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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

November 2012
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends,  


We celebrated URISA's 50th anniversary at the 2012 GIS-Pro Conference in Portland, Oregon in early October. The conference was filled with invaluable workshops and sessions as well as after-hour events such as IGNITE talks which added excitement and great networking opportunities for the attendees (see the article later in this newsletter).  Our annual presentation highlighted the impressive work of our volunteers in the past 12 months which has brought the total number of our mission to 106 and 367 deployed volunteers. We were also presented with the 2012 Barbara Hirsch Special Volunteer Service Award.

Four missions have been finalized since the last newsletter (in Sierra Leone, Central Mediterranean, Indonesia, and Camp Roberts, CA) and work on three more missions has begun. We are also in varying stages of recruiting for six more missions.

One of those projects is in response to the mega storm Sandy and in partnership with the International Charter. We are in the process of recruiting remote sensing specialists with prior experience in working and analyzing TerraSAR-X imagery taken along the coasts of NJ and NY.

Two additional GSDI projects are in full swing. Bill Huxhold is currently in Russia at the University of Ural lecturing about GIS applications and trends in the US and Nancy Von Meyer is assisting in reviewing documents related to the cadastral system in Uzbekistan.

We also held our annual election and elected Mark Salling as the new Chair of the Core Committee (CC) and Dianne Haley as the Vice-Chair. We also added two new members to the CC. They are Dave Litke and Carol Kraemer. We welcome and congratulate them both; more information about the CC is found on the " Who we are" page.

We are very grateful for your continued support of GISCorps and dedicated service!
GISCorps Core Committee,
Heather Milton, Mark Salling, Allen Ibaugh, Dianne Haley, Dave Litke, Carol Kraemer, Shoreh Elhami

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

Deployment and Partnership News

Missions in Progress

A total of 14 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

GISCorps volunteer returns from a World Vision mission in Sierra Leone

Jim Tobias, a Senior GIS Developer with Northrop Grumman in Atlanta GA, was deployed to an onsite mission in Sierra Leone. The request for volunteer came from World Vision and was for a GIS/GPS Specialist to undertake mapping of health and education facilities in Area Development Programs (ADP)s in several districts of Sierra Leone. Jim returned from Sierra Leone after three weeks. Read more here.


Second mission with Forensic Oceanography in Central Mediterranean

GISCorps' 100th mission was with Forensic Oceanography (FO) research project and was recently concluded. They had requested the assistance of three volunteers to conduct remote sensing, data mining and data conversion/creation. These volunteers were needed for a project concerning the death of migrants at sea (related to our first project with FO). Volunteers were: Rossana Padeletti from Italy, Keith McCrary from US, and Steve Etherington from Canada. Read more here.    



Volunteers assisted in a disaster preparedness project in Indonesia

Earlier this year, eleven GISCorps volunteers were deployed to a project with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HOT). This was our second collaborative project with HOT (first one in Samoa) and this time the work was conducted in Padang, Indonesia. Padang has been identified as one of Indonesia's most vulnerable cities as a large portion of the population lives within the Tsunami Zones. Read more here.




Supporting a set of humanitarian field experiments in Camp Roberts

GISCorps volunteer, Yamini Manickam, supported a set of humanitarian field experiments in Camp Roberts, California on August 15th, 2012. Yamini is a GIS professional from California and has expertise in remote sensing. Her main tasks consisted of processing the imagery generated from several planes on the same day as those images were captured. The process included: geo rectification, edge matching and mosaicking those imagery. Read more here.


Read more about other completed GISCorps projects here.  


Read more about projects in progress here.  

Volunteer Profiles (DPRK Mission) 

We are profiling seven of our volunteers' invaluable work for the DPRK mission (GISCorps mission with iMMAP/WFP - North Korea). These dedicated volunteers have digitized an impressive number of map sheets in the past few months and we are very grateful for their service. Full profiles are found on this page (starts in the middle of the page). They are: Svetla Borovska, Naiara Fernández, Helen Hands, Nathan Bruce, Judy Colby-George, Paul Giers, and Kelli Brock. 


To read more stories visit the Volunteer Profiles Page. 


Conference Announcements 

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


The 32nd Esri User Conference was held in San Diego from July 23-27, 2012. 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.  

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


The 50th URISA Conference (GIS-Pro) was held in Portland, OR from September 30th to October 4th. As in previous years, we held several activities including our annual presentation and a poster exhibit. The Core Committee members and Kerry Brooks one of our volunteers from the state of Washington presented on October 2nd. Click here to see the photos taken at those activities.   

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, Vice Chair 

Allen Ibaugh

Carol Kraemer

Dave Litke   

Heather Milton

Mark Salling, Chair   

Contact us: 




Twitter: @giscorps  

End of Year Tax Planning? 

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

For more information, visit