Monday, November 30, 2015

Using Insight Map Creator to view Photos and BioBase maps on your Lowrance Chart

Few may know about a powerful GIS conversion tool that will convert virtually any spatial file into a format (.AT5) viewable on your Lowrance Chartplotter.  And best of all, it's free!  Insight Map Creator is one of several of Navico's GoFree products available at Here you can register for a free GoFree account and download the IMC software.  There are lots of examples and tutorials about how to convert vector and raster GIS data to .AT5 digital charts that are covered in the documentation folder that won't be repeated here.  Rather, we'll walk you through two applications that many BioBase users will find extremely valuable.

Display HD ArcMap Aerial Imagery GeoTiffs on your Lowrance HDS chart

Add Basemap Imagery and zoom into a high resolution (in this case 1:15,000) area of interest so that shoreline detail can be seen (e.g., think about the zoom level you want when using the chart on the water).  Project Dataframe into WGS84 World Coordinates.
In the Data View, export (File - Export) a high res (≥ 300 dpi) image as .TIF and write a .TFW world file.  Pan the map and export slightly overlapping snapshots (same zoomlevel and resolution) so that IMC can stitch together a mosaic.  Small ponds and lakes will probably require only one aerial shot, large systems like the Guntersville example shown will require many.

Simple User Interface of GoFree's Insight Map Creator (IMC).  Run the x64 .exe program after downloading and unzipping. Select Raster Mode from the View menu.  Use a fine resolution (at least 1 meter per pixel) to get shoreline detail. If your source data only covers one resolution and you want your final map to represent this specific resolution, you have to set Min and Max resolution to the same value. If your source data covers more than one resolution, you set the Min Resolution to the resolutions of your most detailed images and the Max Resolution to your least detailed image. Make sure that your source images match the resolution steps as close as possible to minimize the loss of quality due to the re-sampling process.  Add the folder where the source files can be found, specify where the created AT5 files should go, then click "Build."  A successful build should show a folder containing "Bound AT5s." Consult the documentation with your download for more specific details about the process and other advanced settings.
Get your HDS Chartplotter ready to import AT5 imagery

  1. Make sure your Chart has "Shaded Relief" selected (Chart Options on Lowrance HDS)

     2.   Insert a MicroSD card with all .AT5 files saved to the card.  Select Photo Overlay (Full) in the Chart Options

Screen capture of a successfully loaded HD aerial image overlain with other navigational aids included in HDS basemaps.  Use aerial images as navigational aids, and to target fishing or sampling areas (e.g., partially submerged timber, or in the top example "Guntersville Grass")
Create a HD image of vegetation biovolume coupled with an aerial photo.

The process we describe can be used to create any spatial image for your HDS.  So, if you wish to reproduce the HD map you see on your PC in BioBase as a chart in your Lowrance, just follow the steps outlined in your Support & Resources in your BioBase account (Creating Publication Quality Imagery) and the steps outlined above.
EcoSound Aquatic Vegetation heat map (% aquatic plant biovolume) as seen in BioBase.
Aquatic vegetation heatmap data exported from BioBase, imported into ArcMap and converted to a raster .TIF following "Creating Publishable Quality Imagery" BioBase tutorial and then converting the exported .TIF to .AT5 using GoFree's free Insight Map Creator (see directions above).  Researchers or anglers can use these vegetation maps to strategically target sampling or fishing areas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BioBase Helps Manage Honeoye Lake Macrophyte Harvesting Program

Guest Blog By Terry R. Gronwall, Chairman of the Honeoye Lake Watershed Task Force (Honeoye, NY)
Honeoye Lake is one of the smaller (~1,800 acres) Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.  We have been managing our macrophyte population by using a harvester for about 25 years.  The objective of our harvesting program is to both provide relief for the recreational lake users and to remove biomass containing phosphorus from the lake every summer.  We average around 800 wet tons of biomass removed per season.

When we learned about ciBiobase we saw this service as a way to make our macrophyte harvesting operation more efficient by concentrating our efforts on areas in the lake that have macrophytes growing through most of the water column.  This is shown as the red zone on our macrophyte maps.  We plan to monitor our actual harvesting rates relative to our macrophyte maps over the summer harvesting season to see if we achieve our goal of increased productivity.

Aquatic plant harvester in operation on Honeoye Lake in the Finger Lake District of New York.

Aquatic plant biovolume heat maps created via automated cloud-based processing with BioBase.  Citizens passively recorded sonar and gps data to a Lowrance Elite 7 HDI on Honeoye Lake.  Multiple files were uploaded from a SD card in the unit to BioBase and merged to create the uniform maps displayed above.
Tri-panel image showing transect coverage (left) and resultant bathymetric map (middle) and bottom hardness maps (right) produced simultaneously along with vegetation maps in BioBase 

Our 2014 pilot ciBioBase program is being funded by an Ontario County Water Resources Council Grant.