2.6 Scottish Mountain Footpath Inventory (SMiFI)
What is SMiFI?
The Scottish Mountain Footpath Inventory (SMiFI) is a map-based store of information on CD-ROM containing all the available access information about every mountain in Scotland. It is an electronic system comprising a combination of databases of path surveys, connected to Ordnance Survey maps on a geographic information system (GIS). The system is designed for individual path managers to collect, store and retrieve data of all types, on their sites, and to enable all access organisations in Scotland to share their information and give a national picture of the mountain access resource in Scotland.
The project has been developed by The Footpath Trust, with assistance from Objective One EU funds, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the National Trust for Scotland and Sport Scotland. More than 30 organisations throughout Scotland have contributed information. SMiFI is managed by SNH, which ensures that it is kept up to date, with new information added and updated CDs issued regularly.
What data does SMiFI hold?
The inventory presently covers all areas north of the Highland Boundary Fault, and includes over 1000 access routes and sites, including:
- Munros (peaks over 3,000 ft)
- Corbetts (peaks over 2,500 ft)
- lesser peaks below 2,500 ft
- hill tracks through glens and coastal paths.
The system offers instant access to over 250,000 data records, 1,000 maps and 10,000 photographs.
The system uses the ‘traffic light’ data hierarchy for every site, which is the same as the survey structure described in this manual:
- Green data: documentary and survey data about each identified footpath, describing location, use, ownership, environment and management.
- Amber data: detailed site condition information and work required section by section.
- Red data: records of path repair and construction specifications, photographic records and works contracts.
The GIS is based on Ordnance Survey 1:50 000 scale Landranger maps, with all path routes digitised on a map layer on top of the base map. The map also has a number of ‘layers’ of information that can be switched on and shown on the screen. These include:
- Mountain summits: all the Munros, Corbetts and other peaks.
- Designated conservation sites: the boundaries of all the SSSI, NNR, NSA, cSAC, SPA, and others.
- The Highland Council Land owner database, including the boundaries of all estates over 100 hectares.
- Administrative areas: including local authority boundaries, local enterprise company areas and SNH areas.
What can SMiFI do with these data?
The system is easily operated, and day-long training sessions are run regularly for new users and for existing users wanting to make more use of the system. The main features are as follows.
Reports can be produced that cover a selected section of a path, a whole route, or a group of paths or database records. There are predesigned reports that enable standard reports to be produced, for example:
- Green Description Report: detailing all the Green data for a selected path.
- Site Management Report: containing a selection of Green and Amber information collected together for all sections of the route.
- Path Area Report: enabling a selected group of paths to be compared for a set of chosen types of information.
For most reports, it is possible to select the data fields you want to include. All reports can be saved to file, transferred to a spreadsheet for further calculation or printed out. It is also possible to design your own reports, and new standard reports are being added at the request of system users. It can generate reports about site environment, path condition, trends, management and priorities and can provide comparisons between paths. SMiFI allows analysis of data at a variety of levels, and data can be examined and interrogated at a national, regional (mountain massif) or individual path level to provide comparative statistics and reports.
Using SMiFI to help manage access
SMiFI is designed to run on a standard PC with at least a 500 MHz Pentium II processor, with 32 K RAM and 500 Mb hard disk space available. The system will run on lower specification machines but will be slower to load information and display maps on screen.
SMiFI informs on issues relating to the management of access to Scotland’s mountains, glens and unenclosed land. SMiFI can be used to:
- inform access policy and planning;
- prioritise access funding resources;
- monitor mountain access and identify trends;
- provide information about site restoration and maintenance;
- analyse the effectiveness of access management;
- share information among those involved in the path industry.
Organisations can add information to the system about paths which they are managing or for which they have additional information. As this can be an ongoing process, it is necessary for individual organisations to supply updated information to SNH so that re-issues of the CD-ROMs are up to date.
It is also possible to change priority weightings on parameters that have been used to calculate priority. Individual organisations can have these changes incorporated on re-issues of SMiFI. SMiFI can also be added as an additional layer to an existing GIS.
For the system to reach its full potential, access managers must use and contribute to it. All mountain access managers are encouraged to use the system and to keep it supplied with any new survey, contract, site and maintenance information they generate. Enquiries about subscribing to the system and adding your information for the next edition should be sent to email@example.com.