The National Map Corps (TNM Corps) is an online crowdsourcing mapping project with volunteers successfully editing structures in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As part of The National Map, structures include schools, hospitals, post offices, police stations, cemeteries, and other important public buildings.
By updating and verifying structures data, volunteers are making significant contributions to USGS National Structures Database, The National Map, and ultimately U.S. Topo Maps. The submitted and approved points from these participants have resulted in updated and enhanced mapping information as well as saving significant taxpayer dollars and man hours.
To reward these novice cartographers, TNM Corps developed a “recognition program” of virtual badges that can be earned as a volunteer reaches certain submission levels. There have been a little more than a dozen committed volunteers who have reached the top award level, submitting more than 6,000 points along with spending time as a senior reviewer and assisting other participants.
We cited one of those participants earlier. Our second highlighted map enthusiast goes by the handle of “DillonParker8” and moved to the highest level, to include earning the special edition “International Year of Mapping Badge” in a relatively short amount of time. His story:
“I was born and raised in Farmington, New Mexico, and began climbing 15 years ago as an after school activity at the local college in Farmington. Once my friends and I were able to drive, we began backpacking and mountaineering in the La Platas and San Juans (Southwest Colorado). “
“I enjoy ‘trad’ (traditional) climbing, sport climbing, multi-pitch, and peak bagging. I tend to find himself playing in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.”
“One day I was looking around on the USGS website looking to print off topo maps for a climbing project. I saw the need for volunteers and felt like that was something I could take part in. I spend a good week or more traveling with work and in hotels, so what better time than then to bust out a phone book, make some calls, and edit.”
“I found a weird joy in doing the edits, learning about some old forest roads and trails to fire look-out towers, and small remote fire stations.”
Anyone with an interest in contributing can volunteer. It is easy to sign up and get started! All you need is access to the internet, an email address, and a willingness to learn. “How to” documentation including an understandable User Guide will have you up and editing quickly.