MARCO ISLAND — Power Squadron may take on marker updating for Waterways Advisory Committee
Bryan Mordecai's computer program is unique; a one of a kind system for charting navigational markers. On Thursday, he promised to share it with the City of Marco Island as a gift from the District 22 Unit of the U.S. Power Squadron.
Mordecai presented his program onscreen for the Waterways Advisory Committee and explained how his group identified every navigation marker in the city. The work was carried out in 2006 at the request of Nancy Richie, the city's environmental specialist.
Power Squadron members painstakingly laid a Global Positioning System, or GPS, on each sign and marker in navigable waters and channels within city jurisdiction. Each marker was recorded and catalogued with photographs of front and back including a close-up of its permit number.
Mordecai entered the information into a database using available Department of Defense aerial charts and a freeware program he downloaded. Each marker's information was then place on a city locator map divided into alphabetical districts.
By clicking on any marker on the map, the position, permit number, photographs and comments were accessed. Committee members immediately began discussing ways the program could be used by the city.
The committee asked Tim Pinter, public works director, if the data was current enough to be accurate. The city has not added markers or signs since 2006. However, some navigational items appearing on the map were no longer there, said Richard Shanahan.
Committee member James Timmerman said the information was extremely valuable and asked if the program could be made into a "living document" through ongoing updating. The copies presented to the city were read-only documents with proprietary rights remaining with the Power Squadron.
Mordecai said the Power Squadron was hesitant to release the program for modification. The information has not been released publicly. He felt his organization's concerns were liability issues and accuracy of updated information.
"We don't want this to be casually done," he said.
Committee members felt to fulfill their charter, an update of the computer program needed to be undertaken every two years. They asked if the Power Squadron would be willing to review and update it. Mordecai said he would take the request to his board and let the committee know what it decided.
In other business, the committee discussed creating a "welcome" brochure that directed newcomer and transient boaters to marine services such as pumpout stations and public dockage. The committee discussed including the rules for holding tank gray and black water discharge after an incident in Smokehouse Bay resulted in a citation for illegal dumping.
The committee also asked for support from the city to boost waterway patrols to curb boaters traveling too fast in critical areas. Locations discussed included Collier Creek, Collier Bay and the Marco River near the two bridges.
The next regular meeting of the Waterways Advisory Committee is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, in City Hall's 1st floor conference room.