US National Map Corps

Last week I attended a web-based presentation by USGS on the National Map Corps. I don’t know if you are familiar with USGS’s National Map or not, but it is a great resource for finding and downloading information. I had not heard of the USGS National Map Corps before, so this was good news to me.

USGS has adopted the same editing environment for the National Map Corps that OpenStreetMap has used for a few years (Potlatch). It works well, is simple to use, and they use it to update a few features for the US Topo Map. The features you can currently edit across the US are: schools, fire, police, and EMS locations, state capitals, and cemeteries. Not a lot of features to update, but it is nice to see USGS opening up to crowd sourcing to keep features current and accurate. The updates you make on the map are reviewed by peers and then added to the new US Topo Map quads.

The URL for the USGS National Map Corps Editor is: 

Improvements at Open StreetMap

I like the changes going on at OpenStreetMap. I think they are trying to become more user friendly and are pushing themselves more into the mainstream of the mapping world.  Below is an OpenStreetMap of O’Fallon, Illinois that results from the OpenStreetMap export tool which provides a user with an embeddable map for your webpage.  It is very nice and shows that OpenStreetMap is no longer just for the application developers.

After writing this post it looks like the embedded maps are not compatible with the security rules.  To see the map I created you can go to my VerticalGeo company website (also WordPress, but hosted by VerticalGeo) and see the map in this post.  Link.


Walking Papers

Stumbled upon a new capability that I believe is pretty impressive. Walking Papers is a system that works with OpenStreetMap so that a person can download an area in OpenStreetMap, print it, make hand annotated updates to the map, upload it back to OpenStreetMap, and have your updates be applied to the OpenStreetMap base map. There are a few people that are intimidated by technology, but want to contribute to OpenStreetMap, and there are others who live in areas where an internet connection is hard to obtain. These people can still contribute to completing the OpenStreetMap basemap by using printed maps. I think it is a very useful system. If you are interested check out the Walking Papers website.

Completed Aerial Photography Project for the City of O’Fallon, Illinois

We completed an aerial photography project for the city of O’Fallon, Illinios this week.  We flew the core of downtown O’Fallon and the Public Cemetery.  I created a web map on ArcGIS Online that includes both pieces of aerial photography overlaid on top of an ESRI Street Map basemap.  Here is the result: an interactive web map:,38.5838,-89.8908,38.6006&zoom=true
View Larger Map