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Old 11-01-2012, 13:02   #16
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Hi Jeff,

Quote:
Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
Contrast that with the free digital data available on the internet. It's updated daily. It's available offline when no internet connection exists, it's easy to have a backup on multiple devices/phones/laptops, and it can be always with you especially if you have it on your phone (offline even).
ActiveCaptain is the one website I have book marked, so that's an endorsement from me, anyway.

How is it available offline, though?

Quote:
In our own case, there are 15 shipping products that license our data and provide it in their navigation products. There are another 20 in development including some by the largest marine electronics manufacturers - watch what comes out at the Miami Boat Show - it's going to change everything (you heard it here first).
That's interesting. I guess you will announce these products on your website, at the proper time?
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Old 11-01-2012, 13:09   #17
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
Nice work on Blue Moon, John! Will you stop by Wooden Boat and show her off?
Maybe the ERR in August?
Thanks! You know, I never thought about bringing her to the boat show, although I go every year for the workshops (and to buy some of the wood they always have for sale.)

I always figured it was by invitation. Can you just volunteer to be part of the show?

What's ERR short for? I'm drawing a blank on that one.
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Old 11-01-2012, 13:19   #18
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Originally Posted by UnlikelyVoyager View Post
How is it available offline, though?

...

That's interesting. I guess you will announce these products on your website, at the proper time?
If you go to the ActiveCaptain home page and click in the large picture showing "14 products supporting us today (Click here to see which ones)" - that'll take you to the products that are available today. Some have been out for almost 2 years with this capability!

And it's actually 15 today. Nobeltec Odyssey recently announced support.

We usually announce new support in our weekly newsletter that is also archived on the website.

The way synchronization/offline access works...

We provide an API to developers - it's free and there are no user fees either. It's been tested in many environments, all platforms, through millions of updates already. We provide a synchronization mechanism that the developer builds into their product. When the user then has an internet connection on the computer/phone they're using, they click Synchronize or Update or whatever user-interface is part of the navigation product. That then queries our server to provide all changes that happened since the last time they updated the system. Over normal non-4G cellular connectivity, it takes about a minute per week of being out of date. Once the update happens, you have the very latest info offline and now can use it without any internet access.

When we're running down the coast, I usually do an update each night before we're taking off in the morning. That guarantees I have all the hazard comments, latest prices, and other things to read while underway.

There are many thousands of these updates happening all the time now and we have a dedicated server to handle it all. We're also now using multiple servers with dedicated use for particular developers with high volume access to guarantee good performance for everyone. Like anything else, more use creates issues which take more technology. We're now set to be able to handle any type of distributed architecture to allow us to grow to more than a million users. We're at 130,000 now and predict conservatively that we'll hit 250,000 by the end of 2012.

Our data is also worldwide today although we definitely have more complete info for North America. Still, there's plenty along the coast of England, Australia, Mallorca, the Med, etc. There are some programs starting up to push the international use of it. The bottom line is that the exact same mechanisms should be able to work for you if you're cruising to Portsmouth, VA, Portsmouth, RI, or Portsmouth, UK.
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Old 11-01-2012, 13:33   #19
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Regarding ActiveCaptains points - None of my pilot books / cruising guides have any advertising in at all. My Irish C.C. and Clyde C.C. guides can all be updated at least yearly, admittedly by going on line. As for how up to date they are I find that rocks and shallow bits tend to remain in the same place. The geography does not generally change. A new marina here or there maybe, but as I generally avoid them don't really care. As to whether this or that restaurant / pub is here or not, I could care less.

I work with ECDIS etc on a daily basis, and mayhap it is a generational thing but when I sail I do so for pleasure, I do not want to drag all the baggage of being constantly in touch with the world via internet, mobile phone or anything else. I clear the lock and they are switched off. The only time I might use it is for weather forecasts if a serious weather event is in the offing. If I was sailing I'd not be writing this now. (I'm now at work drifting off Nigeria).
The other advantage of books is that they are not dependent on batteries or other power sources, and have nothing computerised in them so I can rely on them not to lock up at the most inconvenient moment. I've lost count of the number of times computerised nav systems have thrown a wobbler at a critical moment. I know of at least one large vessel that ran aground due to excessive reliance on electronic charts and I'm sure there are others.
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:39   #20
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I still use my local guidebook. But I like the on-line stuff for the extras like reviews etc.
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:41   #21
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

