In 2003, we finally decided to start a list of questions that we have been asked more than once.
Q01> Who is Bizer Corporation?
A> Bizer (rhymes with "geyser") is the part time venture of Colin
and Theresa Woodworth. It was started by their father in
1996 and they have been running it since 2003.
Q02> Where did the name Bizer come from?
is one of the nicknames of the family
dog, Zoe (1991-2008).
Q03> Why did Bizer start making a map?
A> We were introduced to Winnipesaukee in 1991. We purchased property in the fall of 1992. In 1993, Dad (Stewart) hit a rock 800 feet east of Pistol Island and did $2400 in damages to his boat. Having been a navigator in the Coast Guard, Stewart was more than annoyed that the only navigation map showed no hazards in the area. The map maker was unconcerned. When the map maker made no effort to correct the map, we started collecting data. With a GPS, we started collecting buoy positions and depth data. Bizer published their first edition in 1996. As for the rock we hit, we've named it Bizer Rock on our chart. We find that it gets hit several times each year. The photo above shows a complete outdrive, which was found in September, 2000. Another outdrive was added in 2002.
Duncan Press has yet to put any rocks on their map within 500 feet of this location. The rock is only two inches below the surface in the fall.
Q04> Where did you get the depth data?
A> Bizer has a combination GPS and sounder that outputs position and depth to a laptop PC every 2 seconds. We have criss-crossed the lake several times. Each year, we gather more data. We currently have about 65,000 depth observations.
Q05> Did you actually go out and measure every buoy and rock with a GPS? That must have taken months.
A> Yes. We took a two GPS readings (separated by at least 15 minutes) on every buoy and rock on Bizer's chart. There are about 850 buoys in Lake Winnipesaukee. At one buoy every three minutes, that took about 50 hours which was spread out over several weekends. We did most buoys twice and averaged the readings. To keep the map current, we view every buoy each year. We take a GPS reading on about 20% of the buoys each year.
Not only do we have a catalog of every buoy, but each buoy entry contains the bearing and distance to the nearest boating hazard, the type of hazard, and its depth.
Q06> Why doesn't Bizer number all the buoys?
A> In an email dated 19-Apr-06, the NH Marine Patrol advised Bizer,
The MP is not numbering spar buoys. I am aware that Duncan Press numbered a Newfound Chart, however that was their doing. We have no plans to mark spars with any numbers at this time.
In an email dated 30-Apr-06, addressed to Bizer and Duncan Press,
The Marine Patrol said, in part,
In addition, we are not using buoy numbers except for the flashing light buoys, and do not intend to use or mark spar buoys with numbers.
Q07> How often do you update your chart? How long does it take you to update your chart?
A> We update our chart database whenever we notice a change. All the data are kept on a PC at home. If (for example), Bizer finds a new rock, it takes about 10 minutes to add it to Bizer's database. The chart is completely regenerated after each update and then printed on our PC printer. It's checked for accuracy and then discarded. For the map that you purchase, we take our disk files to a film maker. The film maker makes new negatives for each edition. We take the five negatives (four for the front, one for the back) to a printer who can print 10,000 charts and have them on Bizer's desk within a week.
Q08> Which lakes do you chart?
A> Bizer currently charts Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam. Winnipesaukee was easy because of our own shorefront property. We rented a boat on Winnisquam for a week to gather data on that lake. At this time, we have no plans to do other lakes as we have no convenient way of putting out boat in other lakes.
Q09> How did you know where all those rocks you have on your chart?
A> We've found them, sometimes the hard way. We poked around in an outboard looking for trouble. We measured the position of each rock on our chart with GPS. We took a 12-foot long boat hook, marked it, and turned it into a 12-foot ruler. We measured the depth of each rock with our ruler. And, yes, we did hit a rock occasionally. But since we were going less than 5 MPH, our total damages were not much. We have (as of February, 2006) 674 rocks and mini-islands charted. Our nearest competition shows less than 160 rocks. We beat them 4 to 1.
Q10> Who is Sarahbeth?
A> Sarahbeth is Colin and Theresa's niece (Stewart's granddaughter). This question arises because hidden, in small print, about 2 3/4 inches north of the Wolfeboro docks is "We * Sarahbeth" with a small red heart replacing the *. If you spend any time looking at the fine print, you will find many cute sayings or amusing words such as "This Space for rent", or "Mirror Lake" printed like a mirror image or "Rattlesnake Island" in serpentine lettering. These items have no bearing on the navigation quality of the chart.
Q11> Has anyone ever found a rock that you missed?
A> Yes. It has happened three times. Each time, Bizer rewarded the finder with cash or a personalized framed chart. Bizer wants to chart all shallow areas less than six feet deep. To that end, Bizer offers a reward to anyone who finds a shallow area that we overlooked.
