Sunday, August 28, 2016

New map technology literally in the palm of your hand

Most Pennsylvania hunters will find this scenario all too familiar: You’re hunting on game lands or private property with the owner’s consent. The neighboring landowner isn’t as comfortable with hunters but has not posted the property line.
State law is clear on this. Landowners who want no trespassers are not required to mark their properties as off limits. Hunters have no legal right to enter a property just because they see no “No Hunting” signs.
But where exactly — among Pennsylvania’s 28.605 million acres of mountains, hills, ravines, pastures, corporate holdings and residential plots — is the property line?
Here’s another scenario: You find an unposted property and you’d like to ask for permission to hunt, but who owns it? And who has time to rummage through the prothonotary office?

Now, hunters can always know precisely where they are relative to property lines, political boundaries and the borders of wildlife management units.
“That’s pretty much what we do,” said Zach Sandau, digital marketer for OnXMaps, a Montana company that for about six years has been buying from states, counties, townships and other jurisdictions maps showing lines of land demarcation. That information is uploaded, and overlaid on digital topographic maps with tiles showing additional information. Customers download the maps to their GPS units or apps for iPhones and Android devices.
Now the hunting scenario changes: You glance at your hand-held device and see precisely where you are relative to every unseen border line that matters.
Easy access to digital mapping could be a game changer for users outdoor spaces. Because the new high-tech products do not directly impact fair chase standards, the chip and phone app are legal in all 50 states.
“We’re not a big company,” said Sandau, who has been working for OnXMaps for a year. “When this first started it was just the company president himself putting western states on a chip. Now, we have 50 people. We purchase the information and have 15 GPS specialists check it and put it together.”
Some counties are more efficient, quicker to respond or more accurate than others, he said, sometimes requiring multiple sourcing for accuracy. Every region of the United States is not yet detailed on OnXMaps products, but all of Pennsylvania is covered.
Hunting, hiking, biking or paddling n a remote dead zone? That won’t impact reception by GPS units. Before the trip, download the relevant maps and tiles on a smart phone, and call it up when you need it.
Having all that information literally at your fingertips doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. OnXMaps chips and app downloads cost about $15 to $35.
Find OnXMaps at

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