Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

November 23, 2013

Go online for W.Va. hunt/fish info

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) —

The expression “information at the

touch of a button” could have been

coined for the newest feature on

the Division of Natural Resources’

website.

It’s an interactive (online) hunting

and fishing map. With it,

hunters and anglers can find public

hunting land, sections of streams

where trout are stocked, gamechecking

stations, public shooting

ranges, handicap-access vehicle

trails and dozens of other little

goodies.

“This lets people know where

things are,” said Curtis Taylor,

chief of the DNR’s Wildlife

Resources Section. “Right now in

the state, you could go up to someone

and ask where to find a certain

wildlife management area or the

nearest game-checking station,

and chances are the person you

ask won’t have a clue. With this,

people should be able to find

things.”

The new map makes use of the

Geographic Information System,

which takes computerized information

about locations on the ground

and puts that information on maps.

The new map, for example, starts

off looking like a low-resolution

topographic overview of the mid-

Atlantic region. A zoom feature

allows the user to home in on the

state, and then on specific counties

or areas. The farther the user

zooms in, the higher the resolution

becomes.

When the zoom reaches a certain

level, the screen transforms into a

functional topographic map, complete

with contour lines and shaded

topography, giving the user insight

into the lay of the land.

But that’s not all.

As local features pop up, so do

symbols for boat-launching ramps,

shooting ranges, hunting- and fishing-

license agents, game-checking

stations, trails, camping areas and

other amenities. Clicking on the

symbols opens hidden information

boxes. For example, clicking on a

symbol for a game-checking station

reveals the station’s name, its location

and its phone number.

Clicking on a wildlife management

area reveals its acreage, the

animal species available for hunting

and trapping, and any amenities

it might offer.

Clicking on the highlighted area

of a trout stream reveals the length

of the stocked section, how often it

is stocked, and lists any special

regulations that might be in effect.

Clicking on a fishing-access symbol

tells whether it’s a pier or a ramp,

and tells whether the ramp is

paved or unpaved.

“And one of the great things

about the map is that you don’t

have to back out of it in order to

switch from the hunting part to the

fishing part,” DNR spokesman Art

Shomo said. “All you have to do is

click on the ‘fishing’ or ‘hunting’ tab

at the top of the page, and you get

switched to the other map at the

same level of resolution.”

Programmers at West Virginia

University’s GIS Technical Center

helped to integrate the accumulated

information into a coherent final

product.

“The maps work best when users

have high-speed Internet connections,”

Shomo said.

“With all the detail we have on

the maps, it can take a while for the

screens to rewrite themselves. It’s

also not very friendly for people

who use mobile devices, and that’s

something we need to work on.”

Taylor said he looks forward to

the day when mobile-device users

can access the site as easily as

computer users.

“We want this thing to be as userfriendly

as possible,” he said. “We

want people, no matter where they

are around the country, to be able

to go to these maps and say, ‘Wow,

look at all the hunting and fishing

that’s available in West Virginia. We

need to go there.”’

The maps can be accessed at the

DNR website, www.wvdnr.gov, by

clicking on the highlighted “Hunting

Map” link in the Hunting section,

or the “Fishing

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