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Maps -- Uses

For a break from the Jakarta hubbub, some residents seek quiet rural places for relaxing or walking. Unfortunately, not many such places are easily accessible to Jakarta.

Many visit the Puncak area at the foot of Mt. Gede and Pangrango in West Java. The road to the Puncak is often jammed on weekends, as many go there with their family or business friends, to enjoy the cool air and views of nature. But most tourists visit hotels and restaurants along the high­way and don’t explore the hinterland for lack of information.

Rural tourism, well dev­eloped in Europe, is an interesting option for Indonesia. It would offer beautiful views, rural ambiance, friendly residents, small vegetable gardens and wide plantations, glistening rice paddies, rivers with clear waters and occasional waterfalls, forest, and tropical flora and fauna. But all this is not yet available to the local tourist. Tourists who would like to walk about, sleep in a natural setting, and enjoy the quiet rural scene, can’t easily do this for lack of information on where to go.

A good map is the key. In Europe and America, many maps are available for hiking and excursions in nature. Information in the form of a detailed, accurate map will help tourists to explore a rural area on their own, using footpaths, visiting spots of interest, observing wildlife and the rural scene. A well preserved environment would become an attraction for tourists.

The mapped areas are at the foot of the twin volcanoes, Gede and Pangrango, and comprise terrain that is broken by the numerous rivers that flow down from the mountains. There are varied types of land use including rice paddies, dry fields, tea plantations and tropical rain forest. Each land use type has its charms. In rice paddies the wanderer can walk on the dykes between the paddies; the paths are often comfortable for barefoot strolls. Many dry fields involve raised bed agriculture, an intensive way of raising vegetables in the rich volcanic soil in carefully tended patches of only a few hundred square meters. Tea plantations provide broad vistas and an opportunity to wander at will without losing one’s orientation. The tropical rain forest is usually in better shape the farther it lies from populous villages. Residential areas in the mapped areas range from crowded villages to small settlements and lone houses (marked).

The maps enable walkers to previsualize the terrain where they will wander. They can choose the elevations and kinds of land use through which they will pass. They will know which places are steep and which level. They can navigate either with a compass and altimeter or with a GPS receiver.

The areas lend themselves to hikes of all kinds. One can swiftly traverse a set course or wander in a relaxed manner. The slow pace of traditional agriculture and variety of the areas are well suited for wanderers who wish to ‘smell the flowers’ at their own pace. The maps could also be used for geocaching or orientation games. For example, two groups of walkers could agree to begin walking at different points and to meet at a certain spot on the map. Bird watchers would also find the maps useful. A system of indexed grid boxes, each 250 meters square, enables users to identify a partic­u­lar grid square where they could meet.

The mapped areas are also suitable for off road bikes and even for picnics for hardy motorist by the side of stone or dirt roads. Once again, the maps will enable the users to find and identify the roads and spots that strike their fancy.

Each map comprises about 50 square kilometers of mostly rural terrain, an area so wide that one would need several weeks to explore all of it on foot.