AMC Maps in the Digital Age

In 1996, the AMC began producing their guidebook maps using Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology. Prior to this time, maps had been hand scribed and manually edited. Producing an original map or rescaling an existing map by hand was labor intensive and expensive. With the advent of computers, satellite based global positioning systems and GIS software, collecting, assimilating, and working with digital information is eminently easier, more cost effective and accurate.

The AMC maintains the most accurate information about trails in the White Mountain region currently available. Using differential GPS processing it is possible to locate trails and features in the backcountry to within 1 meter of accuracy. The data collection protocol is rigorous and provides valuable on-the-ground verification. GPS data collected in the field is downloaded into a GIS program, edited, assimilated, and verified against other map information, then ported into a graphics application where features are rendered, symbolized, and labeled to be easily read and referenced.

Each major AMC guidebook map is updated approximately every 5 years. Maps are reviewed by land managers (US Forest Service rangers, state parks managers) as well as AMC trail crews and local hikers who are familiar with the terrain. This insures that the most accurate and up to date information is available to hikers who rely on AMC’s maps for planning their next adventures and safely navigating their way.