North-Central Section - 57th Annual Meeting - 2023

Paper No. 10-4
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


RINGLE, Garrett B.1, MURGIA, Evangelia1 and YELLICH, John2, (1)Geological and Environmental Sciences, Michigan Geological Survey, Western Michigan University, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (2)MS 5241, 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers many state and recreation maps, often with a variety of accessibility features such as wheelchair accessible trail points and trail difficulty ratings. While these services allow visitors to understand DNR posted accessibility of parks, it leaves little room for personal interpretation of difficulty or gauge of manageability for a range of abilities. This pilot program displays a number of state park and recreation trail maps as 3-dimensional topographic maps. Therefore, allowing visitors to better plan their routes and moderate expectations based on personal limitations by more directly seeing physical obstacles. This tool can furthermore be applied to improve safety precautions by visually highlighting potential dangers such as steep cliffs, as well as displaying topographically more efficient emergency routes when on foot. This product is accomplished by 3-D rendering a georeferenced DNR park trail map to local lidar generated topography maps. A pilot program for this purpose has been constructed by the Michigan Geological Survey (MGS), containing enhanced accessibility maps for popular destinations across Michigan, including but not limited to Porcupine Mountains State Wilderness Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Muskegon State Park, and the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Additional tools for this service include measuring ability, transparency meter of the park trail map over aerial imagery, and feature layers for potential physical obstacles; all of which are included in this product in order to enhance accessibility on the basis of individual evaluation. This product is publicly available as an online web application, hosted through ArcGIS. Potential future developments of this project include expansion of state parks and recreation areas to be included in the service, with object selection by statewide view, and addition of a public comment platform for personal sharing of service case usage. This pilot program represents the potential for production of statewide enhanced accessibility park and recreation maps with relative ease and little investment--- improving public engagement while empowering park visitors to better plan their trips with a greater level of knowledge and confidence in their abilities relative to the location.