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The National GIS Data Dictionary (NGDD) process plays a significant role for the Forest Service and the development of standardized data across the agency. The Geospatial Management Office (GMO) which oversees the NGDD process identified the need to improve this process for standardizing, integrating, and disseminating this information. The NGDD standard itself wasin the process of being developed. It required an objective analysis to move it into the next phase of completeness and usefulness.

The Modernizing Access to Our Public Land (MAPLand) Act is a broad inter-agency collaborative effort. It consists of five (5) thematic datasets: Roads, Trails, Recreational Opportunities, Hunting and Shooting, and Easements. These datasets are crucial in creating a seamless data representation of public access to lands. This supports public outdoor recreational access that is consistent, compatible, interoperable, and accessible across the federal recreation landscape. The creation of a seamless dataset for these areas can support creation of guidelines for Land Managers. In doing so, this directs future site-specific projects to shape the direction and geographically define limitations or opportunities for activities. The five (5) key thematic datasets currently lack complete corporate geospatial data coverage. Consequently, this limits their ability to report on national trends in activities, respond to Congressional inquiries, and monitor progress over time. 

Problem and Solution

As part of the National GIS Data Dictionary (NGDD) process, the USFS is making strides in recent years toward improving data standardization and metadata for National datasets. Two primary National level efforts being developed to support the success of improved data quality and availability are the National Geospatial Data Dictionary (NGDD) standard and the publication of data to the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). The availability of these resources is utilized by individual thematic data types and program managers. They are also utilized across program efforts like the Automated Lands Program (ALP). They are seeing adoption at the program level through coordinated efforts like the Land Allocation Mapping datasets (LAM).

The USFS seeks assistance to assess the NGDD processes, impact USFS data creation, and identify barriers to adoption by USFS programs. The process involves examining existing requirements and workflows for programs by agency and Regional Data Stewards. Special consideration to the incorporation of software to implement and create a sustainable ecosystem for the NGDD process will be part of the work product.

The USFS seeks continued assistance to support the lifecycle development of the MAPLand five (5) thematic layers based on existing work completed. Each layer is at a different phase of the data lifecycle process, and will require an assessment of the existing efforts in order to determine the remaining efforts to bring the datasets to a healthy maintained status. The process involves validating data, continuing the data dictionary process, and finalizing workflows for continued maintenance. To ensure continued upkeep, workflows and guidance for future maintenance will be established. Additionally, the interagency nature of the MAPLand act will require an assessment of the USFS data standards as they align with the efforts of other agencies.


Xentity supported the current efforts underway for the establishment of the NGDD process. This involved an assessment of the existing process, and an analysis of the barriers for adoption. It also involved an analysis of the available software that currently exists or could be employed to produce a metadata catalog. Also, Xentity supported the current efforts underway for the development of the five (5) MAPLand Themes, roads, trails, shooting sports, recreation, and easements. Furthermore, Xentity evaluated the national GIS data dictionary (NGDD) process and provided recommendations for governance and workflow. Xentity also supported MAPLand thematic subgroup meeting coordination. Also, Xentity developed geodatabases based on developed schemas. Finally, Xentity evaluated sharing and reporting mechanisms for MAPLand.

Outcomes and Benefits

Xentity’s efforts helped establish the aforementioned NGDD process, as well as the development of the 5 MAPLand Themes. Next, Xentity created a metadata template for MAPLand standards. Also, Xentity prepared template communication documents for FGDC review. This helped the USFS continue to make strides towards improving data standardizations and metadata for national datasets.