NYS DEC Lands

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New York State owns land which is managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The layer describing The NYS DEC Lands is published on the NYS GIS Clearinghouse. RussNelson imported that data into OSM using polyshp2osm under the username NYSDECLands.

Status: A reimport that was commenced in May of 2016 is (as of September 2016) now complete. The reimported boundaries are from the March, 2016 version of the shapefile on the NYSGIS web site, which remains current as of September, 2016. The reimporter will continue to monitor the NYSGIS site for changes.

Summary of the reimport project

Kevin Kenny, among others, has observed that the original import is in need of rework. The topology that came from polyshp2osm was disordered (duplicate nodes, split multipolygons, unclosed ways, self-intersections...), and the tagging is no longer consistent with current practice. A project is commencing to rework the import from the current (March, 2016) version of the file, with appropriate simplification of ways, coalescence of multipolygons, shrinking of polygons to avoid nuisance collisions from GPS noise, and modern tagging. While proposed tag clusters and geometries will be constructed automatically (using ogr2osm, which is more careful with the topology), all changes will be applied manually, because few of the areas have survived unchanged from the original import in March of 2009. Most of the changes appear to be "drive by" changes where armchair mappers either did arbitrary things to silence warnings from automated tools, or else introduced inner ways to keep trees from rendering in water (the landuse=forest tag was applied to entire protected areas without regard to hydrography). The proposed retagging obviates the latter problem.

The proposed tagging for all facilities in the reimport is:

  1. Any tag beginning NYDEP_ shall be removed. They serve as mere clutter.
  2. Two tags containing foreign keys shall be introduced, to facilitate later conflation:
    • NYSDEC:FACILITY_N - Facility number within the NYS database
    • NYSDEC:UPDATE - Date on which the NYS record was last updated, as recorded in the database.
  3. All sites, except as noted below, shall be tagged:
  4. The name=* tag shall be populated from the FACILITY column of the source data if present (with case normalized and abbreviations such as WMA expanded to full text like "Wildlife Management Area"). If FACILITY is empty or consists of the string, 'UNCLASSIFIED', the proponent may be able to supply an interim name (e.g., 'Tahawus Tract', 'Boreas Ponds Tract') from local knowledge; otherwise, name=* will be omitted.
  5. The protection_title=* tag shall be populated from the CLASS column of the source data if present, otherwise from the CATEGORY column, again with case normalized and common abbreviations expanded. These columns will also guide additional tagging as shown in the table below.
  6. The website=* tag shall be populated from the URL column of the source data if the value appears to be a functioning URL, and otherwise shall be the DEC's main site http://www.dec.ny.gov/.
  7. A diligent search shall be made for Wikipedia pages corresponding to the facilities, and appropriate links (e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Peaks_Wilderness_Area) inserted.
  8. If other mappers have added tagging that appears to be appropriate, that tagging shall be transferred to the new object.

In addition, there is tagging that is specific to particular given classes of land. The category and class of land in the source data determine the tagging. The values are given in the table below:

CATEGORY CLASS Total area (km²) protect_class=* Other tagging / notes
FOREST PRESERVE WILD FOREST 5864 1b
WILDERNESS 5382 1b
PRIMITIVE 163 1b
INTENSIVE USE 116 * Tagged on a case-by-case basis.

There are multiple classes of intensive use areas, ranging from tiny fishing access sites to huge ski areas and campgrounds.

CANOE AREA 77 1b
UNCLASSIFIED 10 1b
ADMINISTRATIVE 3 * Tagged on a case-by-case basis
HISTORIC 2 22 Also tagged with heritage=* and related tags in place of leisure=nature_reserve
PRIMITIVE BICYCLE CORRIDOR 0.5 1b
FOR PRES DET PAR any 36 1b "Forest Preserve Detached Parcel" - a strange quirk of NY law.
STATE FOREST 3076 6 landuse=forest, access=yes in place of leisure=nature_reserve. These are parcels on which the law permits timber harvests.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT any 789 4 landuse=forest, access=yes in place of leisure=nature_reserve.

protect_object=hunting;fishing

UNIQUE AREA 75 5
MULTIPLE USE AREA 57 21 protect_object=recreation
TIDAL WETLAND 16 4 protect_object=habitat
EDUCATIONAL 7 Tagged case-by-case.
SPECIAL USE 7
WATERWAY ACCESS 4 21
FRESHWATER WETLAND 2 4 protect_object=habitat
FISHING ACCESS 2 21
TRAILWAY 2 21
SCENIC RESOURCE 0.8 5
ADMINISTRATIVE 0.7 Not a protected area. Used for offices and maintenance facilities. Tagged as appropriate.
SHORELINE PROTECTION 0.3 15
NRA 0.3 4 Natural Resource Area.
SPECIAL USE INTENSIVE USE 0.04 Tagged case-by-case
LEASED ACCESS, LAND ACCESS 0.05 21 Easements for public access to otherwise landlocked parcels
FOREST PRESERVE FPLUW "Forest Preserve lands under water" - Used for the surface of certain lakes. Will not be imported.

Note that all the areas classified as 1b are essentially managed as wilderness. Settlement, timber harvest, and most or all motorized access are forbidden. The distinction among them is subtle differences in management policy: Wild Forest can tolerate a somewhat greater variety of recreations than Wilderness (and may have cleared campsites, privies, trails hardened for the use of snowmobiles or pack stock, and similar minimal amenities). Primitive areas are ones for which some existing resource is incompatible with the Wilderness designation, but no timetable for the removal of the resource can be offered. Canoe areas and primitive bicycle corridors have resources particularly suited to those activities, and are otherwise treated as Wild Forest. All offer outstanding opportunities for solitude and the sense of land "untrammeled by the hand of Man."

The reimport shall proceed in small steps, each encompassing one or a very few parcels in a limited geographic area. At each step, the tagging will be checked for consistency, any tags added by mappers shall be removed from the existing geometry and added to the new, and the existing areas replaced. Since boundary=protected_area can extend across waterways without rendering gaffes, cutouts for waterways shall not be added. (The waterways are legally part of the protected areas and should be left inside.)

All edits shall be made under a separate user ID, 'ke9tv-nysdec-lands'.

Following this cleanup, the proponent will undertake to monitor the NYSGIS web site occasionally for updates. The task of keeping this material up to date will not require much time at all if it is not allowed to accumulate like the Augean stables.