How to see bottom-hardness and vegetation layers at the same time on Insight Genesis maps

shot001What if I told you that you could see one-foot contours, bottom-hardness transition zones and submerged vegetation locations on a map on your Lowrance HDS or Simrad sonar/GPS unit* all at the same time? If you answered “That would be a pretty amazing tool to pattern fish with,” you’d be right. And you’d want to start right away mapping your favorite fishing waters with a Premium Insight Genesis account.

The Insight Genesis bottom-hardness map layer** shows the size and shape of hard-bottom areas like gravel patches, clay slicks and shellbeds, making such areas stick out like “Fish Here!” signs on your map. It overlays onto your contour lines a color-coded representation of the size, shape and location of areas of different bottom hardness: dark orange areas show the hardest bottom; a lighter orange indicates the next-hardest bottom; tan is the next-hardest bottom; and pale yellow shows the softest-bottom areas. Learn more Insight Genesis bottom-hardness map layers HERE.

With a Premium Insight Genesis account, you can also create a custom grass/vegetation map that will overlay on your blue-scaled contour map easy-to-see green patches that show the size and shape of the areas of submerged grass/vegetation you mapped.*** Gamefish ambush baitfish in both submerged vegetation and along deep weed lines, neither of which are visible to the naked eye in most weather and water conditions. The Insight Genesis grass/vegetation layer enables you to easily find and fish both deep weed lines and isolated submerged grass. Learn more Insight Genesis grass/vegetation map layers HERE.

Cross Lake Hard-Bottom Screen ShotWhile some other fishing maps might provide one-foot contours, and at least one other outfit offers some sort of bottom-composition map, no other fishing-finding system offers all the patterning information that Insight Genesis does and enables it to work for you on the water in the same way. By loading both a bottom-hardness map and a grass/vegetation map onto your Lowrance or Simrad unit at the same time, you can fish the bottom as confidently as you do the bank, targeting offshore cover and structure that other anglers miss.

But, of course, to use these game-changing map layers, you must first load them into your Lowrance or Simrad unit. The process to load an SD card with both the bottom-hardness layer AND the submerged-vegetation layers involves a few more steps than the process to load a card with just one or the other enhanced layers. This article will teach you how.

Following are step-by-step instructions for creating Insight Genesis bottom-hardness and grass-map layers and viewing them both at the same time on your Lowrance HDS Gen2 or Gen3 units:

