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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

August 2011
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends,

Since our May newsletter, five missions have concluded and we are about to deploy several volunteers to three new missions in Haiti, Indonesia, and Oklahoma. Currently, 11 missions are in progress and a total of 33 volunteers are busy working on those projects around the world. The Wichita Refuge mission in Oklahoma is our 78th mission!

We would also like to report that a few weeks ago we decided to build a new web page to showcase our volunteers.  The Profile Page has now been launched and over 20 volunteers have shared their photos and information about their missions and themselves on this page. Make sure to visit the page and learn more about our extraordinary and dedicated volunteers. As for those volunteers who haven't had a chance to send in their information, please send it to us at anytime and we'll be glad to add it to the website.

This year, as in the past few, we had a great booth at the Esri Conference (see article later in this newsletter); if you were able to join us there, we thank you for stopping by the booth and attending our session. If you were unable to make the Esri conference, we hope to see you at the GIS-Pro (URISA) Conference in Indianapolis from November 1-4. We have a number of activities planned for GIS-Pro 2011, and we hope you will be able to join us at this event. If you are a volunteer that has been deployed on a mission in the past year, and you would like to participate/be part of our presentations at this conference, please let us know by contacting [email protected].

With Warmest Regards,

GISCorps Core Committee,

Allen Ibaugh, Heather Milton, Dianne Haley, Shoreh Elhami, Mark Salling, Cindy Braddock

P.S. Please email [email protected] if you want to be removed from this list.

Deployment and Partnership News

Missions in Progress

A total of 11 missions are currently in progress while three new projects are about to begin. The ongoing projects are located in: Mozambique, Zambia, North Korea, St. Lucia, Belize, Bermuda, Haiti, Nigeria, and 3 states in the US (Oklahoma, Maryland and Louisiana).  


Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our Ongoing Projects Page

Featured Project

Two GISCorps Volunteers completed their work for a mission in Panama:  The Azuero Earth Project (AEP) is a United States tax-exempt organization (501c3) operating in Panama as the Proyecto Ecol�gico Azuero. The organization is dedicated to local education, reforestation and sustainable land stewardship on the Azuero Peninsula, on the Pacific Coast of Panama, about 100km west of Panama City.
As a part of its mission, AEP has recently initiated a GIS mapping project to assess forest remnants and gaps and prioritize habitat conservation actions in a unique ecosystem threatened by development and overuse. This mapping and prioritization database will feed a Landowners Advice Program to raise awareness and provide local landowners with sustainable land use options. Our goal is to make this database as comprehensive as possible in order to reinforce our role as an environmental "dating service" on the peninsula, to create the links between scientists and information, landowners and sustainable land management resources, students and learning opportunities that will make the Azuero a healthier environment for all species.


General map of the Azuero Pen�nsula. Panama   


One important component of this database is the hydrologic network of the peninsula. The most detailed source of the rivers and streams currently available for this region is the set of topographic maps created by the Tommy Guardia Geographic Institute of Panama. In February 2011, the Azuero Earth Project contacted GISCorps to conduct a mission with the goal of digitizing all of the Azuero peninsula's streams network, a large extent covering more than 700,000 hectares and consisting of twelve 1:50,000 topographic sheets.

After working with Guillermo Duran, AEP's GIS Administrator, to create a detailed protocol showing all the steps required for the digitalization and naming of the streams, GISCorps recommended volunteers Josh Garver of Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District (FSWCD) in Ohio, and Emily Cheadle of the town of Babylon Department of Planning and Development in New York. The topo-maps of the peninsula were divided in half and were given to each volunteer. They spent from 5 to 7 hours per week on the project and finished in three months, presenting their final results in July.


Streams network of the Azuero Peninsula. Streams digitized by GISCorps volunteers Josh Garver and Emily Cheadle.  


The streams network created by GISCorps volunteers will form a key part of the Azuero Earth Project's database of conservation priorities because most of the small and isolated forest patches in the Azuero landscape are in the riparian zones adjacent to creeks and rivers on the peninsula. The Azuero Earth Project's goals of creating habitat for wildlife and increasing habitat connectivity on the peninsula are supported by the data contributed by Emily and Josh through their GISCorps volunteer service. Riparian forest areas are some of the last remaining habitat for the critically endangered Azuero Spider Monkey, a subspecies endemic to the peninsula. With the streams layer and a forest cover dataset that AEP is currently working on, it will be possible to identify the streams that have been most affected by deforestation, and in this way focus efforts to work with landowners who have the most degraded lands or whose lands form critical linkages for habitat connectivity. The work Emily and Josh performed with GISCorps will serve as a resource layer that will allow visiting students and researchers to build upon their work to further study the ecology and environmental issues on the peninsula.  


