DNR unveils new mobile apps for outdoor enthusiasts
Finding outdoor fun in Minnesota is easier than ever now that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has created and launched a handful of new and free applications for mobile devices.
"The DNR is aware that mobile devices are an increasingly popular means of accessing information anytime, anywhere," explained Steve Lime, DNR data and applications manager. "We decided to try a variety of technical approaches to delivering DNR content. We started with a simple fall colors mobile web page last October that turned out to be very popular."
Last year, the DNR website had 1.3 million page views by mobile devices. The mobile LakeFinder app has had nearly 3,000 installs based solely on word of mouth. The snowmobile GPS files have been downloaded more than 3,000 times.
Here is a look at what's available:
Data for more than 4,500 lakes and rivers throughout Minnesota including lake surveys, depth maps and vegetation reports, plus water quality and clarity data are available for most Android phones. This app allows people to get the information on demand with an Internet connection or save it to a device for offline access.
Public Water Accesses - Finding a lake in Minnesota is easy - finding the water access on that lake is sometimes another story. Now users can download a free application that uses the Layar software platform to locate Minnesota water accesses. Open the application, point the phone at the lake and it'll help locate a place to launch a watercraft for a great day on the water. Most of the public state-managed access sites, as well as many of the private access sites, are available. The app is available for most iPhone and Android phones.
Snowmobile Trails -
Snowmobilers can know their exact location and where a trail will take them. Garmin GPS users can now download a background map containing Minnesota snowmobile trails, including state trails, trails within state parks, state forests and other state owned lands, as well as snowmobile trails funded through the Grant-In-Aid snowmobile system. Available in Garmin IMG format.
Wildlife management area data - People can download data and locations for all state wildlife management areas (WMA) to their GPS. Parking lot and WMA boundary information is available in two common GPS formats - Garmin and Lowrance. Available in Garmin IMG and Lowrance LCM formats.
These applications and options are the DNR's initial efforts in these technology areas. The agency plans to support other operating systems and file formats in the future.
More information is available at http://www.mndnr.gov/mobile.