--- --- Trail Stewardship Initiative | OpenStreetMap US

Trail Stewardship Initiative

Hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the United States have come to rely on mobile applications to navigate our public lands. While this makes the outdoors more accessible, visitors can be led to dangerous or environmentally sensitive areas when these apps include unofficial, unmaintained, and social trails. Many navigation applications amalgamate this trail data from multiple sources and rely heavily on OpenStreetMap data.

To address how applications use OpenStreetMap data and the impacts on trail navigation, OpenStreetMap U.S. formed the Trails Working Group, a collaboration between volunteer mappers, land managers and app developers. This group of stakeholders is working together to improve trail data attribute information in OpenStreetMap, such as operator or access permission. Through these efforts, navigation apps will be able to better render (or display) OpenStreetMap data, influencing user decision making while on the trail.

Learn more about the project and current activities on the OSM Wiki page.

Get Involved

Community members & mappers: Join the conversation and see how you can get involved on the OpenStreetMap US slack in the trails channel.
Land managers & stakeholders: If you would like to support efforts towards improved trail stewardship in your area, please email: trails@openstreetmap.us

News & Media

May 12, 2022 - Nowhere Podcast: Hear from Maggie Cawley, Executive Director of OpenStreetMap US, about her encounter with federal land managers who weren’t happy about traffic on their land and how her team developed a solution that benefitted the avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts while protecting sensitive or conservation areas.

Blog Posts
May 17, 2022 - The Trails Working Group is conducting a pilot tagging project!
December 22, 2021 - Announcing the OSM US Trails Working Group

Recordings & Talks
September 22, 2021 - Trails in OpenStreetMap: Guest speaker Keri Nelson, Backcountry Coordinator at the National Park Service Southeast Utah Group, presenting a few case studies of OSM trail data leading hikers off trail into unsafe and sensitive habitat.

© OpenStreetMap US

Questions? email team@openstreetmap.us

Photos © Justin Miller unless otherwise noted