For more information about this project and the Azuero Earth Project's work in Panama, please contact the GIS Administrator, Guillermo Duran, or visit their webpage. See more photos and volunteer testimonials at the end of the article


Read more about completed projects here.
Read more about projects in progress here.  


Volunteer Profile

The GISCorps Volunteer Profiles Page has been launched. Over 20 volunteers have submitted their profiles and photos and we are looking forward to receiving more. 


Name: Sean Bohac
Organization: RECON Environmental
GISCorps mission/Year served: Hurricane Katrina Mississippi Mobile GIS Shop - Hancock County ICS/2005
Share your experience about the mission: The mission was one of the most dynamic, empowering GIS assignments I have ever had. We mustered in 7 days to Jackson, assembled data, equipment, drove to the disaster zone and set up a very functional lab supporting emergency personnel with paper maps and spatial analysis - very satisfying.
Anything else to share: I love the mix of tech and art in producing efficient analysis and clear maps. 

 sean bohac

Sean Bohac - GISCorps Volunteer 

GISCorps Events


URISA's 49th Annual Conference (GIS-Pro 2011)

Indianapolis, IN, November 1-4, 2011

Since 2003, GISCorps has been holding several events at the URISA International Conference. We hope that you can join us in Indianapolis (from November 1-4, 2011).  

This year's events will include:  

  • Annual Presentation - Thursday November 3rd, from 9 to 10 AM - several volunteers and GISCorps Core Committee members will give an overview on 2010-2011 projects and activities.
  • Annual Meeting - the annual meeting will be held during the conference.
  • Poster Exhibit - throughout the conference the work of our volunteers will be on display. 

Note: If you are a deployed GISCorps volunteer and plan to attend GIS-Pro, please let us know by sending an email to: [email protected].   

Check our website, FaceBook, Linkedin and Twitter for updates.


"URISA International continues to offer the geospatial community compelling educational programs and workshops during the annual conference, as well as the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the movers and shakers in our industry. I cannot overstate the value I have received from attending URISA International conferences over the years, from identifying resources that help me better perform my job, to staying on the cutting edge of geospatial industry advances and what's new, to the network of international GIS professionals I have met. But the best benefit I receive from attending the annual conference is the feeling that no single geospatial professional is alone in the job they do. Attending the URISA GIS-Pro Conference re-invigorates me, renews my sense of passion for GIS, and gives me the motivation to keep up the good fight for another year.
So, if you (or someone who works for you) find yourself in need of some geospatial career stimulation; if you have reached the end of your rope with regard to the challenges in your job, or if the heat of the summer sun has evaporated your abilities to find geospatial solutions, you should attend GIS-Pro 2011 in Indianapolis this November. I promise you will not regret your decision."
- Kathrine Cargo, GISP, Orleans Parish Communication District, New Orleans, Louisiana     


Esri's 31st User Conference, San Diego, July 11-15, 2011

The 31st Esri User Conference was held in San Diego from July 11-15, 2011. As in the past several years, GISCorps had a special exhibit in the Map Gallery where 100's of existing and new volunteers stopped by and visited with the Core Committee members and other volunteers. We also held our annual presentation/meeting on Wednesday afternoon. To see the photos taken at this event, click here. The photo album is also on GISCorps' Facebook page.  


News from Friends of GISCorps


Thank you for your continued support of URISA's GISCorps!

In This Issue
Message from the Core Committee
Missions in Progress
Featured Project
Volunteer Profiles
Upcoming Events
Friends of GISCorps News


GIS in Public Transportation Conference - register today!


$20 Membership - offer ends on September 1 


URISA Chapters  


More About Us 

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GISCorps Stuff

Do you find yourself in need of a new T-shirt, coffee mug, ball cap or tote bag? Do you want to advertise GISCorps and your association with the organization? Well, you are in luck! You can now find various GISCorps items at our online shop at:  

Partner Organizations








Disaster Charter   


...and many more

GISCorps Core Committee


Allen Ibaugh, Chair

Heather Milton, Vice Chair

Dianne Haley

Mark Salling

Cindy Braddock

Shoreh Elhami, Co-founder


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Email: [email protected] 


Twitter: @giscorps  


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