Our Outdoor Future: Five Insights for the Future of Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports
This is the third of a five-part series from Powderhook.
“A simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business across our industry is the only way we can ensure the future of our way of life.”
Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO, Powderhook
In a little under two years of work on the access problem, Powderhook has learned a lot. Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve created five concepts we believe to be imperative for the future of our way of life. These insights represent, in our view, a cultural shift in thinking for our industry. Examples from other industries are provided as a means to rationalize each argument. It is our hope this series can serve as a springboard for new ideas and better solutions.
INSIGHT THREE: THE INDUSTRY NEEDS A COMMON REPOSITORY OF MAP INFORMATION
When Powderhook started, we adopted the mission statement “access for all.” To that end, we spent our first six months in business assembling all the public hunting and fishing resources we could find. With up to 17 different data sources in each state, we’ve assembled over 750,000 unique places to hunt and fish. We continue to invest in keeping this data as current as we can.
Powderhook has spent several hundred thousand dollars in the creation of our map, available for free here: www.powderhook.com/map. No one should have to do it again. Our map, or one like ours with considerably more input from the industry, should exist as an open standard for hunting, fishing and shooting related geographic information. With an open standard, all public agencies, NGOs, private companies and individuals could access a common tool and update a related data asset.
Currently map information exists in hundreds of data silos. Several fish and wildlife agencies have invested heavily in their mapping infrastructure. Others have not. Each has done it in their own way, making for a significantly higher cost for an NGO, private company or individual who may be willing to invest in their program related to getting people outdoors.
When a park closes on a fish and wildlife website, it should also reflect as closed on Powderhook, Google Maps and any other place people might seek that information. When a new hunting land is added from a private access program, it should be visible across the entire industry. WMA boundaries, public CRP maps, and all other places to hunt, fish and shoot that are paid for with tax and license dollars represent public information that should be organized and made available across the entire industry from an open source.
An open environment, welcoming of user contributions, such as www.openstreetmaps.com, is how we make it happen. Think of the future of mapping in our industry in much the same way you think of Wikipedia. Thousands of people have something they can contribute. We simply need to provide them the opportunity to do so.
Contact: Eric Dinger firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events. He can be reached at email@example.com.