National Park Service


Winter 2015 Status Update

Our Mission

To make it possible for every single National Park Service employee to build and deploy digital maps.

In support of this mission, we...

Create and maintain standards and best practices

Manage servicewide licenses

Build, support, and share a modular toolset

We use targeted projects to bring in funding and develop requirements

And use this support to push our servicewide work forward

We use our toolset to...

"Nudge" the Park Service in the right direction

Ensure our products meet the high expectations of our visitors

Contribute back to open source communities

Share our work with others, both inside and outside the federal government

We have spent a lot of time solving tough problems

(So everyone else doesn't have to)


Graphic Identity





Where do we fit?

We sit between GIS and the web and try to bridge the gap

We integrate with and use GIS ourselves

But we also follow best practices developed by the web community

Our Mandate

President Obama's Open Government Initiative

Overviews and updates:

  • Tools
    • Park Tiles
    • Places
    • Places Live
    • NPMap.js
    • Bootstrap
    • NPMaki
    • NPMap Builder
    • Places Mobile
  • Projects
    • Client projects



  • Supports points of interest, trails, roads, buildings, and parking lots
  • Automated pushes out to public-facing tables
  • Automated rendering out to Park Tiles
  • Working with parks, programs, and regions to "seed" data



  • Automated synchronization with internal GIS
  • Complete and vetted datasets
  • Geocoding and routing
  • One-way sync to structured data

(Places) Live


  • Prototyped geysers and roads at Yellowstone in FY2014
  • Roads and geysers integrated with Yellowstone's website
  • Supports Yellowstone Geyser mobile app



  • Campgrounds, trails, wildlife, weather, and fire
  • Visitor Center integration (kiosks and heads-up displays)
  • Automated notifications and messaging
  • Prototype "live" transit information with DOT
  • Publish to General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS)
  • Expand to BLRI, DENA, GLAC, and GRTE

Park Tiles


  • Servicewide basemap down to zoom level 19
  • Custom-designed to fit into the National Park Service's graphic identity
  • Flexible so you can combine it with other datasets
  • Updated minutely with OpenStreetMap data
  • Updated nightly with points of interest from Places



  • Start transitioning OpenStreetMap data to Places data
  • Update more frequently from Places
  • More detailed terrain and coastlines
  • Additional datasets (National Hydrology Dataset, etc.)
  • Custom work for parks that are prototyping Places Mobile


A JavaScript web mapping library, built as a Leaflet plugin

Wraps Leaflet with NPS-specific functionality and look-and-feel

Very actively developed

Bugs fixed and new functionality added for every project we work on



A forked version of Twitter Bootstrap customized for the National Park Service

Gives the National Park Service a solid frontend code base

Responsive-first, so it works well on all devices



The Harpers Ferry map symbolset modified for use on the web


NPMap Builder


  • Step-by-step "build a map" interface
  • Supports many different types of data
  • Best practices "baked in"
  • One-click deployment to
  • Maps are maintained by NPMap team



  • Upload and create custom datasets from scratch
  • Better symbology and interactivity configuration
  • More seamless integration with Places
  • Internal-only maps
  • Share edit access with other users

Places Mobile

A "starter kit" for every park that wants to build an iOS/Android app

Based on lessons learned from the NAMA, BOST, and INDE apps

Intended to be used on-the-ground while visiting a park

A dynamic product that parks can update themselves


  • Prototyped in three small parks FY2014: FOSM, HEHO, and KLGO
  • First app (HEHO) has been submitted to App Store
  • Next two apps should be submitted within the next month
  • Still working on Places Mobile Editor
  • Also working on v1.1: offline support, iBeacon support, and scavenger hunt



  • Expanding to ~10 more parks, including CAHA, GOGA, GRTE, and NPNH
  • An official servicewide Centennial project
  • Adding new capabilities:
    • Localization
    • Map enhancements: clustering and custom overlays
    • Vertical exploration feature
    • ???

NPMap is part of a small "digital team" that is working to modernize

This team also includes:

  • Web Services Division
  • Office of Communications
  • Harpers Ferry Center

Responsive redesign:

  • Update current to a responsive design
  • No major changes in functionality or content
  • Will use Bootstrap internally to unify design and development
  • Scheduled to go live end of March 2015

Centennial redesign:

  • redesigned from the ground up
  • More trip planning funcionality
  • Better integration with social media
  • Built on top of structured data, which is fed by Places
  • Will use Bootstrap internally to unify design and development
  • Launch date is January 1, 2016


Client Projects

FY2015 clients:

  • Abandoned Mineral Lands
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Federal Lands to Parks
  • Oil Spill Program
  • War of 1812 Program
  • Water Resources Division
  • Wildland Fire
  • Wilderness Program