Volunteers Collect and Edit Over 400K Structure Points!

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The National Map Corps volunteers are a force that can't be stopped! In just over a year, volunteers have collected another 100,000 structures points, bringing the total to more than 400,000.

This steady increase in the number of points edited illustrates not only the hard work of the dedicated TNMCorps volunteers, but also the effectiveness of the TNMCorps project in leveraging crowdsourcing techniques to collect and update high quality structures data for the nation.

Graphic of virtual badges available to volunteers.

Virtual badges available to volunteers. Each badge is related to historic mapping equipment and techniques. The more points submitted, the higher award level.   (Public domain.)

Each point that is verified and updated by TNMCorps volunteers represents a structure or manmade feature on a map such as a school, cemetery, hospital, post office, police station or other important public building. That data then becomes part of The National Map structures dataset, which is available for download free of charge. In the last year The National Map Corps also added courthouses and city and town halls to it's growing list of features collected by volunteers. Adding new features is a great way to keep volunteers engaged and serves as an opportunity for The National Map Corps to demonstrate the ability of a diverse group of citizen scientists to make thorough and accurate contributions to a nationwide dataset.

To show each volunteer ongoing appreciation for their hard work, TNMCorps has established a recognition program that awards “virtual badges" to volunteers. Each unique point edited or confirmed is worth one point towards the badge level. Additionally, volunteers are publicly acknowledged (with their permission) via Twitter and Facebook.

If you've been inspired to see what all the excitement is about, then you too can join the hundreds of citizen scientists who are providing accurate mapping information to the public through The National Map and US Topo maps. All you need is access to the internet, a little bit of time, and a willingness to learn.

Anyone with an interest in contributing can volunteer. It is easy to sign up and get started. If you'd like to participate and learn as much as you can about how the data editing process works, be sure to check out the comprehensive TNMCorps user guide. If you're eager to jump right in, then the quick start guide will have you up and editing quickly. You can begin editing in your own hometown, but feel free to zoom around the map and do a little editing anywhere in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If you aren’t sure where to start, check out our Structure Finder to quickly and easily find points to edit. It's a fun way to explore different parts of the country without having to pay for a plane ticket! To learn even more about The National Map Corps, and for access to useful tips and tricks, check out our bi-monthly newsletters, and if you have any questions, reach out to us at nationalmapcorps@usgs.gov. See you on the map!

Background: TNMCorps is a citizen science program that leverages crowdsourcing techniques and the efforts of volunteers to update the structures data for The National Map. Using a web-based mapping application, volunteer map editors provide accurate spatial data for the National Geospatial Program by confirming or updating structures data points using authoritative sources or personal knowledge.

Most recent status graphic of The National Map Corps volunteer contributions

Most recent status graphic of The National Map Corps volunteer contributions. The different colors indicate the year or month of collection and submission.  (Public domain.)