Be a chart skeptic

Sub SF, from New York Times

U.S. Navy Submarine Captain Kevin Mooney takes full responsibility for crashing the San Francisco into a practically uncharted undersea mount in the Pacific last January. Yesterday the New York Times published a detailed story about the accident, particularly the drama of trying to treat and evacuate mortally injured Petty Officer Joey Ashley. Then CBS 60 Minutes did a “Who’s to blame” piece, which I happened to see. The interviewer drew out how Mooney was using a classified, best-available Navy chart and steering a route sent from headquarters, but still the Captain—who seemed like an very decent man—insisted that he should have been going slower, should have checked other charts (where there were just hints of the mountain). Most of all, he said, “I should have been more skeptical about the chart data.

Those are words to remember, especially as there’s a growing disconnect between our super precise electronic navigation and the precision of the underlying chart data. It’s a phenomenon I wrote about here.

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

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