Forest Service Now Offers Digital Maps for Mobile Devices

The U.S. Forest Service now offers access to a variety of visitor maps for people using Android and iOS devices.

download (1)“This mobile app makes it easier than ever to plan your visit to a national forest or grassland,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, in a news release.

“By putting important forest information right at your fingertips, it will encourage more Americans to get outside and explore their forests.”

The digital maps are part of USDA’s work toward reaching President Obama’s initiative to create a paperless government that also provides the American public with better, more accessible information.

Online customer surveys also indicated a desire for more online products and information, such as maps.

The Forest Service is currently working on the first phase of a website redesign, expected to debut early in 2014, which centers on a map-based tool for planning trips onto our nation’s forests, grasslands, and other special places.

The PDF Maps Mobile App, developed by Avenza Systems Inc., is available as a free download from iTunes and the Android Play Store. The app provides access to Forest Service maps, such as motor-vehicle-use maps, which are free while pages from national forest atlases are 99 cents and forest visitor maps are $4.99. Prices are pending for other agency maps.

pdfmaps-header-gwf2The maps are geo-referenced with the user’s location appearing as a blue dot. The app works on iPhones (3GS or newer) and iPads with WiFi+3G. It also works with Android 4 or newer operating systems on devices with at least 1 gigabyte of memory.

Through the app, users can purchase and download professionally created maps that are stored on their devices. They can use the maps based on their location when GPS is available. The maps also will allow users to measure distance and area, find coordinates, open a current view in Google maps, plot place marks, add notes, enter their own data, and add photos as attributes. Almost 700 Forest Service maps are available through the app.

In areas of national forests and grasslands where Internet connections are unavailable, the app and static maps work well if users download the maps prior to their visit. The apps and maps also will be useful for wildland firefighters.

In geographic areas with Internet availability users will be able to use the products with live data. The interactive map is expected to be available on a limited basis starting in March 2014.

Forest Service Now Offers Digital Maps for Mobile Devices
Forest Service Now Offers Digital Maps for Mobile Devices

Paper maps are still available for purchase online at the National Forest Store.

The Forest Service differs from other federal government agencies in how the Forest Visitor map is funded. The Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1938 calls for the sale of maps as the funding mechanism to revise and produce maps for the public. In 1999 the Act was amended to include products available through the web as “geo-referenced data.”

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

Forest Service Now Offers Digital Maps for Mobile Devices
Forest Service Now Offers Digital Maps for Mobile Devices


US Forest Service

Established in 1905, the Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands.

Address: 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-0003

Phone: (800) 832-1355 (toll free)


Worth Pondering…

Millions of Americans each year use our national forests to go hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, swimming, horseback riding, and canoeing.
—Ric Keller

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Rand McNally Introduces RV Navigation App for iPad

Nearly two years after introducing the first GPS designed specifically for RVers, Rand McNally launched the first RV GPS app for the iPad.

-00rvgps_app_app_icon_smThe RV GPS was shown for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rand McNally’s RV GPS for iPad is the first iOS application offered that is specifically designed for RV navigation. The new application, available on the App Store(sm), provides RV class-specific routing (and with a quick toggle, over to car routing) based on Rand McNally’s proprietary road data and navigation, plus thousands of RV parks and campgrounds, RV-friendly locations, RVer tools, and pre-planned trips.

The app also includes dynamic weather, a map overlay feature that helps drivers anticipate conditions such as high wind and precipitation along the route.

Also included is a bonus feature of the app: An e-book version of America’s #1 Road Atlas.

-000rvgps_app_2_lg“About 20% of RVers have an iPad, and many of them take it on the road,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally.

“Our new app lets those travelers access the same premier RV routing, navigation, and content available on our RVND GPS devices, and load it on their tablet.”

The Rand McNally RV GPS is an on-board app that provides safe and easy routing customized for an RV or car. Unlike off-board navigation, the maps load on an iPad, providing access everywhere — even in remote areas where a cellular or Wi-Fi connection is not available. For real time navigation as the vehicle progresses, a GPS signal is required.

