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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

May 2014
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends,
It is our pleasure to report the status of several of our completed and ongoing projects in this newsletter. Our volunteers have been busy assisting with projects around the world and we hope that you enjoy reading about their efforts as much as we do.

In our February newsletter, we reported the launch of a project in South Sudan. The project has since been completed. 18 of our volunteers participated in the project (in partnership with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap or HOT) and digitized various features in South Sudan. We plan to continue our partnership with HOT and deploy more volunteers to similar projects. Please check our HOT webpage for further details.

Two more projects, both with US based nonprofit organizations, are also reported in this issue and demonstrate the work of the volunteers which included collecting various GIS datasets and serving those in web maps and applications.

We have also started reviewing the 2014 Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) small grant proposals. GISCorps volunteers' services will be provided to applicants that would benefit from our volunteers' expertise.

We will be gathering at Esri's User Conference in San Diego (in July) once again and would love to meet you and/or have you present at several events that we have planned during the conference (read more under conferences).

To date, we have deployed 492 volunteers to 141 projects in 50 countries and they have collectively contributed over 15,000 hours of volunteer support time to these projects: An amazing and inspiring accomplishment!

We are thankful for your continued support of GISCorps and grateful to our volunteers for their remarkable service.

With sincere wishes,

GISCorps Core Committee: Dianne Haley, Carol Kraemer, Heather Milton, Mark Salling, Allen Ibaugh, Dave Litke, 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 11 missions are currently in progress. Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our  Ongoing Projects Page. 

Project with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HOT) - South Sudan - completed

GISCorps partnered with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to map the city of Malakal, South Sudan in order to provide baseline data for the humanitarian response to the ongoing conflicts between government and rebel forces in South Sudan. Recruitment resulted in deploying 18 GISCorps volunteers from 8 countries to the first phase of the project. Read more here.

GISCorps Volunteer Assists a US Based Nonprofit Organization

In 2013, the Institute for Conscious Global Change or ICGC, a US based nonprofit organization, requested the assistance of an experienced GIS professional. The volunteer was asked to provide a variety of GIS services from data collection, to web application design and research. The recruitment resulted in deploying Kenny Lohr, a GIS professional from Florida. Read more here.

Creating a Web Portal for a Nonprofit Organization

The World Federation for Coral Reef Conservation (WFCRC), a US non-profit organization, requested the assistance of a database and geo-portal design specialist to develop a geo-portal using ArcGIS Online for Organization (AGOL). WFCRC plans to use the platform for education, for citizen scientists and researchers alike to view and publish the most recent data on a particular reef, coastal/marine events, and management of disaster relief coordination services. James Osundwa was selected for this project and has been in contact with WFCRF team for the past several months. Read more here.


Read more about other completed GISCorps projects here.  


Read more about projects in progress here.  

Volunteer Profile 



Name: Dave Litke   


Organization: U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado Water Science Center - GIS Section Chief (retired)


GIS Missions/Years Served: DPRK 2011-14, USAID 2012, TNMC 2012-13, Typhoon Haiyan 2013, South Sudan 2014, and GISCorps Core Committee 2013-14

Share your Experiences about the Missions: The missions I've participated in have all been crowd-source missions, and I must say that the geo-cohort of GISCorps is a crowd that I am happy to hang with. Jack Dangermond's famous arm-waving visions about a world connected through cloud geography are finally making sense to me. Through my GISCorps missions, I've learned about a multitude of free internet tools: GDrive and Google Sites; Skype Group Conversations and Mumble; Loomio and Prezi; TweetClicker and OpenSource Q&A; JOSM and Tasking Manager. Not to mention ArcGIS Online! And the community of people is amazing, from our own Shoreh Elhami, to Paul Doherty at ESRI, Cat Graham at Humanity Road, Severin Menard at OpenStreetMap, and Andrej Verity at the United Nations.
Great people + technical challenges + working for humanity = happiness.

Anything Else to Share: While with the USGS, I discovered how fulfilling it is to work with colleagues in far-flung places such as Ethiopia and Afghanistan. Now that I am retired, I am happy that organizations like GISCorps make it possible to keep my skills sharp, as well as to continue to be a participating member of the world community. I hope other retired GIS Professionals get connected with GISCorps and add it into their life-style mix of traveling a lot, being with family, and not knowing what day of the week it is.

To read more stories visit the Volunteer Profiles Page.


To read about DPRK volunteers, visit the DPRK Profile Page.

To see DPRK projects latest progress map, visit DPRK's webpage

Conference Announcements 

Esri's 34th International User Conference - San Diego, California - July 14-18, 2014

As in the past several years, GISCorps will be a participant in the Map Gallery on Monday evening during the Esri UC in San Diego. Stop by the GISCorps display in the Sail Area and learn more about GISCorps' missions and meet members of the Core Committee and volunteers. GISCorps will also hold its annual meeting/presentation at the conference. The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 17th from 12:00 noon to 1:15 pm. Core Committee members and several of our volunteers will give presentations on 2013/2014 activities. 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 2014: URISA's 52nd Annual Conference - New Orleans, LA, September 8-11, 2014

The 52nd Annual URISA Conference (GIS-Pro 2014) will be held in New Orleans, LA. 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. For details about GIS-Pro 2014, click here.


News from Friends of GISCorps 



TechChange is excited to announce a four-week online certificate course on Mapping for International Development that begins on May 26th. If you are interested in learning the latest best practices for using various digital mapping tools for international development, please register for the course using the discount code: GISCorps and get $150 dollars off registration price by May 23, 2014 (Apply here). The course description is included below:

They are also offering bundle discount deals for TechChange's online courses including: 

  1. Mapping for International Development 
  2. Social Media for Social Change 
  3. Tech for Emergency Management  

Any 2 courses for $500 (use coupon code: GISCorps500)
Any 3 courses for $675 (use coupon code: GISCorps675)
Please note: These bundle discount coupon codes expire 5/23/2014  

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, Chair 

Allen Ibaugh

Carol Kraemer, Vice Chair 

Dave Litke   

Heather Milton

Mark Salling


Contact us: 


Email: [email protected] 


Twitter: @giscorps   

Include URISA's GISCorps in your charitable giving!  


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 2014 Conference Calendar
Sept 8-11
New Orleans

URISA Leadership Academy
October 13-17 Louisville, KY

October 27-30

For more information, visit