Federal Trails Data Standards (FTDS) endorsed by FGDC

On September 30, 2011 the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Steering Committee voted to endorse the Federal Trail Data Standards (FTDS). The final version is now available. The FTDS enables national, regional, state, and trail‐level managers, partners, and the public to use a common and mutually understood terminology for recording, retrieving and applying spatial and tabular information. The FTDS also makes it easier for trail information to be combined and accessed by individuals, agencies, or groups. Ease in sharing data improves the ability for enhanced and consistent mapping, inventory, condition assessment, management, budgeting, monitoring, and information retrieval for internal and external needs.

The Federal Trails Data Standards has been assigned document number FGDC‐STD‐017‐2011 and is available through the FGDC website:  http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/trail-data-standard/trail-data-standards. For additional information on the Federal Trail Data Standards, visit http://www.nps.gov/gis/trails/.

Background: Governmental agencies and the public recognize that trails of all kinds, including congressionally and secretarially‐designated trails, are important recreational and cultural resource corridors. The National Park Service (NPS), Unites States Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have worked collaboratively with States, local governments, and trail organizations to promote and develop trails for the benefit of the public.

In 2001, the Federal Interagency Council on Trails requested that agency representatives from the NPS, USFS, and BLM develop a core GPS Trails Data Dictionary for consistent use by all federal trail management agencies. The Interagency Trail Data Standards (ITDS) Team, chartered in 2002, worked from 2002 to 2009 to identify and develop the initial set of Interagency Trail Data Standards (ITDS). The ITDS underwent internal review within the three federal agencies in 2003. The FWS joined the ITDS Team in 2004. A nationwide external review of the ITDS by governmental and non‐governmental stakeholders occurred in 2004. After adjudication of comments received, the ITDS Version 1 was finalized and published for implementation in 2006.

The NPS submitted a proposal that was accepted into the FGDC body of work in February 2007. In 2007, on behalf of the ITDS Team, the NPS received a grant from the FGDC to transform the ITDS into an FGDC data standard. The ITDS Team updated ITDS Version 1 to ITDS Version 2, renamed it as the Federal Trail Data Standard, and submitted it for FGDC‐sponsored public review in 2008.

In 2009, the ITDS Team, renamed as the Federal Trail Data Standards (FTDS) Team, reviewed and adjudicated the public review comments. In 2010, edits identified from the public review were incorporated into the data standard in preparation for approval and adoption by the FGDC. 

The FGDC Standards Working Group voted unanimously to recommend FGDC endorsement of the Federal Trails Data Standard in April 2011. The FGDC Standards WG forwarded its recommendation to the FGDC Coordination Group (CG), which subsequently voted to approve the FTDS for endorsement. The FTDS was then referred to the FGDC Steering Committee for endorsement.