New CSIG Charts Release

The CSIG is delighted to announce its latest version of the Charts for the Inland Waterways in Ireland. This latest release incorporates corrections, which have been notified to the CSIG by our many testers, changes to the navigation marks, and data updates from the CSIG surveying group. Also in this release is a completely new version of the Royal Canal charts produced by Anton Wigley, working with Brian as a mapper. Welcome to Anton, who has the skills to assist Brian in the development of the shapefiles, and to take some of the large workload off Brian. Much of the input to the Canals and the River Barrow has been developed by Beth O’Loughlin, through very detailed surveying. This survey technique that Beth employs is quite different to the data collected by our Shannon and Erne based surveyors, where she has to stop and collect details at built infrastructure such as bridges, locks, buildings, towns and more. Many thanks Beth and Anton.

As I alluded to in our last IWN article, the CSIG has been receiving feedback about the length of time required to download the charts. We also received feedback that the charts were too big to download or install on older devices, which had lower specifications than is currently the norm. Brian spent a lot of time trying to come up with a solution that would work for everyone, and it looks like he has succeeded really well. This has led to the biggest change to options for downloading in this release.

I will start by saying that for Memory Map users effectively there is no change to the download options. There are still the four sets of charts, which come compressed and can be expanded easily using Microsoft tools. The download time for these and the space required is manageable with little effort on a laptop. I prefer to expand all of these hundreds of QCT files into a single folder, which then means I only have to point to the one folder when adding the new charts to Memory Map.

The big change comes for the Locus/Galileo/Cartograph users, effectively everyone who uses a smartphone or tablet. The website, which is now our only method available for downloading the charts, has been updated to reflect all the changes. This should make it easier for non-technical people to follow. This had been an issue previously where some feedback highlighted the difficulties some people were having in understanding the download process. By way of reminder the CSIG website is at

It may have been some time since members have logged on, so if you have forgotten your password please use the ‘Forgot Password’ link on the web page, and should that fail for some reason you can use the ‘Join Us’ link to re register.

Once you decide to download, the first thing you will see will be to make a choice as to which device you want to use, such as a laptop or tablet, to use the charts on. The next page allows you then to choose what areas you want to download and to which level of detail those areas should be. You will see that there is a choice between Full Detail charts or LITE charts. At the bottom of the page, you will find the links to the Charts.

So what exactly is the difference. Well, the coverage areas are the same in both sets of charts, but the difference is that in the LITE version, the most detailed zoom level has been removed. Just to put this in context, there are 19 zoom levels and the LITE version has 18 zoom levels, still way more detail than most users will need. But the big difference is in the size of the chart for downloading. For example, if you choose the Full Version for all areas of coverage, then the download size is about 1.7GB, whereas if you choose the LITE version, the download size is only 560MB, less than a third of the size, and well within the scope of older and less specified devices.

For comparison purposes, you can see the difference using Dromineer Harbour in the accompanying extracts, one is at the highest zoom level for the LITE version and the second is at the highest zoom level for the FULL version.

The next big change is in the chart coverage. Brian has added in a number of optional areas. These are

1) CSIG Inland Waterways (includes Shannon, SEW, Erne, Royal Canal, Grand Canal and the Barrow Navigation plus some special interest areas of Lough Neagh, Newry Ship Canal and Lough Shark)
2) The Shannon
3) The Erne
4) The Shannon Erne combined (including the SEW)
5) The Canals

This means that for those of us who have the devices capable of holding all the charts as one file we can still do that, but also for those that never wander out of the Shannon then only that chart can be downloaded, saving space and time on the download.

I want to thank Brian specifically for these changes to the latest release, this took months of work and a good deal of lateral thinking to adjust the processes to enable these changes. Colman also inputted significantly with the required changes to the website registration and download processes. Many thanks guys.

Up to recently we have been issuing two releases a year, but with the very detailed coverage we have now achieved over the last 6 years, we are likely to move to only one new release each year in the future. There are still lots of areas not covered, especially in the bays and hidey places around our fantastic waterways, so still loads to do. If you would like to assist us or help in any way, please contact me, Les Saunders at ‘’. All types of skills are needed, so just because you might want to survey, you may like learning to produce the maps, manage the website, or simply tell us where we got it wrong.

World Canals Conference Athlone 2018

The CSIG was very privileged to have taken part in what was a fantastic World Canals Conference this year held in Athlone. I was asked by the convening group to do a small CSIG presentation on what we have achieved and the feedback from that was pretty good. I understand that the added bit at the end, where I showed live the charts on my iPhone went down a treat, and I was amazed that the GPS actually worked and showed us in the room just alongside the council jetties. We got a second chance to show the charts in action when I took the 9 strong Chinese delegation and Dawn Livingston, CEO of Waterways Ireland, out on a trip on the 41M up to the Lough Ree Yacht Club and back on the Wednesday morning. The Chinese Chairman presented me with a really nice silk fan and I intend keeping that for myself. Colin and the other team members of the IWAI and WI deserve recognition for a brilliant Conference. Well done guys.


Please contact me at if you would like a presentation on the charts at any of your branch meetings, or if you would like to contribute in any way to the CSIG group. You know, it is a very friendly group and we do have great fun doing what we do. I have been invited to talk to the Skerries Sailing Club on the 14th November to see if there is any way that they could start doing what we do around their sailing areas, so I am looking forward to that. Until next time, safe cruising and watch those levels, they are pretty low at the time of writing. 

© Les Saunders