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Thursday, March 29, 2018

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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.

-Sixbears

8 comments:

  1. Better break out the sextant, Captain!

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    Replies
    1. If I was going to do any blue water sailing, I'd definitely have one and know how to use it.

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  2. better safe than sorry.
    as with english usage, we should all know the basics and correct usage, then we can use our dialect and slang knowing we can communicate with the queen or the peasant and still be understood when necessary.
    a sextant is not a bad isea.

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    Replies
    1. The Navy teaching sextant use again. That cheers me.

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  3. Give me a paper map and I'm happy.

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    Replies
    1. The batteries never die on them. :)

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  4. In all my travels on a boat. We always had paper charts. On them I would notate our position and write it in pencil on the chart, using a handheld gps. Then would see just how close it would be using a sextant.
    Usually somewhat accurately ha ha...
    Later on got a chart plotter, boy what a difference over the handheld ! The backtracking capability it had, proved invaluable in tight areas.
    Still have my sextant tho

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    Replies
    1. Electronics go out of date so quickly. I'm going to wait until the last minute to upgrade.

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