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GISCorps Newsletter


GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

November 2015
A Message from the Core Committee
Greetings Volunteers and Friends:
Once again we had a very busy and fruitful quarter. Three projects concluded and volunteers have become engaged in six new projects. That brings the total number of projects to 176 with over 953 volunteers deployed to 63 countries around the world.

On our Missions in Progress web page, we are highlighting six projects including: Hurricanes Joaquin and Patricia; Afghan/Pakistan earthquake; a geocoding project in Niger; Story Map development for Green World Campaign; and assisting NetHope with their Syria/Mediterranean Crisis Response.

Recently completed projects include an onsite teaching project in Kabul, Afghanistan; parsing OpenStreetMap data; and creating a vulnerability indices web map in Nepal. Detailed accounts of these projects are included below.

This year's URISA GIS-Pro conference was held in Spokane, WA in October. During the conference, Core Committee members presented the last 12 month's work of our volunteers and several attendees participated in GISCorps' roundtable discussion.

Finally, we would like to ask that you update your record regularly as having access to current information is integral to selecting  the most qualified volunteers for our projects.

Thank you once again for your continued support of GISCorps. We are grateful to you and our volunteers for their remarkable service.

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

Featured Projects
Advanced Spatial Analysis & Remote Sensing Training For faculty at Kabul Polytechnic University, Afghanistan
In August, two GIS professionals headed to Kabul, Afghanistan to teach advanced GIS/Remote Sensing at Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU). This multi-year initiative is managed by Dr. Hussein Abaza at Kennesaw State University (Georgia) and is supported by a U.S. State Department grant. The goal was to offer professional development and capacity building among the KPU faculty to help support their interest in offering an undergraduate degree or certificate in GIS; the first academic program of its kind in Afghanistan. Each volunteer's report follows:
GISCorps Volunteer Assisted with Downloading and Parsing OpenStreetMap - Syria
The humanitarian and human rights communities are increasingly interested in the effects of conflicts and natural disasters on cultural heritage. Though not as pressing a concern as the immediate provision of food, water, medicine, shelter, and other humanitarian necessities, the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage sites is a key component in the recovery of communities following traumatic events. In 2014, the Geospatial Technologies Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) received a grant from the NSF to study the effects of the Syrian Civil War on cultural heritage. Read more here.

GISCorps Volunteer Develops Vulnerability Indices Web Map - Nepal
In the aftermath of the Nepal Earthquake, getting access to information relevant to humanitarian programming has been a big problem. With devastation having occurred over vast expanses of the entire region, assessing the range of destruction in rural regions was a problem. Yet, with limited resources coming in, questions were raised as to where and how to prioritize aid and development projects. One organization working on the ground in Nepal to assist with the recovery is ACAPS. ACAPS is a consortium of NGO's that was created in 2009 with the aim of supporting the humanitarian community with needs assessments. Read more here.

Read more about other completed GISCorps projects here.  
Read more about projects in progress here.  

Volunteer Profile 

Name: Dr. Gary Hunter

Organization: Self-employed GIS consultant, Australia

GISCorps mission/Year served: Teaching GIS at Kabul Polytechnic University, Afghanistan, 2015

Share your experience about the mission: It was a great experience teaching Afghan faculty members who were keen to receive training in advanced GIS and remote sensing techniques. The teaching was delivered not only to junior faculty, but also to two Heads of Department plus the Dean. They all deeply appreciated our efforts as well as the handover of our training datasets and complete course teaching materials. I would certainly do it again.

Name: John Van Hoesen

Organization: Green Mountain College (Vermont)

GISCorps mission/Year served: Advanced Spatial Analysis & Remote Sensing training for faculty at Kabul Polytechnic University, Afghanistan / 2015

Share your experience about the mission: Working with the faculty at KPU was incredibly fun and their eagerness to learn and commitment to their students was inspiring. This mission really made me appreciate these shorter - but intense - experiences and demonstrated how powerful they can be for all participants.

Anything else to share: Providing GIS support for any community is as much about the people it serves as it is the software, architecture, technology, etc. Therefore in the same vein as McHarg's design-with-nature concept, I think our approach to teaching or leveraging a GIS needs to similarly consider the holistic importance of place, not just optimization and functionality.
To read more stories visit the Volunteer Profiles 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

2015 Charitable Giving


Please include  GISCorps in your charitable giving plans to help keep this volunteer program running for many years to come.


Donations are tax-deductible. 


 is easy via this online form.   

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GISCorps Core Committee

Shoreh Elhami

Dianne Haley

Allen Ibaugh

Carol Kraemer

Dave Litke   

Heather Milton

Mark Salling


Contact us: 




Twitter: @giscorps   

Partner Organizations








Disaster Charter   


...and many more

URISA  Education  Calendar
GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference
Feb 22-25, 2016
Savannah, GA

URISA Leadership Academy
August 1-5, 2016
Chicago, Illinois

URISA's 2016 Caribbean GIS Conference
September 5-8
Abstracts due January 15
GIS-Pro 2016
Oct 31-Nov 3 
Toronto, Ontario Canada
For more information, visit

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.

News from Friends of GISCorps 


Nonprofit Organization Program  


Disaster Response and Assistance


ArcGIS Online for Organizations

Holiday Shopping Ideas!

Do you find yourself in need of a new T-shirt, coffee mug, ball cap or tote bag? Do you want to help promote GISCorps' good work? Well, you are in luck! You can now find various GISCorps items at our online shop.