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Important State Information

Alaska and Hawaii Imagery Issues

We are working to obtain higher resolution imagery for Alaska.  Because we are using alternate imagery for both Alaska and Hawaii we have encountered a few interoperability issues.  When in the viewer tab, if you do not see any imagery when clicking on Aerial Imagery [click on the background drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of the viewer] use the pan tool or zoom in or out. The imagery should now appear. If you continue to have problems, please email us at:

Puerto Rico

Editing in Puerto Rico has some interesting (and fun!) challenges. Please take a look at this tips and tricks guide if you are interested in contributing data in Puerto Rico. 

Also, the imagery quality is much better zoomed in, so make sure you zoom in to edit!


We have found an issue with the Classic Topos background layer over Puerto Rico. At this time please do not use this layer while editing in Puerto Rico.

Editor Questions

Q: What do the colors around the icons mean?

A:  Red: Unedited - Needs to be confirmed or corrected by a Standard Editor. Peer Reviewers and Advanced Editors may also edit these points.

    Green: Edited - Point has been confirmed or corrected by a Standard Editor.  These points are ready for review by Peer Reviewers or Advanced Editors.

    Blue: Peer Reviewed - Point has been reviewed by a Peer Review Editor.  These points are ready for review by Advanced Editors

    Purple: Advanced - Point has been corrected or confirmed by an Advanced Editor.

    Yellow: USGS Reviewed - Point has been reviewed by the USGS.

Q: Why would I give The National Map Corps my Twitter handle? 

A: When you sign up for The National Map Corps you can give us permission to Tweet your TNMCorps username through The National Map Twitter account as part of our volunteer recognition program. If you have a Twitter account and would like us to @mention you in the recognition tweet, simply enter your Twitter handle when you sign up. If you already have an account and would like to add your Twitter handle to your TNMCorps account, click on your username in the top right corner, go to "My Settings" and then enter it under "Current Twitter Handle." 

Editing Questions

Q: I found a bunch of points stacked on top of each other and they are all post office points. What should I do with them? 

A: This is a problem you may see that comes from some of the legacy data we use. If the points are for different post offices, verify that they still exist and then move them to the correct location. You should move the existing point rather than creating a new one in the correct location. If the points are all the same, verify that the feature still exists and then delete all but one of the points.

Q: I found a building that is a fire station and a police department. Do I add a point for each one?

A: You should add a point for each unique function of the building only if the separate functions are also separate entities.  For example, if a fire station also has EMS (Emergency Medical Services) capabilities you would not add separate points for the fire station and EMS;  however, if the EMS company was different from the fire company you would add two separate points on the building.  In other words, there should only be one point per entity, even if that entity serves multiple functions.

Q: I added a point for a structure that I didn't think had an existing point, but then I found one later. What should I do?

A: Look at the attributes for the existing point.  If the existing point has a GNIS ID, keep the existing point and delete the new point.  If the existing point does not have a GNIS ID, then either point can be deleted.

Q: I found a nursing home. Should I code this as a “Hospital"?

A: If you are unsure whether or not a particular type of feature should be collected, please check the structures list for definitions and examples of what we want and do not want collected. If you are still unsure, email us at 

Q: What is the correct naming convention for Post Offices?

A: Post Offices should be given the name found on the USPS locator tool + "Post Office." In the examples seen below, the correct name for the first example is "Denver Post Office." If you find a post office with an additional name in parentheses, as seen in the second example, please format it like, "Westminster Post Office Harris Park Station." For more information on editing Post Offices, please see the Post Office example in the Peer Review User Guide.


Q: What if an authoritative website cannot be found for a feature? Is the next option driving by the Google address to confirm its address/existence?

 A: You can definitely “drive by” using Google™, street view but never use the address provided by Google. Addresses and even locations are frequently inaccurate in Google Maps.  If you cannot find an authoritative website, try to locate a number using the Yellow pages or another source, and call the feature to verify the attributes and location.

Q: The point I am researching contains the 4-digit suffix on the zip code, should I keep this or delete it?

A: The 4-digit suffix on a zip code is not required. You can use the USPS zip code search engine by inputting the official address to find the full zip code. If you are unable to verify the last 4-digits it is acceptable to remove them from the zip code.

Miscellaneous Questions

Q: Can I count my volunteer hours toward community service or to fulfill my scholarship?

A: Currently we have no way of tracking the hours that you work on The National Map Corps. You can, however, contact your reporting agency and check to see if they will include the time you spent on the project. If they approve, keep track of your hours and send them to us for verification. We will compare the hours you have claimed to the number of edits you have made and see if it appears to be reasonable. Be sure to track and include the time it takes to read the User Guides and the time you spend researching points.

Q: Do my updates also help update OpenStreetMap (OSM)?

A: Not at this time. We are working on a procedure to pass along updates from our volunteers to OpenStreetMap.


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