250K in Q2 of 2017? WTH? It's always hard to know what's true with AC.

So, for the US and Carib I think WG is very quickly displacing AC as the high-quality planning tool for boaters - much to ACDude's displeasure (see his infamous FB group spam call below - which he deleted after his own members crowdshamed him).

But you're right, to date the WG footprint is pretty much East-coast-and-Carib-centric. That said, I doubt they're standing still on that kind of stuff. We'll see.

Anyway, I've made my case and made my decision - and I've gotten plenty of blackhat blowback from ACDude over it. Oh well. Now it's in Garmin's far more stable hands. That's a good step. I'll be interested to see where they take it.

In the mean time, I've been coming across some VERY cool new tech in this arena. I'll be doing more reviews soon. Pretty exciting stuff.

 

AC_WGRant.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

I don't know if you've seen it BJ, but I did an EXHAUSTIVE (and widely read according to the Google results) side-by-side review of AC and Waterway Guide on my blog (linky) and then slogged it out forever with several chuckleheads on one of my epic SN threads (linky). Since I did that review, Waterway Guide Explorer (linky) has improved even more while AC has remained in Flash-based Purgatory falling further and further behind (my previous point). On my blog post in the comments, you can also see where ACDude was bragging about having 500K users by the end of 2016 - where this new release from Garmin states only 250K in Q2 of 2017? WTH? It's always hard to know what's true with AC.

So, for the US and Carib I think WG is very quickly displacing AC as the high-quality planning tool for boaters - much to ACDude's displeasure (see his spam call below - which he deleted after his own members shamed him).

But you're right, to date the WG footprint is pretty much East-coast-and-Carib-centric. That said, I don't think they're standing still on that kind of stuff. We'll see.

Anyway, I've made my case and made my decision - and I've gotten plenty of blackhat blowback from ACDude over it. Oh well. Now it's in Garmin's far more stable hands. That's a good step. I'll be interested to see where they take it.

 

 

I've read your comparison; I don't agree with all your points but I understand what you were getting at.

This is how I use ActiveCaptain. I only go to the website to leave reviews, and never run the App. I don't think WG integrates like this (those little bubbles are all ActiveCaptain info points) with my software. Not that I can see, and not for no charge.

 

AC1.jpg

AC2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wrong about 500K users by the end of 2016.  I grossly underestimated the results.  This recent article got the number correct:

https://medium.com/@janetgannon92/charting-changes-noaas-plans-for-the-future-of-charts-poll-92d8a1473e0c

250K is the number who have contributed information.

Booyah!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I know the only in-chart integration for WG at this point is with iNavX. We use that as our primary chartplotter and the integration therein looks like this with the Navionics charts...

IMG_0448.thumb.jpg.7b65d9569284853dfac8d613cbb70375.jpg

iNavX could definitely do with working on the layout/formatting in the WG pop-ups, but in our last leg from Texas to Florida, I was very pleased with the info. Even so, it looks like a similar problem occurs in Timezero (dark purple text against dark background?). I guess there's always room for improvement.

But as I've said, I think the main strength of POI/Guide data is in planning, not underway navigation. As I pointed out with the photo above, relying on AC data for navigation can obviously rip the rudder out of your boat.

Regardless, I'd like to think there are smarter ways of implementing such data into chartplotters...making it more selective and contextual. When you get into frequently cruised areas you can get lost in the fog of AC markers when there are plenty of other things you should be paying attention to while steering. So I'm not yet sold on chartplotter integration per se - at least the way it's being done now. I think there are better ways...regardless of the platform.

But for planning, I've been very, very impressed with WG - using WGExplorer for the pre-trip planning, the printed guide for TONS of great additional information when visiting these places, and the iNavX integration for quick reference (bridge numbers/channels/clearances, etc.) while underway. For most cruisers, that's a killer combo.

I'll do another review using all three WG products in our upcoming Bahamas trip. Should be cool.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Jeffrey Siegel said:

I was wrong about 500K users by the end of 2016.  I grossly underestimated the results.  This recent article got the number correct:

https://medium.com/@janetgannon92/charting-changes-noaas-plans-for-the-future-of-charts-poll-92d8a1473e0c

250K is the number who have contributed information.

Booyah!

Oh this is great...

Quote

Jeff Siegel, a serial entrepreneur whose Active Captain (URL) is an online charting information add-on and boater network with 1.5 million members worldwide.

Now it's charting information and 1.5 million members? Wow. Maybe you should tell your new employer they have their numbers WAY wrong. Seems they'd want a press release to be accurate.

As for the quality of AC's charting information, we've already seen the results above. And as I've said before, the beauty of that is that the contributing member who provided that marker info that caused thousands of dollars of damage is the one who is legally liable for that damage per your TOS...not AC. Crowdsourced Litigation? NOAA should love that.

I think you should stick with POI info..not charting. Navionics is already WAY ahead of you on that front.

As for the numbers, do you remember saying this?

Quote

I’m the software developer behind ActiveCaptain and the person who verifies and validates all hazards and anchorages. I’ve personally evaluated each one that has been entered. I also read every comment written on every hazard to determine if some of the details need to be updated because of dredging, aid-to-navigation replacement, or other factors. At this moment, there are about 3,000 active hazards throughout the world listed.”

You've been busy - obviously.

So, like I've always said, with AC (and Brent Swain) one never quite knows what to believe. Hopefully your new employer will address that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

Oh this is great...

Now it's charting information and 1.5 million members? Wow. Maybe you should tell your new employer they have their numbers WAY wrong. Seems they'd want a press release to be accurate.

As for the quality of AC's charting information, we've already seen the results above. And as I've said before, the beauty of that is that the contributing member who provided that marker info that caused thousands of dollars of damage is the one who is legally liable for that damage per your TOS...not AC. Crowdsourced Litigation? NOAA should love that.

I think you should stick with POI info..not charting. Navionics is already WAY ahead of you on that front.

As for the numbers, do you remember saying this?

You've been busy - obviously.

So, like I've always said, with AC (and Brent Swain) one never quite knows what to believe. Hopefully your new employer will address that.

I am inclined to believe that the Captain of the vessel is STILL fundamentally responsible for what happens when it is under his or her command. You look at multiple information sources for everything, but you, as the captain make the decision.

There are any number of variables that could account for an error like this. We hit a damned rock coming out of Onset for example when both our chartplotter AND the freaking channel buoys indicated we were in the middle of the channel with plenty of water. Our best analysis was that the low tide allowed enough slack into the channel marker to let it float over further than it should have been to indicate the edge of the channel. Who should I sue, eh? The guy that publishes Eldridge?

If there is any doubt about obstructions in the water or depth, I'm not moving fast enough to rip my rudder off. I've navigated through waters that were literally uncharted, in the middle of an atoll in the South Pacific. You go slow, you move carefully, and you keep a careful watch.

When I turn a $4,000 dollar chat plotter on in my cockpit, it STILL puts up a warning that you need to do proper navigation and not to rely solely on one source.

 

Please though, let's not turn this into a shitfight between you an @Jeffrey Siegel . I'd love to hear some intelligent discussion about the net effect of the acquisition, not name calling, insults and accusations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

From what I know the only in-chart integration for WG at this point is with iNavX. We use that as our primary chartplotter and the integration therein looks like this with the Navionics charts...

