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June 21, 2022

TNMCorps Mapping Challenges continue in the Mid-Atlantic with a new challenge for schools in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.!  This is an excellent challenge for all editors since most of the schools in these states don’t have an edit history.  Don’t forget to look for missing schools, too! 



Base Map 

This challenge focuses on ALL SCHOOLS, including General Schools, Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges / Universities, and Technical / Trade Schools.   

As you can see from the map, all of the schools in these states have already been edited. But if we overlay the points with no edit history (see below), we can see that a majority of them need to be reverified again.  

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Schools in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. (06/21/2022)
TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Schools in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. (06/21/2022)


Points with No Edit History 

This challenge includes points with no edit history. These are points that were edited prior to the launch of our current editing application in 2016. You can identify points with no edit history by highlighting the point and then clicking on the “View History” button in the edit panel. A message saying “This feature has not been edited” will appear in the lower righthand corner. See the newsletter articles titled Yellow Points with no Edit History?? (July 2021) and Edited Points without an Edit History (March 2018) for more on this scenario.

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Schools with No Edit History in VA, WV, MD, and DC (06/21/2022)
TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Schools with No Edit History in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. (06/21/2022)

Point Border Colors 

Not sure what each point color means? These colors are part of our tiered editing process and signal to other editors that a point has passed through the upper tiers and does not need to be edited again. Our November 2018 newsletter has an article titled Editor Roles and Point Colors that describes this process further. 

Usually, we request that volunteers focus on points with a border color that corresponds to their highest user role. However, since this challenge includes points with no edit history, volunteers can edit points with any border color if the point has no edit history.

TNMCorps Point Border Colors











Tips & Tricks 

Existing Schools  

  1. Volunteers can locate existing schools by using the dropdown filters on the edit tab to filter by feature type and edit status.   
  2. Remember we are not collecting preschools, kindergartens, or childcare facilities.  
    • If you come across an existing point for a childcare, preschool, or kindergarten, please document your findings in the ‘Comment’ field and delete the point. No need to click “Save” first.   
  3. If you come across a school no longer in operation, document your findings in the ‘Comment’ field and delete the point.  
    • If a school has moved from one building to another, do not delete the point and recreate it on the new building.  Instead, click and drag to move the existing point to the new building. 
    • If a school has permanently closed (i.e., it has not relocated) but a new school opened in the same building, do not delete the point.  Instead, update the name, symbol, and attribute information of the existing point to match the new school.  
  4. If a school lists multiple campuses on their website, make sure each campus has a point and include the campus name in the point’s ‘Name’ field.  


Missing Schools 

  1. To search for missing schools, volunteers can search the web editor for each school listed on a district website to see if they have a point.    
    • Use the search tab to search for the school’s name or address. 
  2. If the school does not yet have a point, locate the correct building in aerial imagery and place a point for the school on the center of the building. 
  3. If a point does already exist, review the point’s geographic location, symbol, and attribute information against the school’s website and make any adjustments necessary.  
  4. Be sure and check nearby points for duplicates as well. 


School Symbols 

  1. Remember that if a postsecondary institution offers associates degrees, it’s considered a college / university. If the highest credentials offered are job-specific training certificates, then it’s a technical / trade school.  
    •  See the newsletter article titled Technical Community Colleges vs. Trade Schools (May 2017) for more on how to differentiate between the two.  
  2. The school’s staff directory or school supply lists are a good way to verify which grades a primary or secondary school serves since these are often broken out by grade levels.  


Possible Sources 

  1. Remember to find an authoritative source (e.g., a school or district website) for each feature.  Do not rely solely on information in aggregate lists.  
  2. The Virginia Department of Education maintains directories of public schools, private schools, and higher educational institutions.  
  3. Similarly, the West Virginia Department of Education has a directory of public schools by county as well as a list of accredited non-public schools.  
  4. The Maryland State Department of Education has a list of websites for local education agencies
  5. Maryland also maintains a platform known as the Maryland Manual On-Line. This platform provides an overview of Maryland’s educational institutions and has pages that list Maryland’s primary, secondary, and higher educational institutions.  
  6. The District of Columbia Public Schools maintains a directory of schools in Washington, D.C. with addresses and websites. 


Proper Point Placement 

  1. Place a college / university point on the college’s administration building.  
  2. If a technical / trade school is in a strip mall (which is often the case for smaller schools), try to find where in the building the school is located and position the point on this portion of the building. 
  3. We have some newsletter articles that walk you through the process of using aerial imagery to find the correct building on which to place a point.  
    • Aerial Photo Interpretation Part 10: Colleges / Universities (May 2019
    • Aerial Photo Interpretation Part 9: Schools (March 2019
  4. See the newsletter article titled Blast from the Past Part 2: Past Newsletter Articles (September 2020) for additional tips on positioning schools.  



If you have any questions during the mapping process, reach out to us at and someone will be happy to assist!  Thank you for all that you do, and happy mapping!


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