About MapTools

I hope that you find the tools and information on these pages useful. The tools and the instructions that make up the MapTools web site have been evolving since about 1993.

My parents were both avid outdoor enthusiasts, back when the REI catalog was just a mimeographed sheet. So I grew up paddling kayaks, hiking the trails of Northern New Mexico and camping all over the West. In 1980, I joined the search and rescue team at the college where I was a student, Socorro Search & Rescue. Since then I've been a member of various volunteer search and rescue teams as I've moved around the country.

My land navigation skills continued to develop and I began teaching the skills to my fellow search and rescue team members. Starting in 1993, I began using the web as a method to distribute handouts and overlay graphics that I used in my classes. In 1995 MapTools.com was established as my domain name for my mapping stuff, moving the pages off of the local sar teams web page. In the early days the site was mostly a collection of useful pdf files that could be printed onto overhead transparency material.

I found that many of the SAR folks that I work with needed some of these map tools to be readily available on a long lasting material. The do it yourself nature of printing the pdf file onto overhead transparency stock was not meeting their needs. In 1997 I had the "1:24,000 Scale Pocket UTM Overlay" printed on 30mil plastic and made them available on the MapTools web page. The 1:24k tool has been very popular, with more than 5000 of them in use.

The web pages and the tools themselves are all designed on a Apple Macintosh, using various tools by Adobe Systems. I've been both a Mac user and developer since the days of the very first Macs. I spent about 3 years working for Adobe, after they acquired a small software company I started while in graduate school. During the "internet boom" I worked for a small dot-com building an map based business directory that combined street maps with orthorectified aerial photography.

These days I'm back to what I refer to as "self-unemployed." Doing a mixture of software development, GIS consulting, teaching classes, working on the MapTools web pages, SAR stuff, and hiking.