IMG_0448.thumb.jpg.7b65d9569284853dfac8d613cbb70375.jpg

iNavX could definitely do with working on the layout/formatting in the WG pop-ups, but in our last leg from Texas to Florida, I was very pleased with the info. Even so, it looks like a similar problem occurs in Timezero (dark purple text against dark background?). I guess there's always room for improvement.

But as I've said, I think the main strength of POI/Guide data is in planning, not underway navigation. As I pointed out with the photo above, relying on AC data for navigation can obviously rip the rudder out of your boat.

Regardless, I'd like to think there are smarter ways of implementing such data into chartplotters...making it more selective and contextual. When you get into frequently cruised areas you can get lost in the fog of AC markers when there are plenty of other things you should be paying attention to while steering. So I'm not yet sold on chartplotter integration per se - at least the way it's being done now. I think there are better ways...regardless of the platform.

But for planning, I've been very, very impressed with WG - using WGExplorer for the pre-trip planning, the printed guide for TONS of great additional information when visiting these places, and the iNavX integration for quick reference (bridge numbers/channels/clearances, etc.) while underway. For most cruisers, that's a killer combo.

I'll do another review using all three WG products in our upcoming Bahamas trip. Should be cool.

 

 

It will be years before WG will do me any good since their coverage area is so limited. And that will revert to never if they don't get to integrate with MaxSea, even if I do sail back into their limited range.

I took a quick screen shot for you, I can turn on or off a variety of information bits from Points of Interest, both from Active Captain, Panaramio Pictures, and my own pictures. I've never had a problem with visibility or readability. MaxSea has a Planning workspace and a Navigation (active course) work space. I can put the information on either once, but I generally leave Navigation clear without it and show it on planning. Since both are tied to the instruments, I can do last minute "planning" with the anchorage information when needed, if it is there.

Being there is the big one. There aren't too many AC points in the South Pacific, and some of the ones that are I created. There's only limited penetration in Australia too, so only a few posts in the places we've been hanging lately. The difference though is that we CAN create the POI's ourselves and report on them. I don't think WG will let me add anchorages in and around Sydney, for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've run aground a couple of times - both of them completely my fault and not the fault of the chart or anything else. So I agree with you. My point above is that FB poster said they specifically followed the recommendations in that AC marker - even though it conflicted with the charts. And JS was talking about getting in touch with NOAA to change the soundings - when the soundings were not the issue. Again, the problem with these kinds of AC markers is that those members are the ones on the hook for this stuff - and I think that's a real problem. Recommending marinas or anchorages is one thing - contravening charts and being liable for damage is entirely another. People should understand that...regardless of how one feels about our litigious society. It's an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

It will be years before WG will do me any good since their coverage area is so limited. And that will revert to never if they don't get to integrate with MaxSea, even if I do sail back into their limited range.

I took a quick screen shot for you, I can turn on or off a variety of information bits from Points of Interest, both from Active Captain, Panaramio Pictures, and my own pictures. I've never had a problem with visibility or readability. MaxSea has a Planning workspace and a Navigation (active course) work space. I can put the information on either once, but I generally leave Navigation clear without it and show it on planning. Since both are tied to the instruments, I can do last minute "planning" with the anchorage information when needed, if it is there.

Being there is the big one. There aren't too many AC points in the South Pacific, and some of the ones that are I created. There's only limited penetration in Australia too, so only a few posts in the places we've been hanging lately. The difference though is that we CAN create the POI's ourselves and report on them. I don't think WG will let me add anchorages in and around Sydney, for example.

Yeah, WG is definitely not currently covering Sydney - or Hiva Oa. BUT, you actually could create a "marker" there and let them know what it's for. Here's the view...

5917d2dd1b203_ScreenShot2017-05-13at10_43_24PM.thumb.jpg.54008ec895fb0757895a103634aae0d1.jpg

You can click on that Nav Alert icon lower right, then click on the spot you want to mark. You'll get a pop-up where you can enter your info. As it says, they'll review and likely converse with you about it - then place the marker if it's legit. You should try it.

A couple of things I like about it is that, first, unlike AC you don't have to create an account to simply see the information in WGExplorer. Second, they have paid On The Water Editors who verify and validate info. Not a bad gig. You should actually talk to them since you're in some areas that could definitely use some fill in. Might be cool.

As for MaxSeaTZ - that looks like a seriously sweet tool.

PS - Holy crap. I just noticed the weather overlay tab up top with NOAA and Windyty options. This thing just keeps getting cooler and cooler.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

I've run aground a couple of times - both of them completely my fault and not the fault of the chart or anything else. So I agree with you. My point above is that FB poster said they specifically followed the recommendations in that AC marker - even though it conflicted with the charts. And JS was talking about getting in touch with NOAA to change the soundings - when the soundings were not the issue. Again, the problem with these kinds of AC markers is that those members are the ones on the hook for this stuff - and I think that's a real problem. Recommending marinas or anchorages is one thing - contravening charts and being liable for damage is entirely another. People should understand that...regardless of how one feels about our litigious society. It's an issue.

Could indeed be an issue. Crowdsourced charting in general has some issues of calibration and coordination to deal with. How many people have their hull/keel offsets programmed correctly, for example. It doesn't matter so much in 30' of water, but if I'm looking to see if I can clear a harbor entrance a foot off can ruin my whole day. I don't know enough about how they correct for this data though, so I can't pontificate too much. So many soundings in the places I've cruised are dodgy, there's data on some of the charts from Captain Cook FFS.

One thing we did a lot with poorly charted places like Fiji is exchange GPS tracks with one another for successful navigation through various tight spots. So as long as you knew it wasn't from a catamaran or shoal draft boat you were usually pretty clear to convert it to a course. I sailed across places where my Mapmedia charts showed green at low tide (meaning exposed) where my boat looked like it was Brent Swaining across the reef on my chartplotter but I was in 35 feet of water with plenty of room to spare from the visible reef.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

Yeah, WG is definitely not currently covering Sydney - or Hiva Oa. BUT, you actually could create a "marker" there and let them know what it's for. Here's the view...

5917d2dd1b203_ScreenShot2017-05-13at10_43_24PM.thumb.jpg.54008ec895fb0757895a103634aae0d1.jpg

You can click on that Nav Alert icon lower right, then click on the spot you want to mark. You'll get a pop-up where you can enter your info. As it says, they'll review and likely converse with you about it - then place the marker if it's legit. You should try it.

A couple of things I like about it is that, first, unlike AC you don't have to create an account to simply see the information in WGExplorer. Second, they have paid On The Water Editors who verify and validate info. Not a bad gig. You should actually talk to them since you're in some areas that could definitely use some fill in. Might be cool.

It doesn't sound like they are very interested in the parts of the world I am in yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would you think they're not interested? I certainly would be interested in your anchorages around Sydney. I obviously can't speak for WG, but I would think they would be interested in growing their coverage - just like any other platform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

there's data on some of the charts from Captain Cook FFS.

