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Conquer any Land Trust of North Alabama trail with new mapping app

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - This is a story for anyone who has ever gotten a little lost while hiking on any of the Land Trust of North Alabama's trails. A Huntsville company started about a year ago has done all the leg work for you, and has launched a way for you to stay on the right path that's available right on your smart device.

Forget zooming, pinching and trying to decipher a regular old map. Cartotracks' smart PDF map is about to set you right.

"It gives you the 'blue dot,' if you will, of exactly where you are in relationship to the whole trail network," says Land Trust Executive Director Marie Bostick who explains the app offers informed, guided naturing with no WI-FI, no LTE, no network required.

"The cool thing about it is that the map is stored locally on the device," says Jake White who co-founded Cartotracks with wife Jennifer. "So you can go offline essentially where there is no cell signal and as long as you've got a decent view of the sky for a GPS lock you can locate yourself on that map. And the map doesn't need a cell tower to refresh as you pan in the map."

White and his wife both have backgrounds in geography and geology. Jennifer's specialty is cartography, so she's responsible not only for making the maps 'look pretty' but for making sure each trail is properly attributed to every actual, terrestrial detail -- down to rock formations, special features, topography and even available benches along the trail.

Jake has already done all the heavy lifting for those who will benefit from the service.

"He sure did," Bostick says. "He walked all the trails in all 5 of our nature preserves. So it's not just Monte Sano that we've done but it's Harvest Square, Blevins Gap, and Rainbow Mountain. And so he walked all those miles of trails; a little over 50 miles."

Land trust members will be the first to benefit from the new feature, at no cost. "They get that whole map package for free as a membership perk," says White. But he explains, anyone can download the free third party app, PDF-Maps, and any of Cartotracks maps, from the app store on any Apple or Android device.

"And we're hoping that not only helps our existing members but does get us a few new members along the way, too," Bostick says.