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[ft-l] FTA Maps

I'm happy to announce that the FTA hiking maps for 2002-2003
have been completed and our new printer in Gainesville is
starting to put the map packets together.  They will be
available for sale to members and the general public before
the end of this month.

The maps all have a new "look and feel" to them.  I think
you will find them easier to read and use in the field.
This set of maps is designed exclusively with hikers in mind
(since that is who we are selling them to) and most of the
changes in the "look and feel" were based on input from
members who took part in the Map Survey I conducted at the
conferences last year and comments posted to this list and
collected at the FTA office.  I was able to incorporate
about 75% of the suggestions gathered last year into these
revised maps.  Also, the sections of trail where Trail
Inventory has been completed are more accurately depicted on
the maps and in the mileages as well as the locations of
campsites, trailheads, etc.

Also new this year is the fact that FTA has purchased
several complete copies of the maps for internal use.  Two
sets I will be dividing up and mailing to our Section
Leaders, so each Section Leader will have a good copy of the
map of their respective trails.  Section Leaders can expect
to receive their maps before the end of September.

Look and Feel changes include:
1) Fewer data points on many maps meaning less turning from
back to front
2) Icons indicating campsites, campgrounds, designated
campsites, parking areas, public and surface water sources,
re-supply spots, kiosks.
3) The trail itself is rendered in five colors - orange for
the main trail (Thru Trail on the through trail maps and the
main hiking trail on the Loop maps); yellow for side trails;
and purple for connector trails (road-walks).  Permanent
trail closures are indicated with an orange/black dashed
line (they will be eliminated on the next set) and proposed
trail that stands a pretty good chance of being opened at
some point during the 2002-2003 hiking season is shown with
blue/black dashed lines.
4) More road names within the trail corridor and fewer
5) No grid superimposed on the maps.  Latitude and Longitude
tics appear around the margin.  Those hikers wanting a
lat-long grid for reference can draw their own grid lines.
(Sorry, I was not able to incorporate UTM into this set of
maps, I'll try to include both Lat-Long and UTM next year.
But about 1/2 of our GPS users are using Lat-Long and the
other half are using UTM. And Lat-Long is far easier to
render in the GIS system, which is using an Albers
projection, than UTM.)
6) A legend and scale bar appear on each map - no separate
legend sheet is needed.
7)  The scale of the Loop and Side Trails varies.  I tried
to zoom in on each of them to the maximum extent while still
providing enough of the area around the trail to identify
road access to the trail.
8) Waterproof ink.  These maps are printed, not copied, so
the image is waterproof and is sharper as well.  No
waterproof paper yet tho, it's too expensive at this point.
9) All the new trail in Eglin, Blackwater River, St Marks
and Olustee have been GPS'ed and are included, as well as
any trail relocations or closures that Section Leaders made
FTA aware of.

The maps are still a "work in progress".  I see this set of
maps as an intermediate step to where we want to be in a
couple of years.  Over the next 2 years FTA will be looking
at many other delivery options, both print and electronic as
well as working to get the map packets into retail stores
throughout Florida.  Sylvia Dunnam and Diane Wilkins are
already working hard on this map marketing campaign.  They
have a list of locations to sell the maps and have developed
a very professional looking flyer that can be sent to
potential retailers.  If you have any good ideas of retail
locations, please email them to the FTA office (include full
name and address of location, please).

All of this has taken some time I realize.  We, FTA staff
and volunteers, all appreciate the support and patience the
membership has shown as we have struggled to implement the
procedures and strategies to get us this far.  The
capabilities of the GIS system are now in place and Trail
Inventory continues to gather the information required to
give us the data we need to utilize the GIS to its maximum.

As always, if you have any comments to share that will help
us make future maps more useful to hikers, please post them
here or email them to the FTA office.

Deb Blick
Trail Inventory Coordinator
Florida Trail Association

PS, just as a side note in case you wonder what is really
involved in producing these maps or what I do for my FTA
salary when I'm not in the field doing Trail Inventory:  It
took 7 solid weeks (18 hours per day, 7 days per week) to
produce the maps from the data collected this year and the
changes sent in by Section Leaders.  This I had expected and
planned on.  The unexpected, and truly frustrating part, was
that it took an additional 3-1/2 weeks of working with the
printer to get everything into a format that the printer
could work with and that provided the maps with the color
rendition and clarity that was acceptible to us.  The good
news is - now that the system is in place, it will be much
easier next summer.