GISCorps logo 
GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World 

August 2019
A Message From the Core Committee

Greetings Volunteers and Friends:  

We're so excited to announce that URISA's GISCorps Core Committee has added a new member! Konrad Hughes joined the Core Committee in August, bringing expertise in disaster response gained through his work at the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency as well as his experience as an Air Force aviator and meteorologist. Konrad proved himself to be a talented workhorse with a heart for service during the Camp Fire  mission last year, and we are so fortunate that he has decided to continue contributing to GISCorps on an ongoing basis as a Core Committee member. By the way, we're still looking for additional experienced volunteers to join our Core Committee and manage GISCorps missions. If you're interested, let us know by sending an email to: !

Speaking of contributing to GISCorps, we heard frustration from some of you at the Esri User Conference that you have not been able to contribute to a GISCorps mission yet, either because you have not received any recruitment announcements from us or you haven't been selected to participate in the opportunities you applied for. We want everyone to have the opportunity to contribute, so please allow us to offer solutions to these issues:
  1. Add to your email contacts. If you received this newsletter but you haven't received any recruitment announcements from us, it's very likely that the emails sent from our recruiting email account are being rejected by your incoming email server. You can solve this problem by adding to your contacts list. 
  2. Take the GIS Service Pledge. If you're getting our recruitment announcements but haven't been selected for a project, create your own project! The GIS Service Pledge program allows you to design your own project for an organization you care about, and Esri will donate a one-year home use license so you can get the job done.
  3. Contribute to a Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) project. GISCorps is actively supporting several HOT projects, and you can start contributing anytime you want. You'll find everything you need to get started on the HOT Projects page of our website. Don't forget to add #GISCorps to your changeset comments so we can track your contributions!
Finally, we're eager to share with you the details of the missions we've completed and launched in the last three months. Please read on to learn about how GISCorps volunteers and our partner organizations continue to use GIS to make positive change in the world. From improving access to healthy food in cities to supporting emergency response after natural disasters, GISCorps missions continue to make a difference.

With warmest regards,

GISCorps Core Committee and Advisory Board: Shoreh Elhami, Dianne Haley, Konrad Hughes, Allen Ibaugh, Carol Kraemer, Wincy Poon, German Whitley, Troy Wirth, and Chris Zumwalt. 

P.S. Please email   if you wish to be removed from this list.

Deployment and Partnership News

Missions in Progress

Thirteen missions are currently underway with four more ready to launch. More details on these projects are posted on our  What We Do  web page under New and Ongoing Projects .

Completed Missions

As part of our ongoing collaboration with the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation and CEDR Digital Corps , GISCorps volunteers spent several days in July 2019 mining social media and online news outlets for on-the-ground imagery to geolocate and upload to an interactive map that enhances situational awareness for emergency managers and first responders.

Read more about how this mission helped contribute to situational awareness for emergency crews here , and check out the 2019 Hurricanes Crowdsourced Photos app here .

Capital Area Food Bank is a nonprofit organization working to solve hunger and food access disparities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. GISCorps volunteer Sarah Welt partnered with Capital Area Food Bank to create, process, and integrate data and update and improve symbology and online map functionality. 
Read more about this project here .

New Missions in Progress

Dedicated to bridging the digital divide in underrepresented communities in South Central Los Angeles, WE CAN Foundation is a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, Calif ornia. Volunteers Alice Kim and John Schweisinger were selected to perform an on-site needs assess ment to determine how WE CAN cou ld use GIS to support a new urban farm ing and sustainable landscaping initiative in South Central Los Angeles.  Read more about this needs assessment here .

Seeds of Hope is the food justice ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, California. The program currently grows food at nearly 90 locations for distribution through more than 100 food pantries and meal programs in addition to providing nutrition and fitness education.

GISCorps volunteer Mary Andrews is establishing a spatial asset management system with various web applications that will enable Seeds of Hope staff to more efficiently track and manage food production and distribution in the diocese.  Learn about this application development project here .

In preparation for the ongoing 2019 hurricane season, URISA's GISCorps and NAPSG Foundation have assembled a team of seasoned hurricane project contributors to serve as the Admin Team for future projects. The GISCorps 2019 Hurricane Season Admin Team includes Erin Arkison from Texas, Christina Brunsvold from California, John Haddad from Colorado, Eadie Kaltenbacher from Oregon, Melvin Nforba from Maryland, Holly Torpey from California, and Dacey Zelman-Fahm from New Zealand.

Read more about how these volunteers will support upcoming hurricane response missions here.

GISCorps volunteers Linder Ringo (California, USA), Bhanu Vedula (Alberta, Canada), Melissa Daniels (Colorado, USA), Amy Murphy (Maryland, USA), and Lance Owen (Geo
rgia, USA) are helping the World Health  Organization (WHO) with a new pilot project that integrates crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence (AI) to su pport polio outbreak response activities in Papua New Guinea.  Read more about this crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence project here .

