A Resource for the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US)

PAD-US Data and Maps

PAD-US is the official national GIS inventory of public park and open space areas held by public agencies and non-governmental organizations. PAD-US also includes lands protected by conservation easement, and marine protected areas.  Learn more about the status of PAD-US data for each state.

For a general introduction to PAD-US, you can view this 45 minute webinar presentation.


This data is available as follows from the USGS Gap Analysis Project (GAP):

Web services – layers are available for ownership, gap rank (biodiversity protection status), as well as by agency level and as a single feature layer (no categories).  Go to GAP web data services  »

Data download – PAD-US data is in GIS format and can be downloaded wholly or by state, geographic region (Northeast, etc.), or Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) region. ArcGIS layer files for a dozen thematic classifications (Gap rank, management, etc.) are in the data download file and are very useful.  Go to GAP PAD-US data download »


Well-designed maps of PAD-US data can be downloaded from the USGS PAD-US web site ».

These maps can be used many ways, including using the JPG images for presentations and reports, and making large or small prints from the more detailed PDFs. They all feature excellent cartography from GreenInfo Network – learn more and see examples of this map design »


The current version of PAD-US is 1.4 (May 2016).  Under U.S. government circular A-16, PAD-US is the official national inventory of protected lands.  Learn more about current and previous PAD-US data editions »

Go to the official USGS ScienceBase Catalog information on PAD-US 1.4

A report describing data standards and descriptions for PAD-US is available from USGS GAP (PDF) »

Metadata for PAD-US current version – read the PAD-US metadata »   (see also Data.gov entry)

Tools for translating your GIS data into the PAD-US standard are available from USGS GAP »

Citation for PAD-US data:   U.S. Geological Survey Gap Analysis Program (GAP). May 2016. Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US), version 1.4.

For more information on PAD-US, go to the USGS GAP PAD-US web site »


National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) – NCED is managed by a non-governmental organization consortium and currently includes approximately 22 million acres in 100,000 easements. NCED data is integrated into PAD-US. Learn more about NCED »

 NOAA Marine Protected Areas are also included in PAD-US and cover critical coastal and ocean resources.  Learn more about NOAA MPAs

Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) North American Protected Areas Database (PAD-US is the U.S. component).

 World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) – PAD-US is the national contribution to this global database of key protected areas which is a tracking system for the Convention on Biological Diversity.  WDPA is a join project of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center.    Learn more about WDPA »