How to Not Get Lost on the Trails: Wayfinding in the Natural Areas
The City of San Marcos GIS Department maps the 22 miles of designated trails in more than 1,200 acres of natural areas. The Greenbelt Alliance and Parks & Recreation Department coordinate and assist with this biannual project. New display maps (48” x 40”) were recently posted at the eleven trailheads in five of the natural areas. Paper maps are also available for downloading and printing at both the SMGA and CoSM websites.
The display maps are unique and can aid first responders in locating hikers/mountain bikers. To use the service, scan the QR (quick response) logo on the map with your smart phone. Once the real-time map has loaded on to the device, touch the circle logo on the left. Viola – your position appears as a blue dot. As you travel on (and off) trail your location is mapped.
Round trail markers with the code for the trail name and a number also place you in the natural area, enabling 911 operators to dispatch emergency assistance to your location. Other smart apps like AllTrails, Strava, and TrailForks also provide a Lat/Long position that can be passed to the operator. Cell phone reception within the 1,200 acres has improved and most areas have coverage by all the providers. Using the continuous GPS location feature will drain your battery faster, so keep that in mind. The best advice is to learn these systems before it becomes necessary to use them. By all means, get outside and enjoy what the natural areas provide — fresh air, stress relief, sensory stimulation and much more. –LJ