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Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS)

FedCCS April 2020 Meeting
"Crowdsourcing All Things Geo"

Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 2:30 – 4:30 PM Eastern Time

Happy Citizen Science Month! The FedCCS April 2020 Meeting will be hosted in collaboration with the USGS Open Innovation Community. This month's topic is "Crowdsourcing All Things Geo" with a panel of six speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National-Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), Department of State (DOS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Each speaker will give a 10 minute talk about federal crowdsourcing projects involving volunteered geographic information (VGI), collaborative mapping, open source geospatial tools, and crowdsourcing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support.

Video Available to FedCCS Members in
FedCCS Community Team Space

Stream is Only accessible to DOI Employees


2:30 - 2:45 PM

Welcome and Introductions with Menti Poll
Opening Remarks on "All Things Geo Crowdsourcing" Topic and Speakers

2:45 - 2:55 PM

National Digital Trails and GaiaGPS:
Considerations When Proposing to Partner with a Private Company
Elizabeth McCartney - U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

2:55 - 3:05 PM  

NaviGator: A Geographic Game With a Purpose
Chris Clasen - National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and George Mason University (GMU)

3:05 - 3:15 PM

MapGive: Humanitarian Mapping as Public Diplomacy
Erika Nuñez - Department of State (DOS)

3:15 - 3:25 PM

NGA Open Mapping Enclave (NOME)
Will Mortenson - National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

3:25 - 3:35 PM

FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit
Katie Picchione - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

3:35 - 3:45 PM

Civil Air Patrol GIS Program
Scott Kaplan - U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP)

3:45 - 4:00 PM

Q&A Discussion with Speakers

4:00 - 4:30 PM

Federal Agency CCS Updates
FedCCS Open Discussion

FedCCS April 2020 Talk Abstracts, Speaker Bios, and Resources

National Digital Trails and GaiaGPS:
Considerations When Proposing to Partner with a Private Company

Elizabeth McCartney - U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The National Digital Trails is proposing to enter into a partnership with Gaia GPS in order to receive voluntary crowdsourced information about trails from the public. This talk discusses concerns about privacy, liability, and fair competition and the steps taken to help alleviate those concerns. The National Digital Trails Network project was developed in response to the Department of Interior’s (DOI’s) vision of connecting trails to expand recreational opportunities on the Nation’s public lands. Our Nation is home to a vast network of recreational trails traveled by millions of citizens. The trails are managed by numerous organizations and jurisdictions and do not form a coherent, connected network. The overall objectives of this project are to provide data and tools to enable land managers to visualize opportunities to increase the connectivity within this network. 

Elizabeth McCartney is a cartographer at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Geospatial Program. Currently Elizabeth serves as the project manager for the National Digital Trails Project. Past roles include Applied Research at the USGS National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, team leader for the USGS Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) project known as The National Map Corps and regional point-of-contact for the USGS National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).

NaviGator: A Geographic Game With a Purpose

Chris Clasen - National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and George Mason University (GMU)

NaviGator is a serious game that presents users with a human computational task to interpret geographic language. It's a novel use of the approach developed by Duolingo, reCaptcha, and FoldIt applications. By collecting a dataset on the use of 3D data, we hope to improve search and disaster response scenarios where users often describe their needs such as "close to" and "near" a defined landmark.

Chris Clasen is a LIght Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and 3D lead for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). He used LIDAR data in combination with crowdsourced data to help assess the Haiti Earthquake damage for his graduate school research. Now pursuing his PhD at George Mason University, he continues to pursue applications of volunteered geographic information (VGI).

MapGive: Humanitarian Mapping as Public Diplomacy

Erika Nuñez - Department of State (DOS)

MapGive is a U.S. State Department public diplomacy initiative that encourages and increases volunteer participation in the global mapping community and facilitates the creation of open geographic data to support humanitarian relief and development programs. The talk will discuss how MapGive connects the State Department with the open mapping community, and highlight MapGive’s latest activities and plans for the future. For more details, see and @MapGive on Twitter for updates on current activities.

