Google Earth – Average Joe Mapping

Unless your a professional in the natural resources field you probably have not heard of Arcview/ArcMap or the term GIS (Geographic Information System), but you may have heard of Google Earth.  As a forester, Arcview has been an absolute necessity in integrating gps data, aerial maps, topo maps, wetland maps, etc to stand type properties, scout properties before arriving to them, and make management decisions based on watershed sizes, topography, stream locations and past land use.  This was practically impossible for the average joe landowner or lease hunter, but then some programs and outlets starting popping up that allowed hunters, landowners, managers to take their gps units and download hunting stand locations, scrape/rub locations, wildlife stream crossings, bedding areas, etc and actually see how it all related to their property.  Delorme was one of the first, but their base maps were limited and didn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles.

Enter Google….

Google acquired what is now known as Google Earth from Keyhole in 2004.  It took some time for them to acquire updated base maps and find the dominating path that Google seems to figure out to provide integration with many avenues for the user, but now Google Earth is quickly becoming my favorite application for property research.

A few points of interest for the outdoorsmen:

1.  Find your property and draw out the boundaries with the polygon tool.  Use the history tool to see past aerial maps to see what has happened on the property for potentially the past 10  to 18 years

2.  Download the topo plug in from Google Earth Library and you can have a topographic map overlaid on your property.

3.  You can draw polygons around stands, food plots, bedding areas, sanctuaries, etc.

4.  Apply placemarks on stand locations, camp site, etc.

5.  One great tool of the program is you can email the placemarks and polygons to others so they have the same information within the club.

6.  Use the aerials and topos to help visually see travel corridors along stream corridors, windbreaks, planted strips and see how these work with existing foodplots and how you might benefit from installing a new food plot in a more beneficial location. Then fill the area with trees and tree tubes.

This data helps the average joe become a professional when it comes to their property or hunting lease.  Knowledge is power and we all know that Google helps find that knowledge.  Check out Google Earth and see how useful this program can be to making the hunting experience better and more successful.

Try it out and email us your property polygon (kml file) and we can give you some quick ideas on planting strategies.

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