Project: Parks and Trails Maps
It’s not very often that I get to work on a project that is as collaborative, technically challenging, and high-visibility as this one. In 2011 I started working with the Gallatin Valley Land Trust in Bozeman to revamp their pocket-sized parks and trails map. The goal was to combine the locations of trails, parks, playgrounds, landmarks, and conservation easements with a road map that could be used by locals and visitors alike. The toughest data layers to work with were the roads, trails, and parks. Each had been created at different scales via on-screen digitizing and GPS, thus requiring quite a bit of editing in ArcMap. I smoothed a 10-meter NED elevation model with a low-pass filter, resampled to 5 meters, then ran a standard hillshade. From there, all of the work was done in Illustrator. I stuck with a neutral hillshade tint and coordinated the rest of the colors using Adobe color pairing tools. The 18- by 24-inch map is for sale at many stores around Bozeman, with the $2 purchase price going towards parks and trails programs.
GVLT then wanted to revamp the information kiosks they have installed around town. Each kiosk contains a map and assorted information about the Bozeman trail system. The fun part of making these maps was working with a local graphic artist, Molly Stratton, to come up with a design that not only communicates clearly but also supports the branding efforts of GVLT and the City of Bozeman. Being a vibrant, outdoors-as-a-brand kind of town, the displays needed to be fresh, organic, and effective in various types of installations across town. I tend to choose earthy, neutral versions of color in my work, and Molly likes vibrancy and personality. I think her choices elevated what would otherwise have been fairly understated maps to a level that will instead encourage engagement by viewers as they explore the trail system. These will start popping up all over town, and I can’t wait to see folks checking them out with their friends and families. They have incorporated a lot of thought and feedback, on both the content and design sides, and we couldn’t be happier.