The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, www.nga.mil, Springfield, Va., and DigitalGlobe, www.digitalglobe.com, Longmont, Colo., have partnered to release an open-source software toolkit designed to harness the power of crowdsourced mapping for geospatial big data analytics.

The open-source project, Hootenanny, provides a scalable processing engine and interactive editing interface to enable rapid conflation of map features generated from satellite imagery, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), and mobile devices.

In less than a decade, crowdsourced mapping communities like OpenStreetMap, www.openstreetmap.org, have attracted more than 2.5 million volunteers, who have digitized more than 130 million buildings and 1.3 million miles of roads. Countless other organizations and individuals are using satellite imagery and other methods to capture the geometry and metadata of roads, buildings, and points of interest.

To create high-quality maps and enable analytic functions like routing, suitability analysis or predictive modeling is important to unify multiple sources to create the best available database.

Hootenanny leverages the open architecture of OpenStreetMap to facilitate integration of diverse geospatial datasets into a common key value data structure. An open library of conflation algorithms applies various techniques to unify the geometry and metadata of topographic features.

Conflicts can be visualized and resolved through an interactive application built on the iD Editor, an open-source map-editing tool developed by Mapbox, www.mapbox.com. Conflated datasets can be exported in a variety of GIS (geographic information system) formats including ESRI Shapefile, File Geodatabase, Web Feature Service, and native OpenStreetMap formats.

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