Brent Swaining

1. And he got eaten, so who's going to follow that idiot?

2. We have a new term of art.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a brand new one started by a nice young couple cruising the east coast of Australia. Zuluwaterways.com.

The couple are real, modest, long term cruising sailors. Their intentions seem genuinely community orientated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, smackdaddy said:

Why BJP - you freakin' pot-stirrer! Heh.

Yeah, I tweeted about this the day it happened, and also JUST posted about it here and on my blog - so I won't repeat it here. It will be interesting to see which way this goes. Let's just say I'm not convinced this is "awesome". AntiqueCaptain was problematic and kind of fading anyway as far as I'm concerned. I think there are far better products out there.

So, as a bit of a BoatingTechGeek, I'm in the meh column on this one. But who knows, maybe Garmin can fix this kind of outcome...

AC_Rudderbust.jpg

Relying solely on crowd-sourced information to navigate is just daft IMHO. The map was either wrong in which case I have some sympathy for him (we know that maps can be wrong and that we should use them with care but it is easy to get caught by this) or he didn't have one/couldn't read one/couldn't be bothered to navigate in which case he was just idiotic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to the discussion, and I'd like to hear from Siegel if he'd be so kind:

 

what happens to the 'free' aspect, ergo the AC website? Alternatively, what is this going to mean for those of us using Navionics products to access the AC database?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pano - I don't know what charting software this particular boater was using - and I obviously don't use AC so I can show you an overlay, but here's the FB thread where this was being discussed.

As you can see from her additional post in the comments, the AC overlay looks like this...

59186c3bd59b7_ScreenShot2017-05-14at9_38_07AM.thumb.jpg.b19c25f821c834a78779f5dfa043d1d9.jpg

And it looks to be a NOAA chart showing a 4' sounding where the 5' draft boat grounded. So the member-provided info in AC, which this boater relied on, was clearly wrong (as also mentioned by another poster in those FB comments). What struck me, however, especially in light of Jeff's linked article above, was that he said this about the NOAA chart:

Quote

Jeffrey Siegel Janell Liberty Jones Yeah - get a hazard there. NOAA needs to see that the depths aren't as charted. Try to give the best MLW depth you can remember seeing. Or use your boat grounding depth and the tide level. There should not be a 4 foot sounding there.

How is he seeing that the chart is wrong? Judging by this grounding of a 5' draft boat and other comments, the chart certainly seems to be accurate...at least far more accurate than AC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

Pano - I don't know what charting software this particular boater was using - and I obviously don't use AC so I can show you an overlay, but here's the FB thread where this was being discussed.

As you can see from her additional post in the comments, the AC overlay looks like this...

59186c3bd59b7_ScreenShot2017-05-14at9_38_07AM.thumb.jpg.b19c25f821c834a78779f5dfa043d1d9.jpg

And it looks to be a NOAA chart showing a 4' sounding where the 5' draft boat grounded. So the member-provided info in AC, which this boater relied on, was clearly wrong (as also mentioned by another poster in those FB comments). What struck me, however, especially in light of Jeff's linked article above, was that he said this about the NOAA chart:

How is he seeing that the chart is wrong? Judging by this grounding of a 5' draft boat and other comments, the chart certainly seems to be accurate...at least far more accurate than AC.

 

I am not used to American charts (do you give soundings relatively to the lowest theoretical tide like we all seem to do in Europe now but not before as old British maps used to do it relatively to mean water height) but depending on the tide you can have a 4 feet sounding and say 8 feet of water. Also from the map, the bottom seems pretty flat so an echo sounder would have given plenty of warning assuming that the map is right. Here where we get 40 feet tides thus a 4 feet sounding is nearly always safe for a 5' draft boat assuming that the sea is calm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jdazey said:

NOAA charts are relative to mean lower low water.

US West Coast only

Mean low water for east coast....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've lost me, what's the difference between mean lower low water and mean low water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Low of a 24 hour cycle vs low of a single tide cycle. I makes a big difference with semi-diurnal tides, since the low of one can be much higher than the next low

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex is pretty close.  The mean (MLW) is an average of the low tides  and when they are pretty close in range and only change over a series of tides, the mean is quite adequate for charting minimum depths (within reason).  On the west coast, with the  mixed semi-diurnal tides where the range between successive low tides can be pretty great, they use the MLLW because its the average of the lower of the low tides.  If you just take the mean from the west coast tides there could be a pretty significant difference and for a longer period of the tide cycle where the depths would be much less than the mean depth would be charted.  So, to minimize and reduce confusion, they use MLLW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With all the variables, especially those of MLW, MLLW, LAT, etc. - plus the imperial vs metric - plus variation in accuracy from sounder to sounder, you'd need a pretty damn good algorithm to normalize those numbers across the board. Navionics has been at this for quite a while from what I understand with SonarCharts, and I've personally found their charts to be quite accurate along the Gulf Coast and down into Florida. So they seem to have it figured out to a large degree. There's no question they have A LOT of global data now to build on...which is great for honing that algorithm.

Coincidentally, that brings up another thing I like about WGExplorer over AC for trip planning, you can select from several different charts in WGE (NOAA, Fugawi, and Navionics Sonar) - where with AC, you're stuck with NOAA charts only (or map/satellite view). Back to the example above of Sydney Harbor above - with WG , you can at least have Navionics charts for the area along with the markers that will eventually start filling in.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 10.43.24 PM.jpg

In AC, if you've selected Nautical chart view - you just get a blank screen with a bunch of standard markers, most of which have no input from boaters...

5918cae811e63_ScreenShot2017-05-14at4_20_12PM.thumb.jpg.f22a09d73d37dfdb4b166f2d84aee959.jpg

That's why describing AC as a "charting information add-on" seems a bit dubious to me...at least from a planning perspective. That said, this global reach is definitely an area that WGE has some catching up to do. We'll see how they play it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

With all the variables, especially those of MLW, MLLW, LAT, etc. - plus the imperial vs metric - plus variation in accuracy from sounder to sounder, you'd need a pretty damn good algorithm to normalize those numbers across the board. Navionics has been at this for quite a while from what I understand with SonarCharts, and I've personally found their charts to be quite accurate along the Gulf Coast and down into Florida. So they seem to have it figured out to a large degree. There's no question they have A LOT of global data now to build on...which is great for honing that algorithm.

Coincidentally, that brings up another thing I like about WGExplorer over AC for trip planning, you can select from several different charts in WGE (NOAA, Fugawi, and Navionics Sonar) - where with AC, you're stuck with NOAA charts only (or map/satellite view). Back to the example above of Sydney Harbor above - with WG , you can at least have Navionics charts for the area along with the markers that will eventually start filling in.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 10.43.24 PM.jpg

In AC, if you've selected Nautical chart view - you just get a blank screen with a bunch of standard markers, most of which have no input from boaters...

5918cae811e63_ScreenShot2017-05-14at4_20_12PM.thumb.jpg.f22a09d73d37dfdb4b166f2d84aee959.jpg

That's why describing AC as a "charting information add-on" seems a bit dubious to me...at least from a planning perspective. That said, this global reach is definitely an area that WGE has some catching up to do. We'll see how they play it.

