PAD-US Vision

Science Center Objects

What if you could find the location of any park or protected open space in the United States? By zooming in on a map you could see detailed boundaries and all nearby protected lands, and you could analyze these data to inform decisions about conservation, recreation, or land use planning. 

<< Back to Protected Areas

This vision is now reality! The first functionally complete database of U.S. parks and other protected areas is now available: the new 2.1 version of the Protected Areas Database of the United States. From world-famous destinations to local playgrounds, find out where a park is and who owns it in PADUS 2.1. In 2016, a report was released that sets out a plan to complete PAD-US (the Protected Areas Database of the U.S.) by 2020. The report is available here: Completing America's Inventory of Public Parks and Protected Areas and was prepared for the U.S. Geological Survey through support from the National Park Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The announcement for the report can be found here:

Collage showing pages from the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) Report

Completing America’s Inventory of Public Parks and Protected Areas: An Action Plan for 2016- 2020 

(Public domain.)


The first PAD-US vision strategy document, prepared in 2009, and used to guide PAD-US developments since is also still available. A Map for the Future outlined a broad strategy for improving protected land inventories in the United States. The strategy included:

  • USGS coordinates and manages directions and work flows.
  • state data-steward network will maintain component data sets that can integrate into PAD-US.
  • single national database will focus many state and national efforts into a highly flexible and technologically robust nationwide data management system. States will be supported with resources to greatly improve their inventories that in turn form the foundation of the national data.
  • Federal agencies will improve their coordination and data gathering, gaining better overall information for less cost.
  • The usefulness of protected area inventories to the public, government and business will grow, enabling much more evidenced-based global, national, regional and local conservation planning and assessment.
  • PAD-US makes accurate land use and acquisition planning easier, and provides more complete public knowledge of recreational opportunities.
  • Emerging challenges of how to address land use change and improve fiscal and economic productivity will be better met by this confluence of many unconnected data gathering efforts into a single system for planning and monitoring.

PAD-US Development 

What’s going on now with PAD-US? We’re: