By Aaron R. Conklin
The Wisconsin Coastal Guide was designed as an online tool to help tourists find interesting things and places to visit along the state’s Great Lakes coasts. It was designed, in other words, for people on the move.
It’s appropriate, then, that the site has now been optimized for mobile users. According to David Hart, UW Sea Grant’s geographic information systems outreach specialist, both the appearance and functionality of the site have been optimized for use on tablets and smartphones.
“This is a great improvement to a great tool,” said Hart. “We’re hoping that making it mobile-friendly will open up its use to even more people to explore the Great Lakes.”
The guide, a joint project of the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, is a layered interactive map that uses the Google Maps Application Programming Interface to geo-locate the user in relation to coastal attractions.
“Say you’re driving along the coast of Lake Michigan, and you want to see some lighthouses,” said Tom Dellinger, Web Developer with University of Wisconsin Sea Grant. “Now you can just bring up the guide on your mobile device and see exactly where to go.”
The guide also features specific map layers devoted to routes, including Department of Transportation Rustic Roads, bike trails and circle tours for both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Hart recently updated the guide’s parks layer to include the full range of sites from local to national.
“The coastal guide was developed especially for coastal heritage tourism—that’s its purpose,” said Dellinger. “Now that it’s mobile, it’s simply fulfilling that function more effectively.”
The online guide can be accessed at http://wisconsincoastalguide.org/