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#1
A. Fenix

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from slashdot.org:

chrb writes: "Following on from the discussion about Apple disabling GPS in Egyptian iPhones, we have a new case of the conflict between the traditional secrecy of government, and the widening availability of cheap, accurate GPS devices around the world. On 5th December, two software engineers employed by Biond Software in India were arrested for mapping highways using vehicle based GPS devices. Further evidence against the pair emerged when it was found that a laptop they had been using in the car contained some photos of the local airforce base. The company claims they had been commissioned by Nokia Navigator to create maps of local roads and terrain. Following an investigation by the Anti Terrorist Squad of Gujarat the cartographers have now been charged with violating the Official Secrets Act and will remain in custody."


Field checkers beware.



Interesting story. Thanks for sharing Nat.

I've been wanting to write a post for some time now inquiring how many of us mappers actually go out in to the field and verify our mapping work. Obviously, it would be impossible to verify every minute detail of our maps, but I'm curious if any of us field verify the main meat of the map. If so, how often? I have been mapping for several years now and have only just begun to get out in the field and create the data that I am mapping. However, this is still an elusive thing and usually I am simply mapping data that others have developed (and often verify the information).
Analisa Fenix
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#2
Hans van der Maarel

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I've split this post into a new thread.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#3
A. Fenix

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Thank you Hans
Analisa Fenix
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#4
Rick Dey

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At CSAA our routine was to usually field check a map roughly every other update. It could happen more often if there was conflicting source information. Since these weren't complete new maps every time, just updates, most of the work could be done in a single day. On a new map, a week would frequently be needed.

I always found that field checking gave me a perspective of the place I was mapping and helped everything make more sense. In our earlier years we had a field person who would go out at the early stages of an update and check out any questions that had been placed in the file and make contact with the local sources picking up source maps. (Many of you will not remember a day when we had to use city base maps, stacks of plat maps and hand drawn field checks.) That face to face contact helped solidify our relationships with our local contacts and assured their assistance in the future. Toward the end of the project the field person or the cartographer and field person would go back out and clarify any additional questions that may have come up in the process.

In the last couple years I would use a GPS tracking unit while I was on my field check that reduced the necessity to hand draw some of the information. It also allowed me to place markers at locations of points of interest and then just overlay all that on my map when I returned to the office.

Our ability to field check allowed us to always have the most up to date and accurate maps for our members.
Rick Dey

#5
Jean-Louis

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I always found that field checking gave me a perspective of the place I was mapping and helped everything make more sense.


Absolutely.
While I use Google Earth more and more, nothing matches the reference of being there. It makes all the difference in the world to my feel of orientation especially for the type of illustrated maps I do.

Since 9/11 though, I have been experiencing more suspicious looks and I have gotten questioned by authorities when I get 'caught' taking pictures of infrastructure! The US-Canada border has become a @*#* Pain in the neck

Often, I will drive by a structure, quickly take a picture out the window and take off. The result is that I have a lot of pictures of people with freaked-out looks on their faces. Of course, they think that a strange guy drove by taking a picture of them and not of the building they happened to be standing in front of. One day, I,ll put them in a collection.


New Year good fortune to all mappeople.(I still think,'mapmen' sounds better...O tempora, O mores!)
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#6
Hans van der Maarel

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The result is that I have a lot of pictures of people with freaked-out looks on their faces. Of course, they think that a strange guy drove by taking a picture of them and not of the building they happened to be standing in front of. One day, I,ll put them in a collection.


Please do!

I remember getting some weird looks back in college, where one of our assignments was to make a social-economic inventory map of a certain part of town (some residential areas, some industrial).
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#7
David Medeiros

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Our ability to field check allowed us to always have the most up to date and accurate maps for our members.



Read you loud and clear! ; ) The details of my severance prevent me from any further comment :D

I'm happy to say I was there just in time to get a little of the old way of field checking; hand drawn field maps, meeting contacts etc. While proximity to your subject is not a necessity for all types of maps it is invaluable for road maps and creates a superior product.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#8
Dennis McClendon

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One of my favorite topics. I gave a presentation at NACIS a few years ago on the topic.

I try to field-check any large-scale map we do. We do about three dozen cities in the Western US (for phone book maps) and I did field checks for all but two of them. Invariably, I would discover that some 5-10 percent of what was on (or not on) the official maps was incorrect in some sense.

Things have certainly improved in the last dozen years, especially in New Mexico, where mapping is often rather primitive. Nearly every county now has GIS and because they use it for E-911 mapping, they now make an effort to distinguish paper streets from real ones. And the availability of recent aerials—even oblique aerials from four different directions for big cities—has been a godsend. Nonetheless, I always return from a field check with a map covered with red marks. Street names spelled differently; barricades or fences (invisible in aerials) across roads; new subdivisions or schools; streets that turned out to be alleys or unnamed driveways. One of the most surprising problems is finding out what an unnamed street is called. You'd be amazed how many kids have no idea what the name of their own street is. Towns that don't have mail delivery sometimes don't bother with street names. In Crow Agency, Montana, I stopped at the tribal chapter house, where I was directed to an elder. When I respectfully asked him about the names of a couple of prominent streets in town, he started making up names on the spot to please me.

In Yuma, Arizona, I got stuck in a sandy draw where I could hear rifle bullets whizzing overhead, only to discover that my brand-new rental car had no jack or spare. In Cloudcroft, N.M., I crested a hill to see black ice before me and a 400-foot dropoff at the end of the T intersection (I eased down the street v e r y slowly, with the door open.) Many times, I've tested the suspension of rental cars on roads that I would decide were entirely too primitive to show on my maps.

I've only had trouble with law enforcement once. Outside Taos, N.M., I was exiting a short private (but paved, named and marked) cul-de-sac, having determined that it didn't continue through to another street. One of the homeowners took it on himself to block me in with his pickup truck and prevent me from leaving while he called the police. It took about 45 minutes to sort out whether this was a city, county, or state problem, but eventually state patrolmen showed up and ran my license, then told me I was free to go.

A couple of days later, I noticed that a gate across the street entrance had been closed and locked, though this must have been a nuisance for all the vehicles coming and going from the 6 or 7 homes on the cul-de-sac. I thought briefly about making a purchase at the local Walmart. After all, if one padlock on that gate is good, two would be even better.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#9
tom harrison

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I publish trail maps of parks and wilderness areas so I do a lot of field checking. The first pass is to drive the roads and find the trailheads, campgrounds, ranger stations, etc. and note their locations, features, and make sure they still exist. I research all the printed and digital info I can find on the area and look for information that does not agree between different items. I ask questions of people who work in the area. When things don't look right, or I can't reconcile differences, or when I just feel like hiking, then I grab my pack, boots, GPS, and measuring wheel and start field mapping. It's a crummy job but someone has to do it.

#10
rudy

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We produce street and road maps for communities across the country so it is obviously hard to get out and check everything. The only field checking happens when we are mapping areas closer to home. Interestingly, there is a lane close to where I live the regularly shows up on maps. Technically that is correct except that anyone who is not familiar with the area would never be able to find it since it is not marked by a street sign and looks like someone's private lane. so we've dropped it from the map. But i shows up on city maps and almost every other map I've seen of the area.

#11
DaveB

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I publish trail maps of parks and wilderness areas so I do a lot of field checking. When things don't look right, or I can't reconcile differences, or when I just feel like hiking, then I grab my pack, boots, GPS, and measuring wheel and start field mapping. It's a crummy job but someone has to do it.


The sacrifices some people make in the cause of excellent maps!
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek




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