Charts and Mapping - Which One?
2014 Oct 01
First of all we need to understand the difference between a Navigation Chart (also known as a Nautical Chart) and a Fishing Chart. One is there to help you navigate safely without running aground, and the other highlights structure that will possibly attract or hold fish, from very shallow water to very deep canyons and pinnacles offshore.
This is a screenshot taken from the Navionics Platinum+ chart -
With SonarChart (Fish’N Chip) turned on, more contours, but still not quite a fishing chart -
An actual logging of this section of the reef shows us that this mere ‘kidney’ shaped hump, is actually a very intricate rock formation and certain species will be attracted to different areas of this reef.
You can go to your own area using the Navionics WebApp and see what their charts look like.
The same applies to inland waters, as seen here in the chart data used by Garmin (Waterways2009) and Lowrance (SA Inland Charts). The detail for this area unfortunately gets no better as you zoom in from this point shown here.
Once again, an actual logging of the area shows that there is a LOT more going on down there.
This video just shows what is possible -
SABAA Nationals were recently held at Inanda Dam, where the top 50 bass fishermen in our country battled it out to be crowned SA’s top angler, good charts played a massive role in this tournament. I know this because number 1, I sold more charts prior to this tournament than what I have in the previous year. Secondly, I had customers call me up afterwards and tell me that my charts accounted for up to 85% of their success. I feel it is important to mention however, that simply owning good charts is not enough, these guys put in a ton of time studying them and then idling around on the dam looking at their electronics.
I think it is fair to say at this point that we all agree that better fishing charts are in desperate need by fishermen around the world, both offshore and inland waters.
The solution – Sonar Logging. Sonar logging is a feature that allows you to record your position and depth while traveling on the water. This data is then processed by a software program that ultimately spits out a chart update file of the area you recently logged.
This processing method is done in two different ways:-
1. Home DIY Mapping – Buy software like Reefmaster Pro (similar to old DrDepth), $149 (once off)
Or AutoChart Pro and do it yourself on your PC. $250
2. Cloud Based Mapping – Navionics’ SonarCharts €199 for initial card then €99 per annum
Another unique tool that works with Navionics’ SonarCharts is Vexlar’s Sonarphone App and T-Box – $149
Or Navico’s Insight Genesis offer users the option to capture the data and submit it to their cloud server where the data is processed for you.
The Insight Genesis Social Map allows you to merge social with your own logs as a single chart, and allows you to set the contour intervals.
3. Live Mapping - Humminbird’s latest release with the ONIX range has AutoChart Live and magically creates charts as you drive on the water.
A quick summary presents the following pro's and con's:
Looking at the ‘Con’s’ column above, does not look good at all, so what do we do?
A possible solution is that countries that have similar restricted mapping resources such as South Africa , set up an independent Social Mapping group.
Look out for my next article on my blog – ‘How to Create your own Social Mapping Community’.