Proposed import of Colorado State Wildlife boundaries

The goal of this import is to add the missing state parks and official State wildlife areas in Colorado. These state wildlife areas often offer free camping if you have a annual fishing, hunting, or rescue permit, which is not expensive. In Colorado, you can get this
permit when you register your car. These are good locations for viewing wildlife, fishing, or hunting too. These are often
undeveloped, with usually no amenities at all. I’ve been camping at a
bunch of these lately, and discovered this data file with a good

These boundaries are useful for emergency response, since often in
remote areas these are useful staging areas for wildland fire
fighting, backcountry rescues. Plus boundaries are very useful when
working with large datasets so you can filter the data.

There’s much more detail on the wiki at: Colorado State Lands import - OpenStreetMap Wiki.

And also copy on my web server with the data files:

- rob -


I see in your tagging plan that some features are to be tagged leisure=park. Make sure these are actually leisure=park in the OSM sense, and not the common mixup with other kinds of parks in the US.

Yes, agreeing with @sbre here, too.

And Rob, please take a look at United States/Public lands - OpenStreetMap Wiki , paying particular attention to the differences between how federal tagging is generally prescriptive in this wiki and the statewide table (a relative toddler with only several states, but slowly growing) is more descriptive on a state-by-state basis.

Yes, this is a pretty chunky homework assignment. But what you are proposing to do is fairly large-scale in our map, and these guidelines leverage the many thousands of hours other OSM Contributors have both done and learned can help more and more states who do this in the present and future. Thank you for your Import wiki (stub and ongoing), thank you in advance for your contributions!

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One thing I would ask to confirm is that these are all bona-fide nature reserve boundaries and that it doesn’t include things like residential conservation easements. In Rhode Island, the state GIS layer for state and local conservation area includes all sorts of random scraps of land that in my opinion aren’t mappable – they’re legal restrictions that are basically cadastre, rather than features of public interest. So I’ve had to manually curate which ones are “real” nature reserves with hiking trails and stuff versus inaccessible strips of land behind someone’s backyard.

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Yes, in California, there is a non-profit (GreenInfo) that publishes “CPAD,” the California Protected Areas Database (we also have a wiki, California/Using CPAD data - OpenStreetMap Wiki that suggests how to migrate the tags in the CPAD to OSM tags). Most (all?) states should have something similar, and an import project like yours should be comparing the VAST number of / type of such land boundaries and doing very careful curation. In California, we have chosen not to directly import the full 15,000 or so polygons from CPAD into OSM, instead carefully curating these data one polygon at a time into OSM depending on whether some arbitration is needed from other sources, one set of data is more correct / accurate / higher precision than another, or most importantly, whether a particular Protected Area should even be in OSM at all.

As Brian suggests (he is quite correct) there probably are entities like “land conservation trusts” or “private, non-profit-based / NGO lands” which might or importantly might not belong in OSM. It isn’t always easy to make this determination, but is vitally important that each and every single polygon for the “coin flips” in such an import receive the scrutiny they deserve as to whether the data even belong in OSM in the first place. These can be a real “gotcha” in statewide imports, so please be aware. And please do compare your data against whatever is statewide “PAD digital cartographic data” (should be public domain) that might exist in Colorado: there likely IS such data, and PAD data will likely be definitive or authoratative if/as compared to whatever data you may be proposing to import.

The -t_srs "EPSG:4326" option you’re providing to ogr2ogr is probably not transforming the data at all – just relabeling it.

See How to transform data from NAD83 to WGS84 - OpenStreetMap Wiki for an explanation of how to get the transformations to work properly. The key is to get the data to NAD83(2011) / EPSG:6318 first using the NADCON 5 transforms and then transform that to WGS84, preferably to the current epoch G2139. If you’re not using those transforms you’re likely getting unnecessarily large errors in the transformations.

Many of the state data sources used older local coordinate systems which can be difficult to accurately transform. Do you know what coordinate system the source data uses?

leisure=park is only used for official state parks, which are obviously not national parks, or any of the categories on that link. I can delete it from the data though if it’s not accurate.

I’ve not seen any issues with the transformations, so I can also compare with other data in OSM already. Plus I’ve actually camped at a bunch of these and recorded other features.

Most of the wildlife or Trust lands have no official trails. Many don’t even have a parking area! And I’ll note they aren’t actually protected lands, hunting is usually allowed, so I wouldn’t consider them a nature reserve. The ones I’ve been too have no amenities, just an information sign, so often are barely accessible chunks of land left wild and undeveloped. It is possible the Trust lands are a conservation easement, but as far as I can tell, they’re state owned.