The RV GPS app includes:

  • Safe and easy routing for 11 types of RV in the U.S. and Canada; also includes car mode for cars towed to the destination and used for excursions, or for everyday use
  • Routing based on legal and physical restrictions, such as height, width, weight limits, and propane restrictions, and favors right- or left-hand turns depending on RV class
  • Rand McNally proprietary RV-specific road attributes and Rand McNally exclusive highway construction project information
  • Warnings for speed limit changes, sharp curves, dirt roads, and other potential hazards
  • General and RV-specific points of interest including thousands of RV parks and campgrounds listed by category, RV parking, rest stops, exits, and other locations
  • Rand McNally Editor’s Picks, including Best of the Roadadventures, trips, and getaways
  • Real-time weather information including current and forecasted information for current location, destination, and anywhere along the route

Choose from 10 different map overlays to display important information for RVers, such as wind speed, current and forecasted precipitation, and weather-based traffic impact.

-00rvgps_app_4_lgRV Tools such as RV checklists prepare the user for trip departure, campsite setup, and more. Trails record a “bread crumb” path from the campsite, or a favorite shortcut and Quick Planner calculates time, distance, and cost for trips between major cities.

Fuel logs track fuel purchases, including where purchased, gallons, and total cost; and tools are available to record vehicle maintenance.

Rand McNally also sells an in-vehicle mount for an iPad and an external GPS accessory online at the Rand McNally store.


Rand McNally RV GPS for iPad

Cost: $99.99


Rand McNally

Rand McNally is the most trusted source for maps, directions, and travel content.

Rand McNally’s products and services include road travel review site (bestoftheroad),  interactive travel referral service (tripology), America’s #1 Road Atlas, TripMaker RVND GPS for RVers, IntelliRoute truck routing software and mobile communication solutions for the transportation industry, and the leading geography-based educational resources for the classroom.

Consumers, businesses, truckers, and educators depend upon Rand McNally to help navigate today’s world.

Address: 9855 Woods Drive Skokie, Illinois 60077

Phone: (800) 333-0136


Best of RVing website:

Best of the Road website:

Tripology website:

Lifetime Maps program website:

Worth Pondering…

I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.

—Daniel Boone

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Chimani Celebrates National Park Week with Free Apps

Chimani, LLC announced all iOS and Android national park apps will be free in celebration of National Park Week, which runs from April 21-29.

In order to reach its goal of one million downloads the apps will be free starting immediately—plenty of time to download the apps before next week’s celebration.

The Chimani national park apps normally sell for between $4.99-$9.99 each and have an average rating of 4½ stars.

“Last year we gave away over 100,000 apps during National Park Week—it was a huge success and we had less than a quarter of the apps we have today,” says Chimani President, Kerry Gallivan.

“Our goal to reach a million downloads and to encourage just as many people, especially children, to visit our national parks. Download them today, and visit the parks next week!”
The Chimani suite of national park apps include:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • National Parks app (a virtual passport tool for all the National Park Service units)

Chimani apps are your travel guide, map, audio tour and a whole lot more thrown into a single app.

Each of the national park apps are an indispensable resource for anyone exploring some of the nation’s most treasured national parks.

Each delivers constantly updated content, ranger led event schedules, auto touring points of interest, hiking details, restroom locations, free shuttle bus schedules, and breaking news alerts.

Users can also view sunset and sunrise times for the most memorable scenic overlooks, access tide schedules along the coast, review lodging options, and much, much more.

The Chimani iOS and Android apps can be downloaded directly from Apple’s iTunes App Store and the Android versions from Google Play (keyword: “chimani”).

National Parks app—a virtual passport for all National Parks
Create a virtual passport of your trip and access all the latest news on national parks.

The Chimani National Parks app allows users to create a virtual passport of their visits to any one of the 394 National Park System locations.

The app also features the option of accessing news provided by National Park Traveler and the National Park Service on a daily basis.

Whether it’s backcountry hiking in the Grand Tetons, rock climbing in Yosemite, or bicycling the carriage roads of Acadia—these apps are made from personal experience.

They are travel guides for starters, but you’ll find a lot more than that:

  • Sunrise/set data for a year
  • Tidal data for a year
  • Ranger-led Events for the entire season
  • Audio tour by a professional voiceover artist
  • Photos by a professional photographer


Chimani, LLC
Chimani, LLC was founded by Kerry Gallivan, in January 2010.

Chimani is short for the Chimanimani Mountains National Park in Zimbabwe.

Chimani is the leading developer of mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android designed to help visitors explore our national parks.


Worth Pondering…
We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know that place for the first time.

— T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding

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