There’s a mAP for that!

By Theron M. Terhune, Outreach Coordinator and Joe Noble, Technology Transfer Specialist

The late Steve Jobs, Apple visionary and creative guru, coined the catch-phrase: "There’s an App For That!"  Slang for Application, an App is a simple but targeted application engineered for a specific task or suite of related tasks. Apps are not supposed to be an all-inclusive solution but rather a targeted task-specific solution designed to work quickly and efficiently. There are Native Computer Apps, Mobile Apps, and On-line Web Apps which may work independently or with other applications. MAPS are very similar to Apps in the sense that to ensure quality and efficiently communicate the targeted message; they should be simple, uncluttered and task-oriented.

For example:

Have you ever wanted know what the top 10 most powerful countries are? There’s a mAP for that!

Curious about "Where Americans are Living Well"? There’s a mAP for that!

Have you ever wondered what the destruction would be if a nuclear bomb hit your city? YES, there’s a mAP for that!

Ever wanted to track Santa’s Journey? Oh my, there’s a mAP for that too!

What to know where in the entire US the nearest bike trail or birding trail is? There’s a mAP for that!

Do you want to know where the highest probability to successfully restore Northern Bobwhite Quail is? There’s a mAP for that! (BTW, this mAP was created by Tall Timbers.)

Stoddard map


Church map

Along with many of you, I have read Herbert L. Stoddard’s seminal tome "The Bobwhite Quail: It’s Habitats, Preservation, and Increase" more times than I can count. I become more and more amazed each time I read it by how often Stoddard was right more times than he was wrong! This is despite not having the fancy gadgets and advanced technology (e.g., radio transmitters) we have today. Stoddard was indeed a very resourceful, observant, and meticulous naturalist. Above (left) is a map from 1948 that Stoddard created depicting soil classification and another map (above right, created by G.M. Church) depicting habitat classification on what is now Tall Timbers Research Station. By looking closely at these maps, one can ascertain that they were hand drawn and/or color-coded (using colored pencils of some sort) to delineate soil types, slope aspects, habitat types and suitability for management; and, notably, these maps appear to be to scale. I wonder how long it took Stoddard and Church to make these maps? Likewise, I wonder what projects were so important to warrant the time to create them?  I would guess that these maps and others like it were pivotal to Stoddard’s precise assessment of the landscape, and the subsequent habitat management recommendations he made. For one reason or another, Stoddard was compelled to create and use maps. It begs the question: "How are you taking advantage of maps?"  Is there really, or could there be, "a mAP for that!" to help you better plan, manage, and evaluate your property??

Of course you don’t need an App or a Map to tell you that things are much different today compared to Stoddard’s time. Thankfully, we no longer have to rely on colored pencils to make maps or even hand-draw maps to "see" our properties. Instead, we not only have the capability to create aesthetic, accurate and focused maps, but we have the ability to accomplish this relatively quickly with striking precision. To boot, we have the ability to seamlessly overlay different types of maps in order to evaluate certain habitat conditions and test specific management scenarios that aid us in making the best management decisions.

Tall Timbers land-cover map

Tall Timbers Land Cover Map depicting specific habitat types, roads, course names, and various key feature labels.

If designed correctly, Apps and Maps can make one’s life easier and more productive as well as make things possible that at one time were very difficult to accomplish. Tall Timbers Outreach Program is currently working on the development of various interactive Web Apps and Mobile Apps for resource and land management purposes, to better equip Tall Timbers members with task-specific tools to aid in decision making and to foster exemplary land stewardship.

Want to know how big a field is on your property? We can help you have a mAP for that!

Want to know how long your feedline is? We can help you have a mAP for that!

Need to keep track of where/when you burn? We can help you have a mAP for that!

Tall Timbers prescribed fire map

Tall Timbers Land Cover Map depicting specific 2010 Prescribed Burns (orange). Thus, upland sites not in orange would typically be burned the following year (2011).

We are fortunate to have a state of the art GIS lab at Tall Timbers. As such, we are equipped with large-scale map plotters, multiple mapping software programs and three experienced staff members with extensive GIS, GPS and mapping expertise available to help you create useful maps (see figure below) for your property. Whether you want a simple property map or a more detailed habitat map, we can help you have a mAP for that! Contact us for more information and details.

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