It appears this summer that we had it all in May and early June. I am writing this article sitting on my barge in Lanesboro with the HBA CIC, and it is pouring rain outside and the temperature is at about 12 degrees C. Having once again, being caught crossing Lough Ree and being clamped down unable to see any shoreline, I was so glad to have the latest charts. With them, I was able to cross safely and felt comfortable doing it.

The next release of the charts is in full preparation with our lead mapper Brian Willson. He tells me so far this year we have added almost another million soundings. This brings the amount of usable soundings to a staggering 6 million with a further 2 million requiring checking. Brian’s aim is to ensure there is a sounding for at least every single square meter of the Inland Waterways system, and he is getting there with thanks to the surveyors who continue to feed the data back to him.

In addition to the extra soundings some more changes are coming. We are looking at ways to reduce the single huge file that is now hitting 1.4 Gb, and causing difficulties for end users who have slow Wi-Fi. One possibility is to split off the Shannon Erne charts from the Canal and Barrow charts and have two files, and this looks like a good runner.

A second change is coming with the size of the icons. In the March 17 release, where the tile size was reduced to the industry standard from 1024*1024 to 256*256, a problem was identified with low-resolution devices. We think we have found a good compromise for the upcoming release. Of course, the bypass using Cartograph worked well because that app had the capability to scale a map both negatively and positively unlike Locus and Galileo, and that will still be available.

Brian has also being trying out some nice changes to the larger islands on the charts. He has added real photo detail to these on the more zoomed in levels, enabling details of buildings, fields, harbours and so on. These look really great and in many cases show that the coastal tree line has a lot more interesting stuff behind it.

Our newest surveyor Anton Wigley has done superb surveying on the River Barrow enabling much more detail to be shown for this area. Many thanks Anton, this area was lacking in much detail in the past and it is great to have some detailed surveying going on for us there.

So the Autumn release of the charts looks to be once again a significant improvement to the current release. We are all looking forward to it. Many thanks Brian for all your efforts and innovations.

Meet Robert Navan

Robert joined the CSIG in 2013 and started surveying Lough Erne in early 2014. Robert caught the bug badly and now has a team of surveyors on the Erne and northern waters, who regularly survey in mid-winter as well as during the normal boating season. This team, including Mike Kingston, Neill Suitor and Peter Maxwell have added a very large amount of soundings, Marker locations and lots of associated data, so that the charts for Lough Erne are well covered now.

Robert tells me that for most of his working life he played with marine electronics for Decca and Northrup Grumman. He retired in 2004 but still does some casual work. It is hard to knock the gadget interest out of the brain once it is there.

Robert has always had an interest in boats for as far back as he can remember. He fitted out a Colvic Watson motor sailor in 1977 and used it for holidays up the West Coast of Scotland with his family. He moved the Colvic Watson to Lough Erne in 1994 but soon realised that it was not suitable for the lakes, so he bought a Dutch Altena cruiser, Aquarius, in 1997.

Most of the surveying Robert does is carried out in his Altena Cruiser but he finds his small Avon rib more suitable for shallow water because of its low draft.

This year Robert has followed Donal Boland and Pat McManus in adding a side scan sonar, which is suitable for both boats. This enables Robert to look for anomalies quickly and speeds the survey time quite significantly.

Every year Robert heads down the Shannon for his annual summer cruise and this year he visited Lough Key and ended at Shannonbridge before returning to Lough Erne. This trip once again has added many more data points to the charts.

Many thanks Robert, for all your interest and surveying, it is just fantastic for the CSIG to have members like you with such an infectious approach and technical knowledge. Hope to see you soonest.

Creedon’s Shannon

I am sure most of you will have seen the program, on RTE called Creedon’s Shannon. It was a very interesting series meeting people from all walks of life with varying interests based around the Shannon. What you probably don’t know is that some of the people interviewed have direct relationship with the CSIG.

Dr Donal Boland is the sole founder of the CSIG, when he recruited a number of us to engage in a new section in the IWAI of a Special Interest Group (SIG), and in particular, a SIG dedicated to creating charts for the Inland Waterways using low cost technology and involving as many people as possible. Donal has many interests, and his interview on Creedons Shannon just showed one of them. Donal, thank you for starting this group.

Pat McManus who is our lead surveyor, particularly around the mid Shannon and Lough Ree, showed his other interest with the sub aqua club in Athlone. There was a huge amount of recording done around the use of the CSIG charts with Pat, but unfortunately the cutters were very active and we didn’t get to see that. But many thanks to Pat for all that effort in filming.


The CSIG is alive and well, we look forward to the new upcoming release, and we welcome all the new end-users, which grows every week. Once again, it is appropriate to thank all of our team who each add their own special skill. If you want to help, or if you would like a copy of the charts, please contact me, Les Saunders at .