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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

November 2014
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends,
This has been an extremely busy and fruitful quarter for URISA's GISCorps and its amazing volunteers!

We have been engaged in nine new projects, completed two missions and are processing new requests on a regular basis. The total number of projects is now at 154 with over 530 volunteers deployed to over 50 countries around the world.

In this issue, we share news about our completed mission in Afghanistan where two GISCorps volunteers taught GIS and remote sensing to faculty at Kabul Polytechnic University. Our second featured project involved digitizing the boundaries of health zones in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As for the new projects, while two of them are in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the other seven are uniquely different from each another. Volunteers are digitizing features in flood prone areas of Malawi; assisting researchers at a university in Ecuador; documenting coastal changes via a crowdsourcing effort; teaching a Search & Rescue workshop; helping GISCorps  redesign its website; and two volunteers are preparing to head to Uganda in the spring of 2015 to teach GIS and remote sensing. You can read a summary of each of these remarkable projects in our projects in progress web page.

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, Heather Milton, Mark Salling, Allen Ibaugh, Dave Litke, Shoreh Elhami

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

Deployment and Partnership News

Missions in Progress

A total of 13 missions are currently in progress. Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our  Ongoing Projects Page. 

GISCorps Volunteers Taught GIS at Kabul Polytechnic University
The project was commissioned by Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) in Marietta, Georgia.  SPSU was awarded a grant to establish a GIS program that includes furnishing two GIS labs and training the faculty at Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU) in Afghanistan. They requested the assistance of seasoned GIS educators to travel to Kabul for two weeks. Recruitment resulted in selection of two volunteers: Heath Robinson, an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and Stéphane Henriod, the head of GEOSTAT, Swiss Federal Statistical Office in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The following report was submitted by the volunteers and Dr. Hussein Abaza of SPSU. Read more here.  

Volunteers Assisting the International Rescue Committee in DRC
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) requested the assistance of GISCorps to digitize the boundaries of health districts in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Two volunteers from California were recruited for this project: Barry Gauthier and Dimo Diakov. Both work for the City of Beverly Hills, California. Read more here
Update on DPRK Project - Huge Project and Wonderful News!
The original request for volunteers for this project  came from the World Food Program (WFP) and the Information Management and Mining Action Program (iMMAP) in 2009. Volunteers were charged with the task of digitizing 400 map sheets and creating several data layers such as: settlement points, transportation (roads, foot path, and railroads), rivers and lakes.  

The last tile is being completed today!
Many of the completed tiles have already been submitted for final review and edgematching. The map below shows the amazing progress. More than 85 volunteers have worked on this project over the years. Those who are still involved are, not surprisingly, a bit giddy over this news! :)

Take some time to read through the project's history here. It has been a phenomenal effort!

Read more about other completed GISCorps projects here.  


Read more about projects in progress here.  

Volunteer Profile 


Name: Amy Sorensen, GIS Analyst, HDR

GISCorps mission/Year(s) served: DPRK iMMAP/WFP Project 2012-2014

Thoughts about the mission: It is good to know that you can do something to effect change in other countries and to assist even though you cannot be there in person. I've been doing GIS for over ten years and this was the first time I've done any volunteer work that was centered on using GIS to accomplish its task. I am hopeful to hear about the results from this work and how they are used to assist the people of North Korea.

Anything else to share: I enjoy working with GIS because it has a way of leveling playing fields by disseminating information in easy to understand ways. In the future, I hope to do more volunteer work where I'm able to actually travel to the site and work with others. 


To read more stories visit the Volunteer Profiles Page

To read about DPRK volunteers, visit the DPRK Profile Page

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


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GISCorps Core Committee

Shoreh Elhami

Dianne Haley

Allen Ibaugh

Dave Litke   

Heather Milton

Mark Salling


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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.