State unveils app for outside recreation, looking in Hawaii

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July 6 – The State Department of Land and Natural Resources on Thursday unveiled a free mobile app that provides the public with information on hiking trails and hunting areas across the state.

It is referred to as the agency’s official outdoor leisure app and provides information and updates on a variety of recreational and public wilderness areas, as well as information on hunting times and rules, as well as the option for hunters to check in and out electronically.

The Hawaii home screen has weather alerts, COVID-19 updates, extraordinary hiking trails features, epic view locations, maps, and more.

“You can just touch and read about any area, various control stations in the area, wildlife sanctuaries, hunting areas, even state parks,” said Jason Omick, state wildlife biologist with the state Department of Forestry and Wildlife.

The app runs on the cloud-based Outer Spatial platform, which is also used by the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and several other government agencies, communities, and nonprofit groups.

The Hawaii app was estimated to be $ 140,000 to develop, officials said, and there is a $ 10,000 annual fee from OuterSpatial.

The app has a special utility for hunting. Not only can hunters do the required check-in electronically; they can report what they have harvested.

For the Forest and Wildlife Department, this will help save the time and money currently required to physically collect the data.

“We get this data electronically – it’s a bit easier for us to analyze and makes it a little more convenient for the hunter,” said Omick.

The data, he said, will allow officials to better understand what is happening in the watershed, such as how successful hunters are in a given area.

The hunting units’ maps will also allow hunters to clearly see boundaries and safety zones and see access routes in and out of an area, he said.

The story goes on

The app tracks location via the phone’s GPS, a feature Omick said should help make people feel safe while out in the wild.

As long as it is open, the app works offline.

“Even when you are offline, you can safely navigate your way through state forest reserves and trails in the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access system,” he said.

Using data from the app, state officials monitor every hiking trail and recreation area to make sure they’re open and closed when they’re supposed to be.

The app offers social media integration, and users can take and share photos, and report hazards and problems along the way to the department or other government agencies.

The app has room to grow. Officials say they plan to continually add information and features based on user needs.

“We may have a check-in for trail users where they can check in and out knowing they got home safely,” Omick said.

“It’s kind of limitless,” he said of the potential. “You know, we’ll keep making it more robust over the years as we beta test it with people and they use it on the trails, our hunting grounds.

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