Here is a an example of a hiking/running trail map of a running route I created on the public trails in Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura, CA.
It was mapped using a common research tool for primatologists, public health workers and first responders for disaster relief: GPS and geospatial analysis using a GIS (geospatial information system). In this case the GIS I used is called ArcGIS Explorer Online.
GIS is a mapping tool that is used to show layers of information such as census data, disaster impacts, burn areas in national forests, natural gas lines, and in this case, a running trail with nearby amenities such as restrooms and drinking fountains, that is geospatially located. In this case, I produced the GPS waypoints using a Garmin GPSMap 62 and then mapped the waypoints using ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer online mapping site. ArcGIS and a GPS receiver (like my Garmin) are tools that are often used by anthropologists, primatologists, public health aid workers and archeologists. Examples of uses include creating a primate census with troop range areas, spatially locating disaster impacts, showing tsunami inundation zones along a coastline, showing the location of human settlements and geo-locating archeological features in remote areas without street addresses.
I created this trail running map to test ArcGIS Explorer Online in order see if it will be an affordable, field usable and effective tool to map and share hiking, running and wildlife viewing trails in a small fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua called Playa Gigante. This project, if successful, will be part of a local vocational ecotour guide training program. The purpose of this program is three-fold:
- Provide a means of economic self-sufficiency for local people without access to higher education as with a career as a local ecotour or wildlife guide
- Foster a growing surf tourist economy to be based on environmentally sustainable tourism
- Foster a culture of environmental stewardship and local pride of the beauty of the natural areas and wildlife which brings more tourism (and tourist dollars) to their town
We are working with several non-profits to protect the quality of life in Playa Gigante. This is during a time of dramatic social and economic changes due to the influx of international surf tourism and real estate development.