Introduction to the PAD-US Viewer

Science Center Objects

Welcome to the Gap Analysis Project (GAP) Protected Areas Viewer.  


<< Back to Protected Areas

Administered by the U.S. Geological Survey Gap Analysis Project, the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) is the nation’s official inventory of public open space and private protected areas.The lands included in PAD-US are assigned conservation status codes that both denote the level of biodiversity preservation and indicate other natural, recreational and cultural uses. PAD-US also includes the best available aggregation of federal lands data provided by agencies.

Many legitimate overlaps exist in the PAD-US geodatabase Combined feature class that supports most of the services in this viewer (e.g. multiple Marine Protected Areas designations, Wilderness Areas over National Forests or National Parks). The viewer identifies each overlapping unit, with attributes. Refer to the ‘fee only’ services (Fee Managers, Federal Fee Managers) for the best available footprint of public land and other protected area ownership and management without overlapping designated areas. GAP also develops a Combined file without overlaps for analyses available here.   


Using the Viewer

Launch the viewer:

Screenshot of the PAD-US 2.0 Viewer showing key navigation for using the map interface


Use the interactive map to explore PAD-US data by managing agency, biodiversity protection status, public access and more.    You can also find out about data at a given point by clicking on the map.  

Navigation: The Navigation tools will allow you to zoom in or out, or zoom to your location.  You can move left, right, up, and down by clicking on the map and dragging the mouse.

Base maps: There are a variety of base maps that may help you explore the data.  Click on the Map button to see what is available and choose among them. 

Share/Print: You can share a URL to let someone see your area of interest on the map or you can print it using the dialog in this button.

Layer Controls

The list of data layers in the left panel are available to view on the map.  Clicking on the square on the left side will toggle the layer’s visibility. Clicking on the arrow on the right will open controls for the layer and show the legend.

Zoom to extent:  Sets the map’s extent to the extent of the given layer.

About this data:  Opens the Catalog with the given layer highlighted, showing the information available about the data in the layer.

Split:  Allows you to view 2 data layers side-by-side.  A splitter will appear on the map and you will be able to choose which side you want a given data layer to appear on. You can also activate this feature with the splitter control on the map. You can then swipe the splitter control back and forth to view the different layers.

Remove:  This will remove the layer from the layer list, but will not delete it from the catalog.  You can always add it back into the layer list using the Add Data button.

Location Search

This allows you to focus the map at a specific location, based on a place name.  After you enter a place name in the text box, you will see a list of matches in the left sidebar.  Click on any item in the list and the map will re-center and zoom in to that location. 

Add Data

In addition to any data pre-loaded when you open the map, you can add additional data using the Add Data button.  This will open a catalog where you can choose from supplied data layers or add your own using the dialog in the My Data tab.  You can enter a URL to a web service or add data from your system. Supported data added from your local system will have one of the following extensions: .geojson, .kml, .kmz, .csv, .czml, .gpx, .json, .json5.

Contact Us

For technical or PAD-US related questions while using this viewer: 

Mason Croft (PAD-US Technical Coordinator/GIS Analyst)