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Take a hike with a GPSr, and do good too!


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Hi folks, I'm the volunteer geospatial data coordinator for Mid State Trail Association, the all volunteer organization that cares for Mid State Trail http://www.hike-mst.org, a part of Great Eastern Trail http://www.greateasterntrail.org and Pennsylvania's longest footpath.


Our group needs improved track location data for both Mid State Trail and other trails/paths nearby in order to communicate better both with hikers through improved maps, and land managers who allow the footpath on their land. We have a couple of volunteers who are using their own GPS units while they hike but it takes a while to cover well over 400 km of paths. We can't just digitize off air photos because our trail is usually well hidden by trees, and is very narrow and often rocky.


If any of you are nearby to the central Pennsylvania area, and want an excuse to walk in the woods with a GPSr, we could use your help!


Ideally, we'd like at least two volunteers independently to walk each area, hopefully covering both a part of MST itself, and a loop on a fire road or other feature visible on air photos as a check. For our mapping, the volunteer GIS person would compare your tracks to the existing map and take the best average.


We'd like to receive electronically track files, and waypoint files of notable features along the path (such as parking lots, benchmarks, view points, waterfalls, marked surveyed boundaries, etc.), and any notes you see of trail conditions.


You would be welcome to share the information you collect with this or another forum as well.


The areas where coverage is most needed is between Blackwell and Little Pine State Park, although tracklogs and waypoints for the entire trail is welcome.


Upon signing up, MSTA would supply you with 2 copies of a single existing trail map for the area, so you can return one with your notes, and keep one. Geospatial volunteers would be eligible to receive a second map after finishing the first one.


If you are willing and able to purchase maps and guides, or already have them and are willing to make copies to make your notes on, that would be a welcome additional contribution to our non-profit all volunteer work.


And, within IRS rules you can deduct from your taxes any mileage for a charitable purpose to reach the trailhead, as MSTA is a Federal 501(c )(3) registered and Pennsylvania incorporated non-profit organization. We would also be interested in knowing how many hours you are on the trail, and driving, as well.


If you are interested, send an E-mail to footpaths@fleszar.org for further details.



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