Interactive Hiking Map of Yosemite National Park

Abstract for the SVG.Open 2005 Conference, Enschede, The Netherlands

Juliana Williams
Institute of Cartography
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
ETH Hoenggerberg
CH-8093 Zurich


Keywords: Interactive SVG Maps, Hiking Map

Many people are more likely to turn to the internet than to a book when planning a trip or hike. This gives them the possibility of quickly searching the net for the best possibilities. The hiker will want to be able to turn to a single site which will give him detailed information on the area he is planning on hiking in and allow him to choose and make his own decisions.

This project allows the hiker to pull up an interactive online map of Yosemite National Park and start planning his trip. He has the ability to choose a hike by name, according to the duration or difficulty of the hike, by looking at pictures, by choosing a preferred area, or by the possibility of a swim at the end of a hike. After deciding on a hike, the map shows the entire length of the hike along with any available georeferenced pictures and points of interest. A list of useful tips or warnings is provided. If the hiker is interested, a cross-section of the hike can be viewed. It is also possible to print the map to take along on the hike.

Data for this project was obtained from the USGS and from the National Park Service. The different data sources were complied and completed within desktop GIS-Systems and reprojected to the final projection system (Datum:NAD83, Projection: UTM, Ellipsoid: GRS80). The vector data was transferred to a opensource spatial database (PostGIS) which supports spatial queries, intersections, simplifications and SVG output. Orthoimages are directly loaded from the Terraserver Webmapping Service (WMS). Additional raster data is also requested from an inhouse WMS.

The webmapping client is entirely written in SVG and ECMA-Script and runs in every web browser and operating system supported by the Adobe SVG viewer as well as the stand-alone Apache Batik viewer. After loading the initial graphic user interface, the client makes requests to the spatial database and WMS in order to receive the map data. The client allows navigation in bigger datasets, as a result of a specified level of detail concept. Every time the user navigates, he is presented with a customized section of the map. Thematic data for hiking trails, georeferenced photos and vista point are delivered in XML-format which can be directly read and displayed by the webmapping client.

It is possible to imagine this project at visitor centers to allow potential hikers quickly look up a hike and receive up-to-date information. A printer next to the computer would allow the hiker to print out needed information. Also the rangers on duty could give additional information regarding the chosen hike. This project could easily be adapted to display the hikes of other National Parks or hiking areas.