Q12> Why don't you have north "up"?
A> To save space and cost. Excluding borders, the lake on Bizer's chart is 21"x32", about 4.7 square feet. A north up chart at the same scale would be 26"x30", about 5.4 square feet. This larger size would add at least 15% to the retail price.
Q13>Do you support Garmin (or any handheld) GPS?
A>A qualified Yes. For 2008, Bizer is releasing the second version of its Winnipesaukee chart for Garmin. This is a "beta" version that was developed over the 2007-2008 winter. It has not been tested in the field. While substantially better than our 2007 Garmin version (G1), the C-Map version has slightly more functionality than Bizer's Garmin G2 version. Go to http://bizer.com/garmin for the latest progress on Bizer's Garmin project.
Q14> Would Bizer recommend an affordable GPS that has great detail of Lake Winnipesaukee?
Answer: Not really
GPS is not Bizer's primary means of navigation. Our eyes are. However, we have eight GPS's. One can assume these were our GPS's of preference at the time of purchase:
Q15> Do you make a chart for Magellan, Humminbird, or Lowrance?
A> Not directly. Navionics of Wareham, Masshachusets, has licensed Bizer's map and they do produce a chart for Magellan, Humminbird, and Lowrance. Bizer has not seen one of their chips since 2009. Bizer suggests that you contact them at www.navionics.com or call them at 800-848-5896.
Q16> Which islands are open to the public?
A> No islands are publicly owned. Five Mile Island and Ragged Island are owned by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. You need their permission to land on those islands. The northern half of Stonedam Island has a public hiking trail. The trail is accessible from a pier on the northeast corner (near the words "Wildlife Preserve" on Bizer's chart inset). Just about everything else is privately owned.
Q17> Why do you put FL "80" next to buoy #80? Why don't you just put 80 without the FL, the extra space, and the quotes? I don't need all that redundant information.
A> Once you've seen two or three lighted buoys on Winnipesaukee, you know they're all the same. They all flash at night and they all have their number printed on them. However, a first-time boater doesn't know that. The FL tells them it's a flashing buoy. The writing within quotes tells them what is written on the buoy. A good example is light #56 which has "56 NO WAKE" written next to it. Not only is 56 written on the buoy, but NO WAKE is also written on the buoy. We try to follow the standards as set forth in the Nautical Chart Manual published by the National Ocean Service.
Q18> Is it Sanders Bay or Saunders Bay?
A> Our unofficial answer is Sanders. In 1994 we asked the same question. We were told that many years ago, someone opened up a motel near Dockham Shore Road. They named it the Saunders Bay Motel because that's what they thought it was. Over the years, the bay's spelling evolved to Saunders. The motel went out of business in the 80's and the spelling gradually reverted to Sanders. According to Mrs. Fay (I think that's who Bizer spoke to), the state legislature passed a law naming it Sanders. Nobody has ever come up with a more definitive answer so it's spelled Sanders on Bizer's chart.
Q19> Where did they film What About Bob (1991) with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus?
A> The story takes place at Lake Winnipesaukee in August. We know it looks like New Hampshire, but What About Bob was filmed at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Filming was scheduled for September/October when Winnipesaukee leaves would be yellow/orange. The time setting for the film was August.
Bizer has started to compile a list of pop-culture references to the Lakes Region.
Q20> I'd like to name a cove/island/buoy/rock after my uncle/mother/father. Would you place that name for me on the chart?
A> We can not. Bizer's chart reports names; it does not create them. Bizer only reports names taken from a generally accepted public record, and then only if the name has some navigational significance to it. Bizer receives 3-5 requests a year in which people want to name something (usually an island). If Bizer honored these requests, the number would jump to thirty. Pretty soon, the entire chart would become difficult to read because of the names.
Q21>Why should I purchase Bizer's electronic map of Winnipesaukee? Garmin sells a version for much less.
A> The quick answer is that you get what you pay for. If your objective is to keep from getting lost, then Garmin's data will work just fine for you. Bizer's claims to fame are accuracy and precision. Bizer shows rocks where others do not. Bizer's buoy positions are typically within thirty feet while many of Garmin's buoys are off by one hundred feet or more. Also, Bizer updates its chart frequently. Here are just a few of the features on Bizer's version that are not on Garmin's version:
Q22>I am upgrading to a new boat and I am also going to install a GPS. Ideally I would like a GPS that can load your maps and I can visually see where I am on the lake while under way, just like on a car. Is that available using your maps? If so, what GPS do I need to make this work and what software/maps do I need to order from Bizer???
A>There are so many options that Bizer has not tested them all. In most cases, we rely on comments from users.
Q23 - OK, so these really aren't frequently asked. We thought we would share some of the off-the-wall questions that we have been asked over the years.