Blog 2.0

The geospatial data community is moving fast in providing new and updated geospatial data products to the conservation community.  Hard to keep up?  The LCC can help by highlighting new data releases we think would be relevant to you.

PAD-US 1.4 Now Available

The USGS Gap Analysis Program recently released a major update of the national Protected Areas Database (PAD-US 1.4).  This database is available for public download by LCC, region, state, or nationally on the USGS National Gap Analysis Program Protected Areas Data Portal (  PAD-US is also available in a web viewer

PAD-US is the official spatial inventory of protected areas in the U.S., containing more than 150,000 records and representing over 3 billion acres of lands protected by national, state, and local governments as well as non-profit conservation land holdings, conservation easements in the National Conservation Easement Database, and Marine Protected Areas.  PAD-US represents an aggregated dataset managed for federal lands by the Federal Lands Working Group and for state lands by a state data steward network.  Protected lands are also categorized based on recreation accessibility and conservation ranking.

Highlights for the PAD-US 1.4 update include:

  •  Completely revised federal lands;
  • State steward network updates from 20 states, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas in the GCPO geography;
  • Updated lands under ownership by The Nature Conservancy;
  • National Conservation Easement Database public domain easement records;
  • Local government land records from the Trust for Public Land in 13 states;
  • NOAA National Marine Protected Areas;
  • Reviews and revisions to conservation measures like GAP status code and IUCN category, public access, standardized fields of designation type, manager type, manager name, and additional fields of establishment date;
  • Incorporation of available parcel data.

How does this apply to the GCPO LCC? 

The GCPO LCC conservation blueprint process incorporates existing protected areas and their conservation status into the decision matrices for identifying spatial priorities for system conservation.  It is very important to us that we have the most current, comprehensive, and accurate database available for our conservation blueprint efforts. 

PAD-US will soon be releasing a sophisticated tool for use and review of the protected areas data that will be helpful for GCPO LCC partners.  We have scheduled a webinar with the PAD-US staff and the GCPO Geomatics Working Group to discuss potential for LCC input into the PAD-US 1.4 update and forthcoming PAD-US Version 2 on August 22nd at 2 pm CST.  Click here for webinar information.

If you see something missing in the PAD-US 1.4 database please let us know so that we may compile information and send it on to state and federal data stewards.  We are also currently working with the Conservation Biology Institute to get the new PAD-US version up on DataBasin so it can be used in our Conservation Planning Atlas.

More information on the PAD-US project including manuals, web-access, inventory tracking and the state data steward network is available at


2016 MRLC Annual Meeting Highlights

The 2016 annual meeting of the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium took place earlier this year, and the notes were full of useful updates on ongoing national mapping efforts like the NLCD, tree canopy cover, C-CAP and more.  Comprehensive notes from the meeting can be found here. 

Highlights relevant to the GCPO LCC geography include:

  • Release of NLCD 2016 scheduled for 2018;
  • NLCD 2011 accuracy assessment has been completed;
  • USFS working on new tree canopy change product;
  • N.A. land change monitoring system being finalized;
  • New USGS wetland mapping initiative underway;
  • NOAA C-CAP is considering a hybrid 1 m and 30 m land cover product for coastal regions.

 Please refer to the meeting notes for more details and contact us if you’d like to engage the partnership in one of these national efforts.


Climate Science Centers Release New Downscaled Climate Model Data

The USGS has recently announced the release of a new 4 km resolution statistically downscaled climate model called MACAv2-METDATA for the conterminous U.S.  The model can be downloaded via the USGS GeoData Portal and searching on the term MACAv2-METDATA. 

The statistically downscaled model takes global climate model layers and predicts future climate conditions at smaller scales using the Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) approach with 4 km resolution METDATA as a training meteorological dataset.

The downscaled models contains data on temperature, precipitation, relative and specific humidity, shortwave solar radiation, and wind.   More information on the new model release can be found by visiting the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center website and more information on the MACA modeling approach can be found at the University of Idaho MACA data page.

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