The Hawai’i Division of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) joined the OuterSpatial platform in 2021. Since joining, the organization has loaded up recreation data for over a million acres of protected land covering a quarter of the state's entire land area. Visitors can now explore Hawai’i’s trails, hunting areas, and natural resources — all via the OuterSpatial app.
Although DLNR has published its authoritative recreation data into the app so all visitors, no matter their interests or skill level, can safely enjoy the state’s recreation opportunities, one of the main reasons for offering an app was to solve one of the department’s major challenges and pain points: efficiently monitoring hunter check-ins and collecting detailed hunt harvest information. For years, hunters have been required to manually check-in at hunter stations distributed across the state. This created a lot of challenges and frustration for both hunters and management. Many of the stations are hard to access, have no cell coverage, and require manual upkeep. DLNR staff had to drive out to the stations to monitor who was in what hunting zones, and at what times, and manually collect and log harvests.
“We found a lot of people wanted to be able to check-in electronically. With this mobile app they can do that and more,” says DLNR Wildlife Biologist, Jason Omick.
Since its launch, the app has been used by tens of thousands of locals and visitors, and nearly a thousand hunters actively use the app to skip the line and check-in to their hunting zone, log their harvest, connect with other hunters, and create real-time updates and posts. This new approach has significantly reduced the heavy load and lines experienced at hunter check-in stations around the island during peak season.
With continued growth in usage, land and resource managers like Mr. Omick are also leveraging anonymized metrics captured by the app to actively inform management decisions. They can now better answer questions like:
- Which hunting zones get more usage?
- How do we better distribute the impact?
- When do we open and close trails?
Omick added: “DLNR monitors each trail and area, making sure they’re open when they’re supposed to be and closed when they’re supposed to be. So rather than going to unofficial websites that may not have current and up-to-date information, OuterSpatial has information on all our assets that are open to the public. It is the official DLNR outdoor recreation app, and we encourage everyone who enjoys being out on the trails, in the forest, or in the parks to download it for free.”