It's almost autumn, and for New England that means a new tourism season. As visitors from all over the world come to see the fall colors, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have taken their foliage reports high-tech, letting visitors keep track of the changing colors by mobile and e-mail alerts and computerized maps. Foliage season, which progresses north to south, started mid-September and runs into late October. The Web sites all offer foliage reports, promote fall events and suggest the best routes to travel:
Maine's site, www.mainefoliage.com, features a map, a live daily chat with a conservation department official, video of foliage scenes around the state, a Maine foliage hotline and foliage reports by e-mail. Forest rangers track and report the changing colors, which are updated every Wednesday through October 17. New Hampshire's Web site encourages visitors to sign up to receive foliage reports on their cell phones and just added a new map that predicts color changes. The map is roughly based on previous years' reports but state officials regularly check to make sure that the colors on the Web site match those in nature. Visitors can also click on specific regions to get more detailed and up-to-date reports. Vermont's site features an animated map, called the Foliage Forecaster, that estimates color changes. The map is only an approximation of typical color progression. For more accurate information, the site refers visitors to its foliage reports.