GISCorps logo 

GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

May 2012
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends,  


Once again, we have had a busy and proud quarter!


Since our last newsletter in February, our volunteers have embarked upon six new projects and have received two awards: the 2012 Presidential Volunteer Service and the Daily Point of Light awards.


Services provided by volunteers who were deployed to new projects include: remote sensing, web portal development, and teaching GIS. Five of these projects are the result of our partnership with GSDI and are conducted in Tanzania, Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The sixth project is in Albania where one of our volunteers will teach GIS to a group of middle school students (on-site mission).


To date, we have deployed 279 volunteers to 94 projects in 45 countries and they have collectively contributed over 10,300 hours to these projects. This is not an easy undertaking and we are proud and grateful for their selfless service.


We are also at various stages of recruiting for four additional missions. They are in collaboration with GSDI (two more projects) and USAID. The fourth recruitment is for more volunteers for our DPRK project.


We are thankful for your continued support of GISCorps; please check our website for new information on missions and other exciting news!


GISCorps Core Committee,

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


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 13 missions are in progress and four new projects are about to begin. Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our Ongoing Projects Page. 

Featured Projects

Geo-coding Locations of NGOs in Sierra Leone 

Earlier this year, GISCorps was asked to assist the Craig Bellamy Foundation in creating an interactive map that showed the locations of international and national NGO offices and their programs across Sierra Leone. Michael Knapp, a GIS specialist from Anchorage was recruited for this project and delivered an easy-to-use application using a combination of Esri ArcGIS (v10), Google Fusion Tables, and the Google Maps JavaScript API (v3). Read more...




Volunteers tested an application for a non profit organization

The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) requested the assistance of several GISCorps volunteers for testing an application. GICHD, an international expert organization legally based in Switzerland as a non-profit foundation, works for the elimination of mines, explosive remnants of war and other explosive hazards, such as unsafe munitions stockpiles. Three volunteers: Benjamin Koziol from Michigan, Curtis Day from Oregon, and Robert Cheetham from Pennsylvania were deployed to the mission and they became involved in the beta-testing of the Multicriteria Analytical Scoring Tool (MASCOT) developed by the University of Geneva on the demand of the GICHD. Read more...




The third phase of the project in Samoa is concluded  

Five GISCorps volunteers assisted in two phases of a disaster response simulation exercise in Samoa in late 2011. Shortly after their tasks were completed, we were asked to provide another volunteer to conduct further GIS data development (mining, cleansing, geo-coding, and publishing) from several spreadsheets. John Van Hoesen an assistant professor from Vermont was selected for the third phase. Tasks that John was charged with included creating a GIS layer (in KML/KMZ format) for all the villages and attaching various attributes to each village including population, housing, power, and water supply information. Read the complete report here. Information about other phases is posted here.




Read more about other completed GISCorps projects here.  


Read more about projects in progress here.  


Volunteer Profiles


We will be profiling our volunteers' invaluable work under this section. Check out the Volunteer Profiles Page for more stories.


Name: Carl Kinkade, GISP 


Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


GISCorps mission/Year served: Provide GIS Training in Afghanistan/2008


Share your experience about the mission: My mission was to provide GIS training for faculty and students from Kabul Polytechnic University and Kabul University in Kabul, Afghanistan. The mission went very well with the use of a translator. They understood the importance of using geospatial technology and the importance of sharing this knowledge with the students.


Anything else to share:
I have always volunteered for activities which include boy scouts, coaching, and the US Peace Corps so the GISCorps was a very easy decision for me. It brought home two things that are important to me, GIS and public service.



Conference Announcements 

Esri's 32nd User Conference, San Diego, July 23-27, 2012


As in the past several years, GISCorps will hold its annual meeting/presentation at ESRI's 32nd User Conference (San Diego, July 23-27, 2012). The meeting will be held on Wednesday July 25th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in room 5A/B. The Core Committee members and several of our volunteers will give presentations on 2011/2012 activities. Following the presentation, there will be a no-host gathering at a nearby restaurant. The location will be posted on GISCorps' website as well as on FaceBook, Linkedin and Twitter.


Note: If you are a deployed GISCorps volunteer and plan to attend this Conference, please let us know by sending an email to: [email protected]. We would love to add you to the list of presenters.


GIS-Pro 2012: URISA's 50th Annual Conference for GIS Professionals, Portland, September 30th - October 4th, 2012


The 50th Annual URISA Conference (GIS-Pro) will be held in Portland, OR. As in previous years, we will have several activities including our annual presentation and a poster exhibit. More details about the events will be posted in the next newsletter.

News from Friends of GISCorps 



  • Nonprofit organizations can take advantage of technology products donated by more than 50 U.S. companies at If you work with or for a nonprofit, please make sure they know about the Techsoup program - registration is free and, in addition to products, you'll find lots of tech content and an active community forum. If you work with an NGO outside of the US, please check the Techsoup homepage to see if the donation program is available in that country.

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

In This Issue
Message from the Core Committee
Missions in Progress
Featured Projects
Volunteer Profiles
Upcoming Events




URISA Chapters


URISA Sponsors 


More About Us 

Get Social with GISCorps! 

Like us on Facebook 

View our profile on LinkedIn 


Follow us on Twitter 


Shop for

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:  

Partner Organizations








Disaster Charter   


...and many more

GISCorps Core Committee

Shoreh Elhami, Co-founder

Dianne Haley

Allen Ibaugh

Heather Milton, Chair

Mark Salling, Vice Chair   

Contact us: 


Email: [email protected] 


Twitter: @giscorps  


 Donate to support the continued good work and future of GISCorps (tax-deductible)  

Volunteer Database

It is critical to our operations that our volunteer database is as up-to-date as possible, since it is this database that we query to find volunteers suitable for deployment on a mission.

If you have not updated your record recently, please do so by logging in here.

URISA 2012 Conference Calendar

URISA Leadership Academy
June 11-15, 2012
Savannah, Georgia

URISA/NENA Addressing Conference
August 6-9, 2012
Memphis, Tennessee

GIS-Pro 2012: URISA's 50th Annual Conference for GIS Professionals
October 1-4, 2012
Portland, Oregon

URISA's Caribbean GIS Conference
November 12-16, 2012
Montego Bay, Jamaica

For more information, visit