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GISCorps Newsletter

 GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

February 2017 
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 2017. 2016 was indeed another busy and fruitful year for GISCorps and its amazing volunteers followed by yet another productive quarter!

We ended 2016 with a total of 197 (now at 198) launched projects with 1,055 deployed volunteers. Since publishing the last newsletter in November, we have completed four projects, started another four and are about to complete recruitment for two more missions.

Completed projects assisted multiple nonprofit organizations in the US and Panama as well as assisting in post disaster activities with other nonprofit and UN agencies.

We have recently launched two projects in Costa Rica and India. In the former, one of our volunteers will head to Costa Rica to conduct a GIS Needs Assessment for the National Forestry Financing Fund. In India, we are conducting a pilot project where the results could save time and money for a nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide safe drinking water to rural villages and urban slums.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Salling and Heather Milton, two members of our Core Committee who have recently resigned. Their dedication and commitment to GISCorps has made the organization what it is today; we could not be more grateful for their selfless service and desire to make a positive difference. You can read more detailed information about their service under the Volunteer Profile section of the newsletter.

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, Allen Ibaugh, German Whitley, 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 seven missions are currently in progress. Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our Ongoing Projects Page. 

Featured Projects

Automatic Digitization for Tree Cover in Tropical Landscapes - Panama
In landscapes worldwide, agricultural trees provide valuable ecosystem services. These trees store a significant amount of carbon and could mitigate global climate change. Agricultural trees also have tremendous value for biodiversity, providing refuge and stepping-stones for forest-dwelling animals in fragmented habitat. The ecosystem services can improve human livelihoods; for example, adding a few trees and shrubs to otherwise bare cattle pasture can increase milk and meat production. Due to their ecological and economic value, agricultural trees play an increasingly important role in land management plans, such as forest landscape restoration. A first step towards implementing these plans is measuring the amount of tree cover in agricultural landscapes. Read more here.

Volunteers Assisted in Testing an Application
In late 2016, Zizmos, a California based company, requested assistance from our volunteers in testing an application that detects earthquakes and provides seconds to minutes of warning before the onset of ground shaking. Tens of GISCorps volunteers downloaded the application and joined the network of smartphones and are now permanent, custom seismometers. Read more here

Volunteers Helped Test Geoform for a Nonprofit Organization
The request for volunteers came from [UN]cultivated in late 2016. Their mission is to preserve indigenous knowledge while cultivating food systems in harmony with nature. They believe that collaboration between indigenous knowledge holders and mainstream scientific research can generate new co-produced knowledge that will enable effective action to cope with climate change while meeting current and future food demands. Read more here.

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

Conference Announcements 

GIS-Pro 2017: URISA's 55th Annual Conference
URISA's 2017 GIS-Pro conference will take place in Jacksonville, Florida this October. As usual, there will be GISCorps gatherings and presentations. 

If you'd like to submit a presentation proposal, please do so soon. The deadline is March 10:  

See the sidebar for a list of all other URISA professional development and educational events on the 2017 calendar!

Volunteer Profile 

In appreciation of Mark Salling and Heather Milton's long and dedicated service to GISCorps. 

Mark Salling joined the Core Committee in 2006. During the past 11 years, Mark has been the most thoughtful, sincere, trusting, and most caring adviser any organization could wish for. He contributed in every decision that GISCorps has made, from its early days, with wisdom and true understanding. We are grateful for his service and will miss him dearly, though he's told us that he's only an email or a phone call away!

Heather Milton joined the Core Committee in 2009. She was very familiar with the program after amazing contributions to two of GISCorps' early missions. Heather was selected to go to Indonesia after the 2004 Asian Tsunami followed quickly thereafter by the Hurricane Katrina mission. In addition, she has assisted in multiple other GISCorps activities and has been an outstanding member of the Core. Heather, thank you for your service and we are looking forward to working with you on upcoming missions!

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
Featured Projects
Volunteer Profiles

Get Social with GISCorps! 

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GISCorps Core Committee

Shoreh Elhami

Dianne Haley

Allen Ibaugh

Dave Litke   

German Whitley


Contact us: 




Twitter: @giscorps   

Partner Organizations








Disaster Charter   


...and many more

URISA  Education  Calendar


  For more information, visit

2017 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.