Greg Matthews: Phone: 303-202-4446
Mark Newell: Phone: 573-308-3850
In light of swiftly changing technical landscapes and increasing uses of social networking, the USGS is exploring a new approach to the volunteer program, and is launching a project to test options for volunteer participation in providing data to The National Map. The project involves mapping man-made structures and facilities, such as schools and fire stations, in the state of Colorado. Using an internet mapping application, volunteers can help the USGS update The National Map by correcting or adding information about structures. “Even members of the public who can’t tell a sandstone from a rhyolite but have internet access can now help the USGS keep its popular maps up to date through our new experiment in crowd sourcing,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Correctly locating and identifying fire stations, police stations, schools, and hospitals not only makes USGS maps more useful, but can literally save a life.”
Over the past two decades, the USGS National Geospatial Program sponsored various forms of volunteer map data collection projects. Volunteers helped the USGS improve its maps during this period, by annotating paper maps, collecting data using GPS units, and submitting data using a web-based tool. However, in 2008, the volunteer mapping program was suspended as new methods for using volunteer data were being studied. In recent years, new web- and mobile-based technologies have made it easier to create, combine, and share maps. Recent events have shown how well these technologies support the rapid and relevant production of geographic information. If the Colorado pilot project is successful in attracting volunteers and capturing data for use in The National Map, the program may be expanded to other areas in the future. This project offers volunteers an opportunity to participate in providing data to The National Map and US Topo map products. For more information, interested Colorado volunteers can visit the National Map Corps website.
The National Map Corps website.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is requesting public input on its six science strategies: Ecosystems; Energy and Minerals; Environmental Health; Global Change; Natural Hazards; and Water. These strategies will used in setting priorities and implementation planning for future research activities at the agency, which was reorganized in 2010.
Some of the USGS programs that support these science strategies include:
Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
The Federal Geographic Data Committee is an interagency committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. This nationwide data publishing effort is known as the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The NSDI is a physical, organizational, and virtual network designed to enable the development and sharing of this nation’s digital geographic information resources. FGDC activities are administered through the FGDC Secretariat, hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Land Remote Sensing (LRS)
The Land Remote Sensing Program operates the Landsat satellites and provides the Nation’s portal to the largest archive of remotely sensed land data in the world, supplying access to current and historical images. These images serve many purposes from assessing the impact of natural disasters to monitoring global agricultural production.
National Geospatial Program
The National Geospatial Program (NGP) organizes, maintains, and publishes the geospatial baseline of the Nation’s topography, natural landscape, and built environment. The baseline is The National Map, a set of databases of map data and information from which customers can download data and derived map products and use web-based map services. Through the Geospatial Liaison Network, the NGP works with cooperators to share the costs of acquiring and maintaining these geospatial data. The National Atlas of the United States of America®, the small-scale component of The National Map, fosters an understanding of broad geographic patterns, trends, and conditions useful for national assessments. The Federal Geographic Data Committee promotes consistent data and metadata standards, system interoperability, and cross-government best business practices for geospatial resources, policies, standards, and technology as part of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.
The National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) will meet on June 22-23, 2010 at the National Conservation Training Center, 698 Conservation Way, Shepherdstown, WV.
The draft agenda can be found here. Topics discussed today centered around the Geospatial Platform – What is it? Who is the intended audience? Who will manage it and be accountable for it (e.g., FGDC, GSA, OMB, other?) What is the business model? What are the incentives for participation? What are the technical standards? What are the licensing issues? What is the role of the private sector? Who can access what data? How will tribes’ data sensitivty concerns be addressed? How will it fit with existing initiatives like the National Map, GOS, GeoLOB, and NSDI? What is the geospatial federal segemented architecture management? What is the problem we are trying to solve? What is different this time around? How can we make this sustainable?
The U.S. Geological Survey’s Federal Geographic Data Committee’s (FGDC) 2008 Annual Report is now available online.
The report includes remarks by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne at the ESRI User Conference in San Diego, Calif., on August 4, 2008:
… My vision for the future is that with the click of a mouse, decisionmakers and land managers…will have access to maps that Lewis and Clark could never have imagined-
- Maps that include up-to-date digital imagery of the landscape.
- Maps that overlay population data, land use, wildlife habitat, and other forms of geographic information, to paint a more complete picture of our planet.
Information is power, and this information will be a powerful tool in the hands of policy makers, land managers, and scientists in the United States and around the world.
Finally, the Department of the Interior will continue to partner with other countries, the importance of which I saw first-hand in December when I led the U.S. delegation to the World Summit of the Group on Earth Observations in South Africa. Seventy-three nations were there. The other leaders and I left that summit united in the belief that the world must embrace the idea of science without borders, achieve global data compatibility, and have full access to coordinated Earth observations. We agreed to focus on helping countries to better share data from their weather satellites, ocean monitoring buoys, earthquake sensors, and other geospatial technology. …
The National Map 2.0 Tactical Plan – “Toward The (Integrated) National Map”
The purpose of this document is to serve as a guide for the near-term implementation of The National Map. While the Tactical Plan is primarily intended to serve as an internal U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) planning document, we are making it publicly available to the many partners contributing to implementation of the plan and to users of the information contained in The National Map. As plans, available resources, and technology change, this document will change through a formal change management process. Internal and external comments and suggestions are welcome and instructions for providing comments are located at the url listed above. Link: www.usgs.gov/ngpo/tnm_tacticalplan.html.
Acting Director, National Geospatial Program Office