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Is Trail Maps+ the Tech to Make Your Map a Marketing Machine?

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I’ve known about Trail Maps+ for a while now but hadn’t ever taken the time to get the creator’s view on this clever blend of Google Earth and ski terrain mapping So, when Kevin Witting from The Mountain Pulse (the guys who made it) shot me an email the other day, I jumped on the chance to explore this product a little bit further.

Part trail map, part interactive experience, it’s definitely an intriguing technology. I’ll stop talking (typing) now and let Kevin tell you the rest:

Gregg: Okay, tell me a little bit more about you, Mountain Pulse, and your background?
Kevin: Sure, The Mountain Pulse is a website featuring original, quality content that celebrates adventure sports and community events in Jackson Hole. When I first moved to Jackson, it was a liberating experience. My professional background was in finance and financial modeling. I used that as the base to start playing with KML, the computer code used to write Google Earth files. It was a great way to virtually explore the mountain terrain and learn about my new home in Wyoming. That’s when Steve Williams, a talented web developer and photographer, partnered to start a business. We recruited our friends Jake & Jed Johnston and Rob Cocuzzo to create Pulse LLC. Our first project: The Mountain Pulse and Trail Maps+. Now in its second year, we continuing to grow The Mountain Pulse and Trail Maps+ while also helping other businesses incorporate similar Google Earth, creative design, and new media marketing ideas.

Gregg: So, in one paragraph, what is Trail Maps plus?
Kevin: How bout one sentence: Trail Maps + is a unique, interactive Google Earth travel guide to outdoor activities in Jackson Hole and the Greater Teton Region.

Gregg: So, from a marketing perspective, what does Trail Maps+ do for a resort (and their guests) that a normal map cannot?
Kevin: We all have stories to tell, including maps. How we tell that story is as important as the story itself. The Mountain Pulse utilizes the Google Earth Plug In for Trail Maps+ to inform people about activities in the Tetons. The Plug In is a practical tool that provides valuable learning experiences for our audience. From a marketing perspective, not only are their social integration opportunities, but visual communication through Google Earth helps educate people about what resorts truly have to offer.

Gregg: I’ve heard about some big updates to Google Earth recently, do those open up any doors for future development of Trail Maps+?
Kevin: Absolutely! Google Earth recently launched 6.2, update that ties in Goolge+ sharing capabilities. This enables people to more easily share things they learn about, or places they explore in Google Earth, with friends and family. As we move forward with Trail Maps+ on The Mountain Pulse, we’ll take advantage of these features and put them to work for our audience. This also opens new doors for Pulse LLC to help businesses and resorts maximize its full marketing potential. It’s really exciting!

Gregg: No technology is perfect. What are some limitations to using Google Earth when it comes to trail maps?
Kevin: Google Earth and the Plug In are very powerful. If you’ve ever had it open on your computer, you’ll notice that it takes up lot of memory. As RAM (random access memory) increases and processors get stronger, Google Earth will run smoother and faster. Typically, imagery is taken in the summer, so building winter maps requires more effort, but is certainly possible with a bit of creativity and help from specialized GIS software. As for mobile, its capabilities are constantly evolving, and the sky is the limit. The only down side with mobile is that you have to have a wireless signal to connect to the imagery, and it the mountains, that can be an issue.

Gregg: Okay, let’s end with some bullet points. Top 5 reasons a resort might want to consider using Trail Maps+ technology instead of a standard trail map.
Kevin: Sure, just to clarify for your audience, we’re using Google Earth technology. Trail Map+ is our specific adaptation of Google Earth for The Mountain Pulse and one of our trademarks. Resorts should consider using Google Earth technology for a lot of reasons, here are a few:

  1. Google Earth has over 1 Billion downloads – people are using it!
  2. Growing popularity amongst skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiast.
  3. Description boxes for balloons marking trails, buildings or landmarks can be fully customized.
  4. Geo presentations can tell stories, and bring trail maps to life.
  5. 3D visualization can reinforce marketing messages to create predictable travel experiences for different types of guests.

For more details:

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Here’s a quick demo video:

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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