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Posted by on Jul 20, 2011 in Fishing, Marine Electronics, US |

Johnson Outdoors Acquires Lakemaster

Inland digital chartography for Humminbird expected to expand.

Johnson Outdoors has announced their acquisition of Lakemaster electronic chartography, as well as Pro Map Technologies (Lakemaster’s inland waterway survey technology). The purchase comes with the assets of Waypoint Technologies, which Johnson snapped up early in July. This starts yet another phase in the growth of Johnson Outdoors, parent company to Humminbird, Cannon Downriggers, and Minn Kota electric trolling motors, which recently expanded into the saltwater marine market with the purchase of Geonav.

Lakemaster bathymetrics go down to one foot increments.

Lakemaster bathymetrics go down to one foot increments.

Lakemaster charts and maps are built with a combination of GIS inland waterway, GPS, and sonar data, and on-the-water surveys. Using proprietary data processing techniques, Lakemaster then turns this information tsunami into lake charts detailed down to one-foot increments. The resulting inland bathymetrics are a natural match for the Humminbird brand, which has a strong following in the freshwater market. Now, Johnson Outdoors will be able to add Lakemaster chartography directly on to the digital brains inside Humminbird chartplotters. Lakemaster currently has chartography in 2-D and 3-D shaded relief formats, for North/South Dakota and Nebraska; Great Plains (Illinois/Iowa); Michigan; Minnesota; Texas/Oklahoma; Wisconsin; and Lake of the Woods/Rainy Lake. But you can bet this list will soon become rapidly expanding—Johnson says the Lakemaster employees will become Johnson employees, and their experience will be utilized to expand the areas of coverage, develop new chart features, and integrate the data with the company’s electronic technologies.

“We are pleased to join Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, a business that values people and shares our commitment to winning innovation, outstanding quality and customer service excellence,” said Mike Wood, founder of LakeMaster. “They have a proven track record of leveraging their significant product development, distribution and marketing strengths to drive strong brands into sustained market-leadership positions. Importantly, our combined technology platforms present new and unique opportunities to enhance the fishing experience and bring excitement and growth to the marketplace. We are very excited by the future.”

So, what’s the down-side to this acquisition? None—if you’re a Humminbird guy. If you run a Lowrance or a Garmin chartplotter, however, your digital data pool just started evaporating. Visit Lakemaster’s web site, and you’ll discover that all online sales of Lakemaster products targeting these other brands has been “suspended”. Some retail outlets still have them in-hand, though, so if you want ‘em, get ‘em now.

-Lenny Rudow