Geokov is a free web application providing mapping functionality and educational resources for students in geography, earth and environmental sciences, as well as for people involved in field work/study and outdoors recreation. The mapping application is flexible and user-friendly and can be accessed from any computer with internet connection. Through Google Maps API (application programming interface), more functionality and value was added to the already familiar Google Maps. There is no need to purchase or download specialized GIS software or have any prior mapping knowledge. There are three areas of concentration withing the project:

Map Maker:

You can conveniently make custom maps for presentations, educational materials, field work/research, backcountry trip planning and reporting, bulletin postings, etc. Use a variety of symbols/icons, import data layers and draw lines and polygons. Conveniently access topographic maps as well as some environmental and resource data for certain regions. More and more organizations (governmental, educational, non-profit) are making their data open and accessible to the public. Variety of spatial data are available freely for different applications in many areas of the world. The Map Maker enables you to combine and visualize such data from different sources. You can also import and export data between your GPS device and the map.

Education:

A comprehensive introduction to topographic maps is presented. Gain fundamental knowledge of working with maps. Learn about map projections, datums, coordinates systems, map scale, magnetic declination and inclination. The Map Maker can complement this section as an effective educational resource. Become familiar with the Earth’s landforms and terrain features through the accessible topographic maps and the 3D Google Earth. More functionality will be implemented.

Outdoors:

Conveniently access topographic maps. Specific pages are created for certain regions with trails and recreation sites overlaid on map. Links are provided to access important condition information for backcountry travel such as weather, road, trails, avalanche and forest fires. There is functionality for submitting and viewing backcountry condition reports. The reporting system will be improved in the future.

Partnership

In the long-term Geokov may officially register as a non-profit or become part of an existing non-profit organization. Geokov strives to help other organizations that do not possess the technical know-how and resources, to benefit from the power of integrating their spatial data with web mapping applications and be able to communicate their message to a wider audience more effectively.

At present, if you are part of an organization working in areas such as environmental conservation, natural resources, education, academic research, humanitarian issues such as health and poverty, search and rescue, outdoors recreation, etc. and would like to make your collected data and findings available to the general public, Geokov might be of help. It is very convenient to make a customized Map Maker web page for a certain region or application, or incorporate your data as part of a previously established region.

This is a project in progress. The present functionality will become more user-friendly, and more GIS functionlity will be incorporated into the Map Maker. Suggestions for improvement are always welcome.