Erika Nuñez is a humanitarian research analyst embedded in the U.S. Department of State’s Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU). As part of the HIU, Erika provides multidisciplinary analysis to U.S. Government decision makers, while employing geographic methods and technologies, and manages projects that facilitate the creation of geospatial data for humanitarian purposes. She has helped to develop and promote MapGive, the Department of State’s public diplomacy initiative supporting the open mapping for humanitarian and development efforts worldwide.

NGA Open Mapping Enclave (NOME)

Will Mortenson - National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

NGA Open Mapping Enclave (NOME) is an online toolkit that allows the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG) to contribute and benefit from the power of open content, also known as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) to vastly improves the quality of foundation map data. VGI opens up geospatial data to communities that in the past would have had to rely on their own limited collection resources and proprietary technologies. NOME is challenging conventional geospatial collection and dissemination methods to reduce costs, improve accuracy, and enhance mission planning and execution. This talk will break down what the NGA Open Mapping Enclave is, how they are trying to expand the use of crowdsourcing to support the NGA mission, and how they are continuing to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the NOME platform while also giving back to the public.

Will Mortenson serves as the Volunteered Geospatial Information Lead for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) where he has served in numerous integration roles, while also deploying in support of operations to Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to NGA, Mr. Mortenson served in multiple organizations in the United States Army. He holds a Master's Degree in Homeland Security, he is an Air War College graduate, and is currently a doctoral candidate in the field of organizational development.

FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit

Katie Picchione - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit provides situational awareness to FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) by coordinating with volunteer groups conducting crowdsourcing activities to help people before, during, and after disasters. The Crowdsourcing Unit holds regular coordination calls where external volunteer groups working on similar efforts can collaborate, share lessons learned, avoid duplication of efforts, and learn about one another’s projects. In support of COVID19, the Crowdsourcing Unit has created a space for collaboration among volunteer groups who are mapping testing sites, tracking food distribution activities, controlling rumors, and supporting other response activities. Email the FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit at for more information on past and current activities.

Katie Picchione is a FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit Lead for the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and one of FEMA’s full time crowdsourcing staff in the Response Geospatial Office in the Planning and Exercise Division at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Civil Air Patrol GIS Program

Scott Kaplan - U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP)

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force when CAP services are used by any department or agency in any branch of the Federal Government. Civil Air Patrol GIS Program conducts a variety of operational missions primarily in the areas of Emergency Services, namely Search and Rescue, Disaster Relief, Counterdrug, and Homeland Security. Most of this is done in CAP's role as the United States Air Force Auxiliary as Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) under Title 10, but CAP also provides assistance to State and Local authorities in many cases before there is a defined Federal interest under Title 36 as well. In order to conduct these missions, there are many programs and personnel that provide Operations Support. CAP GIS primary objectives are: (1) Help augment FEMA and other federal, state and county agencies with trained GIS specialists; (2) Help CAP visualize our own assets and activities; and (3) Provide a potential new career path for cadets and senior members in GIS.

Scott Kaplan serves as a volunteer National Program Manager for the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary - Civil Air Patrol (CAP) CAP GIS Team. He is also the Operations Officer for the Air Force NGA Support Team at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), and has served in numerous cyber, business, and operation roles across the agency. Prior to NGA Mr. Kaplan served multiple roles within the Aviation and Intelligence fields as a United States Navy Officer, and supported the opening days of Operations Iraqi Freedom while deployed on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. He holds a Master's Degree in Systems Engineering, is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAIWA) Level III certification in Information Technology, and is a graduate of the Department of Defense Executive Leadership Development Program.

Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community of Practice
FedCCS Community Meetings are every last Thursday of the month at 2:30 - 4:30 PM ET.

If you are a Federal employee, JOIN the FedCCS Listserv by sending an email to:

For more information on FedCCS resources, visit:

The USGS Open Innovation (OI) Community welcomes anyone interested in using participatory science and innovation methods like Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Prize Competitions to obtain ideas, data, services, and solutions from the public and organizations in an open way. The Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum is a series of different talks and panels to inform the development of a USGS Open Innovation Strategy. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, send an email to: and

USGS Open Innovation Community Wiki

JOIN Open Innovation Community Listserv  |  JOIN USGS Open Innovation Teams Site

April 2020 Open Innovation Newsletter

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