Is your GPS taking you the wrong way?

One day as I was working in my county engineer's office at Stark County, IL, a delivery driver stopped in and said "Why are these roads labeled incorrectly on my GPS map?"  At first I blew it off thinking that's something beyond my control and I had more important things like ongoing construction projects.  After all, we as the local agency were the knowledge experts on local names and places and if these big companies wanted our data they could "come and find us" with their "incorrect" GPS navigation devices.  But then I realized what a tremendous benefit this would be to not only the local deliver driver but also emergency response, tourism, and many others.

 So how do we get these basemaps updated?  First of all, these basemap companies are BIG and there are only a few key players.  By basemaps I mean the foundation for GPS navigation on consumer-grade electronics.  

There's not exactly a 1-800 hotline that you can call as a one-stop-shop to update everyone in the universe (although that would be nice).  There are however, tools that allow you to edit or update the information on your own.  This is called crowd-sourcing, where anyone / anywhere can contribute to updating basemap information to benefit the traveling public.  Here are some ways to do this for some of the bigger basemap providers out there:

A sample of an Esri basemap

A sample of an Esri basemap

  • Open Street Map is a crowd-sourced application that allows to edit and update street map information used by consumers around the world.  All you need is to create a login and learn their simple editing tools.

  • HERE, A Nokia Company, who recently purchased acquired Navteq is also a major provider of basemaps.  With HERE you can go to their site:  Map editing tool sign up for an account    Data upload portal (Upload GIS data here)

  • Google Maps has a Base Map Partner Program that allows agencies to submit their data in vector format with specific instructions regarding format.  In addition to vector data, Google also allows users to contribute to their collection of Cities in 3D, Imagery, and parcel data.

Remember, sometimes it takes some time for it to become active.  Yes, real people typically look at the information you submit and actually take time to verify its accuracy.  

If you have more ideas, thoughts, etc. please leave them in the comments below.

Cloudpoint Geographics and Early Bird Aerial Services team up to provide CIR and NDVI Imagery to Illinois Producers.

With the recent purchase of a helicopter, sprayer, and CIR Camera, Early Bird 

Aerial Services, a branch of Early Bird Fertilizer, hope to expand business. By flying fields 3 times a growing season, the Color Infrared imagery can help producers identify problem areas in a field based on the NDVI (Normalize Difference Vegetation Index). The index is used to show relative growth vigor of plants and aid field scouting for precision fertilizer and pesticide application. 

Cloudpoint is processing and analyzing the data collected by Early Bird. With terabytes of photo's shot every flight and the need for a 24 hour turnaround time. Cloudpoint will use ESRI’s ArcMap and Blue Marbles Global Mapper tools for clipping and raster calculations for the NDVI index. Cloudpoint will process the imagery and allow producers to view fields on geo-referenced PDF's. This means, producers can use the GPS inside equipment, on phones, or on tablets, to take them to the exact spot on the image for scouting.