Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: An Idea - will it be useful?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default An Idea - will it be useful?

    I am thinking of creating a forum set based on different parts of the world.
    Each forum would cover a geographic location. It would also have a matching links heading in our links library.

    The system would allow anyone to ask questions about a particular geographic area and have any who have been there answer, provide images, videos, links etc. So anyone intending to visit an area could ask questions and those who have been there answer them.

    For example, I would adopt the UK South and West Coast and answer questions but anyone could also answer questions.

    As the system grew I would index it within each region.

    My question is - is such a venture worthwhile starting?

    I am just as interested in negative responses as positive responses - all that matters is how useful it may prove.

    I would ask for volunteers to suggest regions within their experience.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default

    The system could also include specific routes.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    See map on blog for details
    Posts
    96

    Default

    Useful? - yes
    Worth the effort to set up? - hmmmm, I guess that's your call Paul

    It seems like an unnecessary complication to me.

    I would think that if one was to post a thread about a specific part of the world anyone reading it with any useful knowledge would add their two cents worth.

    The idea has some potential for those searching for existing posts on a subject, in that they would be able to access a particular area of interest and begin looking there for answers, but they would be able to get the same information using the forum's search facility.

    In short; it has some useful application, but not sure it isn't reinventing the wheel.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default

    The problem as I see it is the ease of looking up at anytime.

    A thread fades with time and does not attract other related threads around it.
    Its a bit like the blogs thread on CF - it cannot work because over time it will go whereas the blogs in the link library are there all the time.

    Hence this proposal would gather information together over time that would always be easy to look up.

    Thats the difference.

    I know that if I were to go a a route, it would be handy to look up what others say about that route.

    I am still not sure if members will use it..... which is why i am asking.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    935

    Default

    The key is being able to find stuff later, so any good indexing would be a great help. You can cross link both area and routes so both are done.

    I think it would be a great feature, even better if accessible via a map???

    Alan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    See map on blog for details
    Posts
    96

    Default

    Good points gentlemen; you've convinced me... get cracking Paul

    I love the map idea Alan.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default

    The forum against each route or region would only be a part of it.
    There would be the images. the videos, the web links all directly indexed.

    When it grew in size it would be moved over to a database system better able to cope.

    There is no problem in adding a map once we have enough regions going.

    The entire purpose is to form a regional/route info look up system that allows very easy access to the information.

    The indexing and cross indexing would be there as the information grew.

    Images would be indexed to the region/route.

    The routes and regions would be suggested by members and grow according to members wishes.

    This would be a major part of what I was always planning to do before I launched the forum. It is just a question of how best to implement it.
    provide.

    If someone was cruising to my part of the world, I could provide a pile of helpful information. That info could cover not just pilotage info but best places to head for, things to watch out for, local history, wild life etc. So each route/region would also be structured to reflect the differing forms of data being provided.

    The forum part itself is just a small part of what I plan but its a way to get it started.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    935

    Default

    There already is a system (US based) that uses maps, and lets anyone add information. Can't remember what it is called. It really looked neat, anchorages, shops, fuel anyone can add to it,-sort of like a map based wiki. It might be an idea to see that first Paul.

    I'll see if I can dig the name up..

    Alan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default

    Thanks - best o see what already exists.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic View Post
    There already is a system (US based) that uses maps, and lets anyone add information. Can't remember what it is called. It really looked neat, anchorages, shops, fuel anyone can add to it,-sort of like a map based wiki. It might be an idea to see that first Paul.

    I'll see if I can dig the name up..

    Alan
    I suppose you mean Active Captain http://www.activecaptain.com/
    There are a few threads dealing with this on CF.

    Thomas

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default

    Thanks
    I have looked at Active Captain and frankly think its functionality is very limited and it does not deal with routes.

    Whilst maps will be incorporated into what I am proposing, the main means of getting to the information will be much faster and easier than access only by map.

    So, I am confident I can provide a more functional system than Active Captain but its success will totally depend upon members use of it.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ForumAdmin View Post
    I have looked at Active Captain and frankly think its functionality is very limited and it does not deal with routes.
    ...
    So, I am confident I can provide a more functional system than Active Captain but its success will totally depend upon members use of it.
    There's much more to it than functionality and hoping that users will help. We're into our third year with ActiveCaptain, full time, and I can tell you that you're not considering the major difficulty to it all - getting good quality data that is accurate and correct. The map part is pretty easy (for any software developer) and creating a system that allows users to add data is trivial today. Any "wiki" type of site does that. The really hard software is the whole back-end part that assists us in validating all of the information that comes in. We've gotten over 300,000 updates from users since we started. Each and every piece of information was validated and verified before it was allowed to become part of the real database. When a new user changes the phone number of a marina, we call the marina before the data changes for other users. Every change goes through that evaluation. We average more than 1,000 updates every day now - trust me, that takes time and effort. It's a full time project for 2 people here.

    The certain way to kill the whole concept is to serve up data that isn't good or correct. Heck, my chartplotter has plenty of POI data in it with incorrect phone numbers and erroneous marinas. How many people use those points of interest on chartplotters?

    There's a lot coming with ActiveCaptain. You should read the posting I just made on CF.

    It details many of the things being worked on right now. Routes are coming. It's sort of an obvious thing that would be nice to share between users.

    Also consider that we have a now growing set of moible software for Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices (soon for iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian and Android too). The mobile software has been under development for more than 5 years (they originally started as Maptech products but were owned by me - it's a long story). The mobile software connects to the ActiveCaptain databases over an internet connection (cellular, 3G, WiFi, etc) so you have access to all of the data there too. It's not something that you can just decide to build and hope that it'll happen. It has taken 5 years of 60 hour weeks (well, except when I was cruising myself!).

