Washington County launched a wonderful interactive webmap a couple months ago.
Created for the county by Jimapco in Round Lake, NY, the map is user friendly and playful, and includes amenities such as dining, lodging and services as well as attractions like covered bridges, agri-tourism and arts. It also includes several ‘tours’ in and around the county, including fiber, maple, beverage (aka wine and beer!) and walking and bike tours for selected locations. This map has several other nice features like dropdown lists for each layer that allow you to quickly zoom to attractions and information packed popups that will even give you driving directions.
County tourism administrator Christine Hoffer said the map will help the county in a number of ways. First, making maps available electronically reduces the need to print and distribute costly paper maps. The digital map is also much easier to keep current because updates are simpler and less time consuming. Perhaps most vitally, the map is part of Christine’s push to encourage prospective visitors to travel through Washington County instead of taking quicker routes like Interstate 87. Like all (effective) maps, this map uses the power of visualization to produce a memorable, visceral impression on the viewer. After interacting with this map for just a few minutes, I was left thinking “wow—I never knew there was so much to do in Washington County!”
Part of the effectiveness of the map comes from its design. Paul Hein at Jimapco spoke with me a bit about the design considerations that went into the map. The custom background map was created in-house to highlight the county in a visually distinctive way that didn’t just look like another Google Map. Travel corridors such as 40 and 22 are also highlighted in the custom basemap.