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Mapping Data Projects

COMBA has partnered with graduate students at the University of Colorado at Denver on a collection of GIS-based data projects relating to our local trail systems.These projects allow us to offer useful, hard data to land managers, who are often trying to make challenging recreation decisions without the benefit of this kind of information. 

Starting in 2019 (with more projects on the way), students from the Facility for Advanced Spatial Technology lab used geospatial analysis to produce a variety of projects which were shared with the U.S. Forest Service that August. Their work highlighted critical issues like erosion potential based on trail slope and precipitation, or trails likely to be impacted by insect-caused tree death. A future project will examine how trails and recreation will benefit the local economy around Central City.


This work proves helpful to land managers in multiple ways, since most have tight budgets and limited volunteers available. With data helping them to focus their decisions, they can target maintenance dollars to trail areas most in need, for example, or allocate those monies differently in future budgets for regular trail upkeep. 

In another recent example of data use, Strava information helped the Jefferson County Open Space department decide that closing the lower Longhorn trail at White Ranch to hikers would be a successful management strategy.  

The partnership among COMBA, the USFS and CU Denver is beneficial for everyone, helping students gain experience while providing valuable data to trail organizations and managers. 

Read more and see some of the projects in this blog from the National Forest Foundation.

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