Sunday, February 13, 2011

Interactive Trail Maintenance Map- The Future Of Trail Maintenance Has Arrived

The idea behind this map was to create something that would be easy for people to use, inexpensive to make, and allow all trail volunteers and agencies to see current trail maintenance needs. This map, as the title says, is interactive. Any piece of info including photos or descriptions can be inserted into the symbols; double clicking will activate this information and display it on the screen. Clicking on a given trail also gives information about current trail conditions and previous maintenance. This is very useful to keep track of areas needing work.

From beginning to end this project provided challenges that needed to be overcome. The trick was to develop a set of symbols that were easily recognizable to represent features that people often perform trail maintenance on. Because this had not been done before, questions like "what should a waterbar (WDF) symbol look like?" had to be answered. Once the symbols were created, the next trick was to get them into the GPS unit and on the internet to be displayed on Google Earth. More time was actually spent on the computer processing the files than on the trails collecting the data.

The possibilities for the use of these new handheld GPS devices are endless. What used to be only possible with hugely expensive, complicated units and highly trained technicians are now doable with inexpensive GPS units ($300 in this case) and by the average trail user. Please visit our homepage to view the current ITM Map kmz file.

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