GeoCarta Has Moved

Nov 14, 2005

Amateurs Map 800 Miles of Trails With GPS

It looks like global positioning system (GPS) equipment has made map making so easy that amateurs are getting into it. The Connecticut Record-Journal details how volunteers working with the the Connecticut Forest & Park Association have recently updated maps of 800 miles of the, "Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails" that traverse the state. The maps were first published in 1937 by the non-profit group, and have been regularly updated ever since. This edition of the atlas, known as the, "Walk Book" marks the first time GPS equipment has been used in the update.

The Record-Jounal explains:

Volunteers for the nonprofit association spent three years mapping the 800 miles of trails using GPS equipment. The result is a guide that is a lot more accurate and a lot more clear, certainly a boon to hikers as well as landowners. About 40 percent of the trails are on or cross private land, the rest on municipal or state property.

Using such equipment, Vernon resident George Arthur led a team that traversed 800 miles of trail. "“Towards the end we had two teams going"” in a push to get the information to a cartographer, Arthur said.

The team would take a GPS reading every eight meters or so, pinpointing exact latitude and longitude positions. That information would be filed digitally and transferred to the computer Olson was using to compile the maps. The team consisted of a scout, someone carrying the GPS unit, another with a measuring wheel, followed by a note-taker.

"We needed the accuracy because a lot of people today walk with GPS units and want to know exactly where they are,"” said Arthur. "“We also needed to know whose property we were on."”