New Smokies maps are highly detailed and 3-D

Great Smoky Mountains in October, (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- A group of volunteers is testing the accuracy of a new set of highly detailed three-dimensional maps of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The maps are made using laser pulses transmitted from an airplane and reflected off the ground.

Tom Colson is the park's geographic information systems specialist. He told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the maps are so detailed one can see where a boulder fell down a mountain and came to rest against a stump.

Currently volunteers hiking the backcountry are taking global positioning system readings to confirm the accuracy of the new maps. Once that is done, they will be made available to the public on an interactive website.

Colson expects that to happen around the middle of next year.

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