Aids to Navigation (ATONs) are signs and markers that assist boaters in navigation. In the waters near Marco Island, these are primarily daymarkers (red and green signs that mark waterway channels). The majority of ATONs near Marco Island are owned and maintained by the County or City and are often referred to as PATONs (Private ATONs) as opposed Federally owned ATONs which are maintained by the Coast Guard (USCG). On this page, we refer to all of them as "ATONs".
Members of our local squadron conduct surveys of ATONs in the vicinity of Marco Island (from Everglade City to about one mile north of Marco Island). During a survey, we photograph each ATON and record coordinates of it's location and notes on it's condition. We use this data as follows:
1. We report details about damaged and missing ATONs to government organizations that are responsible for maintaining them. In the vicinity of Marco Island, most ATONs are maintained by the Collier County Coastal Zone Management organization (CZM); we meet periodically with leaders of CMZ.
2. We compare our data to information published in nautical charts and report discrepancies to government agencies responsible for maintaining the charts.
3. We publish the data on this website in three formats: KML file for viewing survey data in Google Earth, Excel file that displays the information in Tables, and Photos of the ATONs. A link to each format is provided below.
This link downloads a KML file to the default download directory of your computer. When this file is opened in Google Earth, icons representing ATONs are plotted on a satellite image of the Marco Island area. Google Earth is a free program available for Windows, Apple and Android devices. In Google Earth, when the KML file has been opened, a key defining the various icons is visible in a white square to the west of Marco Island (or the key may be viewed by clicking the blue text "ATON Key" in the My Places panel). Clicking on a survey icon brings up a balloon showing additional information, including photos for most ATONs. Various categories of the Lightlist and Survey data can be turned on or off by expanding the folders and checking or un-checking boxes in the Places panel on the left side of the Google Earth window (note: this additional data is available in Google Earth on computers, but currently is not available on Android devices or i-phones or i-pads). If the folder "MISPS ATONs" is moved from "Temporary Places" to "My Places", it will be there the next time you open Google Earth and the display will automatically update to the most recent survey information when you open Google Earth in the future. More details - installing and using Google Earth to view ATON data.
Screen capture from Google Earth: Capri Pass showing actual ATONs and light list ATONs
This link downloads an Excel Workbook to your computer. The workbook has multiple sheets, each with different sets of information. The first sheet, "1. Description", lists the other sheets with a description of each. Sheet "2. Survey Data" lists all available survey data for each ATON going back to our first survey in 2006. Sheet "3. Most Recent Data" has only the most recent data on each ATON; the KMZ file for Google Earth uses data from this sheet, including links to photos for most of the ATONs. Most of the data is from on-the-water surveys by MISPS members, but the file also contains data provided by United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA) members and Collier County Costal Zone Management (CZM) employees. More details - downloading and viewing the Excel file.
Screen capture from Excel: portion of table listing ATON data
This link opens a directory of photo folders in Google Drive listed by Zone ID and channel name. Within each of these folders, subfolders are listed by date. To read full folder names, use List view rather than Grid view (icon at upper right in the Google Drive window). Some photos are in folders and others are in PDF documents. The individual photo folders are best viewed in Grid view, where thumbnails of the photos are visible. Most of the recent photos are taken using smartphone apps that show location coordinates and shooting direction on the photo. The Excel file and KML display contain direct links to some of the photos. More details - viewing the photos.
Screen capture from Google Drive: thumbnails of photos in a waterway on a specific date