A while back I posted a tutorial for sharing information using Google Earth as it applies to “tow-biz”. The tutorial is a bit involved and may have appeared to be more trouble than it’s worth. I decided to recap the method for those who may have seen it earlier and trim it down to its basic function.
Google Earth can be utilized to provide a means to share local knowledge that in the past would have required numerous radio and phone calls if a mariner was calling at an unfamiliar berth or port.
Generally the kind of information I’m referring to is the specific information we’d need regarding slack water info, how to approach, moor, or just go shopping which can sometimes be difficult to figure out when you calling on a terminal for the first time.
Once one gets familiar with the method for creating a “placemark” in the program it’s a simple matter of a right click on the mark and sending an email to share the “placemark” with another user. If I wanted to indicate the approach and berths in say Erie Basin, I would create the Erie Basin placemark in Google Earth and send it to the interested party along with the information he needs to find his way. The recipient clicks on the attachment which opens in GE. The placemark can contain an unlimited amount of information in the “properties tab”. It’s so much easier to have a visual representation handy when directing someone to a specific location. Usually a phone call along with viewing the “placemark” will overcome any difficulty.
Directions to the local market, cab companies, pharmacies, crew change directions and muster points, and anything else you could think of can be sent. Sharing the information within a specific group becomes as easy as the click of a mouse. It can be shared widely or kept private. In the case of the database I created, it was shared with as many who were interested and had a need to know within my circle of colleagues. Creating your own database is really quite simple, it will save a lot of confusion and even assist with getting the new guy up to speed on where he’s heading or how it’s done.
I’d be happy to provide more detail if you need it, drop me an email.
As an additional benefit to using GE, you’ll find an additional application that is useful as it applies to Live AIS information. Although it’s not “realtime info”, it’s close. Gcaptain explains a plan in the works to perfect a satellite based receiving system that can offer global coverage and accuracy. Key phrase here is “in the works”. I’ve seen this website show coastal coverage a lot greater than “line of sight” receivers could offer, but I believe I caught a test rather than normal operational status.
Still, if you access this page on the AIS Live website, it will offer a download link for inserting and displaying AIS info into the GE display. I’ve found it quite useful for any number of reasons, impending crew changes for one. It’s nice to get a general idea where the boat is when planning your next crew change.