Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Updated PAFF Google Maps file

At PAFF we use a Google Maps file to help you find out what the perimeters of the various nature reserves are. We have received a lot of positive comments about this feature. Travelling abroad I have found that finding the exact perimeters can take a lot of time if the local program does not specify them - and you do not want to run the risk of a having your activity declared invalid after putting in the effort.

Imperfect source
The source for our data is ProtectedPlanet (a UN organisation). There is a downside to the data they provide: due to a conversion error their perimeters are about 100m off when plotted on a Google Map. For most areas this is error can be spotted easily as roads or rivers form the perimeter. When the area is more dispersed however, finding out what is part of the reserve and what is not, can become tricky.

A good friend
With the help of a friend (thanks a million!) who specializes in geoinformatics we were able to update the file with perimeter information that fits the real world perfectly. This should prevent any misunderstanding about the location you need be in when you want to activate a PAFF reserve.

Below you can see a picture of an area where the error is easily spotted except for the complex perimeter to the west.

Original and corrected layer of PAFF-058

Some closing notes on validity
For an activity to be valid you must make sure you and all your gear are inside the reserve. For some reserves this means you have to go on foot or on a bicycle. Some reserves are more challenging to activate than others - this is all part of the game. Also, in some reserves a car park or a picknick area might be part of the reserve, but in other cases they might not be. So, do check the maps (we have put in the effort) and make sure you document your location (GPS, picture of your set-up and surroundings).

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