USFS offers new mobile device maps

 


The U.S. Forest Service now offers access to a variety of visitor maps for people using Android and iOS devices.

“This mobile app makes it easier than ever to plan your visit to a national forest or grassland,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “By putting important forest information right at your fingertips, it will encourage more Americans to get outside and explore their forests.”

Online customer surveys indicated a desire for more online products and information, such as maps.

The Forest Service is currently working on the first phase of a website redesign, expected to debut early in 2014, which centers on a map-based tool for planning trips onto our nation’s forests, grasslands and other special places.

The PDF Maps Mobile App, developed by Avenza Systems Inc., is available as a free download from iTunes and the Android Play Store. The app provides access to Forest Service maps, such as motor-vehicle-use maps, which are free while pages from national forest atlases are 99 cents and forest visitor maps are $4.99. Prices are pending for other agency maps.


The maps are geo-referenced with the user’s location appearing as a blue dot. The app works on iPhones (3GS or newer) and iPads with WiFi+3G. It also works with Android 4 or newer operating systems on devices with at least 1 gigabyte of memory.

The maps also will allow users to measure distance and area, find coordinates, open a current view in Google Maps, plot place marks, add notes, enter their own data and add photos as attributes. Almost 700 Forest Service maps are available through the app.

In areas of national forests and grasslands where Internet connections are unavailable, the app and static maps work well if users download the maps prior to their visit. The apps and maps also will be useful for wildland firefighters.

In geographic areas with internet availability users will be able to use the products with live data. The interactive map is expected to be available on a limited basis starting in March 2014.

 

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