Summer Vacation Survival 101: Mapping Apps

The school year is nearly wrapped up for my kids and our family has been planning possible weekend trips later on this summer to take advantage of the inexpensive fuel prices. Reflecting on how my wife and I now use for trip planning, I cannot help but recognize the impact that GIS has made on our decision-making process. 

Many individuals became enamored of online mapping technology after their first taste of Google Maps.  However, there is a plethora of other platforms, tactical online mapping sites, and mobile apps from which to choose to enhance your wayfinding and trip planning experience.

What’s Your Destination? 

Deciding where to go has never been easier when employing a wide range of accessible Esri® Story Maps, such as the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America. Although, as a native Pittsburgher and loyal sports fan, I have to point out the conspicuous absence of the three greatest places in America – Heinz Field, PNC Park, and the Consol Energy Center!

When you need to determine what route to take to get where you want to go, GasBuddy.com depicts the current price of gas by county across the U.S. It also allows you to enter a multi-stop trip and your vehicle type to pre-calculate projected fuel costs.

Helpful Online Resources

State transportation departments continue to modernize the strategy by which they supply travelers with trip planning information. For example, GeoDecisions developed PennDOT’s road construction project online application using Esri’s powerful ArcGIS platform to inform travelers when to take certain routes and avoid construction projects. Of course, once you ultimately reach your destination, there is likely a website or mobile app that provides plenty of rich online mapping content to further enhance your experience. 

What Are You Waiting For? 

Get traveling this summer! Find ways to get to where you really want to go faster - and enjoy those locations even more - by leveraging the diversity of online mapping capability available at your fingertips.

During your trip or afterwards, don’t forget to share those great images and experiences by making a Story Map of the adventure to share with family and friends.