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GISCorps Newsletter

 GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

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

We are pleased to bring you the August edition of our newsletter. Since May, we have launched two new projects. The first one is with Feeding America, a US based non-profit organization whose mission is to alleviate hunger in the Inland Empire in California. The second mission is with Azuero Earth Project, another non-profit organization operating in Panama. That brings the total number of projects to 188 with over 997 deployed volunteers.
Our volunteers have completed two projects since May. For the first one, our volunteer from Georgia assisted a non-profit organization with data conversion and the development of a web map linked to a WWII database to display the locations of recovered unknown remains from WWII. Our second volunteer from Russia conducted spatial analysis post the Sri Lanka flood. Details of both projects are included in the newsletter below.
We had a great display and session at the Esri User Conference again this year (see a report later in this newsletter). It was great to catch up with volunteers and friends.
Our Mission Coordinators are continuing their valuable efforts. You can read their progress reports here and also in the Subcommittee Report section of this Newsletter.
We hope you enjoy the stories included in this issue and 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 i[email protected] if you wish to be removed from this list.

Deployment and Partnership News

Missions in Progress

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

Featured Projects

Volunteers Assisting in Data Conversion and Interactive Map Development
MIA Recovery Network, a 501c3 organization, requested the assistance of GISCorps volunteers with Esri (ArcGIS Online & ArcGIS Desktop) expertise for the development of an interactive map product linked to a WWII database. The final product will display geographic positions of recovered unknown remains from WWII. Renato Salvaleon, a Senior GIS Specialist with Alabama Power Company, was recruited for this project. Read more here

GISCorps Volunteer Conducts Spatial Analysis post Sri Lanka Floods  
On 15 May 2016, Sri Lanka was hit by a severe tropical storm that caused widespread flooding and landslides in 22 of 25 districts in the country, destroying homes and submerging entire villages. Shortly after the floods started, GISCorps was contacted by HOTOSM to assist with analyzing the spatial data.  Read more here.  

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

Subcommittee Reports 

ArcGIS Online (AGO) Subcommittee
The ArcGIS Online (AGO) Committee has continued to make progress on multiple initiatives this quarter.  Our AGO site was given a facelift just prior to the Esri User Conference, and now includes updated maps and apps as well as links to partner organizations.  Datasets behind the Missions MapMissions Tour App, and Volunteer Locations Map have also been updated, and we continue to refine the processes that will maintain these into the future.  A survey designed to supplement volunteer profile data with specialized AGO experience was completed, and as of early August we have seen a 25% response rate.  If you have AGO experience and wish to include it in your volunteer profile, please respond to the survey here if you haven't already done so!  Finally, we are continuing our search for AGO best practices which can be applied to GISCorps missions, and aim to have a first draft of Standard Operating Procedures for GISCorps AGO ready for Core Committee review in September.
OSM Subcommittee
Dave Litke (GISCorps Core Committee member) and Emmor Nile (GISCorps OpenStreetMap Coordinator) made a presentation about GISCorps at the annual OSM State of the Map US conference, held this year in Seattle, Washington from July 23-25. Several hundred people attended the conference, which had a theme of "Building Community". Mapping for humanitarian crisis response was also an important theme, and GISCorps is becoming increasingly involved in these activities.  A video of Dave and Emmor's talk, entitled "GISCorps: A Volunteer Community of GIS Professionals" may be viewed here.
From left: Dave Litke & Emmor Nile

Conference Announcements 

Esri's 36th International User Conference - San Diego, California - June 27 - July 1, 2016
As in previous years, GISCorps held a number of events at Esri's International User Conference:
  • Tuesday-Thursday: GISCorps had a booth in the Exhibit Hall, in the area for nonprofits called Sustainable World Community. During those three days, many volunteers, friends and new visitors stopped by at our booth. Heather Milton was both present and also coordinated other volunteers' efforts.
  • Thursday: many of our volunteers and friends attended the Annual Presentation/Meeting and shared their experiences with the audience. Photos of all events are posted here.
From left: Leslie Zolman, Emmor Nile, Heather Milton, Shoreh Elhami, Jeff Pires, and Allen Ibaugh

Volunteer Profile 

NameRenato Salvaleon

Organization: Alabama Power Company

GISCorps mission/Year served: MIA Recovery Network - GIS data conversion and web map proof of concept/2016

Share your experience about the mission: As my first GIS Corps mission, I was very passionate to do a good job. I am touched by their goals because my first GIS experience was in the Army and I have a father who survived WWII and the Vietnam War. MIA Recovery Network, as a non-profit agency, aims to identify unknown gravesites of military servicemen that fought and died around the world. They have a database of 2000 plus gravesites and it continues to grow. 

Like most data conversion projects, the project required data cleanup, data migration, and data normalization. The biggest challenge was to make the proof of concept project work for an organization that did not have time to learn the intricacies of managing data but still ended up with the desired workflow to keep up with their GIS.  With this proof of concept I hope the members of their organization will have another valuable tool with good information to use to accomplish their mission. Through this project I also learned about the numerous American Battle Monuments that were established by the United States around the globe to honor its heroes who have fallen in battle.

Anything else to share: I am very passionate and enjoy sharing my GIS knowledge and expertise, whenever I can lend a helping hand or volunteer. Aside from love of God, country, family, and helping my users use GIS to solve their work problems, I am also an avid golfer and love to travel in the US and around the world with family as time and resources allow.    

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
Subcommittee Reports
Volunteer Profiles

Get Social with GISCorps! 

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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 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 keep this volunteer program running for years to come.  Donations are tax

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.