Questions & Answers
Other tactical software, at any price, offers very little in the way of "tactical" computations !! Other programs do at most two computations: (1) optimal routing, by an old technique that offers minimal information; and (2) a 'what-if" function, which assumes average or zero currrent, and only computes time to a layline. Neither of these functions produce meaningful results in local or shoreline racing, because they ignore (or cannot properly incorporate) tidal-currents.
Our software and data modules are based on years of experience as a world-recognized authority on currents, wind and tactical/routing software:
Why is Local Knowledge different?
Unlike any other program, Local Knowledge doesn't just put tidebook data onscreen. It uses this and other data to build a mathematical model of currents at every point in the region, and incorporates the current model into all navigational and tactical computations. Other programs either ignore currents, or treat them very crudely, and only show values at discrete, widely separated points.
Don't my GPS/Intruments or Nav program incorporate currents?
A GPS/instrument system can only estimate currents by looking backwards, at what currents were experienced earlier along your course, and these estimates of current are very inaccurate. Local Knowledge looks forward by drawing on its current model to predict currents along the next leg of your course. This is critical if currents vary significantly. Most Nav and tactical programs ignore currents in their computations, or use the "nearest" standard point to estimate a constant current, an assumption which can be wildly inaccurate. These programs also ignore rotary currents, omit data of local origin and cannot adjust for seasonal variations. In United States waters, there are no other sources of comparable tidal-current data, and NO others which integrate with navigation or tactical software.
How accurate are Local Knowledge predictions?
As with any other source, the accuracy of current predictions is limited by the quantity and quality of the available data. The program complements this data with other information and general principles, to provide estimates which typically more accurate than any other source - and at no effort to you. However, not all local fluctuations may be accounted for, and the program is
generally more accurate as you move away from a shoreline and into open water. In most cases, localized effects have little impact on overall route selection, which is where the program excels.
What does Local Knowledge offer the racer?
For racers, a good understanding of currents is the different between winning and losing. The program's standard display shows you currents at a glance, on the date and time and at the precise location of your race. For a small boat, you can print out copies of the display every half hour or so to take onboard, and you can study alternative courses in advance. For a larger boat, you can take the program along and use the GPS to show your position onscreen, in relation to laylines, corrected for current and updated every few seconds. For the offshore cruiser or serious racer, our Advantage or Force Four routing/tactical programs are a must. These integrate point-by-point current predictions into "best-tack," routing and other computations.
What does Local Knowledge offer the cruiser?
Local Knowledge comes with a complete set of charts, plus a full range of navigation functions
which take currents into account realistically. You can click on buoys and hazards to obtain designations, signals and other data without having to zoom in and read them off the chart. You can define waypoints and courses and compute current-corrected course solutions, which include current-corrected headings, times, distances and ETA's per leg, and overall time and distance. By setting up alternative courses you can compare the time to reach your destination and and optimize your route. And, a current-corrected layline can be critical in deciding whether you can fetch a waypoint or get by an obstacle on your present tack.
What regions does Local Knowledge cover?
Local Knowledge software can be used anywhere, and our Chartmaker Utility enables users to create charts from many sources to add to those provided with the program. Our programs are particularly useful, however, in regions where we have developed a detailed tidal-current model. A purchaser of our software obtains the region of his choice as part of the package, and can then add more coverage region by region. The following regions are now available: San Francisco & San Pablo Bays, Puget Sound to Admiralty Inlet, San Juan Channel & Rosario Strait, Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, Block Island to Nantucket (including Narragansett Bay), New York City Waters & Raritan Bay, Tampa Bay, Charleston Harbor, Key West, Sydney Harbor, Hauraki Gulf, the North Sea and the English Channel. If your region has significant currents and isn't on this list, let us know. We also provide ocean current modules for major ocean races, such as along the Atlantic seaboard (e.g., to Bermuda) and Sydney-Hobart.
What do our programs and data cost?
Our new program, ADVANTAGE, is available in all regions, and comes in two Levels. Level 1 costs $400.00, complete with detailed charts and our tidal-current model, GPS link, great circle and rhumbline functions, course-builder utilities, our course solution function and much more. You can display current-corrected laylines, calculate current-corrected headings and times, do boat simulations showing the effect of current, study current animations and much more. Level 2 adds a range of special tactical functions and costs $900. Level 2 includes our unique and powerful routing engine which draws on wind files, our current-
prediction files and your boat's polars. It also includes our "super-if" function for shortrange tactical decisions (the only software to offer such a function). You can display and monitor all instrument data, build and edit wind-prediction models, display a variety of stripcharts, create your own charts and build custom polars from spreadsheet input or measured boat data.
In 2008 we will phase out new sales our advanced tactical program, Force Four, and replace it with Advantage Level 3. This top-ranked software lists for $1,900 and has all the features of Advantage 1 and 2, plus a range of special features for buoy racing, many of which are totally unique. Purchasers of Force 4 in 2007 can switch to Advantage Level 3 for an additional $400, and any purchaser of a less expensive program can apply their full purchase price to the cost of a new program. Advantage Level 1 includes a free demo period to explore Advantage Level 2, and a Level 1 user can step up for the price difference ($500).
Once you have one of these programs, you can purchase additional regional (charts/current model) coverage or renew the annual current model at $125.00 per region (Advantage Level 1) or $200 per region (Advantage Level 2 or Level 3). You can also purchase ocean current modules for major ocean races worldwide.
DON'T BE FOOLED !!
HOW DO I PURCHASE THESE PRODUCTS?
We distribute our programs by web-based download files. Once you order we construct a custom installation file and post it for download, providing you the download link. Instructions for the download and installation are posted on the site. You install the program and email us the registration number and unit ID, which we use to compute your initialization password. We provide the password by return email once payment is received. For order and payment instructions, use the link below.
For each program there is an html (web browser) format 'Tutorial' that explains and illustrates all functions. You download the Tutorial installation file which unzips files to your PC, then bring up the Tutorial in your web browser. It works just like the internet, except that all files reside on your PC for easy reference. There is also an "FAQ" utility named 'Tips and How-to' on the program's Help Menu.