Outdoors comes inside via computer program Topographic maps on CDs ease preseason scouting

March 29, 1998|By PETER BAKER | PETER BAKER,SUN STAFF

Opening day of the spring turkey season is several weeks away, but many hunters have been in the field across the state, tramping ridge lines and making notations on topographic maps or trusting promising locations to memory.

For a lot of turkey hunters, exhaustive and exhausting preseason scouting is an integral part of the sport, a time when one learns much about the animal and its preferred habitat. For others, it simply isn't possible to take time away from work and family to scout the old-fashioned way.

MapTech, Inc., has produced TopoScout, a computer program that can bring the hiking, fishing or hunting traditionalist into the 21st century a few years early.

"It's really a new way to explore the outdoors," said Martin Fox of MapTech, which has its headquarters in Greenland, N.H. "With the power of desktop computers, everyone can easily unlock a wealth of mapping information to plan, map and record their outdoor ventures."

MapTech has recorded USGS topographic maps on CDs for use with CD-ROM computers and incorporated map viewing at four zoom levels and print functions. With TopoScout, it is possible to use maps with 1:24,000 or 1:100,000 scales and measure distance and area and determine path elevation and line-of-sight profiling.

A review of the system with the Maryland CDs proved to be a simple and detailed operation. With known coordinates, maps can be referenced for favorite fishing and hunting locations using GPS coordinates in latitude and longitude, UTM or MGRS.

"A hunter or fisherman who takes a GPS unit into the field can save his way points and enter them on the appropriate topo map later, too," said Fox. "What results is a personalized map of favorite-or perhaps not-so-favorite-locations. And if the map gets torn, soaked or lost, you just go back to the computer and print out a new one."

MapTech has 20 states on CDs, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware.

According to MapTech, individual CDs hold up to 250 USGS maps per disc and cost $99 each, with multiple-CD states specially priced. The same number of topo maps would cost retire than $1,000.

MapTech has a working demo program that can be downloaded from its Web site at www.maptech.com.

White perch running

With the weather finally spring like, the white perch run is hot in many tidewater tributaries and was torrid late last week on Tuckahoe Creek and at Red Bridges on the Choptank River.

Water levels, which had been high after extended rainfall, area dropping to normal levels and bank fishermen should have good access to rivers and creeks.

On the Tuckahoe, the best area for white perch last week was just below the dam and bridge on Crouse Mill Road in Tuckahoe State Park, where the perch were thick and good-sized and hitting on grass shrimp and shad darts.

At Red Bridges, water levels were falling, but flows were still strong and perch anglers were having good success a quarter mile downstream.

Other good locations for perch fishing have been Millington one the Chester River, Urieville spillway, Longwoods, Greensboro on the Choptank and Hillsborough on the Tuckahoe.

According to DNR Fisheries Service biologists, Western Shore tributaries can be expected to pick up the perch action this week as the weather continues to warm.

Mumm's word for Larson

Annapolis sailmaker Chris Larson won the Mumm 36 World Championships in Miami earlier this month, teaming with tactician John Kostecki to win five of 10 races and finish no lower than fourth in the others.

Larson, a sailmaker for North Sails One-Design, was skipper of the German team aboard New Yorker, which struggled in fluky conditions early in the regatta.

"Patience was key," said Larson. "The early part of the regatta was sailed in tricky conditions with shifty and unstable winds out of the northeast."

But after a midweek meeting Kostecki, skipper for Chessie Racing on the current leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race, New Yorker won every race. Larson clinched the title by winning the heavily weighted distance race by more than 15 minutes.

Pub Date: 3/29/98

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