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 Featuring another dedicated and prolific citizen science volunteer who, as part of The National Map Corps, is helping to map the Nation.

The National Map Corps uses crowdsourcing and provides volunteers an avenue to update building and other structure data on updated USGS map products. Citizen scientist participants earn “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 or other important public building. Using an online web mapping application, volunteers research and update data that becomes part of The National Map structures dataset. The dataset is available for download free of charge.

When participants register with The National Map Corps they are 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 “SaltyHiker.” This outdoor enthusiast has quickly reached one of the higher award levels in the TNM Corps project. He received the “Theodolite Assemblage” badge for editing and submitting more than 2,000 structures or points.

Volunteer Spotlight, SaltyHiker
"SaltyHiker" enjoying the outdoors. (Public domain.)

Here is SaltyHiker’s story, reprinted by permission, and original text:

Hello all! I’ve been intrigued with maps and their representation of the world ever since my older brother brought a USGS topo map home in the mid-1960s. I still enjoy taking the historical USGS topo maps and locating features in the world, even wagon trails from the late 1800s!

I had a 35-year career as an aerospace engineer, during which time I also took many backpacking trips, with USGS topos always on hand. That way I always knew exactly where I was when in unfamiliar territory. Please don’t believe friends who tell stories about the times I got lost…

I’m now retired and spend my days as a volunteer and amateur naturalist; and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Among my volunteer activities are helping with paddling events and trail maintenance at a local nature center; hiking or kayaking each day during which time I photograph and upload anything interesting in nature that I might see; collecting, mounting, and transcribing herbarium specimens; helping out at a homeless shelter; helping out at a local botanical garden; and working any short-term projects of interest that might crop up through the naturalist network.

I’m staying active in many ways, but not like working an actual job… and to me it isn’t the subject matter that’s important; rather it’s the fulfillment of curiosity, continual learning, and time with other volunteers that are important.

With regards to TNMCorps, I enjoy researching and entering data for cemeteries, ensuring these hallowed grounds remain accurately portrayed on The National Map.

I send my best wishes to all my fellow volunteers, and to the entire TNMCorps team!

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 find links to the project overview, questions and answers (Q&A), user guides, and much more. See you on the map!

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The Theodolite Assemblage badge from The National Map Corps.  (Public domain.)


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