Mobile GPS Mapping Improves Indiana Land Trust Management

Land trusts increasingly benefit from newest GPS mapping and GIS data collection advances

Bloomington, Ind. (November 24, 2009) – Conservation land trusts, one of the fastest-growing and most successful conservation movements in American history, are increasingly finding the benefits of the newest GIS technology. Case in point is Sycamore Land Trust, one of an estimated 1700 land trusts in the U.S. It conserves more than 5,500 acres on 66 parcels of beautiful southern Indiana open space. Recognizing that good land management calls for good mapping practices, Sycamore Land Trust, with the assistance of 39 Degrees North, LLC, GIS specialists, and a business supporting sponsor of Sycamore Land Trust together with Magellan Professional, has taken steps to upgrade its GIS proficiency, including use of the MobileMapper CX, GIS and GPS receiver and data collector.
John Lawrence, assistant director and chairman of the Stewardship Committee, oversees land management for Sycamore Land Trust, including the mapping of parcel boundaries, hiking trails, areas of invasive species and locations of rare plant species. Lawrence, who had until recently used a consumer grade GPS receiver, finds that mapping accuracy and efficiency has improved dramatically since he began using the Magellan Professional MobileMapper CX with Mobile Mapping software about two months ago.
“The meter to sub-meter accuracy of the MobileMapper CX helps speed locating existing monuments and markers, and I have more confidence that I am accurately walking boundaries,” says Lawrence. Lawrence says much of his fieldwork is “an iterative process.” For boundary work John starts by creating a polygon of the parcel in ArcView using survey information and legal descriptions. He exports the polygon as a shapefile to the MobileMapper CX using MobileMapper Office and overlays a topographic background map. On site, he walks the area with the MobileMapper orienting the polygon and making field adjustments based on found markers and monuments. “The MobileMapper CX is a huge time saver for me. Now when I am in the field, I always carry it so that I can easily add and update data at every opportunity,” says Lawrence.
Sycamore Land Trust’s new professional MobileMapper CX allows a much more efficient GIS update than the basic data collection the organization previously performed with a consumer GPS. The MobileMapper CX supports the ESRI .SHP file format and allows data import and export from the office to the field and vice versa. In addition, the MobileMapper CX is very rugged and safe for use in harsh outdoor environments. The MobileMapper CX is complete with field and office software that include a post-processing option enabling collected data to be improved to sub-foot accuracy.

About Sycamore Land Trust

Founded in 1990, the mission of Sycamore Land Trust is to preserve the disappearing landscape of southern Indiana. Sycamore Land Trust, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, conserves land to provide habitat for wildlife, protect scenic beauty, and provide open spaces for outdoor enjoyment and education. By working with private landowners to protect their family heritage, SLT helps maintain southern Indiana’s unique character.

About 39 Degrees North

Founded in December 2004, 39 Degrees North LLC is an Indiana-based company specializing in software development, principally the design and implementation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In particular, it provides system architecture and geodatabase design, development of custom desktop and Internet mapping applications, and data creation and migration services. It also provides consulting, expert analysis, and other highly specialized services based on customer requirements.

About Magellan Professional

Recognized as an industry innovator, Magellan Professional has been developing GNSS technology for more than 20 years. Magellan Professional is the creator of BLADE™ technology, which introduces a unique patented method to the market using multiple GNSS constellations for high-accuracy positioning. Magellan Professional has also introduced the MobileMapper series of products for GIS and mapping, as well as the ProFlex™ 500 and ProMark™ series, including the ProMark 500, ProMark3 RTK and ProMark 3, a well-recognized GNSS Land Survey product line currently on the market. Magellan Professional is privately held and headquartered in Carquefou, France, with offices in Santa Clara, California, Moscow, Beijing, China, Singapore, and The Netherlands. For more information on Magellan Professional, visit