    If you think the idea is a good one, then come help us. We don't charge anything for web access to all of the data - it's all free. We purposely don't have any advertising. We've put a great deal of information into it for everyone to share. Sure, we could always find more functionality to add - our 9,000 registered captains send us suggestions all the time (we even have a poll on the home page allowing them to vote on the things they'd like next).

    There's a lot more coming with ActiveCaptain. We have the infrastructure and resources to make it all happen and already have the best marina and anchorage database anywhere in the world.

    It you'd like to compete, honestly, I wish you the best of luck and will provide help as you hit the bumps we've gone past. But wouldn't it be better to come and help us all build our free resource instead?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default

    First of all - thank you for joining and contributing on the forum.

    As a matter of background, I am used to developing major household name web sites and so have a background in dynamic web sites. Also Having a background in the collection and dissemination of major amounts of data, I do appreciate your points about the validity of the data.

    As an aside, you are more than welcome to place the links to your site in the links library and advertise your services in our free classified section.

    My comments here are not meant to be criical for the sake of it - I just have to comment as I find.

    I registered and tried to use your site to find information about destinations but found the map based route terrible. It is basically based upon a simple search engine without any pre-information.

    Let me explain by example.

    Say I am looking to cruise the Bristol Channel (where I live). The site does not tell me straight away if that area is covered - there is no pre-information for me to filter down from. Even if you have the Bristol Channel in there, there I maybe trying to find the best places to anchor or stay and therire do not know the name - again I am then lost.

    Yet a simple three or 4 way drop down look ahead would tell me just what information is available - the structure of the data is critical and I was disappointed with the site and actually gave in trying to find what i wanted. Again I am not trying to be critical, kist honest.

    On the other hand you ask if we could work together and the answer to that is yes we could. I have only one criteria - will cooperation provide a better resource for members than going it alone? The answer to that is, in my opinion, it would.

    The question is simply how we go ahead from here. The discussions could get technical and to start with it may be worth having a chat on the phone.

    I will PM you.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ForumAdmin View Post
    My comments here are not meant to be critical for the sake of it - I just have to comment as I find.
    Heck, I like the discussion. I didn't think you were overly critical at all. You mentioned really excellent points that happen to be things we're working on. From your experience, you certainly know that it takes time and effort to get the backend of it all working correctly. That's what we've been building.

    Unfortunately, you tried exploring the site along the UK coast. We have really been concentrating on the US coastline up to now (that is about to change in a big way). We have had really excellent contributions in Canada, UK, NL, and Australia - and those are the next countries that we're working on.

    For example, we've licensed and have in-house all of the UKHO charts for the entire coastline of the UK. We're working on releasing them with reasonable pricing. In the US, NOAA charts are free and people expect them to be inexpensive. But in Europe and Canada, the charts are much more expensive. We''re going to change that. Our pricing won't be much different than our pricing for US charts for the mobile phones. No one should have to pay more than about $25 to view the real charts of their area. We think that'll bring more people to the site and their phones adding content. (Note, there's no charge or fee for using the web site at all. We only charge for the mobile phone software that turns your phone into a chartplotter and has an incredible amount of development within it. See the Going Mobile section of the web site for real screen shots, etc.)

    Instead of looking in your home area, try some places along the east coast of the US. Either pan and zoom directly to them or use "Find" to select a geographic area. We have so much content there that as you zoom in, you can't help but find your area of interest. We don't have to pre-announce that we have content in certain places. We pretty much have it everywhere. I'd like to see the exact same type of marker density in the UK - and we'll get there. The markers along the UK coastline look the way the US/east coast looked a couple of years ago.

    Look, the key to all of this is collaboration. We're cruisers ourselves going between Maine, the Florida Keys, and the Bahamas multiple times. We bought every guidebook that existed and became frustrated with the poor information (EXPENSIVE poor information!). We grew tired of the old POI markers on our C-Map systems and wanted reviews of places before we got there to allow us to decide IF we should go there. Guidebooks never have bad reviews (they make their money from advertising). We realized that the only way to get good, quality points-of-interest was to create a system where the people who really know the data, entered it themselves. No one knows their home port better than you who live there. No one has a better, fresh perspective about the qualities of a marina than the cruiser who just spent a night (or a week) there. It's all too expensive to make bad choices today whether it's fuel, pump out, marina facilities, or anchorages.

    We realized that the best data was the casual conversations we'd run into along a dock, boater-to-boater, about each other's experience. All we're trying to do is automate that so you can get the information BEFORE you stay someplace you shouldn't.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    935

    Default

    Yes, it was activecaptain that i meant.

    Incredible how fast this moved forward! Great that you guys are talking- even better if you could work together...

    Maybe get some other groups in as well.

    Alan

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    50% Uk 50% on my boat
    Posts
    5,442

    Default

    I did try putting in Nanny Cay Tortola today with the same result - I gave in.

    For the record, whilst I have interests in some reasonable size businesses and operate at board level I also write my own code and personally wrote the code for some major international TV stations e-commerce stores, in particular on the commercial store side - so I am very hands on with all this.

    The more I look at your site the more opportunity I see at working together to provide a first class flexible service and to so so in a way that helps both sites.

    I will phone you for a chat -see the PM.
    Safe Sailing
    Paul
    Blog: www.suliere.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •