About The Maps
I have had a few questions lately about what the river maps are so here is a little explanation and some hi-res screen shots of portions of the Missouri map to give you an idea of their level of detail. Basically I take hi-resolution aerial images provided by the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) of different rivers and then I label the public boat launch sites and various other areas of interest on the images. I add hatch charts, pictures of trout (submitted by friends & family) and high accuracy mileage charts which show the distances between the various boat launches. The maps are turned into PDF files and then plotted at Selby's at an approximate scale of 1" = 2000' on high quality paper suitable for framing.
Who buys the maps? Well, to date a number of the fly shops and other businesses on and around the Missouri have them up on there walls, as do vacation rentals in the area and several people who have fished the river. The maps are a quick, go-to source for planning a float, for explaining exactly where the fish are biting or for giving people general directions to areas on or around the river. Perhaps the most important use of the maps you will find is that they do great things for the mind when you are stuck inside, at work, miles away and jonesing for a trip to the river.
Why are they so big? The maps are large because they are plotted at the best scale for seeing detail in the photos. There are plenty of small, generic river maps on the market (all with varying levels of detail) that can be purchased if this is what you are after. I have some ideas in the works for shrinking the maps that I will be working on after the Yellowstone series is finished.
How did you get started making maps? The mapping project is something that occurred to me awhile back after the first NAIP color images came out. As a licensed Land Surveyor in, Montana I have access to a lot of high end software needed to work with the huge memory requirements of the NAIP imagery. On top of that I have gained a lot of experience over my years of surveying and mapping large properties throughout Montana.