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The Participants

Observations of the townships around Grand Traverse Bay area of Lake Michigan seems to indicate that local units of government (LUGs) with a population of between 1,000 and 5,000 usually have permanent offices and some full-time staff members, but typically do not employ staff planners and technical professionals.

LUGs with populations greater than 5,000 tend to have professional planners and technical specialists with GIS skills among their full-time staff.  The probability of this being so increases in direct proportion to the LUG's population.

Hence for this project, LUGs with a population between 1,000 and 5,000 were earmarked for participation.  These LUGs would have a permanent office and staff, but probably with no full-time technical/professional specialists (other than zoning administrators) on the staff.

The townships that eventually agreed to participate in the open source GIS project all fit these criteria, with the exception of Blair Township (population).  Most of the project participants were previously acquainted with website author through professional or non-professional associations.  The author is a current resident of one of the participating townships (Acme), and a former resident of another (Elk Rapids).

The participating townships are as follows:

Local Unit of Gov't Popu-
County Participant Website
Acme 4,375 Grand Traverse Twp Manager
Blair 8,209 Grand Traverse Zoning Admin.
Clearwater 2,444 Kalkaska Plng. Comm.
Elk Rapids 1,642 Antrim Zoning Admin.
Whitewater 2,597 Grand Traverse Pt.Time Planner
* - from Counts 1860-2010 for Northwest Counties, Townships, Cities, Villages by NW Michigan Council of Governments

A local non-government organization that promotes and builds non-motorized trails in the Grand Traverse region  joined the project a bit later.  This organization is TART Trails Inc., which currently maintains about 40 miles of paved and unpaved trails, and is in various stages of planning for 40 more.  TART already has some map products downloadable as PDF files, and looks forward to developing interactive web maps to help trail users from around the country to plan their Grand Traverse area bicycling and hiking trips.  The TART staff participant is their trail planner/program manager.

The bulk of the sections of this website will be a showcase of the desktop and web map products from the project participants.  These sections will be updated as more products become available from the participants as the project progresses.