Again, I don't use it that way. It's overlaid directly over my charts in MaxSea.

I only go to that site to write reviews. I've not seen THAT many reviews of the Sydney area, I'll have to refresh my database.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Veeger said:

Alex is pretty close.  The mean (MLW) is an average of the low tides  and when they are pretty close in range and only change over a series of tides, the mean is quite adequate for charting minimum depths (within reason).  On the west coast, with the  mixed semi-diurnal tides where the range between successive low tides can be pretty great, they use the MLLW because its the average of the lower of the low tides.  If you just take the mean from the west coast tides there could be a pretty significant difference and for a longer period of the tide cycle where the depths would be much less than the mean depth would be charted.  So, to minimize and reduce confusion, they use MLLW.

Thanks, it makes sense now. May be it is because this is what I am used to but I find our system of the lowest possible tide more idiot proof. If you read a 4m sounding on the map and don't have time to calculate accurately water height, you know that there is at least 4m of water.

When the Brits were still printing maps using imperial units with a different datum, it was quite dangerous for French boats used  to the simplicity of metrics. I think that quite a few crabs got crushed by a French keel!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

Back to the discussion, and I'd like to hear from Siegel if he'd be so kind:

 

what happens to the 'free' aspect, ergo the AC website? Alternatively, what is this going to mean for those of us using Navionics products to access the AC database?

I'm not sure we'll hear that much from him here, he spends more time on Facebook and places like that. We've had discussions about SA, it's not his favorite place to hang out. With Smackdaddy jumping all over him the second he pops up, that is understandable. This really isn't his target market at all, the numbers show he's better off spending his time elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

Again, I don't use it that way. It's overlaid directly over my charts in MaxSea.

I only go to that site to write reviews. I've not seen THAT many reviews of the Sydney area, I'll have to refresh my database.

Ah, those numbers aren't the number of reviews, they are the review NUMBER for the reference on the side. I don't use that site much...my last AC download into MaxSea was last December when I got to Sydney, so it's probably not too far out of date.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

I'm not sure we'll hear that much from him here, he spends more time on Facebook and places like that. We've had discussions about SA, it's not his favorite place to hang out. With Smackdaddy jumping all over him the second he pops up, that is understandable. This really isn't his target market at all, the numbers show he's better off spending his time elsewhere.

Now BJ - you're the one that started this thread off with this little jewel...

"If I recall SmackDaddy may be a huge fan?"

Look, I only jump Jeff or Brent or anyone else if they spew BS. And I always back up any argument I make with evidence as you see here or anywhere else I post. If there's no spew, there's no jump. It's that simple. And rebuttal is always possible and welcome - one just has to bring ones A-game.

You said you didn't want this to turn into a sh!tfight and I'm willing to respect that and keep to the facts...but you need to understand that Jeff has pulled some pretty shady stuff behind the scenes with me (and apparently others) over the last couple of years simply because I criticize his product in comparison with others. You may think I "jump all over him" in these threads, but I don't direct spam at his email addresses, I don't harass employees of his past companies, I don't threaten him with PMs about his personal life (which he was able to find because he had my AC membership information), etc. That kind of backroom stuff is sh!tfighting as far as I'm concerned. And it's exactly why I told him to nuke my AC membership in the first place.

So let's be reasonable here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

Now BJ - you're the one that started this thread off with this little jewel...

"If I recall SmackDaddy may be a huge fan?"

Look, I only jump Jeff or Brent or anyone else if they spew BS. And I always back up any argument I make with evidence as you see here or anywhere else I post. If there's no spew, there's no jump. It's that simple. And rebuttal is always possible and welcome - one just has to bring ones A-game.

You said you didn't want this to turn into a sh!tfight and I'm willing to respect that and keep to the facts...but you need to understand that Jeff has pulled some pretty shady stuff behind the scenes with me (and apparently others) over the last couple of years simply because I criticize his product in comparison with others. You may think I "jump all over him" in these threads, but I don't direct spam at his email addresses, I don't harass employees of his past companies, I don't threaten him with PMs about his personal life (which he was able to find because he had my AC membership information), etc. That kind of backroom stuff is sh!tfighting as far as I'm concerned. And it's exactly why I told him to nuke my AC membership in the first place.

So let's be reasonable here.

I haven't seen that with Jeff, but I understand your experience may be different. I'm aware you've had differences with him in the past and dislike his service, which is why I attempted to diffuse it with that comment. I suspected the thread would trigger a response from you that specifically be about the Garmin buyout and more an attack on the product and person.

I did not see that his reply here merited the response you made, but it wasn't unexpected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Panoramix said:
1 hour ago, Veeger said:

Alex is pretty close.  The mean (MLW) is an average of the low tides  and when they are pretty close in range and only change over a series of tides, the mean is quite adequate for charting minimum depths (within reason).  On the west coast, with the  mixed semi-diurnal tides where the range between successive low tides can be pretty great, they use the MLLW because its the average of the lower of the low tides.  If you just take the mean from the west coast tides there could be a pretty significant difference and for a longer period of the tide cycle where the depths would be much less than the mean depth would be charted.  So, to minimize and reduce confusion, they use MLLW.

Thanks, it makes sense now. May be it is because this is what I am used to but I find our system of the lowest possible tide more idiot proof. If you read a 4m sounding on the map and don't have time to calculate accurately water height, you know that there is at least 4m of water.

When the Brits were still printing maps using imperial units with a different datum, it was quite dangerous for French boats used  to the simplicity of metrics. I think that quite a few crabs got crushed by a French keel!!!

Then there's the Canadian model...http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/eng/info/verticaldatums

For navigational safety, depths on a chart are shown from a low-water surface or a low-water datum called chart datum. Chart datum is selected so that the water level will seldom fall below it and only rarely will there be less depth available than what is portrayed on the chart. The following three criteria place somewhat more restriction on its choice: chart datum should be:

  1. so low that the water level will but seldom fall below it,
  2. not so low as to cause the charted depths to be unrealistically shallow, and
  3. it should vary only gradually from area to area and from chart to adjoining chart, to avoid significant discontinuities.

On most Canadian coastal charts the surface of lower low water, large tide, or LLWLT , has been adopted as chart datum, but the term " lowest normal tide, " or " LNT, " has been retained on the charts since it encompasses a variety of other choices for chart datum on some older charts.

The US border is 6 nautical miles away. It's a good thing it's mostly deep around here.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

I haven't seen that with Jeff, but I understand your experience may be different. I'm aware you've had differences with him in the past and dislike his service, which is why I attempted to diffuse it with that comment. I suspected the thread would trigger a response from you that specifically be about the Garmin buyout and more an attack on the product and person.

I did not see that his reply here merited the response you made, but it wasn't unexpected.

Understood. I'm just letting you know why there may be a bit more heat in the exchange than you'd typically expect. It's absolutely justified - and provable. I'll leave it there for now.

Back to the topic...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, smackdaddy said:

Understood. I'm just letting you know why there may be a bit more heat than you'd typically expect. It's absolutely justified - and provable. I'll leave it there for now.

Oh, I expected the heat. That's why I tried to defuse it with some humor.

