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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

August 2013
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends,  


This year is the 10th Anniversary of URISA's GISCorps and we couldn't be more proud of our dedicated 446 volunteers who have served in 130 missions in 47 countries around the world. We will be celebrating this important milestone at the GIS-Pro 2013 conference in Providence, RI (September 16-19) where we hope to see many of you.

Since May 2013, 8 new projects (24 volunteers) have been launched in Chile, Indonesia, North Korea (sixth deployment), and the US and several more are in various stages of evaluation or recruitment. One of our volunteers, Michelle Kinzel is currently in Zambia teaching GIS to several employees of a small nonprofit organization (read more below).

We are also in the process of recruiting volunteers for several new projects. For two of those projects we are looking for JavaScript programmers. If you have expertise in that area please send your resume to [email protected].

Please note that we have recently added several new questions to our volunteer application form. These questions are mainly about new software programs and/or skillsets. Please log into your account and respond to these new questions. That way your record will be fully considered in the future recruitments.  

Thank you for your continued support of GISCorps for the past 10 years! We look forward to furthering our services to underserved communities worldwide and those in urgent need of our volunteers' expertise for many more years.

With most sincere wishes,

GISCorps Core Committee,
Heather Milton, Mark Salling, Allen Ibaugh, Dianne Haley, Dave Litke, Carol Kraemer, Shoreh Elhami

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

Deployment and Partnership News

Missions in Progress

A total of 17 missions are currently in progress. Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our  Ongoing Projects Page . 

Featured Projects

GISCorps Volunteer's Notes from the Field - Zambia

We have been assisting the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS), a nonprofit organization based in Zambia, for the past few years with their GIS needs. They recently asked that we send one of our volunteers onsite to teach ArcGIS desktop and Online to their team. The recruitment resulted in selecting Michelle Kinzel, a GIS professional from California who left for Mfuwe in late July. She just sent the following report from Zambia. Read more here.


GISCorps Volunteer Assisting a Non-Profit Organization in Washington 

Hopelink is a Western Washington based non-profit organization that offers an array of programs that enable families in crisis to make progress toward and achieve self-sufficiency. One such program is their Mobility Management program, funded by federal and local sources. Hopelink requested the assistance of a GIS volunteer to update their shuttle routes and accessibility maps. Dan Christiansen, a GIS professional in the Seattle area, answered the call and provided GIS expertise to fulfill the Mobility Management mission. Read more here.       



Read more about other completed GISCorps projects here.  


Read more about projects in progress here.  

Volunteer Profile 



Name: Jim Tobias, MS, GISP      


Organization: Northrop Grumman      


GISCorps mission/Year served: World Vision Sierra Leone mission to map Public Health Units and Schools, 2012  


Share your experience about the mission: The goal of the mission involved the mapping of nearly 200 health facilities and schools within 4 districts of Sierra Leone (Bo, Bonthe, Kono, and Pujehun).The team of World Vision staff and myself utilized 4x4 vehicles, GPS equipment, mobile smart phones, cameras, survey forms, and interviews to collect facility level data. These data were used to build several web mapping services and web mapping applications within the World Vision ArcGIS Online for Organizations cloud framework. These data and applications are utilized by World Vision Sierra Leone to better allocate limited resources to populations in need and to focus relief efforts. Future work may expand upon this 3-week project (Sep - Oct, 2012).   


Anything else to share: The World Vision Sierra Leone project was described in this link on the GISCorps website. For additional information, please contact Christian Boombu-Johnson, World Vision Sierra Leone.  

To read more stories visit the Volunteer Profiles Page.
To read about DPRK volunteers, visit the DPRK Profile Page. To see the DPRK projects latest progress map, visit DPRK's webpage. 

Conference Announcements 

Esri's 33rd International User Conference:
San Diego, California - July 8-12, 2013 


As in the past several years, GISCorps held several meetings and presentations at ESRI's 33rd User Conference (San Diego, July 8-12, 2013).  

  • Sunday: Dianne Haley gave a lightning talk at the Esri Disaster Response conference.
  • Monday: many volunteers visited our booth at the Map Gallery and the exhibit looked fantastic.
  • Tuesday: Jim Tobias along with Christian Boombu-Johnson, a colleague from World Vision gave a great presentation on their efforts in Sierra Leone at the nonprofit track.
  • Wednesday: seven volunteers presented at the annual presentation/meeting. Shoreh and Allen from the Core Committee, Patrick Young (DPRK), Javier Aguilar (K-12 California), Michelle Kinzel (Zambia), Jenny Rechel (Albania), and Len Olyott (WAGlobal) via Skype. 

GIS-Pro 2013: URISA's 51st Annual Conference for GIS Professionals - Providence, Rhode Island, September 16-19, 2013

The 51st Annual URISA Conference (GIS-Pro) will be held in Providence, RI. This is GISCorps' 10 year anniversary and in addition to annual activities there will be special presentations and a poster exhibit. The activities are: 

  • The annual meeting and election on Tuesday September 17
  • Annual presentation and volunteer recognition on Wednesday September 18
  • Poster exhibit throughout the event


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

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



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: 


Email: [email protected] 


Twitter: @giscorps  

Start your 2013 tax planning -   

Donate to support the 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 2013 Conference Calendar

GIS-Pro 2013: URISA's 51st Annual Conference
September 16-19
Providence, RI

GIS in Transit
October 16-17
Washington, DC

Locating the Future (Addressing Conference)
November 3-6
St Louis, MO

For more information, visit