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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

July 2012
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends,  


We are extremely excited to announce the launch of GISCorps' 100th mission!


GISCorps is in its 9th year of operation and to date, 362 of its volunteers have been deployed to 100 projects in 46 countries. They have collectively contributed over 11,500 hours to these projects. The deployed volunteers come from 35 countries.


The 100th mission, "WatchTheMed", is in partnership with several academic and research organizations led by Forensic Oceanography (FO) research project (our second project with this group). They requested volunteers for a project concerning the death of migrants at sea (Mediterranean); three of our volunteers are providing remote sensing, data mining, and data conversion services to their team.


In addition to this project, we have launched several new projects and have concluded a few others since last May. They include: A 3-phased project with USAID resulting in deploying 58 volunteers; deploying 20 additional volunteers to DRPK project; conclusion of a K-12 mission in Albania; and finalizing two remote sensing related projects in Mozambique and Oklahoma (Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge). We are also at various stages of recruiting and/or discussing a few more missions at this time.


As in previous years, several of the Core Committee members will be attending the Esri User Conference next week. We have planned several activities and we hope to meet many of you during those activities (see more details below).


We are very grateful for your continued support of GISCorps and dedicated service!


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 12 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

Assisting the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was established in 1901 to protect wildlife species in danger of extinction and to restore native species. The goal of their Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) Invasive program is to find high risk invasive species on the Refuge and eradicate them before they become established. In order to achieve that goal, they needed additional GIS assistance. Two volunteers were recruited for this project: Gericke Cook who works as a GIS Specialist for the USDA in Colorado and Lacey Mason also a GIS Specialist who works for the University of Michigan. Read more....



GISCorps volunteers assisted in USAID's first crowd sourcing project  

The USAID requested the assistance of GISCorps volunteers for a 3-phased project in spring of 2012. The organization wanted to geo-code non-standard location information of loan records from USAID's Development Credit Authority (DCA). Proper geo-visualization can signal new areas for potential collaboration with host countries, researchers, other development organizations, and the public. Read more...  


Change detection in Chimanimani National Preserve, Mozambique  

This project was commissioned by the Transfrontier Conservation Areas Unit of Ministry of Tourism in Mozambique. The Ministry asked for short term assistance of a remote sensing specialist. The specialist's task consisted of processing and analyzing Quick Bird Imagery of Chimanimani National Reserve (approximately 600 sq Km) from 2005 and 2008. Kerry Brooks, a professor at Washington State University was recruited for this project and he recently concluded the analysis. Read more...



GISCorps volunteer taught GIS to K-12 students in Albania

The Urban and Regional Planning department at the University of Florida (UF), in partnership with the Albanian-American foundation Martin and Mirash Ivanaj (whose mission is to promote science and education amongst the Albanian youth), developed a prototype course that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to teach middle school children about environmental and sustainability subjects. Students from the middle school  "D�shmor�t e Liris�" in Tirana were taught this course on site during the last week of June 2012. Dr. Jennifer Rechel, joined the UF team as a GISCorps volunteer in Tirana to teach the course. Read more....



SAR analysis of vessel presence in the central Mediterranean

Forensic Oceanography (FO) research project ( requested the assistance of a remote sensing scientist in a project that investigated the conditions that led to the death of more than 1500 persons fleeing Libya across the Central Mediterranean in the spring of 2011, while the area was populated by a high number of military vessels. GISCorps recruited Lawrence Fox III, Humboldt State University Emeritus Professor of Remote Sensing to provide SAR imagery analysis. Read more...


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: Hiroyuki Iseki, Ph.D.


Organization: Assistant Professor, University of Maryland


GISCorps mission/Year served: Earthquake/Tsunami relief mission with Crisis Commons - Japan/2011


Share your experience about the mission: It was an invaluable opportunity to use my expertise, knowledge, and professional connections in the efforts to provide assistance to people who suffer from the earthquake/tsunami disasters in my own country, Japan. In addition, it was a good experience for me to learn more about advanced technologies that enhance capacity of GISs by working with other GISCorps volunteers, who have technical skills and knowledge as well as a good heart.


Anything else to share: I use GISs to process, analyze, and visualize data for my research in urban planning and policy analysis with a focus on transportation, land use, and environment. I also teach courses on applications of GISs to planning, with an emphasis on how spatial thinking and analysis could help us understand built environment, people's living conditions, and related urban planning/policy issues. GISs have become such an important, useful tool in the field of planning. And I hope people in the field will always seek the use of GISs beyond simple data mapping/visualization.


Conference Announcements 

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


As in the past several years, GISCorps will be present at ESRI's 32nd User Conference (San Diego, July 23-27, 2012) and be involved in a number of activities there.  


  • Map Gallery/Special Exhibit - Please join us on Monday July 23 during Map Gallery hours from 4:30 to 8:30 pm to meet GISCorps volunteers and the Core Committee members.
  • URISA SIG Meeting - Meet URISA leaders who will talk about volunteer opportunities (including GISCorps) on Wednesday from 12:00PM - 1:00PM in Room 27B.  
  • Annual meeting/presentation - The meeting will be held on Wednesday July 25 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: Rama A Thai Restaurant at 327 4th Ave. San Diego, CA 92101.

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

URISA's 50th Annual 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. The Core Committee members and several of our volunteers will present on October 2 from 4 to 5 pm. Our annual meeting will also be held during the week.


Take advantage of early conference discounts through August 1. Learn more... 




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

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

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

For more information, visit