A free application that provides official information on Hawaii hiking trails and hunting areas statewide debuted today.
The state of Hawaii is adopting the OuterSpatial platform to provide current and official information about trails and other outdoor recreation spots and hunting seasons, rules, and areas.
The app is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. More information can be found on the state Department of Land and Natural Resources website here, or on OuterSpatial’s website here.
Department of Fish and Wildlife (DOFAW) biologist Jason Omick said the genesis of the app was to have a more proficient way to collect hunter harvest data.
“We found a lot of people wanted to be able to check-in electronically,” he said. “With this mobile app they can do that and more.”
Users can download their trail or route prior to taking off and even if your phone drops cell service, the app will continue to provide your location via the phone’s GPS. This will give people a sense of security when they’re in the field.
“Even when you are off-line, you will be able to navigate State Forest Reserves and trails in the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access system with confidence,” Omick added.
Earlier this week, on east Oahu’s Kuliʻouʻou Trail, a team from DOFAW demonstrated the OuterSpatial app and some of its functions. Omick stops along the trail and showed some of the features.
“Our Hawai‘i home screen has weather advisories, COVID updates, special trails, masterpiece trails, and places to go for epic views,” he explained. “You can just touch on any area, read about it, and find different hunting areas and checkstations, natural area reserves, and even state parks.”
The application is ever expandable and Omick expects to provide additional information and updates based on user needs. One potential tool is that hikers can “check in” to a trail when hiking, which could be used to provide information in the event that a hiker goes missing.
The app has social media integration and users can take and share photos and report trail hazards and problems to DOFAW or other state agencies.
Nicholas Vargas, a DOFAW wildlife biologist, is a hunter. He is excited about the utility of the OuterSpatial App. “Being able to actually monitor how far you go on a trail and the amount of game you take is a cool thing. You can look back and see how you progress through your hunting career.”
For land and resource managers the application is expected to provide metrics which will better inform management decisions, such as when to open and close trails.
Omick added: “We’ll be monitoring each trail and area, making sure they’re open when they’re supposed to be and closed when they’re supposed to be. So rather than going to unofficial websites that may not have current and up-to-date information, OuterSpatial will have information on all our assets that are open to the public. It is the official DLNR outdoor recreation app, and we encourage everyone who enjoys being out on the trails, in the forest, or in the parks to download it for free.”
DOFAW managers say the app’s applications are limitless and they plan to make it more robust over time.
“The sky is the limit,” Omick concluded.
App development cost an estimated $140,000 and there is a $10,000 annual charge from OuterSpatial.