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This project is one of the public services provided by MappingSupport.com

The National Forest GIS Trail map displays authoritative data from GIS (Geographical Information System) servers operated by the USFS and other government agencies. Each time you open the map the most recent data that is hosted on those GIS server(s) will be displayed on your screen.

Be patient. Sometimes it may take a few seconds for GIS data to appear on the map. It all depends on how much other work the GIS servers are trying to do at the same time.

Everyone is welcome to share and repost this map link. There is no need to ask first. Please follow these simple rules:

1. Encourage your readers to click the "Map Tips" link in the upper left corner so they can learn how to get the most benefit from the map.

2. Include in your post a credit thanking https://mappingsupport.com.

3. If you are news media or a government agency, please use the 'Contact' link near the top of this page to send me a link to where you are using the map. I enjoy knowing where the map is being used.

4. Unless you are news media, do not use this map link for any commercial purpose.


The map is displayed by GISsurfer which is a general purpose web map that is based on the free open-source Leaflet API (Application Program Interface). It can be used by anyone for any non-commercial purpose. Providing this web map software is a public service and part of my way to "pay it forward". Please note that by using GISsurfer you now have an obligation to do something yourself to "pay it forward" in your own way.

Here is a quick way to learn the most useful features of any GISsurfer map.
1. Open the GISsurfer homepage (https://GISsurfer.com)
2. Click the big green "Menu" button and select "Help".
3. Scroll down a bit on the help page and read the "Overview" section.

GISsurfer will display either a touch-friendly interface or a mouse-oriented interface depending on the type of device you use to open a map.

Many GISsurfer maps will have various GIS overlay layers that you can turn on/off and restack. You can click on the 'top' GIS overlay and see all the attribute data the GIS server has for the thing that you clicked. If the attribute data includes a link, then you can click that link for even more information. If you need help to understand what 'top' GIS overlay means, then please open the homepage and read the "Overview" section.


You can add one or more markers to the map. For example, I like to have a marker on the map at my home. You need to know the latitude longitude coordinates for each marker. Add that data to the end of the map link like so:
    ||latitude,longitude||latitude,longitude||latitude,longitude

There should not be any spaces in the map link.


Usually the GIS server includes a web pages with the legend for the various layers the server can display. Links to those web pages are below. If the legend page has information for more than one layer then you will need to match the layer number you see below in parenthesis to the layer number on the legend page. Don't be confused if the layer names below are slightly different than the layer names on the legend page.

Another way to see what symbol is used for an overlay layer is to turn the layer on/off a couple of times. The symbol used for that layer should be obvious. Note that some overlay layers might be defined on the GIS server so that they only display at certain zoom levels. You might need to zoom in or out for the data to display. And if the GIS server hosting the data is busy it might take more than a few seconds for the data to appear on the map.

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:

  • Data status motor MVUM (4,5)
  • Data status trail (7-9)
  • Data status recreation site (15,16)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Recreation site (0,1)
  • Trail (2,3,4)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Wilderness (0)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Roadless area (0)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Wild and scenic river (0)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Motor roads MVUM (1)
  • Motor trails MVUM (2)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Motor road open (0)
  • Motor road closed (1) *color changed to red*

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Private road (44) *hard to see*

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • USFS basic ownership (0)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Ranger district (0,1)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Proclaimed forest (0)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • USFS owns surface (0)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Mining claims in forest (0)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Weather watch warning (0,1)

CLICK HERE to see the legend for:
  • Snow depth (3)
  • Snow water equivalent (7)


The basemap button is next to the "Menu" button and always displays the name of the current basemap. If you click the basemap button then you can change the basemap and also turn the overlays on/off. Mobile uses will need to tap the basemap button and then scroll down to the "Overlays" section.

As you change basemaps and turn overlays on/off, remember that it may take a few seconds (or longer) for the data to appear on your screen. The response time varies based on how busy the server is that is hosting that data. The bandwidth and congestion of your internet connection is also a factor.

To see the USGS 1:24,000 scale topographic maps turn on the basemap titled "USA scanned topo". These are seamless scans of the paper maps that the USGS stopped publishing some years ago. These maps look the best when the 'scale' in one corner of the map shows 2000 feet or 1000 feet.

Several of the basemaps show aerials. The "Esri aerial clarity" basemap is often a higher resolution than the "ESRI aerial newer" basemap. On the other hand, the "clarity" aerials are likely 15 or more years old. Despite being older the "clarity" aerials can be useful for locating 'social' trails in areas where there is not tree cover. If you turn on an aerial basemap then it might be useful to also turn on the overlay "ESRI roads and labels".



Click the basemap button to see the list of overlays. Click an overlay name to turn it on. Click it again to turn it off.

An overlay name with a number in front is 'on'. The highest numbered overlay is 'on top' and can be clicked to show all the attribute data the GIS server has for the thing that you clicked. Sometimes the attribute data includes links that lead to more information.

