By Aaron Lesieur
From the time Lowrance made its first consumer sonar device back in 1957, the Lowrance name has been synonymous with quality and innovation. Most recently, Lowrance released the High Definition System (HDS) Multifunction Display in 2008, and since then have continued to be industry leaders by being first to market with products designed to help anglers decipher and navigate the water ways in search of bass. These products include Structure Scan HD with SideScan and DownScan Imaging, Broadband Sonar, TrackBack, Broadband 4G Radar, Structure Map, touchscreen technology and now Insight Genesis. Over the past few weeks I’ve had a chance to use the Insight Genesis product to create a custom map of a private lake in my community and wanted to share some highlights of the program and my experience using the product.
WHAT IS INSIGHT GENESIS
There isn’t a marine mapping company that has data on every body of water so Lowrance decided to create the Insight Genesis program to provide anglers the opportunity to record their own sonar logs and create custom maps. Not only can anglers create maps for bodies of water that have no data but anglers can create maps for areas in which map data is limited. Insight Genesis is also a valuable pre fish tool when preparing for a tournament as it captures bottom contours of the areas you are scouting including air and water temps.
HOW IT WORKS
Map creation occurs once anglers upload the information to the Insight Genesis website. Users have several options when using the program- Free, One Time Download, Standard Subscription, and Premium Subscription. It’s free to record sonar logs, upload them and view your map from those logs (in order to use the free version all you have to do is create an account). Once you have uploaded your sonar logs, Lowrance processes all the data, and sends you an email notification when your map is ready. You can then choose to purchase a downloadable file of the map for use on your Lowrance unit. For $19.99 you can get a one-time map download for one specific plotter. This is perfect if you just fish one body of water that doesn’t have any mapping info. There are also subscription based options available if you want to make multiple maps for multiple areas as well as have those maps on multiple units. For $99.95 (standard subscription) per year you get the ability to merge multiple trips and map and sonar storage on the Insight website so you always have a back-up file and a record or all your trips. And lastly, for $299.95 (premium subscription) per year you get everything in the standard subscription including maps with bottom hardness layers, maps with a unique new vegetation layer, and advanced trend analysis tools. Each fee-based program has a limit on how many devices you are able to download your map to. The One Time Download allows two devices (one plotter and one PC), the Standard Subscription allows up to four devices (two plotters, one PC and one mobile device) and the Premium Subscription allows up to six devices (four plotters, one PC and one mobile device). Under the ‘My Plotters’ Tab you will be prompted to enter the device serial number and plotter content ID number. When you create a map you must designate the target plotter as each map is encrypted and can only be used on the specific plotter chosen. Current units supported by the Insight Genesis program are the HDS Gen2 Touch, Elite-7, Simrad NSS Sport, and B&G Zeus Touch. Over the next year Lowrance plans to expand support through software updates to allow other plotter models to interface with Insight mapping.
HOW TO COLLECT THE DATA
The map you create is only as good as the data collected and collecting the data is easy-there is a scanning limit per upload (2hrs or 4hrs depending on which service you purchase-Free, Standard, Premium). In order to get the most accurate data, Lowrance recommends using a grid pattern when recording sonar logs in order to cover multiple points of reference. Around the areas of my lake that I knew had breaks, humps, ledges or any other irregular bottom contour, I made multiple passes since I knew those areas were more likely to hold bass at different times of the year.
To start collecting data obtain a SD card (1GB or larger) and insert it into the card reader slot on your unit. Power on the unit, enter the sonar menu, and select log sonar. From there a new screen appears allowing you to you tell the unit where to store the recording (the inserted SD card). Give the file a name and then press Record. At this point you are recording and can begin making your first map. While recording, you will see a blinking red dot in the upper left corner of the sonar screen and a pop up note at the bottom giving you information regarding your recording session (length of recording, name of recording, and size of recording file). Make sure you note these two indicators during your recording session; otherwise, you will be very disappointed at the end of your trip.
Also make sure you have the ‘trails’ function turned on so you can see the areas in which you have covered and areas still remaining in order to complete your map. The trails function is invaluable if you are mapping over the course of multiple days. Depending on the area you want to map and the speed you are traveling (sonar will not record at speeds of over 20mph), your data collection trip can be as short as a few hours or as long as a few weeks.
THE UPLOAD PROCESS
After you have collected all of your data, transfer the SD card from your unit to your computer. Open the Insight Genesis Upload Tool (a separate program you will have to download and install to your computer form the Insight website), hit the select files button, locate and click on the file on your SD card and then hit the upload button. After your map data has been uploaded, the processing of your map begins instantly; within minutes (depending on your internet speed) your map is ready to view under the ‘My Trips’ Tab of your Insight account. From your account home page, and depending on the service you have, you can view all of your trips and maps, merge trips, review and analyze trends, and create your map.
Once your sonar log is uploaded to the web page, the air and water temps are captured and viewable under the ‘Trends’ tab. When fishing a body of water over a few days you can track these temps on a daily and even hourly basis. When you want to track water and air temps throughout the day all you have to do is record a separate sonar log for that area at different times of the day. This data can help you note temperature changes throughout the day, correlate them to when the fish are biting and really dial in your game plan.
One of my favorite features is the merge trip function as it allows the user to make multiple trips to the same body of water, upload that data and seamlessly add it to your map file. You can merge your trips after every mapping session to see how your map is coming along and note areas that need more data. To merge trips, select the most recent sonar log of the body of water in which you want to create the map and then select the ‘Interactive View’ button. Once on the interactive view page hit the ‘Merge Trips’ Tab. Insight then lists all of the trips specific to that body of water so you can select which trips should be merged. Once selected and merged, Insight processes the trips into one map and within minutes your new map is ready for viewing and downloading.
ONCE YOUR MAP IS READY
After you have uploaded your sonar logs, merged trips and created your map, you are able to transfer this information to a SD card to be used in your unit. Whether you are viewing a single sonar log or multiple merged trips you can generate a map via the Map Generation Tab. Once at the ‘Map Generation’ Tab, you are prompted to choose a target device, which layers you want on the map, and the desired size of the contour intervals (1 ,3, 5, 10ft.).I always select 1ft. contours as it gives the most detailed information. You then hit the generate button, save the map to your SD card, execute the Zip file, and then put the SD card in your unit. Once powered on, the unit automatically recognizes the new map and is ready for use. You can only use one map file at a time so I save each map I create in a file folder on my computer and download the map I am going to use that day to a SD card. Once your map is up and running you can create and save waypoints, trails, and points of interest just like any other map used on your Lowrance unit.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
Navigating the website and learning how to create maps is easy. Lowrance provides a user guide and how to video tutorials via the ‘Questions & Training’ Tab on the Insight website. So if you ever forget how to complete any part of the process you can refer back to this tab to refresh your memory. After I created my first map I went back out to the lake and was amazed at the amount of detail I had captured. I was able to clearly see ledges, breaks, humps, and ditches that I knew where there but was previously unable to see their exact location. About eight of my fishing buddies and I hold several tournaments a year out on this lake and now I have a distinct advantage over them. Hopefully they won’t read this article so I can take a little more money out of their pockets…shh. This new powerful mapping tool from Lowrance can help any angler relieve the frustration of fishing an area in which data is unavailable. For more information regarding Insight Genesis visit https://insightstore.navico.com/.