Boonmaps App – 3D Navigation Tool for Mountain Snowmobilers
Think Google Earth meets Trailforks, with a little virtual reality thrown in.
Boonmaps uses current winter imagery in a high-resolution, interactive three-dimensional map, overlaid with local trails and landmarks like parking areas. You can superimpose the traditional topographic contour lines if you want, and choose the scale. You can filter trails by name, level, and distance. You can search for a landmark like Boulder Cabin, hit the Where Is This button, and the map will take you there. Then you can step into virtual reality and take a fly-through tour of that trail to understand where you’re going and what to expect. You can even change the light in the map based on time of day.
Once you’ve downloaded the maps to your phone, the app works offline, so you can keep your phone in airplane mode to avoid interfering with your beacon (but still keep your phone at least 30 cm away from your transceiver, and some experts recommend as far as 50 cm).
And the best part: it’s free.
That’s because Boonmaps partners with local clubs and businesses to pay for development of maps of their areas so that it’s available to recreationists. Right now, maps exist for Boulder and Upper and Lower Frisby in Revelstoke and Quartz Creek in Golden.
Eventually, Boonmaps aims to be the go-to app for the winter sports of snowmobiling, snow biking, backcountry skiing and resort skiing (Blanket Glacier Chalet has a map for download, and Red Mountain is on the way).
The Way We Search for Information Is Changing
Revelstoke-based sledder Frazer Hogg conceptualized and led the development of Boonmaps, with inspiration from the fact that there are excellent sources of maps and spatial data available for urban settings.
“You can open Google maps and find a restaurant or a gas station, get a description and see where you are relative to that. It’s how we look for everything now,” he said.
“I thought, why don’t we have this for all these other sports that we do? On Boulder, for example, you spend money and get the paper pamphlet, but that has limited use. Once you’re out there, it’s invaluable to have a real-time map of where you are relative to the terrain and what you’re looking for.”
Other navigation apps are two-dimensional, often use outdated satellite imagery (and it’s unlikely those images were taken in winter), don’t come with information relevant to how you’re accessing that terrain and can cost a chunk of change for users.
– Boonmaps Developer, Frazer Hogg“It’s invaluable to have a real-time map of where you are relative to the terrain and what you’re looking for.”
As Boonmaps expands, Hogg emphasizes that they’re open to working with all types of stakeholders, from businesses and organizations that want their venues mapped or want to invest in the platform to promote the sport, to end users with ideas for how to improve it. Boonmaps can be downloaded to your phone through the Apple App Store and Google Play, and at www.boonmaps.com.