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GISCorps Newsletter

 GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World

May 2017 
A Message from the Core Committee
Greetings Volunteers and Friends:  

We have had yet another busy quarter. Since February, four projects have been completed, three have been launched and three more are in the recruitment process. That brings the total number of launched projects to 202 with 1,066 volunteers deployed to 66 countries. We are continually amazed at our volunteers' dedication to service!

Our volunteers' work on completed projects involved conducting a GIS Needs Assessment in Costa Rica; developing a Story Map in South Africa; assisting in the refugee and migrant crisis by creating Common Operating Datasets; and lending a hand in post-disaster activities.

Newly launched projects include a site optimization for a branch of the Girl Scouts in Illinois, developing a Story Map for the Worldwide Fund for Nature in Zambia, and a crowd-sourced web map for Sustainable Innovations, a US based non-profit organization.

We are excited to report that Leslie Zolman has joined the Core Committee of GISCorps. Leslie has been a volunteer since 2013 and was one of four volunteers who provided GIS support and coordination to the World Health Organization (WHO) during the Ebola response effort. In addition to that, she has been a member of ArcGIS Online and DHN subcommittees. Welcome aboard Leslie!

Please note that, as in previous years, we have multiple activities at the Esri User Conference and would love to see and talk to you during those events (see more details below).

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, Leslie Zolman, 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

GISCorps Volunteer Conducted GIS Needs Assessment in Costa Rica
Costa Rica's National Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO in Spanish) requested a GISCorps volunteer with expertise in conducting GIS Needs Assessments and providing recommendations for upgrading FONAFIFO's geospatial information management system. Dick Kotapish, a seasoned GISCorps volunteer from Ohio was recruited for this project and spent a week in Costa Rica in April 2017. Read more here.

Volunteers Developed a Story Map for Worldwide Fund for Nature - South Africa (WWF-SA)
Worldwide Fund (WWF) for Nature is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost 6 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF-South Africa requested assistance from GISCorps volunteers in developing an interactive ArcGIS Online based story map. Shruthi Srinivasan (TX), was recruited for the project, and along with Leslie Zolman, GISCorps Core Committee member and volunteer, developed a detailed and informative Story Map using ArcGIS Online (AGO). Read more here.

URISA's GISCorps & DHN Collaboration for the 2016 Refugee & Migrant Crisis
With millions of people fleeing hardship and violence in Syria as well as many other countries, the humanitarian community is facing significant challenges. Coordinating the response to such a massive, long-term humanitarian situation across the many national, international, and local response actors requires collaboration and partnership. It also requires interoperable data so that everyone can have a common understanding of the crisis. In response to this need, the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) and GISCorps collaborated with UN and NGO organizations to map communications infrastructure to create and share Common Operational Datasets (CODs) for the European response. Read more here.

GISCorps Mission for DHN - Filtering Data for Hurricane Matthew
Assistance from GISCorps was requested to respond to Hurricane Matthew to help document crisis maps to be accessed by key decision makers during the emergency response. This project was in collaboration with the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN). Eleven volunteers were recruited for this project. Read more here.

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

Conference Announcements 

Esri's 37th International User Conference:  
San Diego, CA - July 10-14, 2017 
As in previous years, URISA's GISCorps will hold several 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 the second year that we are attending this event where we have been 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 some time at the booth, greeting visitors and telling them about your experiences as a GISCorps volunteer. If you are attending the Esri User Conference this year and are willing to help us at the kiosk, please do visit this spreadsheet and fill in the times that you are available. Please indicate your availability by June 10th.
  • Wednesday: Annual Presentation/Meeting. Members of the Core Committee and several volunteers will be presenting information on recent missions. The meeting is held at SDCC in Room 28C from 12:00 noon- 1:00 pm (a limited number of boxed lunches will be provided, so arrive early!).
  • Thursday: Volunteer Dave Hansen will present at 1:30 pm in Room 28C. The session topic is "Applying Participatory GIS Approaches for Optimal Development Outcomes". His paper title is "Strengthening Communities and GISCorps Project".

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. Check out the conference program and start planning your trip to JAX!

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

Volunteer Profile 

Name: Shruthi Srinivasan
Organization: Texas A&M Forest Service

GISCorps mission/Year served: Worldwide Fund for Nature-South Africa (WWF-SA) Interactive Story Maps/2016-2017

Share your experience about the mission: I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work on this project for one of the world's largest independent conservation organizations. Water doesn't come from a tap and only 8% of South Africa's land area produces 50% of its surface water. I truly enjoyed and learned a lot while developing authoritative and interactive maps with compelling multimedia content that can help reconnect people to the real water source areas in South Africa.

Anything else to share: Overall, it was an enriching experience working with GISCorps and WWF-SA. I look forward to working on more GISCorps projects in the future!

Thank you for your continued support of URISA's GISCorps!

In This Issue
Message from the Core Committee
Featured Projects
Volunteer Profiles

2017 Charitable Giving


Please include GISCorps in your charitable giving plans to keep this volunteer program running for years to come.   Donations are tax

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   

German Whitley

Leslie Zolman


Contact us: 




Twitter: @giscorps   

Partner Organizations








Disaster Charter   


...and many more

URISA  Education  Calendar

  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

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.