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Forest Service Seeks Online Storefront for Digital Maps

The Forest Service owns and manages many national forests, including Montana's Lolo National Forest .

The Forest Service owns and manages many national forests, including Montana's Lolo National Forest . // Forest Service photo

The U.S. Forest Service wants to contract with online retailers so it can sell digital and digitally-enhanced versions of its national forest maps and atlases along with forest map-based mobile apps, according to solicitation documents posted Thursday.

The Forest Service produces numerous hardcopy maps that it sells to about 250,000 tourists and hikers each year, the request for proposals said, but its sale of digital maps through its own websites has been more limited.

The agency hopes to remedy that by selling maps through a vendor such as iTunes or Google’s e-Bookstore, which could digitally enhance the agency’s base maps to make them more interactive and user friendly.

The Forest Service plans to offer 18 digital visitor maps of national forests in California, Arizona and New Mexico to start along with about six full digital atlases, the agency said.

The price per map may vary, the agency said, because it is required by law to at least break even on any map-selling ventures. 

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