GeoWorld September 2011

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BY BENJAMIN N. SAINSBURY AND ROBERT HICKEY Happy Trails T Trekking from Data to Geo-Enabled Web Site he use and availability of GIS has greatly expanded during the last decade. With the rise of Web-mapping application programming inter- faces (APIs) from companies such as MapQuest, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Esri, millions of users now have mapping and analysis capabilities without purchasing commercial products. Web-mapping applications also increased the variety of spatial datasets now available to the general public. However, there are questions of reliability, usability, availability and interoperability. The Trails Co-op (www. attempts to tame such variety of trails information on the Web. 26 GEO W ORLD / SEPTEMBE R 2O11 Trails Co-op and Why? The Trails Co-op Web-mapping application allows users to visualize, search, submit and download rec- reational data via easy-to-use buttons and features (see Figure 1). Users can search, view, download, upload, draw and edit information about recreational trails, all on the 3-D environment of Google Earth run- ning within a browser. The Trails Co-op has more than 35,000 trails from across the United States, and it claims to be the first Web-mapping application to aggregate trails datasets obtained from federal (see Figure 2), state, local and individual data sources. Web Mapping

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