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TRAILS (Trail Routing, Analysis, and Information Linkage System) Updates

Recent improvements to the geospatial trail routing analysis include the incorporation of user-defined custom areas, ability to highlight potential switchback areas, use of the “live” USGS trails data, and the addition of railroads, as well as improved project sharing.


TRAILS results with Custom Layer

We recently released several improvements to the TRAILS planning application 

  • You are now able to add custom layers into the cost surface (geospatial) analysis in addition to the four predefined layers (hydrography, elevation, transportation, and PAD-US).  

  • While the application cannot propose actual switchback routes along steep slopes, the application is now able to highlight areas along proposed routes that meet user-defined slope range criteria.  

  • Although railroads have always been part of the transportation analysis in general, you are now able to assign cost scores or “weight” railroads specifically.  

  • In addition to the ability to either keep your project private or open your project to “everyone,” TRAILS now allows users to share their project with specific users.   

  • TRAILS now uses USGS trail data dynamically. This means that as soon as there are new trails or updated trails in the USGS trails dataset, they will become available in the TRAILS application right away. 

Current development cycle focus: 

  • Improve sustainable trail planning analysis 

  • Research the ability to incorporate viewsheds 

  • Update to use the most recent version of PAD-US 

Please join our monthly workshops to learn more about the new features. Email us at to learn more.