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Old 08-09-2014, 10:33   #1
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Routes in the Bahamas

First of all I would like to say Hello to everyone here and hopefully you will help me in my quest.

We are working on building a web application that would help boat captains unfamiliar with the Bahamas to navigate between different locations and marinas and although we are great developers we know very little about boating and navigating in open sea. We are building this project for the Bahamas ministry of tourism.

Currently we are stuck at the actual routes. I was wondering if you can help and tell me where from we can get information about all the routes you can generally see on all the Bahamas maps (like the Welcome to Explorer Chartbooks print maps). I tried contacting those guys but they didn't respond to any of my attempts.

What we need ideally is GPX file containing each route(if this is the correct terminology?) and information about the max draft and length of each of those routes. We are prepared the pay the price but if we can get that information for free even better!

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
Stan

PS. I call the blue lines routes (http://www.explorercharts.com/images...-2010-3000.jpg) is that correct?
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Old 08-09-2014, 13:25   #2
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by stykiaz View Post

We are working on building a web application that would help boat captains unfamiliar with the Bahamas to navigate between different locations and marinas and although we are great developers we know very little about boating and navigating in open sea.
Hi Stan,

Making anything for a captain to navigate is an extremely high skilled job.
You are asking something like: "I want to write a surgery manual for new doctors".

As much as I hate old fashioned, grey bearded, sextant wielding, chinagraph pushing, nautical speaking old, ooops I already said that, sailors-cum-cartographers, this is the one type of job where experience pays off.

The Bahamas are one of the shallowest, intricate, heavily used water areas in the world where the most minor slip is a grounding.

You need to employ someone who knows what they are talking about to do it.

Just as an example the Magenta Line you speak of goes/went over a reef and some captain on the catamaran followed the line and ran aground and lost his boat. You wanna be liable for every boat that sinks because of your purple line screw-up?


Mark
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Old 08-09-2014, 14:01   #3
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

How would a person access this web app while underway in the Bahamas?

Or is this app intended to be a planning aid while at the dock/backyard/kitchen table?

Its hard to beat the Explorer Chart data on a plotter (Furuno, Garmin, others?) and/or the Explorer Chart books in the cockpit.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:56   #4
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

Thank you for your replies.

I wasn't clear enough and hence the confusion.

The app intends to be a rough guide to how long would it take a person/captain to go from point A to point B via point C. Obviously for all details captains will have to refer to proper maps. It is more rough guide and marketing tool rather than a full featured navigation GPS tool. It will be accessed via the bahamas website.

However I would still need those routes but I am struggling to get them and the deadlines are approaching rapidly.

Thank you for your help!
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:37   #5
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by stykiaz View Post
It is more rough guide and marketing tool rather than a full featured navigation GPS tool.
Ahhh. OK.

The Magenta Line would be propriety information that you could probably negotiate with the owners. Each of the charting companies could point you in the right direction. I would start with Jepperson Jeppesen – Transforming the Way the World Moves
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:27   #6
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

Thanks MarkJ!

How likely it is do you think for them to have that data without the actual maps in format that would do the job? And do you think that if I can't get what I need on time I can manually plot it on the "map" without actual coordinates or it needs to be fairly accurate?

Thanks,
Stan
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:42   #7
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

This might be an interesting add-in for OpenCpn or Navionics. Why reinvent the wheel?
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:45   #8
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

Hi Snore,

do you think you can elaborate on this? I am obviously completely unfamiliar with any of the systems mentioned. What we are doing though needs to run in a browser and must be able to apply a particular style to it (it needs to look pretty obviously). As long as it is some sort of open source I am sure I will be able to adapt.

Thanks,
Stan
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:07   #9
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

If its for the tourism ministry, Jeppesen, et al, may do the cartography as well for a fee or advertising.

OpenCpn is a charting program not a chart supplier.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:29   #10
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

Whatever you do, make sure that there is no doubt that nobody should use your end product for navigating. This won't help anybody including you and the Tourism Ministry.

Therefore, you may be better off using 'blue lines' that are drawn in a fashion that makes it clear that they are not precise, i.e. without a claim to accuracy. Actual GPS tracks would imply a level of accuracy you want to avoid.
So you could use the Explorer charts to see roughly how boats go from one popular spit to the next and then draw this very roughly on a regular map without depth measurements, chartered rocks etc so that it is clear that it is only a sketch. You can measure the distance between ports with a divider and calculate how long it would take to travel at , say 5 knots speed, which is a good conservative estimate of how fast sailboats there might travel.
Is that what you want?

If you want any more level of accuracy then that you should get a professional cartographer on your team who has experience with these waters! It 's not like on a highway on the water...




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Old 09-09-2014, 07:46   #11
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

First off they are CHARTS, not maps! You need to hire a professional navigator or your project will never get off the ground. Giving advise on a subject of which you obviously have no experience will not result in a good end product. Not to rain on your parade but an inexperienced person following your advise could get into big trouble. There is no Sea Tow here to hold peoples hands.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:31   #12
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

I have to agree with most of the previous comments.

- You are trying to reinvent a wheel that is already very well developed and at the same time a very complex problem. There are several, fairly thick marine guide books that have been researched for many years that address what you want to do in a short time on a single map on a web site.

- There is a great potential liability incurred by putting lines on a "map" for boaters to use, even for "planning".

- There are thousands of islands and hundreds of marinas, ports, docks and destinations that would fall into your categories. To draw lines between even the most predominant of these would be extremely complex and leave you with a "map" almost obscured by blue lines. Assume you are familiar with the programming problems associated with route planning and optimization.

- There is a huge variation in boats and their characteristics like speed and draft, that will determine what routing they can use, so putting lines on a map without qualifying what vessels are appropriate for that route is another problem.

- Certain routes in the Bahamas are not usable in bad weather so alternates have to be used creating yet another complexity.

Some suggestions that might help find a solution.

First, you really need to get a boating expert with significant experience in the Bahamas on your team.

Second, have you considered just adding a link to an existing web site that already has this kind of information?
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:59   #13
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

Thank you for your input.

Some of you are concerned with the accuracy and the usability of website like this and as I said it is not meant as a definitive guide or something captains to rely on.
Things like draft, speed and so on will be configurable, I am not trying to reinvent the wheel but satisfy the investors requirements, it is business at the end of the day. We have a database of ports we would put on the map, we DO NOT have the routes in the bahamas that can be used between those ports and you all pointed out clearly drawing them myself would be bad. We do not want to display all routes on the map all the time but only those related to the specified starting point and destination taking into account the draft.

Linking to 3rd party sources is not an option, we need to have access to that data ourselves and display it accordingly.

Does anyone know of a different source than Jeppesen as I am still trying to reach but with no luck.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:02   #14
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

Stan,
Try the Stephen Pavilidis guide books, On and Off the Beaten Path, Central and Southern Bahamas Guide, The Exuma Guide, and Abaco Guide.

Carl McHenry s/v Morning Star
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:05   #15
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Re: Routes in the Bahamas

If indeed the Ministry of Tourism is involved in this project they would be far better off trying to get reasonable and reliable air service, they have already alienated the boaters enough!
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