[Talk-us] National Map Corps Revived - And Using the OSM Stack

Eric Wolf ebwolf at gmail.com
Mon Jul 23 18:58:41 BST 2012


Mike et al,

Here is my personal, educated view on the way volunteers working on the
USGS prototype VGI system employed information from Google:

The guidelines the USGS provides to contributors specifically states that
Google is not an authoritative source, which is more of an issue than
copyright. The guidelines do suggest that Google and YellowPages are
reasonable sources to corroborative the factual state information with
authoritative sources. Further, the kinds of structures were are mapping
are things like hospitals and police stations. IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, it
would be astoundingly unethical for any data provider to intentionally give
false information about these things for the purpose of establishing
copyright.

Interestingly, in Phase 2 there were some structures that got changed back
to the initial state from GNIS. After a little digging, it was noted that
the first volunteer "fixed" incorrect information from the GNIS import but
then the second volunteer (during our volunteer quality control process)
changed it back, citing Google as the source. Unfortunately, Google was
reporting data they imported from GNIS but didn't cite their source! Even
within the very controlled setting of Phase 2, volunteers contributing to
the project acted in ways the USGS had not anticipated.

Neither the precise legal boundaries nor the best practices for utilizing
potentially copyrighted information for the documentation or verification
of fact are understood. One of the (many) reasons the project is still
considered a "prototype" is that the USGS is seeking to better understand
how these things interact, especially in the context of creating an
authoritative database.

Again, this is my personal view on the issue.

-Eric

-=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=-
Eric B. Wolf                           720-334-7734





On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 9:26 AM, Mike Thompson <miketho16 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Eric,
>
> Thanks for the info.
>
> I might be mistaken, but I recall looking at the public "crowd
> sourcing" pilot.  I noticed that a lot of edits submitted by the
> public were sourced from copyright or license restricted sources.
> There were comments from contributors like "per Google" or "per
> yellowpages.com."  I wonder what the USGS's stance on these sources
> is?
>
> Mike
>
> On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 8:08 AM, Eric Wolf <ebwolf at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'm probably not supposed to email you all but I hate seeing unanswered
> > questions.
> >
> > We have official publications about the project:
> >
> > FactSheet: http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs20113103
> > Phase 1: http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20111136
> >
> > An OFR on Phase 2 is due out any day now. Watch the RSS feed here:
> > http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/#home
> >
> > Phase 1 was purely an evaluation of the OSM software. Phase 2 was a test
> to
> > see if the data could be integrated into The National Map. Phase 3 is a
> test
> > to see what it would be like in production.
> >
> > We switched to Potlatch2 at the end of Phase 1. Our version of P2 is
> > modified (slightly) to only allow the very small number of structure
> types
> > (nodes) that we need for The National Map to be added. In fact, we went
> > through the entire system and disabled features that didn't fit our
> needs.
> > The result is a much simpler user experience.
> >
> > We are hoping to submit the data to OSM itself but we are very sensitive
> to
> > the issues of bulk uploads from "authoritative" data sources. We don't
> want
> > to do this until we have a good way to manage the process. One thought
> was
> > to only update the same features that are in OSM but haven't been
> changed.
> > The data we are looking at was part of the GNIS database which was bulk
> > uploaded into OSM in 2009. Most of that data is untouched (except for
> bots)
> > in OSM and still has the USGS feature ID (gnis:feature_id) saved in a
> tag.
> > In theory, we could automatically update only the data from our system
> with
> > matching gnis:feature_id tags in OSM that haven't been touched by humans.
> > The rest of the data would have to managed manually.
> >
> > We do create a nightly planet file:
> > http://navigator.er.usgs.gov/planet/planet.osm
> >
> > Feel free to explore the data. You can also explore the system without
> > creating an account using "guest" as the user ID and "usgsguest" as the
> > password. Changes from that account are reverted nightly.
> >
> > -Eric
> >
> > -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=-
> > Eric B. Wolf                           720-334-7734
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 6:12 PM, Charlotte Wolter <techlady at techlady.com
> >
> > wrote:
> >>
> >> Ian,
> >>
> >>         I read through their Web site.
> >>         They used Potlatch 1 for two pilot projects in "crowdsourcing"
> >> (yes, they used the word) topographic data. Apparently they were pleased
> >> enough with the results to plan to move ahead, at some point, with
> >> crowdsourced topographic mapping. I hope they have taken a look at
> Potlatch
> >> 2.
> >>         They also mentioned OSM several times on a couple of Web pages,
> >> which was nice publicity.
> >>
> >> Charlotte
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> At 02:50 PM 7/22/2012, you wrote:
> >>
> >> Yep. They announced it prematurely. They'll have more information about
> it
> >> in the near future.
> >>
> >> On Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 4:25 PM, Adam Schreiber <
> >> adam.schreiber+osm at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Ian,
> >>
> >> The link appears to be dead.  Was the video taken down?
> >>
> >> Cheers,
> >>
> >> Adam
> >>
> >> On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 10:17 AM, Ian Dees <ian.dees at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> > Hi everyone,
> >> >
> >> > I saw a tweet from @USGS today mentioning that the National Map Corps
> >> > are
> >> > starting up again. If you don't know what the National Map Corps is,
> >> > think
> >> > of it like "OpenStreetMap for the US Government". Volunteer mappers
> >> > correcting and adding to the topo maps all over the country. I'm sure
> >> > there
> >> > are others with much more information, but it was a pretty epic
> project
> >> > and
> >> > is the source for lots of the free and public domain data we use to
> this
> >> > day.
> >> >
> >> > For the last year or two (or three?) Eric Wolf's been working to adapt
> >> > the
> >> > OpenStreetMap stack to the USGS's needs, and it looks like it that
> work
> >> > has
> >> > finally been released. Check out this video for more information:
> >> > http://gallery.usgs.gov/videos/552. Skip to 4:10 or so to see it in
> >> > action.
> >> >
> >> > Hopefully Eric and others will respond here and tell us more about it!
> >> >
> >> > -Ian
> >> >
> >> > _______________________________________________
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> >> >
> >>
> >>
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> >>
> >> Charlotte Wolter
> >> 927 18th Street Suite A
> >> Santa Monica, California
> >> 90403
> >> +1-310-597-4040
> >> techlady at techlady.com
> >> Skype: thetechlady
> >>
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