High-resolution aerial imagery helps hunters plan and prepare

Traditionally, hunting information has been shared by word of mouth among friends and family, but with the abundance of readily-available data—such as aerial imagery, weather data, and first-hand hunting experiences—planning and executing a hunt has dramatically changed. Hunters are now turning to more advanced planning tools to better prepare and improve their odds for a successful hunt. After recognizing that aggregating a myriad of useful data inputs could better assist hunters in planning their hunts, Jeff Courter, Founder and CEO of Sportsman Tracker, launched a mobile app called HuntWise.

HuntWise addresses the two main problems faced by hunters—knowing where and when to hunt. Hunters can access various data layers such as aerial imagery, wind and weather forecasting, and property boundaries while sharing their experiences in a community forum of hunters. HuntWise was an immediate success upon release to the public, particularly among white-tailed deer hunters in the Midwestern United States.

What does a hunter need to know?

For a safe, legal, and successful expedition, hunters need a variety of accurate information about the scouted area. The first step is getting contextual information about where they plan to hunt.  In early 2020, Sportsman Tracker began offering the HxGN Content Program imagery layer to their HuntWise users to provide an enhanced user experience in scouting, location intelligence, and contextual awareness of property boundaries. In addition to understanding the hunt area, HuntWise applies predictive analytics to wind and weather data to identify the optimal time of day and specific places to hunt.

“We need current, accurate, detailed information to get the best results for our users. The ability to layer data on top of a base map is key to developing a flexible, effective solution for our hunter community.” 

— Spencer Blanchard, VP of Marketing and Growth at Sportsman Tracker

The Sportsman Tracker team learned that their users were scouting an area virtually before arriving to save time in the field, avoid unwanted surprises, and keep from encroaching on private property or restricted areas. By leveraging the HxGN Content Program’s high-resolution aerial imagery as the base map for HuntWise, they enhanced hunters’ understanding of the terrain and surrounding areas. The hunting app features proprietary map layers built on the base map, allowing hunters to mark items such as access points, boundaries, and walking routes.

HuntWise also features custom “pins” that users can drop on the map to mark food, water, blinds, stands, gear, walking trails, etc. Maps, images, and data is saved to users’ devices and can be accessed offline to navigate the field. Leveraging the imagery layers, location intelligence, and community inputs in HuntWise provide users with a more informed and enjoyable hunting experience.

High-resolution aerial imagery for an improved UX

Early versions of HuntWise provided low-resolution satellite imagery. As user feedback came in, the team realized that the satellite data lacked the accuracy and resolution most suitable for its users. They decided to search for a source of high-resolution imagery available in a WMTS platform that could accommodate multiple data layers, provide the data quality their users needed, and have flexible use terms to allow for offline data access.

Sportsman Tracker approached Hexagon partner and reseller Woolpert, a 110-year-old company with a rich history in geographic information systems (GIS), for an alternative to its satellite imagery provider. Based on its expertise within the space, Woolpert was confident that high-resolution aerial imagery from the HxGN Content Program was the best solution for this hunting map use case.

“High-resolution aerial imagery really adds value to virtual scouting and navigating in the field. For those unable to visit an area in-person before their hunt, the app allows them to plan and prepare. Hexagon has great data quality, an efficient process to distribute updated imagery, and a well-thought-out plan for acquiring future coverage.”

— Jeremy Quam, Woolpert Solutions Expert
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By moving to Hexagon’s on-demand tile-based streaming solution, Sportsman Tracker improved the user experience for hunters across the United States, helping them be in the right place at the right time.

Ready-to-use aerial imagery data

The HxGN Content Program has a long history of helping customers build solutions to meet the needs of their users.  It is user-ready with the most comprehensive library of 4-band 12-inch resolution aerial imagery available—including the contiguous United States and all of Western Europe—and 6-inch resolution aerial imagery of urban areas.  The data quality and coverage provide users across industries with the imagery layer needed to provide contextual insights, find features, plan, and measure. Data is delivered via OGC compliant WMS/WMTS protocols, and updates to the imagery are automatically made available to customers.

To learn more about Hexagon’s HxGN Content Program, please visit hxgncontent.com.

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