Just over a week ago National Geographic Maps began shipping Trails Illustrated map #809, Mammoth Lakes/ Mono Divide. This exciting new map is the first of 5 new titles for California's Sierra Nevada. To learn more about the series Contours sat down with Shane Matthews, Product Manager for Trails Illustrated & Adventure Maps.
Contours:: TI 809, is the first of five new TI maps for California. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?
Shane Matthews:: The newly published Mammoth Lakes / Mono Divide (TI809) title turned out beautifully! This was an interesting project in that it encompassed a wide range of public lands for recreation, to include National Park and Forest Lands, Wilderness Areas and a highly used Sierra Ski Area. This map includes popular areas of the Sierra and Inyo National Forest.
Contours:: Besides 809, what other new titles or revisions are in the works for California?
Shane Matthews:: Mammoth Lakes / Mono Divide (TI809) is just part of a much bigger picture. Two years ago we published three Tahoe National Forest maps to include the Lake Tahoe Basin Unit. So, the newly published TI809 and the upcoming Sierra map titles are added components of our extensive Sierra Nevada map coverage and there is going to be more!
Currently we are working on four new titles that will add to this map coverage. Crystal Basin (TI806) will highlight Eldorado National Forest and will include the Rubicon Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and other Scenic Trails, and loads of camping areas. Carson-Iceberg / Emigrant and Mokelumne Wilderness Areas (TI807) will take in portions of Stanislaus National Forest including generous overlap with TI806. This map will feature some of the best High Sierra back-country there is to offer, true wilderness! Merced and Tuolumne Rivers (TI808) will take in remaining portions of the Stanislaus National Forest and will feature two of most Wild and Scenic Rivers in the country. This map will also include a variety of recreational amenities that surround these rivers. Shaver Lake (TI810) will feature remaining portions of the Sierra National Forest. It will include recreational areas such Bass and Shaver Lakes. The Dinkey Lakes and Kaiser Wilderness areas will also be featured with a variety of trail systems for the back-country hiker. Another important note would be that some of these titles will share overlap with our Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Park maps, lending seamless coverage of adjacent lands for the map user.
Other interesting California projects would include some revisions and significant updates of existing Trails Illustrated maps. We have just recently finished an update to our Mojave National Park and Preserve map. We are doing a major overhaul of our Santa Monica National Recreation Area map and will be published very soon! This map will update should serve the recreationalists in the Los Angeles, Malibu and Santa Monica region extremely well.
In the next few months the Trails Illustrated California map titles will be in their best shape ever with all coverage either brand new or newly revised and updated! There may be even more next year.
Contours:: TI maps are completed in cooperation with local land managers – who did you work with on 809?
Shane Matthews:: Establishing a cooperative relationship with public land agencies is essential to a successful TI map. TI809 was no exception to this rule. We worked with The Sierra and Inyo National Forests and their knowledgeable staff. Everyone from Public Affairs, Land Ownership, GIS Mapping, Trails and Recreation Specialists, Interpretation and Wilderness Rangers were included and this is typical for any map we publish. In addition, we always work with regional Managing Associations to these forests and other public lands. In this case we worked with the Eastern Sierra and the Three Forests Interpretive Associations.
Contours:: Creating a new map from scratch must be a pretty extensive project. Can you describe what went into the creation of 809?
Shane Matthews:: Our production team treated this new map like any other, really. It starts with establishing that relationship with the key people as I just mentioned. Securing the most updated information these land agencies can provide is the next big step. Having these two things in place we are off and running. Typically, the map base is generated using USGS information then we add a variety of information obtained from land agencies and other trusted sources in the region.
Editorial and other essential information is also collected and included in all of our maps. We put TI809 through several in-house edits before it went to the land agencies for an on-site review before publishing. We found that working the district-level forest staff, the people who “walk the ground” was key with TI809, which can be said for any project.
Contours:: What do you think users of 809 will most appreciate about the map?
Shane Matthews:: The map user will appreciate a variety of things about TI809, but quite simply they will appreciate this map because it can be trusted. It is published at a very usable scale with extreme detail to landscapes. TI809 offers practical information that the user will need for trip planning and for use while exploring and recreating in the region.
Contours:: What popular places are contained on 809?
Shane Matthews:: TI809 contains portions of Sierra and Inyo National Forests, Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness Areas, Devils Post Pile National Monument, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, The Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway, The Pacific Crest Trail just to name a few.
Contours:: Finally, besides California what other projects is your team working on right now?
Shane Matthews:: We are busy with many Trails Illustrated revisions around the country. Mammoth Cave National Park, Pisgah Ranger District , Fontana and Hiwassee Lakes, Nantahala & Cullasaja Gorges, and many Colorado and Utah region maps are among the revisions on the exhaustive docket for the year. New titles will include two maps under the Adventure Map Series covering the California Baja of Mexico. These Baja maps will be the latest in the quickly expanding Adventure Map Series and will include the comprehensive travel information these maps are known for. Look for them this Fall!
Contours:: Thanks for your time Shane and keep up the great work!