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Recreationalists looking for an easier way to explore the West Kootenay wilderness can now leave their fold-out maps at home.

Recreationalists and resource professionals looking for an easier way to explore B.C.’s wilderness can now leave their fold-out maps at home.

GeoBC has created a series of free, high-resolution topographical maps specifically designed for viewing on mobile devices.

GeoBC’s popular Terrain Resource Information Management (TRIM) base map series has been redesigned to enable the GPS geo-referencing functionality associated with mobile devices and allow users to zoom into small areas of the new maps without compromising detail.

Over 7,000 free maps covering the entire province of British Columbia (at a scale of 1:20,000) are now available as downloadable PDF files through GeoBC’s Base Map Online Store or through its popular KML viewer (with TIFF versions coming soon).

The attractive and easy-to-use maps feature elevation contours, roads, railways, airports, transmission lines, population centres, built-up areas, municipal and regional boundaries, lakes, waterways, wetlands, wooded areas, trails, campgrounds, coastlines, parks, protected areas, place names and local landmarks.

This new generation of TRIM maps is optimized for use on mobile devices, including iPhones, iPads and Android tablets and smartphones.

The maps are “spatially aware,” so they show the user’s current location if the mobile device has GPS capability. When users open a downloaded PDF map for their current location, their starting position is automatically marked and they can track their movements on the map as they explore the area.

GeoBC’s new TRIM map series is optimized for viewing on mobile devices, but it is not a mobile app. The maps are downloaded onto a desktop or laptop computer (currently as Adobe PDF files, with other formats coming online soon) and then transferred to mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets.

The maps are popular in rural areas where web-based map applications, such as Google Maps, may not be available due to limited Internet access.

The maps have been optimized to retain detail at high magnifications without losing detail.

There are 7,027 maps at the 1:20,000 scale available online through GeoBC, covering every area of the province. Another series of 1:250,000 scale maps is in development.

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