Sailing in the Virgin Islands – with Google Earth

Sailing the Virgin Islands in Google EarthThose of you who are regular readers, or know me personally, are well aware of my passion for sailing. I’m leaving later this week for a week-long sailing holiday on a catamaran in the US and British Virgin Islands. I will have limited access to the Internet, so you can expect there will be fewer GE news-related posts on this blog during the week I’m gone. I will have some scheduled posts to keep some activity going on the blog.
Of course, part of this trip is for business! 🙂 Seriously, I’m taking Google Earth with me and plan to review some related technologies. Here are my GE-related plans:

  1. Chart Plotting with Google Earth – I plan to use EarthNC’s nautical charts on a laptop. My handheld GPS will be hooked up with Goops (a tool for linking your GPS to Google Earth). With this combination, I will be one of the first people to use Google Earth as a marine navigational chart plotting. Of course, I will be careful to not rely on these new tools as my only means of navigation! I know the Virgin Island waters pretty well, and will also have other charts.
  2. Geotagged Photos – Post a selection of Geotagged photos to show you after I get back. Hopefully a few will be underwater shots – see some examples of other underwater photos I’ve taken.
  3. GPS track – A GPS track of our sailing and anchorages
  4. Review – Post a review of my experiences with the software tools, and the trip itself after I get back.
  5. KML file – And, publish a KML file documenting the trip afterwards.

Please don’t feel too bad for all my hard work. I’m sure I’ll get a few minutes of enjoyment while I’m there. 🙂
By the way, I will be chartering the catamaran from Voyage Charters who have a base at Soper’s Hole, on the west end of Tortola, BVIs. I chartered from them in 2001, and had a very positive experience. They use catamarans made by Voyage Yachts based in South Africa. In 2002-4 we sailed a Voyage 440 called PatiCat mostly in the Caribbean and Bahamas. You can learn about, and see details, on our travels in a Google Earth file (read more here).

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Hi Frank, I’ve written about EarthNC’s a little at my blog,, and will be interested to hear how actually navigating with them will work out. I noticed that the charts for the BVI in particular are notably out of register with G.E. and wonder which you will find to be ground truth with your GPS.
    Best, Ben E.

  2. Would love to be along for that trip. I lived on St. Croix as a teenager, and sailed a few times during college visits to my father on St. Thomas, although one of those times involved puking into the sea as we passed the QEII. Enjoy.

  3. Sounds like a great job! Just grab some beer and some Happy face sorbet (for the morning after) and you’ll be in heaven at sea!

  4. Dick McLaughlin says:

    Enjoy the sea, my friend.

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