The National Map Corps is a citizen science program that leverages crowd sourcing techniques and volunteers to update structure data on updated USGS map products. To reward, recognize and motivate these participants, the program awards “virtual badges” for increasing numbers of submitted “points”.
A point represents a structure or manmade feature on a map such as a school, cemetery, hospital, post office, police station and other important public buildings. Using an online web mapping application, volunteers research and update data that ultimately become part of The National Map structures dataset, which is available for download free of charge.
When registering with The National Map Corps, a potential participant is encouraged to select a screen name or “handle”. The program has had a select few volunteers who have exceeded the top award. A few of these intrepid map volunteers have reached the top level of virtual badges. Today, we recognize “geo163” as a newest member of the Squadron of Biplane Spectators for editing and submitting more than 6,000 structures or points.
Here is geo163’s story, reprinted by permission, and in their own words:
“Being a National Map Corps volunteer is a good fit with my educational background, professional experiences, and genuine interests. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a minor equivalent in Landscape Architecture from Utah State University; and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado at Denver.
While I was in graduate school I had a great volunteer experience with the Colorado State Parks helping research and create the first color editions of the Urban Trails in Colorado map series. I received a State Parks annual award for my efforts. As a planner I have been responsible for designing maps for community plans in Jefferson County, Colorado, and Vanderburgh County, Indiana.
My GIS experiences range from an undergraduate class using punch cards to create the Harvard Design School grid overstrike maps, to creating GIS polygons for a community, to the above mentioned community plans. Another major professional experience related to the National Map icon attribute detail has been the lead in my community’s participation in the U.S. Census Bureau’s LUCA (Local Update of Census Addresses) program in preparation for the decennial census three times now.
I have had great satisfaction as a National Map Corps volunteer both from a participation and personal achievement perspective. This includes achieving the Squadron of Biplane Spectators (6,000 + edits), the 2016 International Map Patch challenge, numerous state map challenges, and becoming an Advanced Editor. Also I know from my professional experience and training the value of accurately mapping critical infrastructure, which the National Map helps provide.”
TNMCorps encourages you to see for yourself what all the excitement is about. The only requirements to be an editor are a willingness to learn and access to the internet. Check out the online map editor, where you’ll also find links to the project overview, questions and answers (Q&A), user guides, and much more. See you on the map!