I digress, but a glimpse at the whole Navionics vision does suggest what a big deal U.G.C. is and the level of enthusiastic embrace that one hopes it will receive from manufacturers and cruisers alike. It also explains why the U.G.C. facility in Mobile 5.0, which I've been beta testing, includes extensive abilities to add or edit nav aids and other critical chart objects. For instance, it's easy to drop the appropriate icon for the various privately maintained channel and hazard buoys that are often uncharted today. And if what you discover is a misplaced aid or rock or marina, the "community layer" of the Navionics app will show its original position as well as the new one, so other users can double check, and possibly correct, your chart edit. Note that everyone's updates are automatically sent to all other Navionics apps that cover the same chart area, instantly if they're online, and the community layer can be turned off if the chart gets too cluttered for other uses.
Some traditional navigators object vociferously to the idea of user-generated chart updates, but the truth is that official cartography organizations like NOAA seem hamstrung by cumbersome survey/update processes and limited funds. Besides, NOAA's stated priority is commercial shipping areas, not remote cruising grounds. The tricky part for Navionics will be validating such updates, though some will be easy. For instance, there's a harbor breakwater in Jonesport, Maine, that's gone uncharted for over 20 years, though it's clearly visible on easily accessible satellite-photo maps. Nearby and more problematical is a charted, but likely nonexistent, awash-at-low-tide rock that appears to block an otherwise attractive passage to beautiful Roque Island. Navionics may understandably balk at removing it altogether—the lawyers!—but even a charted note listing all the cruisers who couldn't find it—including me, using side-scanning sonar equipment—could reduce the anxiety, or long detours, experienced by first-time visitors. I understand the reluctance of traditionalists—official charts have earned biblical status—but I like to think they'll come around when benefits like the ones above become common.