National Trails System GIS Network

About the Network

The National Trails System GIS Network was formed in 2011 and includes representatives from agencies that administer national trails as well as members of trail associations, scholars conducting trail research, and affiliates from educational institutions. Our mission is to connect the diverse array of staff and partners who use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mapping products in their work as well as to facilitate the sharing of information and tools that help us do our jobs more efficiently and innovatively. The network is open to all who are interested.

More information on joining the National Trails System GIS Network

Monthly Webinar Series

Join fellow GIS Professionals and Trail Advocates from across the country on our monthly webinars hosted on the third Tuesday of each month.

April 2017

Presentation: Lisa Johnson, Boise State University

America’s Public Parks and Protected Areas: Introducing the Improved Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US)

America’s tremendous asset base of protected areas is critical for conservation planning, natural resource management, outdoor recreation, public health and more. These include national parks and forests, wildlife sanctuaries, state beaches and parks, county open space, city parks, land trust preserves, conservation easements, marine protected areas and more. Altogether, over 3 billion acres (with overlapping designations) are managed by thousands of public agencies and non-profit organizations that serve current and future generations. A complete and current database of these places is a critical tool to achieve organizational missions across jurisdictions. The 2016 PAD-US update (1.4), published by USGS, includes the best available geospatial representation of federal, state and other protected areas with descriptors like owner / manager name, designation type, unit name and other information useful for various applications. Join us to learn about America’s official inventory of protected areas, applications, relationships to National Trails data, our strategy to complete the inventory by 2020, viewers, tools and opportunities to engage.

Meeting Agenda

March 2017

Discussion: Matthew Rowbotham, North Country Trail Association

Developing a Web Forum for National Trails System GIS

Topics for discussion may include: included content, strategies for implementation, web hosting, and a discussion of examples. Your participation is welcomed and encouraged!

Meeting Presentation

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Agenda

February 2017

Discussion: Peter Bonsall, National Park Service

Developing a comprehensive National Trails System GIS data layer and web map

In September, a concerted effort was made to aggregate a National Trails System GIS layer for use in Argon National Laboratory’s energy corridor assessment tool. As a result, all of the National Trails System data is now aggregated in one location. The next step is to discuss how we can come to a consensus and make a public GIS layer, especially in light of the National Trails System Act 50th Anniversary. Topics for discussion may include 1) Strategy for implementation; 2) FTDS attributes; 3) Hosting the data; and 4) How to address sensitivity issues.

White Paper

Meeting Presentation

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Agenda

January 2017

Presentation: Ryan Abrahamsen, Terrain 360

Virtually Touring the National Trails – Providing 360° Imagery and Interactive Panoramic Maps along National Trails and Waterways

Terrain360 has been commissioned to map the waterways of the Captain John Smith National Scenic Trail. We will discuss our process, data management, challenges for large scale projects and ways to use and incorporate and disseminate this data. We will also discuss other projects including using machine learning object detection in our imagery, crowd sourcing imagery and GIS data for hiking trails and possible partnership with REI (adventure projects) to map National scenic trails and national parks.

Meeting Presentation

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Agenda

Are you interested in being a presenter for the National Trails System GIS Network or do you have a topic to suggest? Send us an e-mail at