Why FootPrints Maps?  

FootPrints was actually born in the wilds of New Mexico. On a month long prospecting trip to a gold bearing region that is 40 miles from the nearest water, 80 miles from the nearest grocery store and who knows how far from the nearest internet connection, we found ourselves stranded with little information about the area we were prospecting.

We were having some success, but as usual looking for the good stuff. While working the drywasher, the recirculating sluice and the metal detector we had lots of time to speculate and theorize about the best place to dig. But that's all we could do. We had no real information on this area to guide us to better results.

We wanted to know where else we could prospect in the area. We wanted to understand the nature of what we were seeing on the ground. The stream bed we were working had obviously been dug up and the land altered. Where did the water flow historically? What was the source of the gold in the area? Where were the early mines?

We met many prospectors during that month who had arrived just like us.....with lots of equipment, lots of ideas and virtually no real information about where we were and where the best place to look for gold would be. We met locals who did know where there was gold, some even showed us their finds. But most were not very forthcoming about where exactly it came from. (Go figure.)

Not one of the prospectors who came through, including us, could identify the bounds of the claim we were working. All of them had a difficult time finding it in the first place. We did not know what other areas around were open to prospecting.

Most of the prospectors left with no gold at all. Each of them had only a few days to spend on the claim. Most of their time was spent wandering with a metal detector, sampling the stream bed and basically hoping for good luck. Over the course of a whole month, what we found is that everyone basically parked, camped and prospected unsuccessfully in the exact same place.

Their were two prospectors, from Oklahoma who were quite successful in their prospecting trip. They told us that their wives gave them 2 weeks each year to take a prospecting trip and hinted that they better find gold if they wanted to go again next year. They studied, and researched and came prepared to make the best of their time on site. They hit the ground running and they found gold. I'd be willing to bet they were back the next year.

When we returned home, we began to search for information about the area. We found that the government provides lots of information that prospectors can use. You can get claims information, topo maps, mines data, hydrology data and more from the US Government. Their are several providers of streaming satellite imagery available on the internet.

But getting the right data for the area we were looking for required a lot of research time, a high speed internet connection, lots of patience and sometimes expensive or complicated software. No one offered a map of existing claims and the process of plotting the claims found only at the County Recorder was a major effort. Even with the data in hand there was no easy way to consolidate it into a clear, comprehensive view of the area we wanted to prospect.

We decided then that we would find a way to help ourselves and fellow prospectors. The FootPrints mapping program is the result.


It takes more than luck for most of us to become successful prospectors.

That's why we make FootPrints.