The heat does make a more dispassionate discussion difficult for the rest of us when you bring it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the tech industry we have been lucky enough to have the choice to rationally maximize profits or make fair profits while contributing to the public domain. JS has taken the former path and left himself open to criticism by members of the community his product "served".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

Well one thing I've NEVER been accused of is being dispassionate. Heh.

You're a crusader Smack. You may be doing it out of concern for some of the more gullible types in mankind, but in the great scheme of things you do get a bit repetitive, just like another forum member we all know. OK already! We know you can't stand what you see as bullshit from Active Captain and Origami Man...But once you have stated your argument, backed up by your facts, its done. After that, it just gets boring and you start to blend in with you adversaries; just sayin'... And, as Bob has pointed out, maybe I am just trying to impose my "be nice" values on others in this internet democracy anarchy. Trying to be a peace-maker is an annoying Canuck trait...but seriously, don't you find all this crusading tiresome after a while?

OK. I shut up now. If we ever meet, I'll buy you a beer. We'll get along fine. (after all, we're both Hunter sailors)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Jim in Halifax said:

You're a crusader Smack. You may be doing it out of concern for some of the more gullible types in mankind, but in the great scheme of things you do get a bit repetitive, just like another forum member we all know. OK already! We know you can't stand what you see as bullshit from Active Captain and Origami Man...But once you have stated your argument, backed up by your facts, its done. After that, it just gets boring and you start to blend in with you adversaries; just sayin'... And, as Bob has pointed out, maybe I am just trying to impose my "be nice" values on others in this internet democracy anarchy. Trying to be a peace-maker is an annoying Canuck trait...but seriously, don't you find all this crusading tiresome after a while?

OK. I shut up now. If we ever meet, I'll buy you a beer. We'll get along fine. (after all, we're both Hunter sailors)

Tired? Never. Beer? Always.

Hunters baby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

Tired? Never. Beer? Always.

Hunters baby.

Is that like Rosemary's Baby?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ishmael said:

Then there's the Canadian model...http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/eng/info/verticaldatums

For navigational safety, depths on a chart are shown from a low-water surface or a low-water datum called chart datum. Chart datum is selected so that the water level will seldom fall below it and only rarely will there be less depth available than what is portrayed on the chart. The following three criteria place somewhat more restriction on its choice: chart datum should be:

  1. so low that the water level will but seldom fall below it,
  2. not so low as to cause the charted depths to be unrealistically shallow, and
  3. it should vary only gradually from area to area and from chart to adjoining chart, to avoid significant discontinuities.

On most Canadian coastal charts the surface of lower low water, large tide, or LLWLT , has been adopted as chart datum, but the term " lowest normal tide, " or " LNT, " has been retained on the charts since it encompasses a variety of other choices for chart datum on some older charts.

The US border is 6 nautical miles away. It's a good thing it's mostly deep around here.

 

I suppose that LLWLT is very close to what we have. Some of our datum are wrong (datums were established many moons ago with height errors), it doesn't really matter as tide tables integrate the error. The datum error tend to be so that the tide actually never goes below 0 except in a few places like Granville (nearby the Mont St Michel). The error is about 20cm, it is not as bad as it seems  as max tides there are around 13m so you would be foolish not too have an healthy margin as the sea rises / lowers at a rate varying between 4m/hour and 1m/hour during a spring tide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, as a US dude - I am relieved to hear this (bold) from NOAA regarding future chart data:

Quote

“We’re at a major pivot point at OCS,” Admiral Smith pointed out in a recent interview. “The paper era is finished.” For years, NOAA has focused on delivering accurate charts, ocean and wind forecasts to mariners. “We’re already out of the chart publishing business,” Smith elaborated, “we farmed that out to the private sector a while ago, when it became clear that we were losing money on the publication.” ... “Now we have to decide if we are publishing data, or supplying it, and to whom. And the form of that data is changing. The draft plan presented at the meeting heralds the end of feet and inches — depth will now be measured and displayed in meters.

'Bout time.

From that same article - what does this mean exactly?

Quote

But Active Captain has the ability to verify the reliability of individual users while retaining their anonymity.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, smackdaddy said:

I've run aground a couple of times - both of them completely my fault and not the fault of the chart or anything else. So I agree with you. My point above is that FB poster said they specifically followed the recommendations in that AC marker - even though it conflicted with the charts. And JS was talking about getting in touch with NOAA to change the soundings - when the soundings were not the issue. Again, the problem with these kinds of AC markers is that those members are the ones on the hook for this stuff - and I think that's a real problem. Recommending marinas or anchorages is one thing - contravening charts and being liable for damage is entirely another. People should understand that...regardless of how one feels about our litigious society. It's an issue.

Guess what?  It's ALWAYS your fault. As skipper,  you are responsible. 

Even if the plotter cuts out, even if the buoy is misplaced,  even if the chart is wrong. 

That's the burden of skipper. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Ajax said:

Guess what?  It's ALWAYS your fault. As skipper,  you are responsible. 

Even if the plotter cuts out, even if the buoy is misplaced,  even if the chart is wrong. 

That's the burden of skipper. 

That's like the President's desk: "The buck stops here". Unless I can blame it on someone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take this crap back to Sailnet or Cruisers Forum. 

 

AC works just fine in Maine, if you use it for what it is: a supplement, not replacement for good seamanship. Now FRO. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Free advice is worth what you pay for it.   Trusting any crowd sharing navigational advice is, to me, not trustworthy. YMMV.

m32913_crop8_1024x576_proportional_14191

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/15/2017 at 8:20 AM, B.J. Porter said:

I'm not sure we'll hear that much from him here, he spends more time on Facebook and places like that. We've had discussions about SA, it's not his favorite place to hang out. With Smackdaddy jumping all over him the second he pops up, that is understandable. This really isn't his target market at all, the numbers show he's better off spending his time elsewhere.

Could he have deserved to have Smackdaddy "jumping all over him the second he pops up"?

Perhaps he avoided this forum because Active Captain's hype was vulnerable to scrutiny? 

Is is possible we are not going to hear from Jeremy Siegel again because he did not give one iota about anything except for the might dollar?

"Booyah!".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not much of a participant here and I have no affiliation with AC or Waterway Guide, but I can tell you that from my cruising experience ActiveCaptain has been an outstanding resource. I consulted both Waterway Guide and ActiveCaptain while cruising the east coast until I kept finding outdated information on the pages of Waterway and took them off the boat. Space is a premium and anything I carry has to earn its place or it gets booted. Besides this, I found the reviews on AC both of high value and entertaining. In addition, I get a lot of satisfaction out of posting something in ActiveCaptain that will help others almost immediately. AC might not be perfect, but I think giving Garmin a chance might prove to enhance the service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rainbowrunner said:

Could he have deserved to have Smackdaddy "jumping all over him the second he pops up"?

Perhaps he avoided this forum because Active Captain's hype was vulnerable to scrutiny? 

Is is possible we are not going to hear from Jeremy Siegel again because he did not give one iota about anything except for the might dollar?

"Booyah!".

