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GCN : November 2013
GCN NOVEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM 7 "CONGRATS!" GCN would like to congratulate all of the 2013 GCN Award Recipients gcn.com/gala The U.S. Geological Survey has unwrapped 400 new digital topographical maps of the state of Alaska, the rst of what is expected to be more than 11,000 new maps updating geospa- tial baselines and replacing maps that in some cases are 50 years old. The state's unique geophysical pro le, including a challeng- ing terrain, remote locations and a harsh climate, made map- ping dif cult. Prior to this effort, topographical maps for much of Alaska were about 50 years out of date and not produced to current standards, which rely largely on high-resolution digital imagery and elevation data. One surprising early result: Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America, is 83 feet shorter than previously thought. It's still has the continent's highest peak, but it's now listed at 20,237 feet, rather than 20,320 feet. The project is being spearheaded by USGS's Alaska Map- ping Initiative, a joint venture of the agency and state map- makers to publish a complete series of digital PDF maps at a scale of 1:25,000. New satellite image layers show the latest surface views, Trans-Alaska oil pipeline data, public land sur- vey system data and updated glacier oes. Without the updated digital features in maps of much of the state, "essential public services have suffered," in the areas of transportation planning, regional planning, economic develop- ment and scienti c research, USGS said. "The associated advances in human safety, navigation and natural resource management cannot be overestimated," said Anne Castle, the Interior Department's assistant secretary for water and science. The maps will use newly acquired elevation and imagery data from multiple state, federal and commercial sources. Dividends from the effort include more accurate elevation and hydrography data to help map climate change, enhanced aviation safety and streamlined disaster preparedness and response. • Digital mapping scales the last frontier BY PAUL McCLOSKEY A satellite image mosaic will produce the first consistent, high-resolution, high-accuracy, digital orthoimagery base layer across the entire state of Alaska. U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY