Interactive Trail Maps

Ever since I was six or seven years old and went out “hiking” with my father, I have been fascinated by maps. I was never so proud as the day I could navigate for us with the aid of a compass and Ordinance Survey “inch to the mile” map without getting lost. Years in the Scouts (Boy Scouts back then) added more skills and improved my competence so that I was able to cross a mountain in low cloud without leading my friends over a cliff. Nowadays, of course, wandering around is mostly done with the aid of a GPS device or often, heaven help us, an app on a smartphone but there are still occasions when it is handy to be able to read a proper map. How I wish we had GPS and smartphones 50+ years ago … but I would have missed a lot of enjoyment had we done so. Missed out on a lot skills too.

For all that, maps that combine the visual and electronic are now a thing. Earlier this year I made available guide to a trail in the Arboretum just down the road from here. The guide has maps and lots of useful information abut plants and animals and birds and insects and comes with an optional downloadable map that will talk through the route and ensure you don’t get lost. Haven’t seen it yet? I am shocked – take yourself over to the following link and get a copy today:

Walk and Learn in the Forest

And now, I have rediscovered the ability to make personalised maps using GoogleMaps and satellite imagery. This has been around for quite a while but was always a little primitive so I rather forgot about the tools – seems they have been beavering away behind the scenes though and now I find that it has some really handy features. Here are a couple of guided maps that I created, by way of experiment. One to the short Canada 150 trail in the Morgan Arboretum and one a pleasant amble through the trees in search of flowers and birds. Should you be passing that way I do urge you to go and have a wander – aided by my map, of course.

You can view the map below – zoom in and out for detail. Click on the icons to get information and some photographs.

If you would like to take the map out with you can open it in a browser (phone, laptop or whatever) where you will find options to copy the map, share it with others, send yourself a link via email, download a copy in various formats that work with mapping apps you may already have on your mobile device(s). Such fun. Find most of these options by clicking the three dots to the right of the map title on the red title bar.

** If you have any comments or suggestions I would be very interested to hear from you – there’s a comments box at the foot of this entry for your convenience.