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Lake Mapping – A Bright Idea for Smart Aquatic Management at Cabela's

Lake Mapping – A Bright Idea for Smart Aquatic Management

Author: Sean Sutherland

Launched in the spring of 2007, Cabela's Trophy Properties Lake Mapping Partner Program teams with contractors to deliver detailed bathymetric (lake) maps to a wide range of clients.

It is critical to know the exact acreage and depth range of your lake to make sound management decisions. Fish species selection, stocking density, placement of structure, aquatic weed control, waterfowl habitat improvement and excavation planning are just a sampling of endeavors that benefit from quality mapping.

For individuals and organizations pursuing a major lake or pond restoration project, precision mapping is essential to ensure accurate and effective sediment removal. Excavation and dredging companies and their clients benefit from highly accurate sediment-load calculations made possible by lake map data.

The Cabela's lake mapping system utilizes highly accurate procedures and equipment for data collection. Utilizing sub-foot accurate GPS units and hydro-acoustic depth-sounding equipment, our contractors log data points for extremely accurate location mapping. Hydro-acoustic depth sounding equipment measures depth with unparalleled accuracy.

It takes an experienced aquatic service provider who understands the morphology of a lake to determine optimum transect paths and data point frequency. A typical collection will consist of many transects containing thousands of points. Planning is essential before the team hits the water, as proper execution is just as important as technologically superior equipment packages.

Data is sent to the Cabela's Lake Mapping team in Sidney, Neb., where experienced geographers process the data to create a detailed lake map. Contour lines and depth notations are starting blocks for this process. A three-dimensional color model is also generated from this process. Accurate and eye-catching, this birds-eye three-dimensional image is an excellent visual aid for at-a-glance lake depth analysis.
Detailed aerial imagery enhances the usefulness and visual appeal of the lake map. The proximity of buildings, docks, roads and other structures can be very helpful in the lake management process.

Once a map is generated, a high-quality print can be produced in various sizes. This print shows depth through contour lines or color shades, as well as a variety of customer-specified options. Flat maps are excellent for viewing water bodies in the "big picture", but small details are often difficult for the human eye to define on a two-dimensional presentation. While the production of a two-dimensional contour map is a valuable, necessary step in lake and pond management, there is an even more visually friendly way to present lake and pond data. A three-dimensional fly-through (or in this case, "swim-through") version provides advantages over traditional, two-dimensional mapping. It puts lakebed contours in scale and perspective, a critical step for executing underwater structure and habitat improvements. Three-dimensional viewing is very helpful to anglers seeking a fish's eye view, whether for a big-money tournament or outfoxing structure-oriented bass in a private pond. Fly-through versions are available on DVD for home or office viewing.

Cabela's Lake Mapping provides its customers with a refined, user-friendly end product. A maximum amount of water body information is packaged in an easy-to-understand way. Detailed wall maps and fly-through DVDs bring the technology and tactical planning of Cabela's team and our professional partners together in a complete package. Cabela's is committed to providing its customers with the best customer service possible. Landowners, anglers and private associations alike will benefit greatly from Cabela's Lake Mapping.

Click link below to see enlarged lake mapping images:


Satellite View 1


Lake Hotspots


Satellite View 2


Sediment Quantity Analysis


Sediment Removal Analysis