Frequently Asked Questions
Content and Structure of Data
The data contains structured and machine-readable information on rules for recreational use in nature. In a first step, rules from laws, ordinances, and local agreements on areas such as protected areas are collected and displayed on an areal basis. In a further step, data on temporary closures as well as hazards are created and these are then also digitized on trails i.e. lines. These rules concern, for example, activities such as hiking, cycling, lighting fires or picking mushrooms, which are often regulated by laws and ordinances on a specific area.
The data is provided as Open Data and can therefore be used freely by everyone. We would like to see a high usage of the data through many channels such as the digital tour portals, navigation systems and map services. The data will be made available for free download and everyone can use it free of charge according to their needs and display options. We provide the infrastructure, which can then be used individually. With our digital module, providers can incorporate it into their system at the desired location and expand it with other modules such as maps, route information, area information. Due to the free license, it is up to the providers where and how they use this module.
No new geodata are created. This data exists at all levels and for most spatial categories such as protected areas, administrative boundaries or natural areas, which are digitally mapped with location and area accuracy and can thus be used for maps, outdoor apps and databases. These spatial data have limited data depth and often only provide name and simple category or use information. The association wants to connect information about rules in nature to the already existing spatial data, so that they can also be processed by the already common systems.
The data must be machine-readable, international and prepared as open data so that it can be used automatically. We want a data format for nature conservation information that is compatible with current systems and can thus be integrated into existing data. By cooperating with different Open Data projects we try to make the data usable for everyone. The raw form of the information exists as text in analog or digital documents and cannot be processed by automated systems in such a way that it can be represented spatially and in a structured way. Therefore, this data must be transferred into categories and values in a uniform form. Postal codes can serve as an example. Names of municipalities can overlap, have different spellings and for an automated system have difficult long concatenations of letters, which lead to problems and long calculations in the processing. By unique 5 digit combinations of 10 simple numbers (0-9), the names are always the same length and these numbers are confusion free. A computer system can thus easily work with all postal codes for Germany.
In the first phase, information is collected and presented at the area level. This allows initial important data to be collected on a large scale and effectively. In the area data, generalized information on general trails and different trail categories can be reflected. The area can represent a national park in which by a certain regulation, rules apply e.g. on the whole area like prohibitions of fire and tents. In addition, there are rules on trail categories, for example, hiking trails with an important trail requirement or roads on which cycling is allowed. This information on trail categories can be transferred from the area to the trail categories. In the future, the project will also provide data on trails/lines to digitize specially designated trails with special bans, prohibitions, and permits. To do this, the groundwork must first be laid on the surface and an effective infrastructure must be in place so that the data can be collected effectively and up to date via an interface.
All areas where rules for recreational use apply should be digitized and displayed. It is important here to provide the user with his options on all areas of interest to him without conflict and in a secure legal space. Important areas in this context are protected areas on the highest level as well as forest, agricultural and all near-natural areas.
Collecting, publishing and using the data
We will make the data freely available for download on our site as soon as the data format and database structures are finalized. At the same time, we will interface with other important data hubs (Open Data Initiative, OpenStreetMap) and make our data available there. Of course, we are already happy to share information and data upon request.
In our pilot phases, we work closely with our members and pilot partners and exchange data directly. In the operational implementation, the data is entered directly into the database via a digital input interface.
For trustworthy information, it is important that the data is entered by persons with appropriate expertise and responsibility. To enter data via the input interface, registration with verification is required. Important users of the input interface can come from conservation, administration and tourism. Where will the rules and the areas be accessible for the user? How will it be displayed on a map? We make the data available to all and support its use. Important channels are the major platforms, navigation systems and map displays. Digital providers care a lot about providing a conflict-free experience for the user. This is only possible via information on proper behavior in nature. We make the data freely available. We do not dictate how the data is presented by different users or integrated into their systems. Many platforms use OpenStreetMap, will the data be available there as well? An important part of our work is to coordinate and develop appropriate measures to bring the data to an OSM standard or to publish it directly in the database.
Rules, closures and dangers
All rules that have an influence on recreational activities in nature are digitized. For this purpose, laws of all levels from EU to state level as well as the important rules from regional ordinances and statutes are digitized.
Local agreements are an important tool for sustainable recreational use and visitor management. When all stakeholders involved come together and reach an agreement, it is accepted by the majority. These agreements are taken into account in the data set and presented as such.
We try to incorporate these terms into our structure as free of interpretation as possible. The association does not see itself in the role of a moderator for the interpretation of legal terms. We can create transparency with our work in order to identify possible problems.
The data focus on the explicit rules for behavior in nature and would like to communicate them as such. Behavioral cues are important and need to be communicated, but this is separate from the binding rules. We therefore focus on the explicit rules or regional agreements in our data.
The basis for up-to-date information is an interface for easy and fast data entry. A web interface can be used to enter and distribute up-to-date information. In this way, temporary closures or hazards can be effectively entered and published. This topic will be addressed in the association in the future. Other important tasks in this context are to inform the responsible authorities and politicians about our standard and the benefits of our work.
Participate in the association
We welcome all interested parties from nature conservation, tourism and sports. If you have a company, belong to a public authority, a sports association or work in tourism, please contact us informally via our contact form or by e-mail.
We are happy to have new members who shape and support the association with us. We are also happy about donations, with which we can significantly advance our project. New data is important as well as support from experts in environmental protection and data management or help in networking important actors.
We are a non-profit association and do not pursue any economic purposes with our project, but want to close a big gap in digital visitor guidance together with our members and partners. Since we are not a company, we depend on the financial help of members and supporters. But we can also guarantee a disinterested and independent work in the association.
Especially in our pilot phases, it is important for us to cover a wide range of regulatory systems, natural areas and different administrative levels. This will allow us to create a format that fits every region and area in the future, so that we can collect and play out information across the board. We welcome any region, area or organization with relevant information. Simply contact us via email or the contact form.