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Old 24-09-2009, 23:55   #1
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Google Earth Sailing...

since I won't have a boat for some years, I often sail around the world on Google Earth, looking at the photos and reading about the numerous places. Some of the more remote islands seem to be the most attractive, but few of them have harbors of any size. Do any of you experienced sailors ever look at Google Earth and glean any useful information about the anchorages around an island? Could you share some of these insights?
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Old 25-09-2009, 00:17   #2
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I find a cruising guide to be invaluable to give you specific local knowledge of an area. As for using Google Earth, it's pretty but a chart is actually useful. You have no idea of what is concealed under the water for the most part. Here is a free cruising guide on the Dominican Republic to get you started

However, for the US, most territories as well as the N. Pacific, I think this Google Earth/NOAA mash-up might be just what you are looking for. As for the loading times, remember, patience Grasshopper.
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Old 25-09-2009, 00:25   #3
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Do any of you experienced sailors ever look at Google Earth and glean any useful information about the anchorages around an island? Could you share some of these insights?
Yes. The new free version does 2 things:
You can plug in GPS and track your position in real time.
When not connected to Internet GE still shows the parts you have seen when it was connected.

So you can actually navigate just with Google earth NO internet!

I have done so in Tonga where the charts are extremely inaccurate (both paper and electronic). We came into a bay with bad reefs, closing on night, on a lee shore, in a squall with ONLY Google Earth to guide. Yes, it was on the fringes of silly....

You can guess depth by the lighter colours and even see who rolly the anchorage is with the waves shown.

The other thing its great for is to see what a port 'really' looks like. When you go into a port you might be looking for the Customs wharf, or a fuel wharf. A chart just gives you a black line. Google Earth lets you see it as it is

Most importantly where the cruisers anchorage is!!!!!!
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Old 25-09-2009, 02:47   #4
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I'm with Mark - I use it all the time

Outdated charts are the norm in the out of the way places - what appears to be a nice bay for the night often turns out to be a fish farm.
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Old 25-09-2009, 18:11   #5
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We used the Google earth and a lot:

- to get visuals on what the chart shows,
- to spot potential anchorages,
- to keep the dream flowin',

The only place it became tricky was Australia NT - the water there only looks blue but in fact is murky.

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Old 25-09-2009, 18:26   #6
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I take my Google Earth cruising areas with me all the time. Why not..it's free.

Google Earth will Cache up to 2 Gig of data. That cache can be saved any number of times each under a different name and re-loaded as needed off-line. There is a cool program called GEVoyager that helps load and save the cache with what you want. Google it for details.

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Old 25-09-2009, 18:34   #7
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Google Earth and AIS

Is it possible to get AIS overlayed onto GE?
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:06   #8
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Probably. One way is to dump the screen and view it in SeaClear with AIS on.

But there are online free services that do it for you and you can view the boats with AIS in any world area (inshore) - just Google them out.

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Old 25-09-2009, 19:11   #9
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sanssouci,
I searched this forum with the key word "ais' and found a websight: www.marinetraffic.com/ais/

Now that I've stopped cruising I use google earth to reminisce about the adventures I had looking at the many pictures of the places I've been.
On the Google Earth websight enter Port of Spain to locate the capital of Trinidad and go to the following location:
10 degrees 40' 37.9"
61 degrees 36' 43.99" and click on the blue icon.
That's my boat at anchor where I'd spend the hurricane seasons.
regards John A
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:45   #10
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How often do they update Google Sat pictures?

Some harbors I look at seem to be 3 or 4 years old.
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:54   #11
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Depends. If you are good friends with Google owners then they can update your area anytime. But I found some pictures very VERY old. Another issue is if there is anything military / industry / governmental in the area they will NOT give any reasonable detail .. ;-((

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Old 25-09-2009, 19:55   #12
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Pelagic,
I know that they add pictures, but I agree, the sat. pictures don't seem to change. That picture of my boat was taken sometime in 2006.
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Old 26-09-2009, 00:00   #13
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Depends. If you are good friends with Google owners then they can update your area anytime.
Or if you are a missing Microsoft fellow.
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Old 26-09-2009, 00:53   #14
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I think it's an excellent planning tool and helps you to orient yourself to various distant lagoons, etc. In combination with a local chart, tide information and an Admiralty pilot, you can anticipate if a nasty current is liable to be an issue in getting in or out of some fairly tight entrance.

I also agree that "seeing" some local landmark (and using the line tool to obtain a rough bearing) can really enhance chartplotting. Finally, obtaining long point to point distances is quicker on Google Earth than getting out some large-scale chart and a set of dividers.

It's a handy accessory, though, not a primary navigational tool, but a supplement.
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Old 26-09-2009, 01:23   #15
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It's a handy accessory, though, not a primary navigational tool, but a supplement.
If Google wanted to they could take over the worlds navigation.
As I understand it depths can now be accurately measure from satelite... the other information is publicly diseminated.....


Ahhh the future!!!!!!
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