Custom Digital Charts
Make Your Own Charts
By Michael Vatalaro
Dealing with low lake levels due to drought used to mean adjusting the offset on your chartplotter to make the plotted soundings on the digital chart more accurately reflect the current water depths. And while that works in open water, obstructions such as fields of tree stumps, rock piles, or other structures that formerly lay well below the surface now are suddenly a hazard to your lower unit. And while sometimes noted on charts, they are not plotted individually in most cases.
Lowrance aims to change that in 2013 by introducing completely custom-made electronic charts, made by you, in your boat, while you’re running around doing whatever it is you love on the water. Called Insight Genesis, users of the Lowrance HDS series of multifunction displays can simply activate the sonar logging feature on their HDS unit to begin creating their own chart. Sort of like a DVR does with live TV, the logging feature will record the images and related data displayed by the depth sounder/fishfinder on-screen. The recorded images are stored to an SD card, which you can take home to your PC to upload to the Insight Genesis website. Once uploaded, the sonar log file is converted into a chart by a cloud-based application. You can view the chart made from your data for free, or purchase it for $19.95. The purchased download can be stored on the same SD card and displayed on your HDS. So at the end of this process, you can effectively navigate by a chart that is as complete and as up to date as you care to make it.
But the best part is the level of detail the free online viewer affords. In addition to displaying water depths in the usual shaded contours, you can play back the actual display image from your recording anywhere along the way, and see exactly where that rock or sandbar is located. The viewer will also display your track on Bing satellite maps.
In addition, you can record multiple trips and merge the files into one master chart, using the Insight Genesis cloud servers to store the data, adding to your knowledge of a particular body of water. An annual subscription is required to merge chart files.
The Insight Genesis website is up now and supports the newest HDS Gen2 Touch multifunction displays. Prior HDS versions and some Elite models will be supported this spring. Visit insightstore.lowrance.com/insightgenesis for complete details.
Back-up cameras for your tow vehicle and boat trailer take the "bang" out of reverse
With today's electronics, you can tell if your anchor starts dragging without leaving your bunk
Here's what electronics could go on your boat, from basic to well equipped or totally geeked out