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The National Map Corps is a USGS project to collect and manage Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Because of the changing technical landscape, the increasing use of social media for citizen mapping, and mandates for more transparency and citizen involvement in government, the USGS is investigating the redefinition of its volunteer program. Since 1994, the USGS has involved citizens in processes to improve topographic maps. In 2010, The Open Street Map Collaborative Project was started to evaluate the suitability of using an existing web-based collection system for data contributions and improvements by partnering with a state agency to update roads data using common specifications and editing guidelines. The first phase of the project demonstrated a successful deployment of the OpenStreetMap (OSM) Potlatch editor, customized with USGS specifications, to allow multiple editors to successfully edit roads data for part of Kansas.
In 2011, Phase Two of the OSMCP focused on student volunteer collection of 30 structure types defined as part of The National Map. Because Phase Two of the project involved a wider, less formal group of volunteers, attention was paid to elements of the editing interface to ensure that it more closely complied with USGS data collection specifications for structures. Change detection was implemented throughout this phase and quality metrics were created.
The current phase of this project, Phase Three, follows the concepts laid out in Phase Two for collecting structures. Phase Three has expanded the focus of the project across the entire state of Colorado.