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OpenTrails Course

The OpenTrails course is free, three-week course to get your agency publishing open and accessible data about your region's trail system.

Course Overview

OpenTrails is web-friendly format for publishing data about your trail system. It's designed to help park and public land agencies get good trail maps into the hands of their visitors, by making the easily accessible and usable by web and application developers.

This OpenTrails course is an opportunity for interested governments to fully prepare their OpenTrails data for public use. Over three weeks, Code for America will lead a small class (of about 4 to 6 agencies) through the process of converting their data to OpenTrails, publishing open data according to best practices, and finding the best approach for delivering the data to trail visitors.

Course Outcomes

  • Become proficient in converting your GIS data to OpenTrails, the web-ready format for trail system data.
  • Publish your OpenTrails data, and gain a thorough understanding of open data best practices.
  • Implement or identify the best use for your OpenTrails data, whether that be an embed on your website or a mobile application.

Are you ready publish OpenTrails data? Enroll in the OpenTrails Course today.

After three weeks, we'll make sure your agency has the knowledge and tools to publish OpenTrails data.

Course Pre-requisites

  • Your organization must be responsible for maintaining walking, hiking or biking trails.
  • Your organization must maintain data describing those trails.
  • Your organization uses Esri (ArcGIS) software to maintain trail data internally.
  • The attendance of at least one staffperson for each of the three webinars.

Enroll now in the OpenTrails Course, beginning August 6th. Space is limited.

Week-by-Week Syllabus




One webinar per week, running approximately 1 hour each. Webinars will be held on:

  • August 6th 11am PST
  • August 13th 11am PST
  • August 20th 11am PST

Course Work

Each week, agencies will be responsible for completing "coursework" in advance of the next webinar. This coursework will help agencies understand and document the current state of their data, their technical infrastructure, and stakeholder preparedness. These assignments will help agencies set and achieve reasonable goals for publishing open and accessible OpenTrails data.


  • Open Data Lead

    The Open Data lead should either be a parks or trails domain expert, or be responsible for open data in their respective organization. The Open Data lead will be responsible for building internal buy-in for OpenTrails publishing, and identifying the most valuable use of OpenTrails data in your community.

  • GIS Staffperson

    The GIS Staffperson should either work with parks and trail data directly, or be responsible for GIS data in their respective organization. The GIS Staffperson will be responsible for evaluating the current state of your trail data, how it can be updated and improved over time, and how to situate publishing OpenTrails alongside existing GIS practices.

Webinar Information

  • August 6th at 11am
  • August 13th at 11am
  • August 20th at 11am


  • Garret Jacobs

    Garrett moved to New Orleans three days before Hurricane Katrina. The move and ensuing activity paved a formative path for his civic engagement. Beginning with the basics of leading design/build community projects Garrett quickly learned the value of community ownership as a pathway to sustainability.

  • Alan Joseph Williams

    Alan is a product manager, designer and urban planner. As a 2013 Fellow, he helped a coalition of park and public lands develop OpenTrails, a web-oriented data format for describing trail networks. Before joining Code for America, he lead the Community team at Neighborland, a civic-ideation startup. He began his career designing and building products for disaster recovery projects on the Gulf Coast.

  • Jereme Monteau

    I have been writing software and building web applications professionally since 1994. My development experience includes building billing systems in Perl, enterprise event servers, graphical user interfaces and web applications in Java, high end consumer websites in ColdFusion and e-commerce websites for non-profits in PHP and Python. Most recently my focus has been consumer web applications in Ruby on Rails with a focus in online video. Proud to be a full stack jack of all trades my key strength lies in the ability to quickly understand problems from the end user perspective and delivering their solutions as web applications very rapidly.