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GISCorps Newsletter

 GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

May 2016 
A Message from the Core Committee
Greetings Volunteers and Friends:

We have had yet another busy quarter! Six new projects were launched and three were completed since February. That brings the total number of projects to 185 with over 991 volunteers deployed to 66 countries. We are continually amazed at our volunteers' dedication to service!

The new projects are in Burundi, Fiji, Ecuador, US, and Sri Lanka. The tasks include: digitizing buildings in flood stricken areas of Sri Lanka, data collection in Burundi, developing an interactive map to locate those missing in action after WWII, assisting in prototyping post disaster maps that enhance decision making and much more. Three completed projects in Niger, Ecuador, and Panama are featured in this newsletter.

Our new Mission Coordinators are also busy planning and strategizing activities for their committees. You can read their progress reports here.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Carol Kraemer who has been on the GISCorps Core Committee for the past four years. Her dedication and the assistance that she provided to GISCorps has been exemplary and she will be greatly missed. Thank you Carol!

Jeff Pires will be representing GISCorps at URISA's 2016 GIS and Health Symposium next Friday, June 3 in Washington, DC. 
 He will be a panelist in an important session discussing GIS and Mapping Support for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

As usual, we have multiple activities at the Esri User Conference and would love to see and talk to you during those events.

Thank you once again for your continued support of GISCorps.

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

Featured Projects
Volunteers Assisted in an Engineers Without Borders USA Project - Panama
Engineering students at the University of California, Berkeley, in cooperation with the Engineers Without Borders USA Group, worked with local groups in El Valle de San Francisco, Panama, to design a water distribution system to bring fresh running water to underserved and impoverished areas. Read more here.

Volunteers Geocoded +/- 3,300 Locations in Niger
In support of the UNOCHA initiative to upgrade Common Operational Datasets, the University of Georgia/ITOS requested support from GISCorps to geocode 3,300+ locations in Niger. Ten volunteers were selected for this project and recently completed the task. Read more here. 
GISCorps Volunteers Assist in Ecuador Earthquake Relief Activities
In April 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake claimed the lives of over 650 people in northwestern Ecuador. Shortly after the quake, GISCorps was contacted by the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) to assist with delivering maps to meet key information needs of field-based decision makers. These volunteers were deployed: Billee McGinley, Ellie Rusack, David Zand, Jane Desbarats and Joel Irish. This report was written by Helen Campbell, DHN representative.

Digitizing in OSM for Flood in Sri Lanka
Since May 15, large areas of Sri Lanka have been deluged by torrential rains caused by a slow moving tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal. This storm has brought flash flood and landslides to 22 of the country's 26 districts. GISCorps volunteers have joined many other volunteers in Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) digitizing buildings and roads in the affected areas. This project is led by Emmor Nile, a GISCorps volunteer and GISCorps' OSM/HOT subcommittee lead. Currently 31 volunteers from 13 countries are contributing to this project. One of the contributors Suthakaran Sundaralingam from Sri Lanka shared some photos with us (one is included below). Read more here.

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

Conference Announcements 

URISA Events
In addition to the GISCorps' Ebola Project being discussed at the URISA GIS in Health Symposium in Washington DC  (see note above), GISCorps will also a busy schedule at GIS-Pro 2016, October 31-November 3, in Toronto, Ontario. Hope to see you!

Esri's 36th International User Conference - San Diego, California - June 27 - July 1, 2016
As in previous years, GISCorps will hold a few events at Esri's International User Conference:
  • Tuesday-Thursday: GISCorps will have a booth in a special section of the Exhibit Hall for nonprofits, called Sustainable World Community. This is an exciting change for us and we hope to be able to increase awareness of GISCorps and our volunteers' valuable work. We are hoping that you will take a little bit of time out of your busy UC schedule to spend a couple of hours at the booth, greeting visitors and telling them about your experiences as a GISCorps volunteer. If you are attending the Esri UC this year and are willing to help us at the booth, please fill in your availability via this spreadsheet. Please indicate your availability by June 1.
  • Thursday: Annual Presentation/Meeting. Members of the CC and several volunteers will present. The meeting is held at SDCC in Room 23C from noon to 1 pm.

Volunteer Profile 

Name: Brian Baldwin


GISCorps mission/Year served:
Nepal Earthquake 2015 & member of GISCorps' ArcGIS Online (AGO) Subcommittee

Share your experience about the mission: Like many people that watched the humanitarian crisis unfold after the Nepalese earthquake of 2015, I had wished there was something I could do to assist. The GISCorps mission was a request from ACAPS to create an interactive mapping application that could be used to assess where the most vulnerable populations existed in Nepal, in order to prioritize and focus projects. The mission was a fantastic experience to work with a diverse coalition over 3 weeks to assess the needs of the organization and quickly build out a web mapping application that could be used to query across multiple vulnerability indices. Knowing not only that the application was used, but also that it was pushed onto the UN's Nepal website gave me a great deal of satisfaction.

Anything else to share: I love spending time with my beautiful family, including my expectant wife and goofball toddler. I also love to crank up my guitar amp and rip on my old Stratocaster when time allows, hike, obsess over the perfect method for cold brewing coffee, and join in an occasional dance party with my toddler when we start spinning the Saturday Night Fever record.

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

Get Social with GISCorps! 

Like us on Facebook 

View our profile on LinkedIn 


Follow us on Twitter 


GISCorps Core Committee

Shoreh Elhami

Dianne Haley

Allen Ibaugh

Dave Litke   

Heather Milton

Mark Salling


Contact us: 


Email: [email protected] 


Twitter: @giscorps   

Partner Organizations








Disaster Charter   


...and many more

URISA  Education  Calendar
URISA's 2016 GIS and Health Symposium
June 1-3, 2016 Washington, DC

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

URISA's 2016 Caribbean GIS Conference
September 5-8

GIS-Pro 2016
Oct 31-Nov 3 
Toronto, Ontario Canada

For more information, visit

2016 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.   

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

Shopping 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 help promote GISCorps' good work? Well, you are in luck! You can now find various GISCorps items at our online shop.