USGS Volunteers Help with Accurate Mapping

April 15, 2015  - By 0 Comments
Screenshot of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Facility Mapping Challenge showing the more than 440 edited points (green dots). At this scale, many dots contain more than one edited or verified structure.

Screenshot of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Facility Mapping Challenge showing the more than 440 edited points (green dots). At this scale, many dots contain more than one edited or verified structure.

Volunteer mappers continue to make contributions to ability of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to provide accurate mapping information to the public. Recently, volunteers were asked to update all of the law enforcement structure points in Tennessee. The volunteers answered the call and added, verified, edited or deleted 440 points.

All of the points were quality checked by either a peer reviewer or an advanced editor, so the data was ready to go into the National Geospatial Program’s web-based The National Map at the conclusion of the USGS Mapping Challenge.

The volunteer additions and edits will be symbolized on US Topo maps during the next production cycle for Tennessee, slated for 2016.

Mapping Challenges, conducted by the National Map Corps, ask volunteers to concentrate on specific areas and structure types that need updating. They encourage volunteers to remain engaged and incentivize participation. Once a need is determined, a call to action goes out to the volunteer corps with information on the geographic location and the type of structures that need updating. Volunteers who participate can earn a series of virtual recognition badges and are recognized on social media and the Map Corps project site.

Using crowd-sourcing techniques, the National Map Corps encourages volunteers to collect manmade structures data in an effort to provide accurate and authoritative spatial map data for The National Map. Structures being updated include schools, hospitals, post offices, police stations and other important public buildings.  

“At times, locating structures seems similar to solving puzzles or detective work,” commented fconely, a Challenge veteran and one of the project’s more active participants.

Tools on TNMCorps project site explain how a volunteer can edit any area, regardless of their familiarity with the selected structures. Volunteers can register by going to The National Map Corps Editor.

The most recent status graphic showing the number and density of The National Map Corp submitted edits or verification for the past three years.

The most recent status graphic showing the number and density of The National Map Corp submitted edits or verification for the past three years.

Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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