I have been intrigued with Sonar and GPS since my introduction to this technology back in 1997 when I attended Will Kirkpatrick's
Mapping and Electronics class at Lake Sam Rayburn. Although I had a really nice sonar unit on my boat, I really didn't know how to use or interpret it properly. Seeing how to identify fish, structure, and holding cover while idling over areas greatly enhanced my fishing. Following a map on my GPS unit has kept me from getting lost many times! I have always made it a priority to have the best technology available, which at that time was the Lowrance Global Map 2000 and LMS350A.
I became interested in side imaging when Humminbird released their technology and my Valentine's day present from my wife Kathy in 2009 was a Humminbird 1197C SI. Wow! The technology was outstanding. Not only did it have all of the sonar and mapping functions that I was used to, but it had side imaging. I immediately started making recordings for later playback and study. This is where I got introduced to some of the tools available for viewing these recordings on my PC when off the water. Later Humminbird released their down imaging which completed the puzzle. I have since upgraded and now have three Humminbird units on my boat, including the new Helix MEGA unit.
Soon after acquiring my 1197 I purchased SonarTRX software that enabled me to take my side image recordings and render them on Google Earth. What a great tool! With Google Earth I had the ability to mark waypoints from my recordings and get the recordings organized. There are some "gotcha's" with Google Earth that can cause some grief if not managed properly. I cover those in our Google Earth DVD.
When Humminbird released AutoChart Pro, I immediately purchased it. I found that although the LakeMaster maps are great, there are missing areas and some inaccuracies. However, it was a struggle to learn the features and functions of AutoChart. It is great software, but it is not very intuitive and I spent many nights trying to figure out how to make things work. This was also true with the other software I used to view and manage my recordings.
Being a bass fisherman and living in Texas, I fish many lakes and made recordings on all of them. After many years of recordings, I had quite a library and it just wasn't feasible to store all of this in AutoChart. So I came up with some organizational practices to better manage these recordings
Also, I found out that making high-quality, detailed contour maps and side image mosaic maps needs to be done correctly. If you don't follow the proper procedures, your accuracy won't be that good for contour maps, and if you don't navigate properly your side image mosaics won't look good.
I created these training DVD's to help others avoid the frustrations and problems, plus share my experiences these past years with these technologies. Training and documentation has always been lacking with most software and most use technical jargon or assume that the trainee already knows some basics.
These Lake Images DVD's will take you step-by-step through each application, mostly using real recordings as examples. We go through all of the features and functions and show the results. Finally, there are best practices and organizational skills that I share.
Jim Hammond, Lake Images