Maps are one of the most essential tools here at the Patagonia National Park project–everyone has their hands on a map sometime or another. The wildlife team uses them to track and chart animal behavior. The volunteer squad uses them to maneuver through the backcountry removing fences. The field-researchers from Round River use them to chart the grasslands. And the list goes on. So, you may be asking yourself, what on earth would we need more maps for, anyway?
To answer: every map has its purpose, and there is one purpose to which the existing multitude of maps of the Chacabuco Valley have as yet been unable to fulfill: providing an exciting, detailed, and interactive guide for visitors—both in-person, and online–to help them navigate through the park, and experience the richness of ecosystems and conservation programs that make the Patagonia National Park project unique.
Enter Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue, two young geographers with a passion for visual storytelling, cartography, and exploration. After meeting as cubicle neighbors at National Geographic Maps, they decided to follow their common dream of making maps for individuals and organizations whose work is good for communities, and good for the planet. Out of this dream, Maps for Good was born.
One of the earliest projects that Marty and Ross collaborated on was a mapping project for Life Monteverde, a small family-owned coffee farm in Monteverde, Costa Rica. The owners of the farm, which hosts volunteers, school groups and interns interested in learning about their sustainable coffee farming methods, were looking for a new way to reach a broader audience beyond those who could visit the farm in person. Marty and Ross created a beautiful, user-friendly map of the farm that fit the bill.
Marty and Ross recently received a National Geographic Young Explorers grant to support their first official cartography project for Maps for Good, and we think they’ve chosen the perfect project… Starting in the summer of 2013, they will be collaborating with CP to create a place-based visual portal for exploring the future Patagonia National Park!
We asked Marty to tell us a little more about the inspiration for the project, and give us some hints on what we’ll find in the new interactive maps they’ll design for Valle Chacabuco–read on!
CP: Why did you decide to choose mapping Patagonia National Park as your first project for Maps for Good?
Marty: We were inspired by the park’s story, and CP’s holistic approach to conservation. We decided that we wanted to create maps that would tell the story of the place and inspire people around the world to feel connected to it, whether or not they were able to visit. Our hope was that our maps could benefit CP and PNP by serving as beautiful and powerful tools for education and communication.
CP: We’re very excited to see the new maps you two are developing. Tell us a little more about what’s in store.
Marty: The print map will include photos and spoonfuls of text integrated with geographic content showing the terrain, lakes, rivers, trails, structures, roads, and other way-finding information. The interactive map will incorporate photography, HD video, time-lapse video, and succinct stories to visually bring Patagonia National Park to a global audience. Users will interact with the map on a microsite and explore the park by zooming, panning, and clicking on features. For example, users will be able to click on an area where the huemul deer grazes, and learn about how park rangers are tracking them through radio telemetry.
Marty and Ross are raising funds to supply the remaining funds necessary not covered by their National Geographic grant. Click here to visit their kickstarter, and pitch in!
Thanks again to Marty and Ross—we can’t wait to see you down at the park this summer.