To my knowledge ActiveCaptain was the first to build a UGC (User Generated Content) product independently of any mainstream supplier of maritime chart plotters or related product. Using this platform you can record local data like Rocks, Wrecks, Obstructions, Buoys, Beacons & Signs, Lights, Shops & Repairs, Ports & Marinas and Anchorages, Moorings and even upload your recommended routing and waypoint data.
I believe that ActiveCaptain is also the most successful. Although there is a preponderance of Stateside data, I and many other UK sailors have been uploading data for our local marinas, routes and other useful info about sailing in UK waters. I encourage you all to participate in this platform – it is cheap and you can only gain from the wealth of local knowledge that is already, and will continue to be, stored on this platform.
Obviously to make it easy to benefit from the UGC layer, it is essential that you can easily integrate access to ActiveCaptain from within your chosen chart plotting software and that the data remains accessible when you are offline or unable to connect to the internet.
One of the most important products to do include such integration to ActiveCaptain was the MaxSea TZ product that I reviewed extensively here.
Many chart plotting software products have followed suit and included integration to ActiveCaptain. The list of products includes software for PC, Mac, Linux, iPhone and Android – here is the list so far…
- Coastal Explorer
- MaxSea Time Zero Explorer
- MaxSea Time Zero Navigator
- Nobeltec Trident
- Nuno Navigator
- Nuno Navigator UK
- NutiCharts Lite
I jumped in and bought the iPhone app from Navionics pretty early on because it was the brand I used on my fixed Raymarine chart plotter and because they had a UK chart version available for only GBP14.95. The chart plotting software is Navionics Gold UK/Holland and it works perfectly well on my iPhone, but unfortunately for me it has its own UGC layer (User Generated Content). Strangely you have to submit additions to their UGC layer using an online form on the Navionics website and it is not integrated with another product other than Navionics own chart plotting software – so why bother with their own, limited, UGC community!
If you are interested in the UGC concept … which one should you use? – well surely its a a case of the biggest UGC community combined with good integration with a wide range of chart plotting software wins. I would put my money on ActiveCaptain – so sign up if you have not done so already, and start exploring the user content stored there – more importantly if you have UK or European local knowledge – be community minded and type it in !…