|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 07 March 2012 00:00|
It’s no secret many people are attracted to Yavapai County because of the great outdoors.
There’s certainly no shortage of it. The county is vast and at more than 8,000 square miles it’s bigger than four entire states.
That’s why it’s no surprise it’s taken a few years to catalog what’s out there for a new Yavapai County online outdoor tourism map, released this month by the county’s geographic information systems, or GIS, team.
Being an online application has its advantages.
The map allows users to take in the entire county at once or zoom in to street level. A handy control panel allows a number of layers to be applied to the map, highlighting everything from hiking trails, fishing spots, great areas for watching birds and wildlife and even the locations of visitor centers and chambers of commerce.
The map also includes the locations of events like area art walks or outdoor festivals, often with links to the events’ websites when applicable.
Want to know where a trailhead is or where to take that four-wheeler? The maps designers thought of that too.
Golf courses, tribal trust lands, wilderness areas, hydrology and more, it’s all laid out in black and white — and red and green and blue — on the map.
The original concept behind the interactive map was to create a map of trails throughout the county, said Kevin Blake, the county’s GIS coordinator since 2000.
“We started this a few years ago,” Blake said. “Working with the [Yavapai County] trails committee, we decided to try and put more into it for the centennial.”
Arizona may be 100 years old, but Blake and the other members of the GIS team worked to ensure this map was something new for users in the 21st century.
Over the last two to three years, Blake said the team worked to collect as much information as possible.
“We collected information from different sources,” Blake said. “We put in the things we already knew about and talked with groups like chambers of commerce to get other information.”
Blake said it helped that the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors was supportive of the project the entire time it was a work in progress.
Actually, the map is still a work in progress.
Blake said there are more plans in the works, including making the map accessible from a smartphone or other mobile devices.
Still, that development is a little ways off, Blake said.
Blake said the team did its best to keep the map’s interface as simple as possible, comparing it to something a user could expect to encounter in a program like Google Maps, for instance.
“We tried to keep it similar,” Blake said.
Blake said he hopes that others will also find the map easy to use, as it is a resource not only for visitors but also people who already call Yavapai County home.
The map went live Feb. 14, and Blake said it should soon be linked to the county’s GIS webpage application directory.
In the meantime, the map is directly accessible here.
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