New technology will make it easy for visitors to Oswego County to plan their stay. Our Candace Hopkins looks closer at an interactive map designed to showcase what the region offers.
OSWEGO, N.Y. -- People used to rely on guide books, catalogs and brochures to plan their vacations. Now, the internet and the popularity of travel websites has changed all of that in a big way.
However, it can be difficult to find a rural attraction such as a fishing hole or snowmobiling trail in Oswego County. But, a new online tool is making that much easier. The iMap features more than 500 points of interest, including hotels, restaurants, recreations areas, and museums.
"Our website previously had all those things listed, but they were in separate areas so you might go under shopping and look at the different shops. They were not placed on a map, now everything is placed on an interactive map, and you can create an itinerary," said Faith O'Brien, iMap creator and Oswego County Tourism Assistant.
Your itinerary can be broken down by day and unlike traditional mapping sites, it provides directions between several different stops. Although a guidebook or typical website may take a long time to update, the Oswego County Tourism Department can add or remove listings on the iMap within minutes.
"If a business closes it's easy for me to go in there and take it off the iMap, it takes me less than five minutes to add in a new place, and to go behind the scenes and actually move the place marker is quite simple," said O'Brien.
The map features businesses that may not have their own websites already, such as small fishing shops or lodges.
"If you have no web presence, if I can't find you on a Google search, now you can. I Google searched something this morning and the fifth selection down was our iMap listing a place, so even if there's no web presence for a business, they are now on our iMap online," added O'Brien.
The goal is to continue to strengthen the tourism industry, which brought in $128 million in 2012.
A lot of that money comes from fishermen. In 2011 more than 30,000 came from out of state. That's why tourism officials are currently developing a separate fishing app. Once finished, it will highlight everything visitors will need. It will also work in conjunction with the iMap.
The Oswego County Tourism Department is looking for input about this project from local businesses and attractions. If your listing is incorrect, or you would like to add a more detailed description, website, or other information, you're asked to call the department at (315) 349-8322.
Head to visitoswegocounty.com to view the map.