Thursday, March 29, 2018
The GPS on my phone has been getting pretty wonky at times. There are been a number of puzzling errors. One time it let me drive past my street. Then it had me take the next exit, where it literally sent me around in circles. There are a number of things that can cause GPS glitches, everything from the military detuning it, to solar storms, to problems with the device itself.
Even with its limitations, GPS is a useful tool. It's a lot easier to find everything you need on the road. I'm also a huge fan of paper maps, just in case.
One the more useful tools for mariners has been Active Captain. Their website has charts, maps and satellite views. That's nice, but its most useful feature is all the crowd sourced information. There are icons all over the charts noting things like marinas, channels, boat launches, hazards, anchorages -a cornucopia of navigation aids. A number of different apps use the Active Captain overlays.
A major concern is that about a year ago the service was sold to Garmin. Many of Garmin's competitors use Active Captain. Right now there are some apps that no longer function. Garmin has been pretty silent about users concerns. There are rumors that they've run afoul of European rules and are working to fix that. It would be nice if Garmin keep its users up to date. The real value of the service is the thousands of comments and reviews that uses have contributed to the site. A lot of those users are now uneasy, not knowing what will happen to the service.
While I still will use GPS, both terrestrial and marine, I'm going to trust it a lot less. The same goes for Active Captain. Because of that I'm getting more chart books, keeping my compasses in good order, using my binoculars and night sailing a lot less.