As part of the Office of the Comptroller’s Agri-Tourism Day at the Illinois State Fair, Lake Land College, along with the East Central Illinois Development Corporation (ECIDC), was awarded the Agri-Tourism Leaders Award for a project that mapped wine trails throughout east central Illinois.
Brooke Ferguson, GIS specialist and adjunct geography instructor; Jean Anne Grunloh, ECIDC executive director; and Pam Crisman, vice president for development received the award from Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on behalf of Lake Land College and the ECIDC. Mike Rudibaugh, GIS and geography instructor also participated in planning and implementing the project.
“The project maps out and creates a trail of the many wineries throughout east central Illinois,” said Grunloh. “This project not only helps visitors explore the area wineries, but also explore what else east central Illinois has to offer.”
Using specialized GIS technology, Ferguson took on this mapping challenge as a self-guided project and began meeting with area vineyard owners, local economic development teams and Lake Land College representatives.
“This map is what we needed,” said Dennis Vahling of Vahling Vineyards in Stewardson. “Now everyone can view it online and print it out to create a day trip or vacation while navigating with ease on these rural roads.”
“The first map shows the 10 wineries in east central Illinois, while the sub-region maps show the clusters of the wineries that are close to one another,” said Ferguson. “Additionally, the Google map feature provides an interactive search tool which allows for locating other area attractions nearby.”