You can certainly speculate on that. Based on discussions with him, he didn't think SA was worth spending serious time on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, rcassano said:

I'm not much of a participant here and I have no affiliation with AC or Waterway Guide, but I can tell you that from my cruising experience ActiveCaptain has been an outstanding resource. I consulted both Waterway Guide and ActiveCaptain while cruising the east coast until I kept finding outdated information on the pages of Waterway and took them off the boat. Space is a premium and anything I carry has to earn its place or it gets booted. Besides this, I found the reviews on AC both of high value and entertaining. In addition, I get a lot of satisfaction out of posting something in ActiveCaptain that will help others almost immediately. AC might not be perfect, but I think giving Garmin a chance might prove to enhance the service.

Outdated info. That's really kind of the catch isn't it? I understand your point about space being at a premium on a boat (though I think that's a stretch), but if you have a printed Waterway Guide that's 5 years old, sure you'll have outdated info in that guide. Just buy a new guide.

But, if your main concern truly is outdated information, there's a TON of it in AC. Here is what I mean - look at this view of the Chessie near Mill Creek...

591d0af1b7b2f_ScreenShot2017-05-17at9_38_37PM.thumb.jpg.747904616505999c3f2f30dd267e8b8b.jpg

Now, first of all, the number of nav alerts is stunning. "Distracting light"? Really? But let's look at the reviews for Bluewater Yachting Center. Of the 57 reviews, only 12 of them are newer than 2 years old. The rest of them are seriously outdated - going all the way back to 2007?

So you think 10 year old reviews of a marina, anchorage, etc. are valuable? And adding a hazard marker that says "Shoaling" over an area the the charts already show as shoaling is helpful?

So, I won't take anything away from your personal preference. But I think your comparison is a bit off. With both Waterway Guide Explorer, the current printed guide, and the iNavX integration, I don't think you could possibly have a better cruising guide toolset. No way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:

With both Waterway Guide Explorer, the current printed guide, and the iNavX integration, I don't think you could possibly have a better cruising guide toolset. No way.

I disagree, but I don't use iNavx and I'm not sold on tablets and phones as primary navigation devices off shore. I use MaxSea in conjunction with my Furuno chart plotters, and it's a very powerful set of tools. And of course both WG and AC are of limited utility where I've been since 2014 anyway.

Reviews and comments are dated. A useful filter might be to only show this news that X years or the like. But it's not like the age if the reviews, comments, etc. are kept hidden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

I disagree, but I don't use iNavx and I'm not sold on tablets and phones as primary navigation devices off shore. I use MaxSea in conjunction with my Furuno chart plotters, and it's a very powerful set of tools. And of course both WG and AC are of limited utility where I've been since 2014 anyway.

Reviews and comments are dated. A useful filter might be to only show this news that X years or the like. But it's not like the age if the reviews, comments, etc. are kept hidden.


Yes, I should qualify that. For cruising around the US, Bahamas, and the Carib - I don't think you could have a better cruising guide toolset than the WG product combo I've mentioned. Also, I'm speaking about guide/POI info - not the deeper navigation toolsets you have available in MaxSea. To me those are very different things. So, I'm not speaking to your individual situation BJ - just the more typical guide usage in the areas I've mentioned above.

And, I didn't say or imply that reviews were or should be hidden. I just think the shelf-life of most comments/reviews on most markers is pretty limited. Having 10-year-old reviews of marinas/anchorages/etc. is just noise...as is having an overabundance of anchorage or hazard markers when they are not needed.

Like I've shown above - over 90 markers in a single view - many of them useless? Yeah, I don't want that on my chartplotter, thanks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, smackdaddy said:


Yes, I should qualify that. For cruising around the US, Bahamas, and the Carib - I don't think you could have a better cruising guide toolset than the WG product combo I've mentioned. Also, I'm speaking about guide/POI info - not the deeper navigation toolsets you have available in MaxSea. To me those are very different things. So, I'm not speaking to your individual situation BJ - just the more typical guide usage in the areas I've mentioned above.

And, I didn't say or imply that reviews were or should be hidden. I just think the shelf-life of most comments/reviews on most markers is pretty limited. Having 10-year-old reviews of marinas/anchorages/etc. is just noise...as is having an overabundance of anchorage or hazard markers when they are not needed.

 

It would actually be an excellent feature for Active Captain to have that capability, to filter by age of reviews. That was my point there.

I've not cruised coastally in the US since 2012. At the time I used a mixture of print cruising guides, and cross referenced with Active Captain on Maxsea, and web sites with local information. I was still using that combination when we left the Caribbean in 2013. It never even occurred to me to by the WG product, as I felt no missing gap in coverage existed. We looked at some WG products at the Annapolis Boat show in 2012 and decided they weren't worth the money. In the Carribean we used the Doyle guides as our primary resource, with AC data where it existed.

Perhaps WG is better now than then, but it still wouldn't integrate with my route planning as I am plotting my courses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, rainbowrunner said:

Could he have deserved to have Smackdaddy "jumping all over him the second he pops up"?

Perhaps he avoided this forum because Active Captain's hype was vulnerable to scrutiny? 

Is is possible we are not going to hear from Jeremy Siegel again because he did not give one iota about anything except for the might dollar?

"Booyah!".

 

7 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

You can certainly speculate on that. Based on discussions with him, he didn't think SA was worth spending serious time on.

Marketing Rule #1 Don't participate in forum threads about your product unless it is bulletproof.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

 

Marketing Rule #1 Don't participate in forum threads about your product unless it is bulletproof.

Yup.

Also important, look where he spends his time. Mostly on the Active Captain Facebook pages. Sometimes (rarely) in other Facebook sailing and cruising pages, but not often since there are issues with Conflicts of Interest since he's not supposed to pimp his product there. Most people with AC questions end up in the group.

That being said, roughly 90%+ of the sailors/cruisers that hang out in Facebook would get the vapors within minutes of joining SA and looking around. I've never come across a more delicate group of people. They get bent out of shape over bikini shots and language you might hear from an angry Mormon. The simply won't come to a place like SA for information, and Jeff's demographics suggest he'd be wasting his time with this segment of the market anyway, because it's only a small sub sample of the much larger pool of users on Facebook.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that's always been one of the dude's problems. As I mentioned before, it was his questionable posting over on SN that first got my attention - then his posting of some very personal and what certainly appeared to be libelous information on a member he was arguing with there that caused me to publicly tell him to nuke my AC account. The fact that the owner of a company/platform like AC where members are providing personal information would do something like that was stunning and unconscionable to me. Of course, in the past few weeks as I've posted about AC here he's threatened me with the same type thing in a PM, apparently using my original AC login info to find said info. So it's a bigger issue than just marketing a product.

That said, you'll also notice that some examples I've used in this thread are from his own FB group - not a forum. His FB post above asking his "1.5 million" members to spam Waterway Guide (which he mercilessly slammed for years in many forums, etc.) is another example of this pattern of behavior. He also chose to stir a bit of a Tweet storm with me recently, again slamming Waterway Guide as I talked about using it on our trip...

AC_Twitter_WWGTow.thumb.png.598b04669459a6152e379ad48b601164.png

That's when I found the busted rudder post on AC's FB page! And it was that boat, not mine, which required towing...obviously.

