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Laramie GPS Mapping Party Set for Sept. 17

September 8, 2011 — The University of Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) will host a free community GPS mapping party from 1-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at the historic Laramie Railroad Depot, First and Kearney streets in downtown Laramie.

Part of WyGISC's 15th anniversary celebration is to raise awareness about local geography and geographic literacy and to grow the amount of geographic information freely available for the community, says Jeff Hamerlinck, WYGISC director. He says participants will learn and share basic Global Positioning System (GPS)-based mapping skills and have an opportunity to go  into the community for an afternoon of collecting locations they identify as important, useful and unique points of interest.

The mapping event is free and open to individuals 18 years and older. Pre-registration is required and can be done online prior to Sept. 14. For a schedule and to register, go to  

"The Laramie Mapping Party reflects a growing social media trend centered on volunteered geographic information, or VGI," Hamerlinck says. Also known as "Locational crowdsourcing," VGI involves citizens collecting and contributing data that's tied to a specific geographic location and then disseminated for public use.

Data collected will be made available through the OpenStreetMap Foundation map database, an online website dedicated to creating a free, editable world map based on local community contributors. Established in 2006, the OpenStreetMap Foundation had 400,000 contributors as of May 2011.

Mapping parties have been a part of the OpenStreetMap initiative since its early beginnings, Hamerlinck says. The Laramie Mapping Party will be the first OpenStreetMap event held in Wyoming. Data will also be distributed through other state and national geospatial data clearinghouses.

For more information about WyGISC, visit the center's website at

To learn more about the OpenStreetMap Foundation, visit  

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