Wetland Mapping Training
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Wetland Mapping Training
Module 1: What is the National Wetlands Inventory?

Module 2: National Wetland Classification Standard

Part 1: Definition of Wetlands

Part 2: Introduction to the Standard

Part 3: Systems and Subsystems

Part 4: Class, Subclass, and Dominance Types

Part 5: Water Regimes and Special Modifiers

Part 6: How to Apply the Classification Standard to Mapping

Module 3: National Wetland Mapping Standard

Part 1: Introduction (Objectives, Scope, Applicability)

Part 2: Standard Requirements and Quality Components

Module 4: Image Interpretation of Wetlands

Module 5: How to Get Started

This online Wetland Mapping Training course was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to assist our cooperators and data contributors in successfully submitting standards-compliant wetlands geospatial data to the National Wetlands Inventory Program (NWI). These data become part of the NWI-managed Wetlands Layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).  Only standards-compliant data can be added to the Wetlands Layer.

Who should take this course?

It is recommended that everyone mapping wetlands take this course.  These modules are designed for practicing mappers (image interpreters) skilled in GIS (geographic information systems) software who need special training for interpreting and classifying wetlands from aerial imagery or other remote sensing applications or skilled wetlands image interpreters who need to learn new required wetland standards.  It includes biological information used to classify wetlands that can be understood by a non-biologist.  However, this course does have limitations and persons taking this course may not be fully qualified to produce standards-compliant wetlands data without further training, experience, or a knowledgeable quality assurance manager.


The Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Geographic Data Committee, and the Association of State Wetlands Managers have provided resources or support to assist the Service in developing this wetlands mapping course.  Modules available include (1) What is the National Wetlands Inventory?, (2) the National Wetlands Classification Standard (Cowardin et al.), and (3) the National Wetlands Mapping Standard.  The “how-to” module for Image Interpretation (4) is available for beta testing and the module for Conducting a Wetlands Mapping Project (5) is under construction.  Other modules are planned, including one for the Service’s Riparian Mapping Standard and for coding for analyzing functional assessments (NWI-Plus). 

Understanding the two National Standards, covered in Modules 2 and 3, is vital for any wetland mapper using Federal funds for mapping and provides essential information required for producing FGDC-compliant data.  You should proceed sequentially through the modules.  Experienced wetlands mappers can skip to Module 3 to learn about the new Wetlands Mapping Standard.

This 2011 version of training will be modified, improved, and expanded over time, with more images and video added. 

We estimate that it may take between one and a half to four hours to take Modules 1-4, depending on the student’s level of knowledge and GIS experience.

Training Aid Buttons

Training aid buttons at the top of each page include:  Glossary, Learn More, and Course Menu.  Other training aid buttons are added to specific Modules or Parts and include:  Classification Diagram, the Wetlands Classification Matrix, and a link to the Wetlands Code Interpreter.  Training aid buttons are also included on the Learn More page.

Navigation Buttons


Students can navigate through the training using the green arrows to move forward a page or to return to the previous page.  Each slide has navigation buttons you can use to move around within the course; you can go to the beginning of the course (Wetland Mapping Training Home), the beginning of the module (Ex: Module 2 Home), or the beginning of the part (Ex: Module 2 – Part 1 Home). 

After clicking on most images to expand their size, you can mouse-over the image on the right to click on “Next” or on the left to click on “Previous” to move between multiple images.  A short caption is available when you mouse-over an image or graphic as part of 508 disability compliance.

Also on every page, the Course Menu button takes you to a list organized by page, by topic.  It allows you to find a topic of interest, move non-linearly through the modules, or search for the topic or page where you left off if your training is interrupted.  This training does not include cookies that will allow you to take up the training where you left off – so be sure to note the page or topic on which you stopped.

Learn More


The Learn More button, at the top of each page, opens a webpage with links, references, and organizations mentioned in this training. 

Also included on the Learn More page are training aid buttons for the Classification Diagram, the Wetlands Classification Matrix, and a link to the Wetlands Code Interpreter.  Opportunities for other training are listed on the Other Wetlands Mapping Training page as they become known to us and we have had an opportunity for review.   

We are also planning a community-of-practice blog so that you can post your questions and an experienced community member can respond.  Currently, we have no staff to answer questions that may arise from this training but are planning periodic webinars (see section below for upcoming schedule).  Technical problems related to the website can be addressed to our webmaster.

Before you Begin a Mapping Project or to Request Instructor-led Training

Contact your NWI Regional Wetlands Coordinator at: http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/Organization/RWC.html


Upcoming Webinars:     None scheduled at this time.

Please let us know when you take the training. We would also welcome any suggestions you would like to provide to make it better Wetlands@fws.gov (Subject: Training).




Technical questions concerning the website contact gina_a_jones@fws.gov, webmaster.

Module 1 Homepage