Btw, the idea which I forgot to put in the wiki. was to import these in little chunks using the same hashtag and user account, rather than trying to import the whole file… It does cover the entire state, so not sensible to import the entire file in one shot.

Hi Rob

I want to say that as a fellow Coloradoan, I support the idea of this import and I appreciate you putting the work into getting it this far in the process. I will try to get some time to review some of the details in the coming week.

As Rob has pointed out, State Wildlife Areas, which are part of the proposed import are not really nature reserves. These are lands that have either been purchased, or leased, with money from hunting and fishing licenses, for the primary - or in some cases sole - purpose of providing areas to hunt and fish (you have to have a hunting or fishing license, and in some cases actually be engaged in one of those activities to access the land/water concerned). Nevertheless, for a hunter or fisher, having these on the map would be of great value.

My guess is that the error in the source data is probably greater than the error that would result from any datum mis-transformation in Colorado - but good to double check.

My browser is saying “refused to connect” when trying to access your site. Could you check if it is down? Thanks

My friend: the smaller, more “experimental, drive in first or low gear until you are quite comfortable,” the better. Trust me on that. If you’ve never done an Import, it’s a bountiful platter of food before you and you must chew and swallow to eat. Gulping results in choking, nearly always. Bon appetit.

Most of the state parks I’ve been to don’t fit the description of leisure=park which is more for landscaped/manicured parks typically found in urban/suburban areas. Some state parks may fit this description, but usually they are more of a natural area. Depending on the primary purpose of the state park I usually use leisure=nature_reserve or protected_area=recreation.

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If Rob is “still” deciding on whether this or that specific leisure and/or protected_area tags, but doesn’t yet know (pretty cold and surely) which of these a specific set specifically tagged for a specific purpose (like, “you are legally allowed to harvest deer in here”) and such mapped areas might appear to as “Oh, OK, here and here and there” (bordered, maybe filled polygons with certain hatching or colors or shading…), yeah. There are “decorator” tags like protect_class, but there are also “physical” tags: see the “five tags” that are core in that linked wiki and tell us you understand how each is different. This isn’t always a walk in the park for everyone.

The whole topic of what tags to use on what specific “state lands polygons” really is a subject that goes (pretty deep and far) into our Public Lands wiki, linked upthread.

There’s a lot of history here (in OSM, in how the data are curated, presented to the public, perhaps oriented to “sports enthusiasts with kayaks” vs. “protected for the timber wolf species biodiversity” (I’m making stuff up) and so on. This has encouraged the trend of statewide PADs, and if you haven’t looked for or found one for Colorado, we’d like to hear you say you did or didn’t. A major reason is that the right sorts of categorization that logically map fairly unambiguously to OSM tags could possibly already have much of the sorting and sifting already done for you. There are likely to already be what many consider to be “correct answers on how we should tag these (vs. those) in Colorado” already, and you’ll certainly want to know that. If not, making them up from scratch is OK, but please be aware people are watching and fitting such tagging (from “state Wildlife boundaries” data as well as other Colorado PAD data) into a larger framework of semantics is evolving and underway. You want to “get it as correct as possible.” Aim towards understanding and consensus more widely (within greater Colorado).

I sorta walk away and let someone like Mike dance with the locals here.

Sorry, we had a long power power outage due to the heavy snow, and for some reason my server didn’t restart apache when the power came back on. It’s back up now. The outage outlasted my UPS battery. :frowning:

I could see replacing leisure=park with protected_area=recreation. I don’t usually go to state parks to be honest, I prefer the wild areas.


Rob, that sort of “first person perspective” concerns me.

OSM doesn’t really care about what sort of places in the wild you prefer. (Even as I thank you profusely for being a Contributor here). What OSM must receive if it is to have data imported into it are sensible, correct data. That are vetted and agreeable to our community. We have methods to do that, you’ve begun them. Keep going, it’s a journey.

Maybe you get a particular sliver of Colorado state wildlife boundaries imported, in fact. A subset that particularly interests you. That’s fine, but it must fit into the larger framework of “also what is / are” as you do so. While you understand that you are doing so. Sit down to this big smorgasbord and notice how much there is!

If it’s not manicured, it’s wrong to tag leisure=park.

I’m usually a field data collector but doesn’t OSM have a “boots on the ground” focus when it comes to metadata? An import like this it is more of a community project when it comes to the tagging though. I’d delete the tag/value if no obvious consensus, no tag is better than a wrong one. I’m not in a hurry to start this import, so no reason not to get it right.

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