Forest Service Roads

The most significant addition to the New Mexico v2.0 maps is the merging of the Forest Service roads with the base TIGER roads. This added over 20,000 miles of secondary/tertiary roads to the National Forest.

Within the forest boundary, the base road set tended to include only major named roads which would have been in the county GIS dataset, the source of the TIGER files. The forest service data is much more complete, higher precision and almost always named or numbered.

It wasn't as simple as just adding the two roads sets, that would have created an ugly mess of almost matched roads. Rather each road or group had to be copied and pasted from one map to another. That's only done with hundreds of man-hours of eye staining time. During the editing process, "loner roads" (roads not connected to any other road) were deleted, should eliminate some confusion and clutter.

An unknown is whether the forest road names/numbers are displayed in the field as road signs, hopefully yes. In any case, if you're in the maze and looking the get out, the much more complete road information should be a major asset.

This pair of identical area/scale screenshots will give you a quick example of added roads:


From the Above the Timber's New Mexico v2.0 maps*                     From Garmin's Topo US 24K SW v2.0 maps*

*Things of note when comparing the two images. Garmin does not show private in-holdings, the white polygons, within forest areas, nor wilderness areas in a unique color.

 By forest here's a complete look at the added roads:

Forest Unit Miles Features
Carson National Forest 3939 5104
Cibola National Forest 3527 3161
Gila National Forest 4600 4329
Lincoln National Forest 1886 1154
Santa Fe National Forest 6469 9125
Total 20,421 22,873

The net added miles is somewhat less than these numbers imply, inasmuch as during the editing process it was often better to delete small groups of TIGER roads and replace them in total with the national forest roads. Features are one vector with many vertices. A single vector typically represents one named/numbered road, but not always.

The line style in no way infers the road condition, the forest service data contained no data attribute as to the character of the roads. So your best gauge would be the road grade inferred from the contours. Best to assume that the majority of these roads are of native materials and not maintained. If you see a sign saying "Impassable when Wet," Believe it!