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PAD-US Data Standards

The PAD-US System seeks to define a common standard that facilitates the sharing of authoritative protected areas data between agencies, organizations and GAP that ultimately results in a comprehensive and accurate dataset of protected areas for the United States to meet a multiple needs at a variety of scales.

For inclusion into PAD-US, data submissions must meet the following requirements:

  • Areas meet the PAD-US definition of a protected area
  • Required attributes for each protected area are included
  • Metadata is provided

Definition of a Protected Area: PAD-US is an inventory of marine and terrestrial protected areas that are defined as being:

  • “Dedicated to the preservation of biological diversity and to other natural, recreation and cultural uses, managed for these purposes through legal or other effective means.”

State Data Stewards and partners assisted GAP with the development of current standards and continually suggest improvements during the annual open review period. Contact the PAD-US Coordinator with questions or comments.

PAD-US Data Manual:   A new version of the standards manual will be made available in 2018. Access to the manual will be via this Web page. Please contact the PAD-US Coordinator (Lisa Johnson – for the current blank schema and draft standard if you are beginning work now.