The Charts Special Interest Group (CSIG) has released version 7 of the Beta Test charts to over 100 testers in time for the boating season in 2016. There are significant changes to the format of these charts from previous versions, which we hope you will like. We were more or less forced into these changes due to the failure of our Mapping software supplier to introduce improvements to the rendering process. The new maps cover many more areas than previous versions and this has led to very long processing times lasting many weeks of 24 hours a day. Brian Willson, the CSIG lead mapper, decided a new format was required which would help to overcome this rendering problem and came up with an excellent solution. For those of you not familiar with the term ‘rendering’, this is the process whereby all the data that is fed into the program, such as depths, positions, shorelines, contours, roads, markers, colours, and much more, is processed to make the final set of maps, which can be used by the applications on your smartphones, tablets and laptops.

So, what is this new format and what is the Project area?  The project area is the entire area that will be included in the maps.  In this new format of the CSIG charts the area covers the whole of the River Shannon and lakes, Boyle River, SEW, Upper Lough Erne, Lower Lough Erne, Parts of Lough Neagh, River Bann, Newry Ship Canal, Royal Canal, Grand Canal and the River Barrow.

For those of you not familiar with the applications, there are different ones for iOS based devices and Android devices, and another app for the Windows based Laptops.

  • If you are an iOS user (Apple products such as the iPhone and the iPad) then you will need the Galileo Pro app from the App store.
  • If you are an Android user (Samsung, HTC and others), then you will need the Locus Pro app from the Google Play store.
  • Both Galileo and Locus use the same set of charts in a format called SQLITE.
  • For Windows laptop users, you will need the MemoryMap application available from the MemoryMap web site and also the third party maps option.
  • The MemoryMap versions can run on all devices, but the specialised apps as above are by far the easiest to use.
For Locus and Galileo users there are now four types of chart:
  • The Overview Chart (optional) – This offers three zoom levels of the entire project area (with reduced content) allowing for fast panning around the whole project area.
  • The Basemap Chart (Required) – This is a single chart giving three zoom levels of the entire project area with full content that will be good for navigating large open areas ( for example, the Broad Loughs).
  • The Area Charts (at least one Required) – There are three area charts for the “Shannon Erne and Canals”, “Lough Neagh” and the” Newry Ship Canal” of which you only need to download the areas you are interested in. These give good coverage for the rivers and canals within the marked navigation.
  • The Explorer Charts (Optional) – These are a suite of 13 highly detailed, single zoom charts suitable for off navigation use (where we have sufficient data – It’s your call). Due to the way Locus works, you should consider them “all or nothing” – in that if you download one you should download them all or you may experience display glitches in areas where you do not have them.

We would love to have one app for both iOS and Android devices, but unfortunately, no matter how many times we ask the owner of the Android app Locus, he still holds to not producing the app on iOS. The Galileo app is significantly inferior to Locus in areas such as tile resolution and most importantly for users, in the automatic map load when zooming in or out. Locus loads the next level of zoom map with no intervention from the user whereas Galileo requires the loading of each type manually. In reality, this is a small inconvenience given the size of the areas covered.

For Memory Map users:
  • The Basemap (Required) – covers the Shannon Erne & canals (not suitable for general navigation but can be used as an overview on the broad loughs).
  • The 1M charts (Required) – Good for navigating open areas – not for rivers.
  • The 50 cm charts (Required) – Good for navigating rivers, canals and areas within the marked navigation.
  • The Detail charts (Optional) – High Detail charts suitable for off navigation use (where we have sufficient data – it’s your call).

The MemoryMap charts are contained in ZIP files and need to be unzipped once downloaded from the OneDrive file share managed by Colman Byrne. In essence there is no change to the MemoryMap format from previous versions, but of course there is much more data and area included.

Content Changes in the Version 7 release
  • The spot depth algorithms have been refined to allow for an increase in the size of the shown depths in the charts by removing redundant spot depths without losing critical data. This makes it much easier to read the depths especially on smaller devices. It also reduces clutter on the screen.
  • The size of the post navigation marks on the Shannon has been increased, again allowing for easier reading.
  • There is now an overview of the Barrow Navigation.
  • The Royal and Grand canals are now included with many roads around the areas. Depths have not been included on the canals since the depth is pretty constant throughout. These should be used for positional awareness at present but we do intend to grow the data significantly, as we get more information from the surveyors.
  • For Locus and Galileo users there are some new “Experimental” areas of Lough Neagh, the River Bann and the Newry Ship canal. These charts are being used extensively by the surveyors in these areas. They also include the new mooring buoys being deployed by Waterways Ireland in Upper Lough Erne. Many thanks to Peter Maxwell, Robert Navan and Mike Kingston who have continued to explore these areas right through the winter months.
  • There have been many other minor cosmetic changes, tweaks and corrections.

The CSIG would like to thank all beta testers who provided feedback and enabled these updates.


The CSIG is delighted to have been nominated this year for the IWAI Endeavour award, which is presented at the AGM, this year held in Tullamore. A second nomination was specifically for the CSIG lead mapper Brian Willson for all the work he has done for the group. His dedication, comfortable manner and excellent skills have resulted in him being the de facto technical lead in the group. Words do not go far enough to say just how important Brian is to the CSIG. I know I speak for everyone who has worked with him, when I say Thank you Brian.

Although the CSIG did not win the award, we are absolutely delighted that it went to Noel Griffin who initiated the whole charting process within the IWAI, and without him, there would not be a CSIG. Congratulations Noel, and many thanks for the advice and guidance you have given the CSIG over the years.


Once again, many thanks to all CSIG members, who have contributed in many different skills areas to this latest release. These charts are now something very special, and with them, we continue to explore new areas for navigation that were otherwise unsafe to explore. The CSIG welcomes new surveyors coming on stream this year and if you would like to become a beta tester or indeed a surveyor or mapper, please contact me in the first instance, Les Saunders at barge41m@yahoo.co.uk and I will put you in contact with the right people in the group.

Safe boating and let us hope we can get into the shorts this summer!

© Les Saunders 2016