Outdoors Writer

From orienteering games to hunting and fishing, handheld technology’s uses in the outdoors continue to grow in ways that improve, rather than interfere with, the overall experience. That was the goal Mike Gogal had in mind when he created the smart phone and tablet application Stream Map USA.

“I’d rather spend my time fishing than wasting it trying to find the next place to fish,” said Gogal, an avid angler turned electronic cartographer. “In the past, I always used maps for my fishing adventures and have amassed a huge collection. Today, they’re just getting harder and harder to find.”

To that end, Gogal quit looking in 2014 and resorted to making his own. His passion has grown into a company specializing in creating map-based applications that let iOS and Android devices serve as fully-functional field navigation tools. Previous releases from the company, Gogal Publishing, have covered national parks as well as trout fishing opportunities in Pennsylvania and Colorado, but their most recent release covers every stream in the lower 48 states.

In the app, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds are searchable by name or location, and the app is synchronized to the turn-by-turn mapping function already on each device. Further, the app provides access to US Geological Survey data, including stream gauges, where available, that report stream height and flow in real time.

Waypoints can be created with a touch of the map, then saved and accessed later, and maps are designed to be downloaded in such a way as to be available when cellular coverage is not. This means the device and application can be used for guided direction between any set of stored points whether the phone has wireless connectivity or not.

Finding new waters to study and explore can begin with a zooming view of the map, where streams stand out in colors coordinated to separate tributaries one from another, or through the search function, which can find waters by name, region, state or county. Once a spot is found, a touch of the map creates a waypoint, and another tap brings up driving directions that come closest to that spot. On the scene and on foot from there, the app guides the adventurer to the chosen fishing hole.

“For me, traveling the wilderness on a new stream, rod in hand, is the ultimate thrill,” Gogal said. “I’ve spent thousands of hours wading America’s streams, anticipating what’s around the next bend, analyzing the water character, and ultimately finding the wild trout. Of course, the challenge has always been finding those steams. Before Stream Map USA, I’d spend hours in front of my computer researching and staring at maps. Now, I can find any stream in seconds, get directions right to it, and know exactly where I am as I travel. I now spend my time fishing instead of finding a place to fish.”

Stream Map USA is currently available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Each edition is $9.99 and can be installed on multiple devices, including both phones and tablets.

To learn more about the company, visit gogalpublishing.com.

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