Do You Want a New Map? (by Dan Gould)
Published on November 14, 2009 in News & Updates, President's Message
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Snowmobile trails

“Where can I get a trail map?” has to be the most frequently asked question club administrators hear every year. I get dozens of inquiries as soon as the first snowflake touches down. A seemingly simple question, but the answer is not. We last produced a statewide map in 2007, it was our first crack at using precise GPS data to layout the trails and I can tell you first hand that it was a painful process. Actually, it was excruciating!

UPDATE: New iPhone, Android and Garmin maps available.

A few clubs were able to gather GPS data, but overall we had to literally beg clubs to send us any trail data or local maps. So… everyone said they wanted a trail map but few were actually willing to make the effort. Because of poor response, a significant portion of the SAM map had to depend on old, hand-drawn maps from years ago. We knew then that the map was nothing more than a steppingstone to a future project, one that would be based upon complete GPS data.

It’s almost 2010; the future is staring us in the face like a lost puppy. Do you really want a map or are you just wishing there was a map? There’s a big difference! The Delegates and Trails Committee say we should go for it. If that’s the case, it’s time for every club to organize a committee to gather GPS data along with points of interest. Your club delegate will have all the details but here are just a few items that are needed from your club: Corridor trails, intersections, parking areas, scenic vistas, clubhouses, gas stations, historic locations, places to eat, services, trail pass sales locations… and so on. You get the picture.

Obviously, trail numbers need to correspond with the data. It’s also important that every intersection be assigned a number by the club. This is something new. The numbered intersections will be key in making the map user-friendly. Nothing could be simpler than sitting on a sled, map in hand, and looking at a sign with an intersection number: “You are Here.” Unfortunately this will never happen unless every club takes the bull by the horns.

Those collecting data should take plenty of notes while working in the field. You may even consider taking photos of key intersections and points of interest. That’s the kind of stuff that could come into play later. Consider this: the map is only as good as the ingredients. If your club doesn’t supply us with enough sugar, the cookies won’t be sweet and neither will the ride.

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