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Hit the road: Salt Lake man creates interactive trip planner

By Robynn Garfield, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - May 24, 2016 at 12:08 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — With summer heating up, many are looking for outdoor adventure.

Whether you’re looking for a quick day adventure near home or a full-scale vacation on wheels, look no further than John Lyman’s interactive Salt Lake City and Utah regional trip planning maps.

Lyman is the community program manager for Salt Lake City’s YouthCity program located in Liberty Park. He spends a good deal of time planning activities for the kids in his program and was looking for a better way to plan out routes and distances for day trips.

“My intent was to translate the State Office of Childcare’s summer activity guide into something visual,” Lyman said. “I struggle coming up with ideas to do with my students, so I thought this would help my staff and colleagues.”

Lyman created two interactive maps: one for Salt Lake City and one for Utah as a region. His maps allow users to choose a driving time to plan local activities. Adventure-seekers can plug in a desired drive time and then can choose from selected points of interest.

Lyman created the maps using Google’s My Map custom map tool.

“I would type in a destination and see how long the trip was,” Lyman said of the development process. “The most tedious part was creating the outlines of the distances.”

Even though his work calls for daily trip planning, Lyman said it was his upcoming anniversary with his wife Niccii that prompted him to create the larger, regional map to help him plan something fun for the two of them to do together.

“I was trying to think of creative places to plan a third anniversary trip,” Lyman said. “I had always thought that Salt Lake is located in a way that no other city on the continent was. You can go in X-direction for X-hours and find something worth the trip.”

Lyman said it was this accessibility that lead him to create his maps.

“All you have to do is decide how long you want to drive, and you can find yourself at Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Great Plains, or the Pacific Ocean," Lyman said.

Since developing the first map and posting on the SLC section of popular user-generated news site Reddit, Lyman has seen over 3,000 views on his project.

Lyman hopes people will use his maps as a jumping off point to plan their own adventures, whether they have 30 minutes or five days.

“I encourage people to make suggestions and then get inspired to check out the region," Lyman said. "Bookmark it for the next time you’re looking for an adventure.”


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About the Author: Robynn Garfield ---------------------------------

Robynn Garfield worked as a staff writer for KSL.com before relocating to the Bay Area with her husband and three young sons. She currently works as a freelance writer and digital media consultant. Robynn started her career in journalism as a radio news anchor. In her spare time Robynn can be found sewing, hiking, or playing at the beach with her family. Contact her at robynn.garfield@gmail.com or visit her website.

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