While I am continually adding new bird photos to my website, I admit I do often neglect to update the other pages on my website. One set of pages that has long cried for updates are the “Hotspot” pages. These are pages devoted to describing some of my favorite birding locations within South Dakota. The pages I had contained a lot of information, but for a guy whose JOB it is to spatially map things, I was pretty far behind the technology curve on my hotspots pages. The location maps and other maps were static screen grabs from maps I’d constructed in photoshop.
Time for an upgrade! What I want to do with my hotspot pages is not only highlight a location on a map, but allow a viewer to “drill in” to actually look at ground photos for specific locations in and around a hotspot. Using Google Map tools directly on the hotspot pages certainly allows for a much more dynamic and interactive environment than my old hotspot pages. I’ve updated all my existing hotspot pages to include interactive Google Map tools. The main hotspot page provides an overview map of South Dakota, with little owl icons marking some of my favorite birding locations. Clicking on an icon will bring you to a page devoted to birding information for that hotspot.
On each individual hotspot page is another interactive Google Map, showing specific areas of interest in and around the hotspot. For example, for the hotspot pages for the Big Sioux Recreation Area, the map provides 8 more little owl icons, each of which depicts an actual ground photo from that spot. The new pages thus allow a user to not only find the location of some of my favorite birding locations, but also allows a user to actually see ground photos of the area. Each individual hotspot page also highlights a number of bird photos that were actually taken at that hotspot.
I only had 9 “hotspot” locations listed in my old pages, and I want to start adding many more of my favorite birding locations. One new one that I’ve just added is a hotspot page for LaCreek National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a long drive from my hometown of Brandon (about 300 miles!), so I don’t get there all that often, but I do just love birding at LaCreek. Nothing beats curing the winter blues than going to LaCreek and seeing a number of massive Trumpeter Swans.
Hopefully this is just the start! I plan on doing more augmenting of the hotspot pages in the coming days and weeks, with a specific focus in the short term of now adding additional hotspot locations. I hope you find them useful!