GeoWorld October 2012

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Time-sensitive GeoWorld departments such as NetLink, PeopleLink, Product News and Business News now are maintained solely at the Web site. Check there often for the latest updates as they happen. New Committee Advises on Evolving Ocean-Observing System As the U.S. systems for observing oceans grow more connected and networked into an Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), oversight of the evolving "super system" becomes a challenge. But a new committee set up to evaluate big-picture issues should enable federal leaders to better build the system. The new U.S. IOOS Federal Advisory Committee was formed to evaluate scientific and technical information related to its design, operation, maintenance and use. The committee will provide guidance and expert information to the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency leading much of the IOOS work, as well as the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee, a separate body comprising federal-agency members overseeing IOOS development. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco appointed 13 inaugural members to the new advisory committee. Members come from academia, the private sector and nonprofits. "Everyone relies on ocean and coastal data and informa- tion, whether they realize it or not," said Richard Spinrad, committee chair and vice president for research at Oregon State University. "These data inform daily weather reports, ensure national and homeland security, help us determine An autonomous underwater glider can gather data on ocean conditions and provide results for use in the Integrated Ocean Observing System. A new advisory committee will provide scientific and technical guidance to overseers of the system and its components. if seafood is safe, and guide cargo ships loaded with goods we will buy at the store. Leading this committee is an important and exciting task to take on." USGS to Improve The National Map via Volunteers The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) launched a test project in Colorado to explore use of social-networking tools as a way to "crowdsource" the updating of The National Map, a collaborative effort that delivers U.S. topographic information for uses ranging from scien- tific analysis to emergency response. The map serves as a nationwide collection of inte- grated data from local, state, federal and other sources. Key data layers include orthoimagery, roads, geographic names, topographic contours and hydrographic informa- tion. The map comes in Web-ready products as well as downloadable data and allows users to merge other types of geographic information with the map viewer or data to create new types of maps. But the map is always evolving and in need of updating, so a fresh batch of volunteers might hold the potential for easier, broader information updates. The new USGS project provides volunteers with an Internet mapping application they can use to map manmade structures and buildings, such as schools and fire stations, in Colorado. "Even members of the public who can't tell a sand- stone from a rhyolite, but have Internet access, can now help USGS keep its popular maps up to date through our new experiment in crowdsourcing," said Marcia McNutt, USGS director. "Correctly locating and identifying fire stations, police stations, schools and hospitals not only makes USGS maps more useful, but can literally save a life." USGS suspended a volunteer data-collection pro- gram in 2008, but the recent advent of powerful Web- and mobile-based technologies made it easier to create and share maps. If the Colorado pilot proj- ect proves fruitful, USGS officials may expand the program to other areas. Potential volunteers can visit the National Map Corps site at confluence/display/nationalmapcorps/Home. OCTOBER 2O12 / WWW . GEOPLA CE . CO M 7 NOAA

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