This started out as a simple smartphone GPS(GPX) trace. A trace to follow the route through a local course, which I could later add to my own map. Of course that map had to include the beginning and ending for each hole – tees and baskets. Nice! And easy! …Hmmm maybe way too easy. Decided to digitize the surroundings in ArcGIS for Desktop to really make the course stand out. Some of the data was available, but most of it did not meet the quality standards I was after – so I ended up becoming super-efficient at a variety of digitizing techniques instead. Note: I did and still do turn to Google Maps for reference in their top-gun imagery. In your face, everyone else’s imagery.
The first result was not bad, and caught the attention of the right people at the right time. It just so happened that a prominent local tournament could use such mapping for a few area courses. Sweet.
It's been great so far. Courses are a nice size for weekend projects, and contain a good variety of features to work with. Oddly enough, what I consider the biggest challenge to date has been depicting trees. When canopy is sparse, you can drop points to represent trees and shrubs, but that gets to be tedious rather quickly. And finding the best way to get those points to display at a quasi-relative circumference can also be WMTTD (Way More Tedious Than Desired). Other options used include tracing the boundary of thick canopy areas or my favorite, extracting them from DSM (takes a billion mouse-clicks off your finger, but you still spend enough trial and error time finding that perfect set of values that your default gdb looks like its ten years old).
No matter what methods have been used, a number of new tricks were picked up along the way that fulfilled certain needs and have made for easier going moving forward (hooray GIS). This has been a great example of utilizing the technology for a practical use while coupling it with an enjoyable pastime. Not to mention it will help in a small way to contribute to both the disc golf and local communities. Win-Win.