HOTOSM Projects
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) continues to request support from URISA's GISCorps volunteers for urgent projects that have unmet demand for highly skilled OpenStreetMap editors. Since 2011, at least 188 GISCorps volunteers have contributed over 2,075 hours mapping and validating 21 HOT campaigns. Efforts are ongoing for the following seven HOT projects:
For more information about GISCorps's involvement with HOT, as well as information about how to get started mapping with HOT, please visit

If you are already a GISCorps volunteer and a HOTOSM contributor, please remember to add #GISCorps to your changeset comments when you save your edits and don't forget to keep track of the hours you spend mapping. When you're finished, fill out this Google form so we can accurately track and report GISCorps volunteer contributions to HOTOSM projects. You'll also receive documentation of your contribution, which can be used for GISP credit.

GIS Service Pledge 

The GIS Service Pledge (GSP) is a collaboration between Esri, URISA's GISCorps, and YOU! This unique program allows GISCorps volunteers to invent their own GISCorps missions, identifying organizations or causes that would benefit from GIS expertise, applications, or analyses. Esri generously provides one-year ArcGIS personal use licenses that volunteers can use to make a difference in their own communities or across the world. 

So far, GISCorps and Esri have approved 42 GIS Service Pledge applications submitted by volunteers from seven different countries. As participants wrap up their projects, we delight in reading their reports and learning how they were able to contribute to organizations they care about. You can read them, too, on this page of our website, which is dedicated to GIS Service Pledge project reports. You can also see where GSP participants are making a difference on this web map Here are some highlights:
  • Dave Hansen used his Esri license to support the Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross in California during and after two devastating wildfires that affected the Region in 2018.
  • Gabor Bakos supported the Tanzania Development Trust's Crowd2Map project by creating various web mapping applications. Gabor has renewed his GIS Service Pledge and his next goal is to create a web-based geospatial server and real-time dashboard for the project.

Do you know of a nonprofit organization that could benefit from your GIS expertise? Review the GIS Service Pledge guidelines and apply for the program here

Send any questions specific to the GIS Service Pledge to And if you are a GISCorps volunteer who has identified a worthwhile GIS Service Pledge project idea, but would prefer to work within the supportive structure of a formal GISCorps mission, we'd love to hear about your idea too! In many cases, you can encourage the organization you'd like to help to request GISCorps support, and GISCorps can then launch a new project with you as the volunteer, bypassing the recruitment process.

Conference News & Announcements 

Esri User Conference Recap
In July, GISCorps Core Committee members and other dedicated volunteers had the pleasure of staffing a kiosk in the Sustainable World Community area of the Esri User Conference in San Diego. 
Volunteer Bethany Hall staffs the GISCorps kiosk.

Between the kiosk and our annual lunch meeting, we had the opportunity to hear from many past, present, and future volunteers and partner organizations about what collaborating with GISCorps has meant to them and what their expectations are for future missions.   Read more about this year's Esri User Conference  on our website. 

GIS-Pro 2019 in New Orleans
URISA's GIS-Pro conference 
is coming up fast! This year's conference will be held September 28-October 2 in New Orleans. In addition to being an amazing opportunity to network with and learn from other URISA members in a one-of-a-kind city, GIS-Pro is an important fundraising event for GISCorps.  Last year's silent auction in Palm Springs raised nearly $4,000 for GISCorps, and we hope this year's auction will do just as well. Do you have items or services to donate? Please let us know at   or call (847) 824-6300 with a specific description of the item(s) and value. Thank you in advance!

Volunteer Profiles 

Name: Maggie Peng
Organization: British Columbia Institute of Technology
GISCorps mission(s)/Year served: Charity Co-op, Serve Squad Program (2019)

Share your experience about the mission: This is a truly mesmerizing and fruitful experience. I can't believe I have gained so much from my first project ever with GISCorps. I had a chance to explore a lot of different mapping applications such as Smartsheet Labs, AppSheet and Google Maps. There was a lot of research done regarding this mission and I finally chose to make a custom map using the Google Maps API. Though I struggled sometimes, I honestly enjoyed spending time solving some coding problems. I felt satisfied that I can successfully create a web page for this mission and it works well.
Anything else to share: It feels great to help others with my skills, and I see every opportunity as a chance to learn and also to give. I look forward to many more missions to come with GISCorps.

For more volunteer profiles, visit the Our Volunteers page of our website.

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

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

URISA's GISCorps Core Committee

Shoreh Elhami

Dianne Haley

Konrad Hughes

Allen Ibaugh

Carol Kraemer  

Wincy Poon

German Whitley

Troy Wirth

Chris Zumwalt


GIS/Administrative Assistant: Holly Torpey


Contact us: 



Social Media
If you haven't already, please join us on social media: 

Facebook page

Facebook group 

Twitter account

LinkedIn page

LinkedIn group


Slack workspace

If you'd like to help us get the word out, please check out the resources on  our website . Also, please double check that the '' domain is not being sent to your Spam folder.
URISA  Professional
 Education Calendar
2020 GLAs will likely be in Minneapolis, Portland, OR and St. Pete, FL!

For more information, click here.
News from Friends of GISCorps 


Nonprofit Organization Program  


Disaster Response and Assistance


ArcGIS Online for Organizations

Support GISCorps with a tax-deductible donation in 2019. Your support is greatly appreciated!