Open Season

Are you GAME day ready?

Two important dates for outdoor recreation enthusiasts in Ontario are coming up at the end of the month.  First, bass season opens the last weekend in June for most areas.  Second, applications for the annual doe tag draw are due June 30. If your plans involve heading into the woods, especially an area you're not familiar with, First Base Solutions has maps and solutions to help you plan your expedition, stay safe, and keep it legal.

Dip, Dip, and Swing

Hiking, boating, and camping off the beaten path are fun activities that can quickly become a lot less fun if you become disoriented. Smart trailblazers always carry a traditional paper map and compass since your devices may not work in remote areas. In areas without roads and signage to point the way, the shapes of lakes, islands, and the lay of the land shown by contour lines (topography), and significant features such as dams, rapids, and submerged rocks that you'll want to know about before you get your boat in the water, can be used for orientation.

FBS is a reseller of the Ontario Base Map (OBM) series in both paper and digital formats, produced by the Ministry of Natural Resources, an excellent resource for exploring.  This series covers all of southern Ontario at 1:10,000 and northern Ontario at 1:20,000, except for City of Toronto and the extreme north. The maps are designed for backwoods users, with more emphasis on natural features than roads and other build features.

To purchase an OBM, you'll need to identify which map sheet covers your area of interest.  Search MapWarehouse, or review our FAQ's and look under OBM to learn more.

Ontario Base Map Detail

Hook, Line, and Sinker

If you're like me, you've got a map in your head of the spot where you caught your last lunker so you'll be able to find it again. If you're interested in seeing more detail of the area you plan to visit, FBS sells aerial and satellite imagery.

Aerial imagery can be captured at very high resolutions, as good as 3 cm/ pixel, allowing you to see photographic detail of trails, obstacles, hazards, and vegetation that just isn't possible with traditional maps like the OBM series. The landmarks you've used to locate your best fishing hole like rock shelves, weed beds, or submerged trees will be clear, and you'll be able to find areas with similar characteristics that you might want to try out.  FBS has archives of existing imagery dating back to 2000 that can be purchased and downloaded through MapWarehouse. We also have a fleet of Cessna aircraft equipped with high resolution camera systems that can be mobilized on demand to capture aerial imagery across North America. Know a good fishing hole?  We'd like to hear about it in the comments below.

Rice Lake, Orthophoto, 2008

Rice Lake, Ontario Base Map

Rice Lake, Orthophoto (2008) Detail

Satellite imagery typically has lower resolution than imagery captured by plane, so it has slightly less detail.  The advantage of satellite imagery is that it can be collected and delivered in days of placing an order for the most up to date product possible. You'll be able to see current conditions such as seasonal flooding and low water levels that can affect access into some lakes. Furthermore, the imagery can be ordered as natural colour, just to see what's there, but other options exist to capture imagery outside the visible spectrum to evaluate vegetation, and even penetrate water.

Lock, Stock, and Barrel

Hunting continues to be a popular and rewarding activity in spite of all the getting up early, being quiet, sitting still, and following rules.  So many rules!  Many of these rules are based on geography, so using mapping products to plan ahead for safety and compliance makes sense.

FBS's products such as OBM or aerial imagery can be used as for hiking and fishing to navigate in the woods and identify specific areas of wetland, dense cover, or other habitat that could support the species you're after.  The contours lines on OBM offer an additional advantage for hunters because the topography can help you determine which direction has a downhill slope where it's safe to shoot, since you would never want to send your shot up and over a hill, across a road, or into an unknown area.

For the sophisticated hunter, VuMAP takes aerial imagery one step further and adds tools to take accurate measurements and make notes over the imagery.  You can assess the area you plan to hunt in advance to determine potential locations for blinds and bait stations, and measure to ensure they're 400m apart. Measuring out precise distances for informal ranges can help you sight your firearms accurately too.

Bow hunters can increase accuracy by estimating shot distance relative to known distances to landmarks around their stand.

VuMAP helps answer practical compliance questions such as, is it OK to target bears in this woodlot?

Yes! It's more than 400m away from the landfill. (Always ask permission from the landowner first and check with the municipality for times when firearms discharge is permitted. Remember that 400m is the bare minimum, a bear that eats garbage will taste like garbage.)

VuMAP also lets you layer contour lines over the imagery which are more detailed (1m intervals) than those seen on OBMs (10 m intervals) so you can understand the lay of the land clearly and know what's beyond your target using photographic detail. There are useful layers describing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that can be layered over the imagery, as well as property lines and municipal boundaries to ensure you're in your prescribed area.

VuMAP helps orientation by layering topographic features with imagery.

Layering property lines with imagery helps you identify where you can hunt.

VuMAP has a free trial so you can see how easy it is to use with no commitment.


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