FGDC invites comments on draft Federal Trail Data Standard

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) has released the draft Federal Trail Data Standard for public review and comments. The FGDC encourages State, Tribal, local governments, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, the commercial sector, and other segments of the geospatial community to review and comment on the draft standard to ensure the widest possible review. Comments are critical to assure that the draft Federal Trail Data Standard will meet the needs of the geographic information community.

Information about the draft Federal Trail Data Standard

Trails of all kinds, including Congressionally and secretarially-designated trails, are recognized by the public and governmental agencies as important recreational and cultural resource corridors. The National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the United States Forest Service (USFS) have worked for many years with each other and with States, local governments, and trail organizations to promote and develop trails for the benefit of the public.

Data about trails are used for many purposes including planning and management, mapping and condition assessment, routing and navigation, public information, emergency response, and research. The collection, storage, and management of trail-related data are important components of everyday business activities in many Federal and State land-managing agencies, trail organizations, and businesses. From a management perspective, trails data must often mesh closely with other types of infrastructure, resource, and facility enterprise data. Today, digital trail data are a necessity throughout a trail data management life-cycle, from trail planning through design, construction, operation, and maintenance.

Federal trail data standards will enable national, regional, state, and trail-level managers and the public to use mutually understood terminology for recording, retrieving and applying spatial and tabular information. Data standards will make it easier for trail information to be accessed, exchanged and used by more than one individual, agency or group. Ease in sharing data increases the capability for enhanced and consistent mapping, inventory, monitoring, condition assessment, maintenance, costing, budgeting, information retrieval, and summary reporting for internal and external needs.

For the public using paper maps, the Internet, and GPS or other instrumentation, standard data formats will enable users to consistently and predictably identify specific trails and a core set of corresponding information.

The functional scope of the draft Federal Trail Data Standard includes the definition of a core set of trail data attributes, corresponding values, and definitions. This draft standard reflects tabular and spatial trail data applicable only to trails within the United States, including all U.S. territories and outlying possessions. It is applicable to trails of all kinds, including National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails. The draft Federal Trail Data Standard does not cover all possible trail data or agency-specific data needs, but concentrates on a core set of inter-jurisdictional management and administrative trail data needs.

How to participate in public review

The public review period for the draft Federal Trail Data Standard began on March 6, 2008. The public review draft of the Federal Trail Data Standard may be found at http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/trail-data-standard/Federal_Trail_Data_Standards_05_19_2008.pdf.  

Reviewers are strongly urged to complete the comment form (Word, Excel) using the instructions provided in FGDC Standards Directive #2d, Standards Working Group Review Guidelines: Review Comment Template. Proposed changes are needed to ensure that the question/problem is correctly addressed and adjudicated.

Comments on the public review draft of the Federal Trail Data Standard shall be submitted to Julie Binder Maitra (Email: jmaitra@usgs.gov) of the FGDC Secretariat no later than Friday, August 8, 2008 at 12:00 midnight Eastern Time.

Comments resulting from public review of the draft Federal Trail Data Standard will be adjudicated following the close of the public review on Friday, August 8, 2008. After public review comments have been adjudicated and a revised draft standard based on comment adjudications has been prepared, the revised draft Federal Trail Data Standard and supporting documentation will be submitted for endorsement as an FGDC standard.