OpenStreetMap US

Solutions for responsible trail mapping

The OpenStreetMap US Trails Stewardship Initiative is a collaboration of government, volunteer, and private sector stakeholders working to address issues in trail mapping, outdoor recreation, and public land management. Our work includes tagging guidelines for trails and rendering recommendations for public apps.

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.

Through the Trails Stewardship Initiative, our hope is that we can empower OSM contributors to create richer data when mapping trails across the US. Developers of backcountry navigation apps will then be able to use this data to create more detailed and informative maps for their users, which will help people stay safe and protect our public lands. We have also formed the Trails Working Group, a collaboration between volunteer mappers, land managers and app developers. This group of stakeholders has been working to address on-the-ground challenges, tagging schemes, authoritative data, and other topics related to mapping trails in OSM.

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

Join the conversation

Meet fellow trail enthuisasts and see how you can get involved on the OpenStreetMap US slack in the trails channel.

If you would like to support efforts towards improved trail stewardship in your area, share more information with us by clicking the button below:

News and talks

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Celebrating National Public Lands Day

Sep 22, 2023 · OpenStreetMap US Staff

September 23, 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of National Public Lands Day. Organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation, National Public Lands Day seeks to connect people with their environment and encourage...

OpenStreetMap US Trails Stewardship Initiative

Jun 10, 2023 · Diane Fritz and Maggie Cawley

Hear about the work of the OSM US Trails Working Group and the plans for the Trails Stewardship Initiative. Round table will be held later in the day.

Trails Stewardship Initiative Update: Pilot & Next Steps

Feb 10, 2023 · OpenStreetMap US Trails Working Group

This blog post is an update on the OpenStreetMap US Trails Stewardship Initiative. For past news and additional information on this initiative, visit openstreetmap.us/trails. Background Public open spaces in the United States...

OpenStreetMap US Trails Initiative

Nov 11, 2022 · Jake Low and Diane Fritz

Jake Low & Diane Fritz provide an update on the Trails Stewardship Initiative at the OSM US annual conference Mapping USA.

OpenStreetMap & Trails: New Collaborations for Responsible Recreation

Aug 21, 2022 · Maggie Cawley

Sparked by concerns about OpenStreetMap’s role in how the public accesses and recreates on protected lands, OpenStreetMap US volunteers, navigation app developers, national agencies and public land managers formed the OpenStreetMap US...

The Trails Working Group is conducting a pilot tagging project!

May 17, 2022 · OpenStreetMap US Trails Working Group

Background You may have seen an announcement in a previous blog post about the existence of the OpenStreetMap US Trails Working Group. This growing collaboration of OSM mappers, land managers and navigational...

Maggie Cawley on the Nowhere Podcast

May 12, 2022 · Maggie Cawley and Jonathan Neufeld

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.

Sanctioned Trails, Social Trails, and Statistics

Apr 2, 2022 · Chad Blevins and Daniel Castro

In late 2021 the Trails Working Group was formed bringing together stakeholders to improve trail tagging throughout the US to reduce traffic on “social trails” or trails whose use is discouraged or...

Introduction to the U.S. Trails Working Group

Apr 1, 2022 · Diane Fritz

This talk is a quick overview of the concerns that led to the formation of the U.S. Trails Working Group (TWG), the structure of the group, and the topics the group is...

Unofficial Trails in OpenStreetMap in New York: Metrics & Analysis

Feb 26, 2022 · Kevin Kenny

In this presentation from the OSM US Trails Working Group, Kevin Kenny shares metrics & analysis of unofficial trails in New York mapped in OpenStreetMap. Formed in October 2021, Trails Working Group...