CSIG announces March 17 Release of charts

As I announced in the last IWN, the Spring release of the CSIG charts has taken place. Apart from a significant amount of new data, there are some nice changes to the icons, which we believe you will like and in particular for the Canals and River Barrow users. These new icons include mooring types, such as bank mooring, wall mooring and jetty mooring among others.

The new release naming convention has moved away from previous releases, since users were getting confused as to what date the version they were using was current or not. So, no more Versions, but simply the date will identify the release.  The latest Spring release is called March 17.

The Northern Ireland teams, in particular Robert Navan and Peter Maxwell have provided large amounts of new bathymetry for the Erne and SEW systems, so this area of the waterways is becoming nicely populated with data.

As I described in my last article a big change in this release is the move from a resolution of 1024*1024 pixels to 256*256 pixels, which gives us better sizing for markers and higher resolution. The downside of this change is that some older generation devices with low-resolution screens may have a problem with the map appearing too large on the screen and the icons too big. The way around this is to use another app called Cartograph, and in the settings change the Map Scale to 0.3. This will fix the problem. There is a further advantage from this change in that Cartograph works across all platforms including the MAC, which we could not cover before with the Locus and Galileo apps.

We have a seen a surge of new beta testers over the last few months so much so that we blew the limits on our OneDrive access. Colman has addressed this with a new access method via the CSIG website. If you find your access has been denied when it worked previously please contact Colman Byrne at colmansbyrne@gmail.com and he will fix it for you.

We now have two additional surveyors working away on the River Barrow and feeding back loads of new data for the next release. It is great to see Beth O’Loughlin, who manages the CSIG web page content, also take up surveying in her rather nice barge Aqualegia as she traverses the Barrow.  We welcome a newcomer to the CSIG surveyor team, namely Anton Wigley who is also working with Beth.  Anton has expressed an interest in mapping as well and Brian has been showing him how we do that process.

So, download the March 17 release and enjoy all the new functions and data.

Meet Peter Maxwell, Northern Ireland surveyor

Peter has been a member of the CSIG for a number of years now and has contributed regularly with bathymetric data particularly around the Newry Ship Canal, the River Bann, Lower Lough Neagh, and smaller lakes off the Newry Canal. In fact, since Peter hooked up with Robert Navan, they survey together throughout the whole year, ignoring the freezing weather just to get the data. Many thanks Peter and Robert.

Peter tells me he retired at 35 and ran away to sea. Prior to that Peter had been a plumber and builder.  After a couple of years sailing in the Med Peter and his other half Geraldine came home and built a 50 ft steel ketch completely from scratch – off plan – you might say. Between 1991 and 2009 they sailed all over the world in their ketch which they named Mithril and were the first Irish boat ever to visit some of the sub Antarctic islands in the Southern Ocean, like South Georgia and Kerguelan. After 8 years they decided to sell the boat and make the transition to life ashore by fitting out a camper van and travelling the UK and Ireland for a year during which time they purchased a canal boat, ‘Alda T’ a Dawncraft 32 in England. For the next few years, they spent half the year exploring the English canal system by summer and restoring the Newry canal in winter with the IWAI Newry & Portadown branch of which they were founder members in 2005. The salt water has slowly been leached out of their system and the transition to landlubber is almost complete.

Over the last couple of years Peter and Geraldine have taken their camper van to France in the summer but this year they intend cruising the Irish waterways on ‘Alda T’ which they have shipped over from England. Peter was chair of the Newry & Portadown branch for 5 years and is still treasurer and workparty co-ordinator. The branch is doing very well and they have many different projects on the go both to further restoration of the waterway particularly as a Blueway and projects to enhance the surroundings and encourage more visitors to make return trips. They manage a heritage centre on the towpath at the summit of the canal – just opposite Lough Shark where Robert Navan and Peter recently did a lot of surveying. They initially started the surveying as part of a branch project to create a guided walk app from Newry to Portadown along with charts of the entrances to the canal at Carlingford Lough and Lough Neagh. They have since expanded their remit to include the entrance to the Blackwater and further out into Lough Neagh. Peter says that it has been great craic and using the electric outboard on the branch’s little dinghy is a lovely way to get close to the wildlife along the Newry canal. Robert and Peter intend to continue surveying further along the Blackwater, which is the entrance to the Ulster Canal. Making progress on restoration of the Newry canal is however, his main priority and he is having some success with the council promising more input on conservation of the historic structures. Just in case anyone has forgotten, the Newry is the oldest canal in the UK and Ireland.

Many thanks Peter for all your help to the CSIG project and you sure have had an interesting life. For sure, many of us will envy what you have achieved.

Pat McManus on Creedon’s Shannon

As most of you know, Pat is our lead surveyor and primarily operates around Lough Ree. You may not know that Pat has spent time with the Athlone Subaqua Club and has trained with them regularly as well as having been their PRO. Pat also spends a lot of time with the Search and Rescue teams from the Gardaí, Coast Guard and RNLI. He is a registered First responder and authorised to partake in search and rescue missions. Pat has brought a huge amount of assistance to these rescue services with the CSIG charts, his bathymetric ‘fish’ and his latest gadget, a high quality Drone. By the way, all Pat’s kit is purchased by himself.

RTE is producing a series of programs on the River Shannon with John Creedon, to be shown this coming summer. Pat has spent a few days filming with their crew, showing how important the CSIG charts have become and how they are currently being used.  Don’t miss this program series. It promises to be really interesting.


Summer is on the way, 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.  Moreover, if you would like a presentation at your branch meetings please contact me.

Les Saunders (barge41m@yahoo.co.uk) CSIG PRO