Hunting GPS Maps Receives Grant for Expansion - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Hunting GPS Maps Receives Grant for Expansion

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MISSOULA -

A Montana company offering landownership maps for hunters receives state funding, that will allow the small business to expand.

Hunting GPS Maps will receive the $221,000 from the Big Sky Trust Fund over time, as they add more employees.

Hunting GPS Maps is a Missoula-based business that's quickly expanding to include new products, map coverage, and even a new building.

Company officials said the grant money has allowed them to hire on more employees to handle the growth.

Eric Siegfried, the founder and president of Hunting GPS Maps, said they secured the grant from the state's Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund in April.

Since then, they've added six employees, and now have a staff of 24 -- up from just two when Siegfried started the business in 2009.

"As we add those new employees, we'll be awarded $5,000 per employee," Siegfried said.

He explained that $5,000 goes towards the cost of desks, computers and other items for each new employee.

"It's really a relief to be able to afford the quality equipment that our employees need."

The goal, is to provide hunters with up-to-date landownership maps, each with detailed layers of information that couldn't be displayed on a paper map.

Siegfried said, "Most people who recognize the value of it say this is a product that changes the way they hunt."

Siegfried said staff members gather landowner and property boundary information from the Department of Revenue, Fish, Wildlife & Parks and other state and federal entities.

That data is then compiled, and redesigned for display on a Garmin GPS via micro-SD card, or through a mobile app.

"It gives them confidence in where the property boundaries are when they're in the field."

Siegfried said Hunting GPS Maps qualified for the grant money because 80% of their revenue comes from out-of-state.

"We're very proud of that, we're bringing a lot of dollars from out of state into Montana, because we target hunters that are in the east, they're buying chips for hunting out west," Siegfried said.

And now, with the ability to add more staff members, Siegfried said they hope to enter even more markets under their new brand -- "onXmaps."

"We want to expand, to be able to expand outside the hunting industry, we've always had great ideas for fishing, real estate, oil and gas industry," he said.

The public is invited to attend the company's grand reopening on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at 1925 Brooks Street.

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