DuPage rolls out new web-based bike trail map
By Susan Frick Carlman email@example.com October 5, 2012 11:48AM
The new interactive map for users of DuPage County’s trails can be found through these steps:
Log on to www.co.dupage.il.us. Pull down the “services” list and choose “A-B.” From there, double-click on “Bikeways and Trails,” then go to the “Maps” rail on the left and click on that. Finally, select “DuPage County Go Bike.”
Tom Ricker, global information systems manager, said the page soon will be made easier to find from the county’s home page.
Updated: November 8, 2012 6:14AM
DuPage County’s trail system is growing ever more user-friendly for bicyclists. A new software system developed by county staff enables website visitors to find the best way to go from one point to another, whether they’re serious pedalers or prefer roads less traveled.
“On the old application, we found they were routing people onto interstates,” said Tom Ricker, global information systems manager, who demonstrated the new web function to the DuPage County Environmental Committee recently.
Site users can locate planned stops or destinations, as well as their current locations, and access information about the route in between, including things like mass transit hubs, scenic stops and the nearest bike shops. The map also designates roads on the basis of navigational ease for casual riders or those who are more experienced, and provides a way for users to offer input.
Ricker said the software can be converted to a mobile application, but more work needs to be done before it’s easy to read on a small screen.
Committee members were impressed all the same.
“I think this is amazing, and the functionalities that you’ve added are fantastic,” said Tony Michelassi, who represents Naperville and Aurora on the County Board and used the map to plot a bike route from his home to the nearest supermarket. “The question now is, how do we get this out to the biking community in DuPage?”
He suggested adding a mention of the feature to the county’s home page, an approach he used with good results as chairman of the Development Committee when it was considering a major amendment to the zoning code last year.
Committee member Bob Larsen also pointed out that executing searches on the main site is often cumbersome, yielding numerous PDF documents such as agendas and meeting minutes that are not what is being sought. He wondered what can be done to ease the process.
Chief information officer Don Carlsen acknowledged that ease of use is a goal for the GIS department. Virtually any new web feature, he said, needs to be usable by smart phones.
“Search and mobile are by far the big deals,” Carlsen said.
Jeff Redick, who chairs the committee, was nonetheless pleased with the outcome and said the decision not to hire an outside consultant to create the map was a good one.
“When we took this on in-house, there was some question as to what we were going to get,” Redick said. “I think it’s clear from this presentation that we’ve got a superior product.”