‘Maps are both a useful tool and magic carpet to faraway places…’
My name is Leslie. I like maps. I take that back….I really like maps.
Some of you might know me from my travels with one, Chris Kehmeier. Together we were the 14th Trail Care Crew, living in a Subaru from 2009 to 2011. Since leaving the road last July, I’m been jumping back into my chosen profession, GIS work and mapping.
Better yet, I get to do this work for IMBA in my new role as a Mapping Specialist.
Way back when, I decided to become a geographer for a few reasons, one being to make "pretty maps." I was also trying to avoid math, but that’s another story. During my time at the University of Colorado I would come to find out that "pretty maps" were great for impressing your classmates, but clearly not going to change the world. Or so I thought at the time.
A lot has changed about mapping and the way we do it since I emerged from my collegiate cocoon 17 years ago. Back in the day I had learned how to make maps by hand before I transitioned to a computer. Yes, that’s right, a map by hand. Drafted with pens and paper. Yes, seriously.
Today paper maps are not a thing of the past, but they have definitely become somewhat dwarfed by the advent of computers, the internet and mobile phones. There is now an overwhelming plethora of electronic information at our fingertips and we have the ability to look at our world from a digital birdseye view.
In my new role, I will be leading the charge to immerse IMBA in the world of mapping. Since almost everything we do is location-based, we have the great opportunity to connect people to the world of mountain bike advocacy in a way that’s both graphically informative and visually exciting. From the regions we cover to the members we serve, right down to the trails we ride, the Mapping Program will further IMBA’s mission to ‘protect, create, and enhance great trails experiences for mountain bikers worldwide’.
Or to put it more simply, IMBA is going to do what I envisioned almost two decades ago — make pretty maps that can change the world.
Send Leslie your ideas for the kinds of maps you'd like IMBA to produce: leslie [dot] kehmeier [at] imba [dot] com