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Old 22-07-2013, 22:23   #1
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Canadian Charts - write your MP!

I copy here - and to the Trawler forum - a letter I just wrote to the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans. I will share any reply. If you have similar views write your MP!
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Honourable Gail Shea

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
gail.shea@parl.gc.ca

I am writing to register my firm belief that the policy, approach, and costs for Canadian electronic charts is both out of date and inappropriate.

I acknowledge that this has no doubt been voiced to the Ministry many times - hence the positioning FAQ statement on the web site attempting to justify the current standard. http://www.charts.gc.ca/help-aide/faq-eng.asp#cq1 I respectfully disagree.

You will no doubt have heard the approach the US takes, whereby they view that taxpayers already pay for the department, so that electronic charts should be supplied free (hard copy printed formats still have a charge to cover reasonable printing costs). I do not believe that we necessarily blindly follow what the US does, but the point does resonate. My view is instead based on the following:

* There is almost no incremental expense in making charts online free, and indeed the infrastructure and operation to do so is likely lower than the current standard for encryption, registering etc. Making them available free will likely lower costs and streamline operations.
* From a safety perspective I suggest that the Ministry should be doing all in its power to make our waters as safe as possible. Making charts widely available removes another barrier to mariners being educated and aware. The expense of a single rescue likely eclipses the revenues from electronic chart sales.
* There is clearly the precedent of making government authored material widely and freely available. Tides and Marine weather are just two examples.
* Even if the Ministry adopts the position of 'user-pays', note that I have already purchased hard-copy charts for most most of the coast - as required by regulation. I therefore suggest that I have already paid for access and I simply want an electronic duplicate available I can load on on an additional electronic charting system. (I have additionally purchased a copy of charts via an iPad Navionics license, so basically I have already paid twice!)

The licensing and revenue-generating model for Canadian charts is out-of-date in today's world, I expect it does not contribute significant additional revenues once operational and management overhead is factored in, it does not contribute to marine safety, and it is in effect double-charging for something I already have.

I would like to hear your comments against these points and what may be done to address the underlying concerns.

Respectfully,
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Old 23-07-2013, 12:14   #2
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I wouldn't mind this at all. Good luck!
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Old 23-07-2013, 12:25   #3
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Re: Canadian Charts - write your MP!

I compliment you on the presentation of your argument, and hope for a positive outcome. If you are successful, perhaps there is hope that the benighted governments of Australia and the UK will follow suit.

Being not a citizen of any of these countries I can't add my voice directly, but would do so happily if I was able.

It seems like such a no-brainer...

Good luck (to us all!)

Jim
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Old 23-07-2013, 12:55   #4
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Re: Canadian Charts - write your MP!

Message sent. CC'd to my MP. If any response is received I will post it.

But I won't hold my breath.
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Old 23-07-2013, 13:13   #5
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Re: Canadian Charts - write your MP!

Done and sent it to the PM also. My MP is useless for anything besides reelection until she has full pension................
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