Again, I found the Waterway Guide stuff only through looking for an alternative to AC after I gladly scuttled my membership there. I had no idea it even existed before that. And when I compared the platforms, data, reach potential, business models, ownership, integrity, reliability, etc. - it was just a no-brainer. So I wrote about it.

So at the end of the day, this goes beyond product. It's about trusting the holder of your personal information - as I point out in my "Connecting your boat to the cloud" thread/video. And in light of this kind of behavior, I'm not sure how Garmin's entry into the picture changes that. I certainly hope it will. Because as you can see above, Garmin now owns that Tweet - and, by proxy, the PM sitting my inbox, the WG spam post, and many other thorny things out there that its new product's name is on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't particularly like Siegel, but in my experience from the Ches through the central Gulf, however  outdated in some cases...there are FAR more anchorages/data points listed in AC than in WG. By a large margin.  Had I been using WG I'd have missed all sorts of anchorage possibilities. But my POV is that both products' value is in finding anchorage, not in navigating per se. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Max Rockatansky said:

I don't particularly like Siegel, but in my experience from the Ches through the central Gulf, however  outdated in some cases...there are FAR more anchorages/data points listed in AC than in WG. By a large margin.  Had I been using WG I'd have missed all sorts of anchorage possibilities. But my POV is that both products' value is in finding anchorage, not in navigating per se. 

Mine too. I don't really use the navigation information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Max Rockatansky said:

I don't particularly like Siegel, but in my experience from the Ches through the central Gulf, however  outdated in some cases...there are FAR more anchorages/data points listed in AC than in WG. By a large margin.  Had I been using WG I'd have missed all sorts of anchorage possibilities. But my POV is that both products' value is in finding anchorage, not in navigating per se. 

Yeah, I know there is typically a huge difference in the numbers of markers between the two applications. Some people like lots of markers. And I get that. But as I've shown in past side-by-side comparisons of many areas - many of those additional markers/data points are not very useful (hazards marking stuff that's already marked on the charts, "marinas" that aren't really marinas, multiple anchorage markers in a small area, "local knowledge" that's questionable or outdated, etc.). I won't run through it all again here as I've done it so many times in the past in various places - but I challenge you to poke around that view in AC I posted above as just one example (a "marina" marker featuring the landlocked "Steinhilber's Restaurant"?). How many of those over 90 markers actually provide valuable information that doesn't fall into the problems I just mentioned?

The point of AC was always to compile a large quantity of data. That's why the hats were the prize. But I've never been one that was convinced that quantity equals quality. Of course, if all you care about are anchorages, it may not be a huge issue (though there is a marker in that view showing an anchorage that no longer exists, and others that seem questionable). But when you take a ton of markers, many of which are not useful to most boaters, into a chartplotter overlay like AC has done, and Garmin will likely do, you make the problems worse - not better. Again, maybe Garmin will clean that up. Who knows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Smackdaddy for having the balls to scrutinize Jeremy Siegel on this and other forums.

I've got no skin in this fight, but I think it's one worth having.

Steelies on the other hand...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Active Captain is good for finding out if your favorite beer is available at the restaurant that's closest to the marina.

I wouldn't trust anything about it's "navigation" info. I don't care if Skeeter and Booger couldn't find the buoy they usually tie up to for fishing. Crowd sourcing is one of the worst sources of "information" I can think of for navigation, because it's not data, it's not information, it's all anecdote.

P.S. The one thing it is good for is as a test for determining whether or not you want to sail with some clown as skipper. Just ask him if he uses AC for navigation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

SD: as you gain experience, you will learn that in some areas, within a space of a couple miles or even less, holding can vary greatly...

One doesn't need a whole lot of experience to understand that. But let's take your example...so how do you personally use these markers if they are close together? Do you literally find the coordinates of that marker and drop your anchor precisely on that spot because that's where the good holding is? Remember these markers are supposed to mark "anchorages" - but it sounds like you are using them as "anchor spots". Even without decades of experience, I don't trust markers in that way. Way too many things change to trust information that specific. Here's one example view from AC...

AC_CHS2.jpg

You can see the tons of "anchorage" markers here piled together. And if you start looking around at them, there are markers literally within a few hundred feet of each other. Price Cove with 2, Smith Creek with 4, Yeocomico River with 7, etc. And many of these have only 1 review - and who knows how old those reviews are. This kind of thing happens all over AC - because, again, the hat-based objective of AC was to amass and reward quantity of data - not quality.

So, people are not marking "anchorages" in AC, they are marking spots. And, just like with the hazard and local knowledge markers that aren't accurate, this causes more problems because boaters see that spot as the place to go and drop anchor - instead of the area as the place to go and find a suitable spot. It was the same thing with the "magenta line" issue I highlighted in my blog post where there were multiple "hazard" markers showing a shoal where many boaters ran aground in the ICW - because they were literally following the errant magenta line right out of the channel and onto the shoal. So the shoal was the hazard here?

So, precisely because I think a skipper should be experienced enough to understand that these markers need to be looked at with a very wide margin of error - especially if one has never been to that area (the whole point of a cruising guide), I prefer markers that mark "anchorages"  - not "spots". And I think the skipper should carefully assess the marked area to find where exactly the best holding and depth and shelter is for his particular boat and conditions of the day.

Maybe I'll unlearn that as I gain experience?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the St Marys City anchorages at a proper scale for use (compare it to the previous screen shot).  Each location was chosen to provide a different aspect to different parts of the area because twisting, turning rivers change the silting and therefore the anchorage qualities of each spot.  Those 6 anchorage markers have a total of 70 individual reviews.

Make sure to check the real data.  It's easy to blow smoke over everything to attempt to make a convincing argument.  And if the data isn't for you, great - don't use it.  Be safe out there, enjoy your time on the water, and do your own exploring and local knowledge gathering.  It's all good.

 

 

1.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Call me old fashioned but in places less travelled I take every bit of information available and rank it in terms of reliability. In days past everything from various pilots through to local knowledge be it the drunk at the bar 1,000 mile back or a local fisherman. These days add in cruiser blogs and various other crowd sourced material and you have a fair bit information to hand.

Do I unequivocally trust any of it ...no. The only thing I trust is what I can see....I will put sounder and compass bearings ahead of the GPS, particularly in some locales. Some cruisers laugh at my approach and admit they have forgotten where their compass is and even if they found it wouldn't know how to use it.

The use of digital on chart information from unknown sources quite frankly concerns me if it continues to grow in coverage and is relied upon without ranking it with other information to hand. Then again I still carry a sextant, and tables just in case so maybe I'm just a luddite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1      .....minus the sextant ;-)

I used AC to "explore virtually" before our charter in the Pensacola area this Christmas.  When we actually got down there, I relied on the my depth sounder, eyes etc. to make my decisiion.  Above all, when going into an unknown anchorage observe the golden rule: "Don;t ever go faster that you're willing to hit something"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that's funny. I'll be in that exact spot in a few days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jeffrey Siegel said:

Here are the St Marys City anchorages at a proper scale for use (compare it to the previous screen shot).  Each location was chosen to provide a different aspect to different parts of the area because twisting, turning rivers change the silting and therefore the anchorage qualities of each spot.  Those 6 anchorage markers have a total of 70 individual reviews.

