Plan a trip to national forest with digital map

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

“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.

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 national 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.

Prices vary

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.

The 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.

About the maps

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.

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.

Users should contact a regional office where a forest or grassland is located if maps are not available on the app.

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

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