Taking tech to our trails

This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

Just as we might use a technology like Google Street View in preparation of a trip, we can now do the same to prepare for a hike. Or a bike ride. Or a canoe trip. It’s the result of a new online portal from SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

Marrying technology and nature, SEMCOG has debuted a new mapping tool, the Southeast Michigan Trail Explorer, that offers users a virtual tour of more than 800 miles of southeastern Michigan’s biking, hiking, and water trails.

The Southeast Michigan Trail Explorer is integrated with SEMCOG’s Southeast Michigan ParkFinder smartphone app. The app allows users to explore more than 2,600 parks throughout Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.

“We know that people utilize smartphones and technology when planning a trip,” says Kevin Vettraino, manager of plan implementation at SEMCOG.

“If you better understand how our network of trails work, you’re more likely to enjoy them.”

Much like Google Street View allows users to freely walk city streets and familiarize themselves with their surroundings, the Trail Explorer enables the same. The hundreds of miles of documented trails include those by land, including the Clinton River Trail, Detroit Riverwalk, and Hines Park Bikeway, and those by water, including the Belle Isle Loop, Lake Huron, and St. Clair River.

SEMCOG also has the Southeast Michigan Bicycle Network, an online map of the region’s bike pathways, lanes, and other routes.

“This is so people can better understand the many opportunities we have in the region, to see how our parks and trails work together,” Vettraino says.

“It’s a really unique view of what’s out there, learned from the comfort of a computer.”

Visit the Southeast Michigan Trail Explorer, Southeast Michigan ParkFinder, and Southeast Michigan Bicycle Network online.

Visit Driven and learn how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

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