Walking Access Mapping System
- — 23 January, 2012 22:00
|Name||Website: Walking Access Mapping System|
|At a glance:||Displays public land information, walking tracks and topo maps,Free to access, no signup or login,Level of detail varies by area,No mobile or GPS support yet|
|Summary:||Kiwi ingenuity picks up where Google Maps leaves off.|
Custom-developed for the NZ Government’s Walking Access Commission, WAMS provides a single point of access for outdoor enthusiasts to a diverse range of public land, boundary and walking-track information. Access requires no signup or login, and is completely free.
The interface is similar in layout and navigation to Google Maps. Information visibility is controlled by layers. Details can be overlaid onto satellite imagery, or onto topographical maps that trampers will find invaluable. Previously these have been difficult to find online, particularly in such a readily accessible and searchable form.
The level of detail varies by region – at the time of writing, Stewart Island was a notable blank spot, with no detailed topographical information or any public-access information.
Tools allow you to draw on-screen and calculate distances between points – when combined with the walking tracks and topographical information, this provides a quick and accurate way to estimate the length and potential difficulty of any given path.
The real drawcard of WAMS, however, is the clear definition of public land. This shows you exactly where you should and shouldn’t be able to go. Not exactly an issue in suburbia, but when you’re tramping areas that border farmland, or trying to access the coast from inland, this can save you a lot of hassle.
Likewise, if you’re a land owner in rural or costal areas, WAMS gives you a quick and easy way to check whether there are access tracks or unformed ‘paper roads’ passing through your land.
The Walking Access Commission handles disputes between land owners and outdoor enthusiasts regarding such access, and WAMS actually lets you submit enquiries online to that end.
Enhancements including mobile and smartphone functionality, and an upgraded user interface, are due in mid-2012. The ability to download walking tracks and other information for use on dedicated outdoor GPS devices is also in the works, and likely to be available 2012.