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August 21, 2019

A dedicated and prolific citizen science volunteer with The National Map Corps has reached the top crowdsouring program award.

The National Map Corps is a citizen science program that leverages crowdsourcing techniques and volunteers to update structure data on updated USGS map products. To reward, recognize and motivate these participants, the program awards “virtual badges” as they increase their number 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.” A few of these intrepid map volunteers have reached the top level of virtual badges. Also, the program has had a select few volunteers who have exceeded the top award.  Today, we recognize “USGSTaylor” as the newest member of the Squadron of Biplane Spectators for editing and submitting more than 6,000 structures or points.

Here is USGSTaylor’s story, reprinted by permission, and in his own words:

“Hello fellow TNMCorps Volunteers,

My name is Taylor Lucas. I am currently a volunteer with the USGS Map Corps and was just awarded the highest category of Squadron of Biplane Spectators for editing over 6,000 points on the national map.

New Squadron of Biplane Spectator’s member: USGSTaylor
New Squadron of Biplane Spectator’s member: USGSTaylor.  (Public domain.)

Yes, I have put in a lot of hours since starting in January 2017, but it has been fun and rewarding to get to this level. Later this month, I will be starting my last year at Temple University in Philadelphia. I am majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geography and I have already completed my Undergraduate Certificate in GIS Mapping.

I started at Temple in a pure science major and love geology but wanted to learn more about our environment in general. My degree program had an introduction to GIS Mapping, which I really enjoyed so I pursued a Certificate in GIS and started my volunteer work with the USGS Map Corps after that semester.

Over the last 3+ years, I have held internships and participated in other volunteer programs with the US National Park Services (NPS), and The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, as well as, going to school full time and  holding a part-time job. I have always been able to fit in a few hours here and there for the TNMCorps. This is one of the reasons why this program works for me: I can work on it for 30 minutes or a few hours from home any time during the day.

This program gives me the chance to “travel” to new locations within the United States and explore different towns and cities that I would otherwise have no reason to research. After graduation, I have a few career paths that I am interested in at this time. One would be with the US National Park Service and other agencies with a land management group or the interpreters’ program. My other area of interest is in GIS Mapping for our government or with a private organization. I have always thought that the USGS gets involved with cool studies of our planet, volcanoes and earthquakes, and in a small way, I have been a part of their team, so I have no plans of stopping my TNMCorps volunteer work!”

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!

Screen shot of the newly improved The National Map Corps editor and start page.
Screen shot of the newly improved The National Map Corps editor and start page.  (Public domain.)