One of my main NPMap projects of 2015-2016 was the development of data and custom basemap design for the Yellowstone mobile app, released in May 2016. The Yellowstone app was one of the first major releases of the Park Mobile program led by Harpers Ferry Center (HFC). HFC contracted with an app developer to build an app framework and NPMap built an internal editing interface for parks to add content to their app. The app code is the same for all parks and content can be updated at any time by designated park staff. NPMap cartographers work closely with the park to locate sites for inclusion, develop content, and customize the basemap to meet specific park needs. Adoption of the Park Mobile program is growing rapidly through the park service, with nearly 20 parks signed on as of summer 2016.
I was assigned to lead content development for the Yellowstone app. I visited the park for two weeks in the Fall 2015, traveling all over the park to collect site locations and attribute data. I worked closely with park staff over the proceeding months to help them make decisions about how content would be organized, and I worked with GIS staff to collect data for inclusion on the custom basemap.
Custom Basemap Design
I customized many aspects of the the Yellowstone basemap to better suit the park.
- Land Cover: Unlike our standard Park Tiles style, this basemap incorporates subtle land cover to differentiate between forested areas, open meadows, and areas above treeline.
- Contours: Considering the dramatic landscape of Yellowstone, I included contour lines to better depict dramatic changes in elevation around particular mountains and canyons.
- Major Roads: To join the experience of print and digital maps in the park, I matched the color of major roads more closely to the road color used in the brochures.
- Prominent Points of Interest: Yellowstone is a massive park with a number of entrances and developed areas. I altered the labeling rules for these features to make sure they displayed at the landing zoom level of the map in the app. I also developed custom maroon labels for geothermal features since they are a core attraction of the park.
- Custom Data: The park provided custom spatial data for a caldera boundary, the continental divide line, both of which I was able to add to the map.
Yellowstone Mobile Basemap Viewer
This demo map was prepared for the park to review the basemap, but it shows the custom basemap I designed without having to download the app. Note that the overlay of black pins are not part of the actual basemap – they are placeholders for site locations that the park uses to find the site and make changes in our internal content editing interface.