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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

February 2015
A Message from the Core Committee


Greetings Volunteers and Friends:
We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you the best for 2015.

This has been another busy and fruitful quarter for GISCorps and its amazing volunteers!

We have been engaged in 4 new projects, have completed 3 missions, and are processing new requests on a regular basis. The total number of projects is now at 158 with over 664 volunteers deployed to 56 countries around the world.

Read the stories of our missions including: mapping flood-prone areas in Malawi, a crowd-sourcing mission to determine coastal changes caused by Hurricane Sandy, assisting NetHope with mapping activities in response to the Ebola outbreak, geocoding and mapping incidents in East Turkestan, working with WHO in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (onsite and remote), and supporting 17 volunteers in two different projects responding to typhoon Hagupit.

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

With most sincere wishes,
GISCorps Core Committee: Dave Litke, Dianne Haley, Heather Milton, Mark Salling, Allen Ibaugh, 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 14 missions are currently in progress. Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our Ongoing Projects Page. 

Crowdsource Project Documents Coastal Changes Due To Hurricane Sandy
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) asked GISCorps for a group of volunteers to take part in a pilot study for the crowdsourcing project called "iCoast - Did the Coast Change?". This web application asks volunteers to identify changes to the coast by comparing and tagging aerial photographs taken before and after storms. This data will help USGS scientists improve the accuracy of USGS coastal change prediction models and vulnerability assessments that support pre-storm planning and post-storm rescue, recovery, and mitigation efforts.  During three weeks in the fall of 2014, 111 GISCorps volunteers classified 7,634 photos taken before and after Hurricane Sandy using the tools built into the iCoast website. Read more.

Typhoon Hagupit - Assisting Stand By Task Force (SBTF)
As Typhoon Hagupit/Ruby threatened the Philippines, the Digital Humanitarian Network was activated to assist with response.   Stand By Task Force (SBTF) took the lead in organizing volunteers to classify social media posts and images, and GISCorps assistance was requested for geo-location of the information so that it could be mapped. More than 40 GISCorps volunteers answered the call to assist and spent the next 4 days working to create mapping coordinates from the information, resulting in maps of damage reports and requests for assistance. Information and maps can be found here. Read more.
GISCorps Volunteers Providing Assistance to Humanity Road
In December 2014, Humanity Road, a US-based nonprofit organization, requested the assistance of GISCorps to support their Typhoon Hagupit response activities. Following the recruitment, two GIS professionals, Leonard Olyott of Australia and Keeve Brine of Maryland, were selected and put in contact with Humanity Road representatives. Read more.
Mapping of Malakal, Nsanje District - Malawi

In September 2014, GISCorps partnered with Severin Menard of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to begin mapping the Southern region of Malawi along the Lower Shire River. The area along the Lower Shire (the Nsanje District) connects Lake Malawi and the Zambezi River in Mozambique and is prone to frequent flooding that can be devastating to local communities.

Since October 2014, GISCorps volunteers have made significant progress toward mapping roads, buildings, footpaths, and waterways and as of late January 2015, approximately 150 square miles have been mapped in these flood-prone areas. In mid-January, devastating flooding in Southern Malawi and Mozambique left tens of thousands displaced from their homes, thus reaffirming this project's importance and the necessity of GISCorps' involvement with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Read more.
Supporting NetHope with Mapping Information and Communication Needs in West Africa
GISCorps was contacted by Crisis Informatics expert Jennifer Chan of NetHope to support their Ebola Response Project. By November, a team of 5 GISCorps volunteers - German Whitley, Liz Dow, DeAnna Hohnhorst, Melodie Grubbs and Katie Mayr - joined project coordinator Carol Kraemer in creating weekly data/map updates and field maps as well as additional support with other visualizations such as those created in Tableau. Read more.  

Read more about other completed GISCorps projects here.  


Read more about projects in progress here.  

Volunteer Profile 

Names: Carol Kraemer, German Whitley, Katie Mayr, Elizabeth Dow, DeAnna Hohnhorst, and Melodie Grubbs.

GISCorps Mission / Year served: NetHope 2014-15 (ongoing project)
From left: Carol Kraemer, German Whitley, Katie Mayr, Liz Dow, DeAnna Hohnhorst, and Melodie Grubbs (no photo).

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


Please include URISA's GISCorps in your charitable giving this year.  


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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.