When the map opens the trail data is displayed twice. Once as a wide orange line and a second time using the default styling defined on the GIS server. This approach of displaying the trail data twice makes the trails easy to see on your screen when any of the basemaps are displayed. If you click the basemap button right after you open the map and look at the list of overlays then you will see a number in front of two of the trail layers indicating that those layers are 'on' when the map opens.

Tip: Click the basemap button to open the list of overlay names and then click "USFS trail black line" to turn that overlay off. Then click the overlay "USFS trail black" to turn it on. Not all forests have data in this layer. This layer uses different styling to show the quality of the trail.

The attribute display also includes a link titled "Visit GIS server". That link will display a page from the table of contents for the GIS server. If you open that page then look at the heading "Service Description". Sometimes you will see useful metadata.

If the map is displaying several overlays then you can move any overlay to the 'top' by turning it off and then turning it back on.

Remember - only the 'top' overlay is clickable. Also the order with which you turn on various overlays can greatly affect the appearance of the map. Each time you turn an overlay on it is displayed 'on top' of any overlays that are already on.

If you have trouble seeing data on the map then you can change the basemap to "All white basemap". Or try one of the aerial basemaps.


Extras


Here are two pages from the GISsurfer website that have links to other interactive recreation maps. Each map can display multiple overlay layers of data that are hosted on government GIS servers.

National park maps

USFS, BLM and NOAA maps

You can use any of these maps to make georeferenced screenshots. Click Menu > Screenshot mode.


This is a consulting service I offer. Each client receives a map link that will display the google aerial and the approximate property lines for the client's land. A geolocation symbol can be turned on to show the user's location.

Each map is custom made using software I developed to process either a land survey or property legal description provided by the client. As a result, these maps will almost always be more accurate than the county GIS parcel data.

One common use is to help find survey stakes at property corners. This map will get you close. For more information, please see https://findpropertylines.com


One of the main features of GISsurfer is its ability to display data that is hosted on government GIS (Geographical Information System) servers. The link below will display a curated PDF file with the internet address for 3,000+ government GIS servers. These are at all levels of government from federal down to city. Each link is scanned by my code once per week and any bad links are either fixed or flagged. An updated list is usually posted every Wednesday.

https://mappingsupport.com/p/surf_gis/list-federal-state-county-city-GIS-servers.pdf


If you ever need to call 911 you can either (A) assume that some technology will automatically display your location on the dispatcher's screen or (B) tell the dispatcher your location.

The three best ways to tell the dispatcher your location are:
1. Street address
2. Narrative description. Example: South side of the Home Depot parking lot.
3. Latitude longitude coordinates and accuracy value.
Example: 47.370121,-120.912094, 15 feet

FindMeSAR (https://findmesar.com) is a Progressive Web App (PWA aka Web App) I developed so everyone can have a super easy and fast way to do #3. It uses the GPS in your phone to display your coordinates and accuracy value. The "Next format" button loops through several coordinate formats, including USNG/MGRS.

The yellow screen displays your location in latitude longitude decimal degrees. All 911 call centers understand this format.

After the accuracy value gets to 100 feet or less then a button appears that will copy the coordinates and accuracy value to the clipboard. You can then paste that information into a text message, email or note.

FindMeSAR can be installed on both iOS and Android devices. It will then work fine offline. For installation instructions, open it with your browser and tap "Tips" and scroll down to the section titled "FindMeSAR can work offline". It is not in any app store. If you want to install it then you need to follow the instructions that are provided.

Here is the reason why I developed this web app. A few years ago I did a deep dive into documents on the FCC website. Below is a link to a PDF report I produced that will tell you what I learned. Anyone who reads the report will likely be convinced that it is *critically important* that everyone have an easy way to use their phone in a stressful emergency to display their coordinates (latitude longitude in decimal degrees) *and* accuracy value.

Open PDF:
http://findmesar.com/p/pdf/reasons_why_911_cannot_find_cell_phones.pdf

Yes, some 911 call centers have additional technology such as RapidSOS that might be able to produce coordinates for you when the "phase 2" coordinates (described in the PDF report) fail. But instead of betting someone’s life on the assumption that the 911 call center has some tech that can generate accurate coordinates for you, a much better plan is for you to give the dispatcher your (1) latitude longitude in *decimal degrees* and (2) the equally important accuracy value.

If you want to use the FindMeSAR web app I developed, great. This project is a open source public service and part of my way to "pay it forward". Anyone can look at the source code via their browser. But if you have some other way to easily display your coordinates and accuracy value in a stressful emergency, that is fine too. The point here is that everyone (spouse, kids, crazy uncle Harry, etc) should have some easy way to display their coordinates and accuracy value if they ever need to call/text 911.