Hunters, anglers and those hoping to drive off-road vehicles will need a COMPASS to get their respective licenses and registrations.

A pilot program recently implemented at seven regional service centers and 27 sports license locations will soon be accessible at home on the computer or over the phone with a live operator.

A new online registration program called COMPASS will be available at the end of the month, according to a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.

"We are excited to have COMPASS — a modernized and upgraded licensing and customer service platform," Len Singel, chief information officer of DNR, said in a statement. "When deployed fully, this system will use the latest technology and green practices to better serve our customers and sports license agents. We believe COMPASS will raise the bar for similar systems developed for our sister agencies throughout the U.S."

According to Singel, COMPASS will make it easier — and faster — to secure licenses. Within 30 minutes of completing the transaction online, customers will have their new DNR identification card. There will also be no need to fill out original forms for each license. Also, cards that are lost will be easily replaced.

DNR has transferred customer information for more than 2 million licenses from the past three years. During the pilot program, more than 1,300 transactions worth more than $100,000 combined were completed.

The Department will no longer charge transaction fees to customers enrolling and purchasing online or from the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. call center.

Additional information will be released by DNR as it gets ready to fully deploy the new program.

DNR encourages hunters and anglers to visit any of the locations, listed at dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/pdfs/COMPASSPilotLocations.pdf, to purchase their licenses through COMPASS. Customers should bring a government-issued form of identification to access their customer record.

Once the system is fully established, users will be able to enroll from home.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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