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Massachusetts Conservation Land and Trails Mapping Guideline

Conservation Land


Many of the conservation properties that are in OSM were imported from MassGIS Data: Protected and Recreational OpenSpace dataset in 2009. This data layer was created by tracing from paper maps, therefor often has 100's of feet of position errors.

The MassGIS L3 Parcel layer hosted by the US OSM chapter is a good source for the property boundaries -{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png. In the web based online editor ID you can load this layer as "custom imagery" (found under the "layer" icon). In JOSM and use the Mass GIS L3 imagery layer to see both outlines of open space and house numbers. It's available in the Imagery Preferences tab.


  • If the conservation land is open to the public, and it is not being using as a forest, Tag:leisure=nature_reserve, Tag:landuse=conservation (not rendered anymore).
  • If the conservation land is open to the public, but the landowner harvests the trees (like NEFF), Tag:landuse=forest (rendered) and Tag:leisure=nature_reserve (rendered)
  • If the land is open to the public, but not conservation land, such as watershed landuse=reservoir_watershed, a town park Tag:leisure=recreation_ground
  • Key:owner for the person or organization that owns the land.
  • If the conservation land is not open to the public, don't map it. (like a conservation restriction on a private farm).
  • Key:website if the property owner has an official web page describing the property.

Path Tagging

Secondary Path Tagging

  • Key:access - Use Tag:access=yes or if the trail is known to be open to the public by law, (easement, owned by the town, CR, etc) Tag:access=private if the trail is on private property, and it is known that the land owner doesn't want people on it. Tag:access=permissive if the land owner is ok with the public being on the trail, but they can change their mind at any time. No access tag, if you aren't sure if it is OK to be on the trail or not.
  • Key:operator if the trail is "maintained", the name of whomever maintains the trail
  • Key:colour is the color of the badge