New release of the Beta Charts v 8.2.1
In my last update, I said that I had been testing an early version of the Beta V8 charts and that they were looking good. Well, in mid October 2016 the latest version Beta v8.2.1 was released to the Beta Testers base. This base of users now numbers over 150 and the feedback we keep receiving really helps in the development of further charts, so keep it coming.
The new release is the best yet with over 1.2 million new soundings over those that were in V7, in particular around areas which had been a little light in detail, namely Lough Erne (lower and upper), and much more detail in Lough Key. Lough Derg has also been improved particularly in the north area of this huge lake. This brings the valid and cleared soundings to just under 5 million and almost another 2 million not included because more checking is needed for them. Brian has also improved the spot depth locations algorithm giving a much better visual experience on the charts. To put this in context, Brian has divided the whole Shannon area into 62 million squares, each about 9 inches square, and he then populates these areas with the depth and area data.
Most of us have a laptop or a home computer and they usually have one processing unit to do all the work. Brian has 2 top of the range fully loaded PCs, one with 8 processing units and the second with 6 such units, so in effect he has 10 PCs working independently. The rendering of the charts from the Global Mapper program we use to create the input data takes these 10 computers, working full time, over 7 days, 24 hours a day to produce one chart. Therefore, when Brian kicks off a rendering of a new chart he loses the personal use of both his computers for over seven days. The Memory-Map versions of the charts take about 3 days on top of the 7 days for the Tablet format. We really need some help here to give Brian back his computer, so any ideas would be gratefully received. Brian has also developed a new process whereby he can add in new data to a chart for a specific survey and render just that change. This should help to improve the release of surveyor charts to the surveyors enabling them to have the latest chart available containing all the previous survey runs, so they can save on duplicating data.
In this V8.2.1 release, the number of charts has been changed dramatically for both the Memory-Map and the Tablet formats. In V7, the Tablet charts were divided into Basemap, Areas and Explorer charts requiring a download of 13 charts. Whereas this was not a problem on the Locus Android tablets because Locus effectively merged them into a seamless zoom from Basemap through to explorer, the Galileo users on iOS had to load each area separately. This was an inconvenience more than an issue given the area been covered, but it was still something we would like to have eliminated. Brian worked tirelessly with the Global Mapper development team and had changes made to the program to enable a different methodology for the rendering and we are delighted to say we have eliminated this difference between the Locus and Galileo programs. Consequently, the Tablet (SQLite dB) download is now a single chart. This means that effectively all of the Shannon connected waterways are included in the one chart with nine different zoom levels automatically bringing in additional data with the zoom on all iOS and Android platforms. The areas now covered in this single chart are the River Shannon from Limerick to Lough Allen, the Boyle river and Lough Key, the SEW, Lough Erne upper and lower, the Royal canal, the Grand canal, the Barrow, and also Lough Neagh, Maghery and the river Bann, and the Newry Ship canal. Please note it is big at about 700MB, so make sure you are on WIFI before you attempt the download. The download instructions on the OneDrive distribution server have also been updated. This makes it so easy for the end user to both download and use I hope you will agree that this is a great improvement.
For the Memory-Map users there is also a big change in the download process. In previous versions, there were almost 1000 separate charts to download. Some of us used to merge them with the Memory-Map tools but it was tedious. In this V8.2.1, there are now only four charts to download. Because the size was getting rather large, Brian has reduced the resolution on the Detail charts from 20 centimetres per pixel to 30 centimetres per pixel, unnoticeable on viewing and using but quite dramatic on the size of the file to download. So, big changes, but much easier to download and use.
Well done Brian, Beta v8.2.1 is yet another huge step forward, and many thanks to the testers for their feedback and to the surveyors for their huge additional input. I trust you will all be delighted with this new release.
Surveying with Michael (Mick) Geraghty
Many of you will know Mick from his role on the Executive as Membership Secretary, but you may not be aware that he is also the Treasurer of the Lough Derg Branch. He has also served for quite a good few years on the Derg Rally Committee as chair, Commodore, and in other supporting roles along with his hard working wife Sophie Dillon. Mick always has a smile, and when you meet him you immediately feel good, and it is probably something to do with his background on the river.
Mick was aged 10 when he was introduced to the Shannon by his dad, who helped Seamus Kerrigan keep his 100-ton barge the Saint Patrick operational. Seamus kept his barge in Kilgarvin where Mick has now based himself as well. Mick has served his time on the Saint Patrick as engineer, painter, welder, general skivvy, and latterly skipper when she was brought up to Shannon Harbour dry dock for a wee bit of maintenance this year. He has also been seen skippering Kieran Bayly’s barge for use with his activities with the Skiing club based in Portland near Terryglass. I suspect the skiing has been reduced a bit as the knees are showing a tiny bit of wear. Despite all this barge experience, Mick has a 35-foot cruiser, Affaja, and funny enough it is a sister ship to Pat McManus’s cruiser, also a prolific surveyor for the CSIG. Mick has also spent all his working life of 33 years with Dublin Bus, quite an achievement.
Mick brings a new and novel way of surveying to the CSIG. One of the big problems a surveyor has is how to protect his propeller, whether it is on his main cruiser or on a supporting dinghy. For this reason, it has been difficult for the CSIG to acquire data close to the shorelines and the reed lines. Mick has overcome this with his jet ski, which can go right up to the reedline. This has given the charts a real boost with such accurate data, and you can see the result of Mick’s surveys on the new charts with the reeds denoted in green. I have included here some photos of Mick’s setup, which includes his depth transducer located at the rear of the Jet Ski and the Chart plotter mounted directly above it. Mick uses the battery from the Jet Ski to power the chart plotter and his laptop, which he sets up on the seat in front of him. He uses the same software as all the surveyors, Dr. Depth, (or its newer version Autochart); Brian’s surveying app, Memory-Map and the latest chart from Brian for the survey area. Well done Mick, for such a novel solution to the CSIG problem and many thanks for all your efforts and success. You are an inspiration to us all, and keep smiling.
Updates to IWAI Branches
When we started the CSIG group almost 4 years ago, funding amongst other items was a major issue. Thankfully, the Derg Branch set us up as a special project, and continues to manage our finances for us. At that time, a number of us went round the IWAI Branches presenting what we would like to do and requesting funding to do it. Most branches gave us as much as they could spare, and we would now like to go around all the branches again, thanking them and showing them what they got for their funds. So, I am making myself available to any branch who would like an updated presentation on what we now have to offer to members of the IWAI. If you would like to avail of this presentation, please contact me in the first instance, Les Saunders, at (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a suitable time and venue.
Have a nice winter, if you are not a beta tester think about becoming one, the latest charts are just amazing and there is nothing available anywhere else that even comes close to them. If you want a copy of the charts for your tablet, smartphone or laptop, please send an email to me as below.
And again, if you would like a presentation at your branch meetings please contact me.
© Les Saunders (email@example.com) CSIG PRO