  1. Generate bottom-hardness layer files for your trip or merged map and save them to a folder on your desktop (name it like this: Lake-X_Bottom-Hardness)
    • Don’t know how to create bottom-hardness map layer? Read THIS
  2. Generate grass layer files for your trip or merged map and save them to a folder on your desktop (name it as such, or similar: Lake-X_Grass)
    • Don’t know how to create a grass map layer? Read THIS
  3. In each of the folders you created, you will see identical file names. They will look like this:
      • HDS_Large.at5
      • HDS_Medium.at5
      • HDS_Small.at5
      • at5.xml
      • permits.txt
  4. In your “Bottom-Hardness” folder, re-name the “Large,” “Medium” and “Small” files as such (or similar):
    • Lake-X_Bottom- HDS_Large.at5
    • Lake-X_Bottom- HDS_Medium.at5
    • Lake-X_Bottom- HDS_Small.at5
  5. In your “Grass” folder, re-name the “Large,” “Medium” and “Small” files as such (or similar):
    • Lake-X_Grass- HDS_Large.at5
    • Lake-X_Grass- HDS_Medium.at5
    • Lake-X_Grass- HDS_Small.at5
  6. Insert a blank SD card (Gen2) or micro-SD card (Gen 3) into your computer
  7. Copy onto the SD card the three “Lake-X-Bottom” and the three “Lake-X-Grass” files from both the “Lake-X” folders on your desktop
  8. From just one of the “Lake-X” folders on your desktop, copy onto your SD card the “permits.txt” and the “at5.xml” files.
    • Your SD card should contain a total of 8 files.
  9. Eject your SD card from your computer
  10. With your HDS unit turned OFF, insert the SD/micro-SD card onto which you saved the 8 map files
  11. Power on your unit
  12. Navigate to your “Charts” page
  13. When your map pops up, which HDS unit you are using will determine which, if any, of the enhanced-map layers will be immediately visible
    • On HDS Gen3 units, the grass layer loads automatically, overlaid on top of your one-foot, blue-scale depth contours
      • The bottom-hardness layer must be turned on manually
    • On HDS Gen2 Touch units, only the blue-scale depth contours load automatically
      • The bottom-hardness AND grass layers must be turned on manually
    • On HDS Gen2 non-touch units, both the grass and bottom-hardness layers will auto-load
  14. To turn on or off the grass layer, the bottom-hardness layer, or both, first open the “Menu” drop-down on your “Chart” page
  15. Select “Chart Options” (as shown in image below)01 Select Chart Options-HDS
  16. Select “View” (as shown in the image below)02 Select View-HDS
  17. Select “Categories” (as shown in the image below)03 Select Categories-HDS
  18. A new window, titled “Chart Categories” will open. You will see a vertical list of (at least) five categories, with a check-mark box to the right of each (see image below). Following are the five categories you will most likely see, and a note about each:
    • (AREA) Bottom Composition– This is the bottom-hardness layer. Clicking this check-box will activate it on your map; un-checking it will deactivate it.
      • NOTE: On a Gen2 non-touch, you must press your “Enter” button to click the check-box
      • These are the four colors on the bottom-hardness map and what they indicate
        • Dark Orange = Hardest bottom
        • Lighter Orange = Hard, but not hardest, bottom
        • Tan = Softer, but not softest bottom
        • Cream = Softest bottom
    • (AREA) Nautical – Do not un-check this box
    • (AREA) Vegetation– This is the grass-map layer.
      • All surveyed areas in which submerged vegetation comprises at least 20% of the water column’s bio-mass will overlay a green patch on top of your one-foot, blue-scale depth contours
      • Emergent vegetation – growth you can see with the naked eye (reeds, cat tails, tules, lily pads, wild rice, etc) — may not appear on the vegetation map (especially if it is too thick through which to pilot a survey boat)
      • Clicking the check-box will activate it on your map; un-checking it will deactivate it.
      • NOTE: On a Gen2 non-touch, you must press your “Enter” button to click, or un-click, the check-box
    • (LINE) Nautical – Do not un-check this box
    • (POINT) Nautical – Do not un-check this box
  1. To display both bottom hardness and vegetation (grass) at the same time, click the check boxes for both in the “Categories” page (as shown in the image below)04 (AREA) Bottom Composition -HDS
    • To display submerged vegetation, but NOT bottom hardness,be sure that the “Bottom Composition” box is not checked and the “Vegetation” box is checked (as shown in the image below)05 (AREA) Bottom Composition-UN-checked-HDS
      • Areas of vegetation will appear as green patches that overlay on top of your blue-scaled depth contours (as shown in the image below)shot002
    • To display just the bottom-hardness map, be sure that the “Vegetation” box is not checked and that the “Bottom Composition” box is checked. After doing so, your map will look like this:shot005
    • To display just blue-scaled one-foot depth contours,make sure that neither the “Bottom Composition” nor “Vegetation” boxes are checked (as shown in the image below)07 (AREA) Vegetation-UN-checked-HDS
  2. After checking the boxes to turn on, or off, the map layers in which you are interested, click the circled X in the upper right-hand corner of the “Chart Categories” window (Gen3 and Gen2 Touch ONLY)
    • On a Gen2 non-touch unit, push the “Exit” button
  3. Later on, if you want to turn on or off one, or both, enhanced layers, repeat steps the steps above, as needed

* To use Insight Genesis maps on the water, you’ll need a compatible Lowrance, Simrad or B&G chartplotter.

** This layer will display only in areas in which your boat speed, while logging sonar, was slower than 10 mph

*** This layer will display on your Premium Insight Genesis map in areas in which: A. Submerged vegetation comprises more than 20% of the water column’s biomass, and; B. Your boat speed, while logging sonar, was slower than 12 mph.

2 thoughts on “How to see bottom-hardness and vegetation layers at the same time on Insight Genesis maps

  1. How to get 3 foot or 5 foot contours on top of the bottom-hardness/ vegetation map ? I only get 1 foot contours which makes the unit react rather slowly. The initial map was generated for all depth contour settings (1-3-5-10), plus bottom hardness and vegetation layer.

    • Danny,

      If, when you merged the trips that combine to create the master map of the waterbody you for which are creating a bottom-hardness/vegetation combo map, you chose to build the map at all settings (1,3,5 and 10, as you said), you SHOULD be able to choose any one of those contour settings when you generate the two sets of files that combine in the hardness/veg combo map. Note: You’ll want to be sure to choose the same contour level when you process each version (the hardness and veg layers) of the map.

      If you have any further issues, feel free to email me at Greg.Huff@navico.com, so we can exchange screen-shots etc until we get your issue resolved.

      — Greg Huff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s