The electronic guys aren't shy about jumping in with the many benefits of their products. Are any cruise-guide writers on the forum?
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:42   #22
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I still use Sailing Directions, a Canadian Hydrographic Service publication for cruising in BC. I also use cruising guides, but in some cases they just parrot Sailing Directions.
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:52   #23
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Ive used and enjoyed the (advertising free) Imray guides for France and the Atlantic Islands. Some you may run into online in pdf format
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Old 11-01-2012, 21:06   #24
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Originally Posted by Waterway Guide View Post
I love the web sites and electronic stuff, but still can't do without a nice printed cruising guide to go with with my coffee in the morning, and learning about the places and history that you can't get in a practical format online.
+1

I find it a lot easier to get a broad overview for a given area by using print guides and print charts. Electronic versions seem to be better for more up-to-date info if you are looking at a smaller area.
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Old 11-01-2012, 21:53   #25
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I do most of my planning on paper, with paper. I do look online from time to time. I have a hard time using electronic media to get a general overview of my trip. With a book, you can flip pages back and forth quicker than searching something electronic.
When sailing, electronics is where its at. I always have paper with me and plot my way along most times, but the GPS/Chartplotter is my friend. I have started using my tablet in the cockpit when the wether is with me.
After I have ha good float plan on paper, I will usually put it in the plotter with paper backup.
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Old 11-01-2012, 23:29   #26
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Yip all the time. Used my Garmin plotter last year for the first time. Never unfolded a chart. Mine you I sailed an area I have cruised a lot in 20 years and watching my boat move about was neat.

Planning for the South Pacific and I have bought guides and planning charts. Eventualy will buy paper and Garmin charts once I decide what bits I am going to first.
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Old 11-01-2012, 23:34   #27
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Sorry should also add. The Net is full of good advice. Like this site, I also came across a site called soggy paws. They gather current information on places in the pacifica area. So texts and the written text is important to me. Love to have the ability to re read text underline and cross reference. Then todays information on who to ask for on an atoll in the South Pacific if you need fresh bread! Combination works great.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:33   #28
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
If you go to the ActiveCaptain home page and click in the large picture showing "14 products supporting us today (Click here to see which ones)" - that'll ........... for you if you're cruising to Portsmouth, VA, Portsmouth, RI, or Portsmouth, UK.
Sorry for the thread hijack!

I like the entire concept of ActiveCaptain but it is frustrating to use it! Indeed, I have stopped going there. It is very difficult to find markers and lots of time is wasted searching for them. On most occassions, I zoom in on an area to see if there are any markers - only to find none. To make a success of your website, you need to allow people to see markers from a much greater distance (height).
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:26   #29
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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I like the entire concept of ActiveCaptain but...it is very difficult to find markers and lots of time is wasted searching for them.
Ignoring the multiple ways to find things, and realizing that you're only referring to the website here, can you give an example area and your captain name so I can understand what you mean and look into what you've done inside the system?

Today, 20% of the access to the ActiveCaptain data is through the website. The larger majority of access is through navigation products that license the data. Each of them have a variety of search capabilities and rules for displaying markers at different resolutions. The website is the least-common-denominator of access although I think the resolution limits of marker access are pretty good given this is perhaps the second time in 5+ years that someone has said something about it. That said, if you're looking for anchorages in Finland, the website doesn't allow zooming out enough. I think it's all pretty excellent in North America though. Go into Map or Satellite mode and peruse around to get a first hand view and decide for yourself.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:19   #30
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
Ignoring the multiple ways to find things, and realizing that you're only referring to the website here, can you give an example area and your captain name so I can understand what you mean and look into what you've done inside the system?

Today, 20% of the access to the ActiveCaptain data is through the website. The larger majority of access is through navigation products that license the data. Each of them have a variety of search capabilities and rules for displaying markers at different resolutions. The website is the least-common-denominator of access although I think the resolution limits of marker access are pretty good given this is perhaps the second time in 5+ years that someone has said something about it. That said, if you're looking for anchorages in Finland, the website doesn't allow zooming out enough. I think it's all pretty excellent in North America though. Go into Map or Satellite mode and peruse around to get a first hand view and decide for yourself.

I'm not a member of ActiveCaptain (although my wife is). My difficulties are that one almost have to almost micro search the planet for markers. There is nothing to accurately tell you whether there will or will not be markers in a given araea. Indeed, the message under Markers, "Zoom in further to view markers." indicate that there are markers - you only have to zoom in to see them. So, you do a lot of zooming in and get several map refreshes - only to find that there is nothing in that entire area. See the attached images for Solomon Island - the second image tells you to zoom in to see the markers - the first image tells you there are no markers. This leads to time wastage and frustration.
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