Make sure to check the real data.  It's easy to blow smoke over everything to attempt to make a convincing argument.  And if the data isn't for you, great - don't use it.  Be safe out there, enjoy your time on the water, and do your own exploring and local knowledge gathering.  It's all good.

 

 

1.png

That's true, the 2 Horseshoe Bend markers have a combined 55 reviews of that 70. The #1 marker is in exactly the same spot as it is in Waterway Guide. So I'll assume that's the one you started with when you originally pulled the Skipper Bob info into your app. The #2 marker is less than half a mile away, and the #4 right at half a mile (I used the handy measure tool in WG Explorer to quickly figure that out - lots of great tools in that app).

So, do the anchoring conditions radically change over those 3 markers? What is the real value of each specific marker as "anchorages"? 5 of those 7 have less than 10 reviews, with 3 of these with 3 or less reviews. So that 70 number (again quantity being the focus) doesn't really hold much water in this argument. By your own quantity argument, at least 3 of those markers are worthless.

So, as you can see I am using real data. Your data. There's absolutely no reason to blow smoke. It's all right there. For you, the marketing spin is "providing a different aspect to different parts of the area because twisting, turning rivers change the silting and therefore the anchorage qualities of each spot" - see that word? That's exactly the mentality I'm talking about. And this is a bad approach to boating.

Those spots for which you're giving out hats for people to mark - are they not prone to the silting you mention? What happens when a spot becomes untenable? The reviews may tell me when this happens - but I still have to go through a crap-ton of AC markers to figure these things out. That's just poor UX.

As always, different strokes for different skippers. But as has been said above, when anchoring, it makes a lot more sense for skippers to not rely on "spots" like you advocate.

Assess the area based on your own boat and the conditions to find the most appropriate spot in the marked anchorage. I've heard from experienced boaters that this is good seamanship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Now that's funny. I'll be in that exact spot in a few days.

Heh-heh. Can you add a few more anchorage markers? Like, 8 of them.

That would be fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, smackdaddy said:

The #1 marker is in exactly the same spot as it is in Waterway Guide. So I'll assume that's the one you started with when you originally pulled the Skipper Bob info into your app.

That's pure libel.   Not one marker ever came from Skipper Bob.  I knew Bob and originally developed ActiveCaptain to show him what his ideas of an updated book would be if it were on the internet.  Unfortunately, Bob passed away and never saw it.  I tend to think he's been cheering us along for the last decade.

I'm sorry to say that this will be my last post on the subject.

(Smackdaddy), seriously, I wish you the best and safest journey as you leave the protected US waterways for the Bahamas.  If you experience just 10% of what we've seen and enjoyed, perhaps you'll find some type of joy and enjoyment in life and end the nasty, negative, and destructive path you appear to be traveling along now.

Edited by B.J. Porter
Removed names

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Jeffrey Siegel said:

That's pure libel.   Not one marker ever came from Skipper Bob.  I knew Bob and originally developed ActiveCaptain to show him what his ideas of an updated book would be if it were on the internet.  Unfortunately, Bob passed away and never saw it.  I tend to think he's been cheering us along for the last decade.

I'm sorry to say that this will be my last post on the subject.

(Smackdaddy), seriously, I wish you the best and safest journey as you leave the protected US waterways for the Bahamas.  If you experience just 10% of what we've seen and enjoyed, perhaps you'll find some type of joy and enjoyment in life and end the nasty, negative, and destructive path you appear to be traveling along now.

What are you talking about, Jeff? You're the one that said you took Skipper Bob and "put it online" in the Sail Loot podcast. I can find that exact quote if you want me to (stand by I'll find it for you since you're accusing me of crimes and misdemeanors).

It's what you said. If you meant something different than what you said, that's one thing. But how would anyone know that?

Edited by B.J. Porter
Remove quote with name

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay - here is the link to part 1 of that 2-part podcast:

http://www.sailloot.com/sail-loot-podcast-016-active-captain-jeff-siegel-part-1/

And here is one of your quotes:

Quote

"We wanted to put Skipper Bob on the internet. What would that look like? And that's what we designed. It took about 6 months to code it, and another 6 months to design it. And it was Skipper Bob on the internet. We had no intention of making ActiveCaptain." [Emphasis his.]

Skipper Bob was cruising "data" was it not (that's what you called it in the interview)? And you "put it online". So what exactly am I missing here? Where did you get your initial markers? Did you launch AC with no markers at all?

Stand by, I think there are a couple more quotes from that podcast on this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, because I've just been accused of libel, here is a breakdown of what Jeff said in the first part of the Sail Loot podcast linked above. I'm not transcribing precisely below, just summarizing the statements. You can listen for yourself to determine the accuracy of the summary:

Part 1:

13:34 - the first website was not supposed to be AC...interesting story...

14:00 - we liked the Skipper Bob books the best...

14:20 - the data in it (Skipper Bob) was real...Bob would collect new data from cruisers...update book once a year...it wasn't the price it was the quality...waiting a year...technology didn't speak to that...

14:46 - internet made it possible to put Skipper Bob online

16:00 - Skipper Bob came to my lecture - we talked...

16:15 - What I decided was that we wanted to put Skipper Bob on the internet...and that’s what we designed...no intention of making AC (quote above)

16:37 - December 2006, had site with GoDaddy and called Skipper Bob up on the phone...wanted to show it to him...let him have it...we could run it...wife informed me that he had died that week...

17:27 - I didn’t know what to do...so we sat on it for two weeks...we really liked the website and really wanted to do it...started buying website names...

18:20 - ...moved what was supposed to be Skipper Bob on to activecaptain.com...told Panbo...1000 people sign up that week...

Again, these are Jeff's words, not mine. Listen for yourself and decide what the reasonable interpretation is. As I said above, my interpretation is that, just as he said, he put Skipper Bob (the data he talks about) online. If that's not the case, then I'm all ears.

So, no, I've not libeled or slandered or defamed anyone by any means. I just took these public statements as the truth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more post to defend myself a bit more here from the "Scarlet L".

Apart from Jeff's Sail Loot comments, another reason I assumed above that the "original" #1 Horseshoe Bend marker came from Skipper Bob was, as I said, the location. Look at these coordinates:

AC

591f6bf3b37e9_ScreenShot2017-05-19at4_54_00PM.thumb.jpg.f56d997aedf0c13b564f57158ee3cc4a.jpg

 

Skipper Bob

591f6bf4a74bd_ScreenShot2017-05-19at4_55_03PM.png.7999fc9990f1ac01703e7876968ff7b3.png

(Sorry Skipper Bob - I hope you guys don't sting me for snipping this out of my own book.)

I do believe in coincidence, but some random AC boater laying down a marker in almost the EXACT same position as the one in Skipper Bob - with the same name? That's impressive...even for coincidence.

So, now I've explained why I said what I said. What the details are beneath all of this I have no idea - and I could certainly be somehow misinterpreting all of the above - but it's interesting for sure. And, clearly, it's not libel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AC and Garmin deserve each other. One is the least reliable, least current source of data, the other designs some of the worst UIs in the computing industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites