I know that’s a bold statement, but when I can have access to a library that will eventually likely hold many thousands of already planned (by me AND other boaters) routes, and then someday soon use those routes with more ActiveCaptain technology to tell me what’s up ahead, I will be in a different place than I am today with my capable but largely uncooperative navigation technology. I’ve been talking to Jeff Siegel, who, with his wife Karen Siegel, is the developer of ActiveCaptain, and it’s clear to me that the live database technology of this website has reached a major new milestone. The fact that many navigation software programs will update their ActiveCaptain integration with a live Internet link is valuable itself, but the new Routes function within ActiveCaptain is going take us much farther.
Let me back up a bit. On April 1, ActiveCaptain will roll out a new Routes capability to the ActiveCaptain experience that will allow you to upload, modify, save and share (sharing will start in May), GPX-formatted routes. Virtually all computer-based navigation software can export a route in this format, and although few chartplotters are also capable, you can use software such as GPSBabel and GPS Utility to translate your equipment’s native file format to GPX.
The routes will all be shared with the community — after all, what’s there to hide; your route to the floating Hooters? That means that, within a short time, given the 100,000 active users currently on ActiveCaptain, there will be routes for many, if not most, of your typical trips; or at least for some part of them — like entering and leaving ports and harbors.
There are a number of significant advantages to this. First, you will have yet another good way to back-up all your own meticulously planned routes. If a belt AND suspenders are considered redundant, then you can add the elastic waistband to the mix and have yet another way to keep your trousers up. (wow, the analogies just don’t flow some days…).
A second advantage derives from the fact that other key components of the ActiveCaptain database — that IS what ActiveCaptain is; a gigantic community database of navigational information (a Wiki-Nav?) — can tell you how good that route is for your situation. For example, you can factor in your refueling requirements with up-to-date pricing info. You can take into account the latest info on local hazards reported by other captains.
In fact, there is more technology coming from ActiveCaptain that will make the underway integration of all this planning capability even more impressive.
Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.