Sailing with an iPhone

Regulars will know that I’m a fan of the iPhone at sea. Even without specific iPhone apps, the ability to adequately browse standard websites make so much sailing related information available at sea and with the built-in GPS (and now a compass), the iPhone is a great backup to other systems on a boat. And it makes phone calls as well…

Panbo, “the Marine Electronics Weblog” (an excellent source of marine geek news) just published a survey of current iPhone apps which extends the functionality of an iPhone on board even more. But wait….can you get Australian mapping for all these nifty chart plotting apps? Not likely.
You see, there is no copyright on US charts, as the US statutes prevent their Government claiming copyright on works which were created by Government employees. That’s why software makers can include (raster) charts at no charge.
I think you could make a good case for abolishing copyright on Australian Hydrographic charts.  Having free raster charts available  would encourage more boaters to have up to date charts and encourage the use of low end systems such as those in the survey above as standby systems and on small craft. How about it, Kevin?
And Caroline, next time you talk to Mike Prince at the Australian Hydrographic Office, ask them why they don’t freely license Australian charts which we, in effect, have already paid for through our taxes.