- Location: Mahwah, NJ, USA
- Website: www.nynjtc.org
- 165,000 app maps downloaded
- 2,500+ miles of trails mapped
"It was imperative for us to have a digital map option for the public, and working with Avenza Maps has provided us with that opportunity." - Jeremy Apgar, NYNJTC cartographer
The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is a volunteer-powered organization that builds, maintains, and protects public trails. Together with their partners, they strive to ensure that the trails and natural areas we share are sustainable and accessible for all to enjoy for generations to come.
In 2012, just after the Avenza Map Store first launched, the Trail Conference joined as one of the first map publishers to make their extensive map collection available to outdoor recreation users. At the time, traditional GPS and navigation devices existed for many years on the market, but digital maps that were usable offline were just beginning to gain popularity. The Trail Conference recognized the shifting trend and challenged themselves to adapt.
For many years, Trail Conference print map users requested maps and data on handheld GPS units, but the organization had been unable to find a suitable solution. Sales of waterproof and tear-resistant trail maps continued to grow, but the Trail Conference realized it needed to develop non-print options to further its mission and educate even more people about responsible and safe use of trails. The rising popularity of mobile phone use outdoors allowed the organization to consider this challenge in a different light and also expand to a user group beyond just owners of handheld GPS units.
One of the primary goals of the Trail Conference in providing digital trail maps was for high-quality maps to be part of the solution, rather than needing to rely on other basemaps from Google, Esri, or other providers. With all of the effort the organization put into creating accurate maps, the Trail Conference did not want to pursue a solution that just involved placing trail data on top of some other basemap layer.
For nearly 10 years, the Trail Conference has used Avenza MAPublisher to help create quality trail maps. The solution offered by Avenza was ideal in terms of being able to preserve the use of Trail Conference maps as the basemap layer, and the ease of producing the digital maps as part of their existing production workflow.
One of the Trail Conference's biggest challenges was creating communication materials to promote the digital maps and make them look appealing not only to existing map users, but also trail users who might not be familiar with Trail Conference maps. The traditional view of using a paper map out on the trail is something the organization did not want to completely replace, so it made sure to stress the importance of still using a print map, or at least having a copy as a backup, and have found many customers who use both the waterproof maps and digital maps.
The Trail Conference recognized their ability to reach potential users was fairly limited to regular communications with organization members and some of the trail-using public, so having their maps be visible to all Avenza Map users was very appealing. As their maps began being downloaded in large numbers, it was beneficial for many of their maps to be featured as among the most popular maps.
With the Avenza Maps app, the organization has increased exposure and has helped the public safely navigate the trails through the use of maps that show their exact location.
Financially, the steady increase in digital maps sales has been significant and they have recognized it as a valuable service to their members, the land managers they partner with, and the public in general.
Trail Conference staff has been able to utilize the app to assist with their trail-building, land conservation, and invasive plant monitoring efforts.