Developing bespoke mapping product is an integral part of us helping nature tourism providers deliver on their brand promise.
As explained by George Whitfield ... "To mean anything, the brand promise must be delivered and kept. The commmitment is not that visitors will find features of the destination physically present but that they will enjoy the experience of those physical attributes in a way that exceeds their expectations."
The role of mapping in the brand delivery process is twofold.
The first is to ensure users can take in at a glance the suite of experiences on offer to them and so make informed choices as to the activity which best suits their needs, interests and abilities.
The second is to help users to engage with the precinct in a way that means they are relaxed and confident of where they are and whence they are going.
In order to achieve this providers need complete command of the mapping process so as to ensure it can be customised to both feature the experiences on offer, while also linking in closely with the overall brand style of the venue.
This is where interpretive and visitor orientation maps differ from the workspaces used to create either printed topographic maps or online sat-nav mapping resources.
While topographic and sat-nav maps have the capacity to turn on or off data layers, editing content within these layers is either problematic or not possible depending on where the data is being served from.
This means for example that a trail which provides a key visitor access route may present identically to that leading to private property where the visitor access is blocked.
Distinguishing clearly between trails that offer maximum visitor utility and simply choosing not to show those that lead to "dead ends", is one immediate example of where direct hands on manipulation of the data sets is essential to the delivery of a successful tourism map product.
This is especially the case for places like the alpine country where seasonal snow cover can completely change the overall access and trail network on offer across the summer and winter seasons. In this setting, the only clean approach is to create custom seasonal maps featuring the experiences on offer at a given time.
It is this level of bespoke customised product delivery that makes the desktop publishing environment the ideal workspace for producing tourism and visitor orientation maps.