U.S. Forest Service Offers New Digital Maps for Mobile Devices
Credit: USFS Press release
Forest Service officials recently announced that a variety of digital visitor maps are now accessible for people using Android and iOS devices.
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, including maps of Los Padres National Forest. Some maps are free to download, such as motor-vehicle-use maps, while others range in price from 99 cents to $7.99.
“This mobile app makes it easier for visitors to plan ahead and have comprehensive maps at their fingertips,” said Los Padres Assistant Recreation Officer Jeff Bensen. “Our customers have expressed interest in having access to more digital information and this helps move us in that direction."
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 WiFiƱG. It also works with Android 4 or newer operating systems on devices with at least 1 gigabyte of memory.
Through the app, users can purchase and download professionally created maps that are stored on their devices. They can use the maps based on their location when GPS is available. 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.
Paper maps are still available for purchase online at the National Forest Store, or at any U.S. Forest Service visitor center.