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GIS Professionals Volunteering for a Better World 

February 2018 
A Message From the Core Committee

Greetings Volunteers and Friends:  

2017 was indeed another busy and fruitful year for URISA's GISCorps and our amazing volunteers, followed by yet another productive quarter. We ended 2017 with a total of 219 (now at 223) launched projects and over 1,500 deployed volunteers. Since publishing the last newsletter in November, we have completed six projects, started three new projects and are in the process of recruiting volunteers for two new projects.

Completed projects included assistance to multiple nonprofit organizations in the US, Iran/Iraq, Costa Rica, and Zambia. Volunteer services included: data collection and validation, building story maps, developing training material in Spanish, and tagging photos in a post disaster crowdsourcing project.

We also wanted to share two other significant news items and accomplishments.
  • We are excited to announce the launch of our new website which would not have been possible without assistance from Mary Hunt (a volunteer with Taproot), Derek Bryan (with DTS), and the GISCorps Core Committee members. We love our new website and are looking forward to your feedback.
  • On November 15, 2017, in partnership with Esri, GISCorps launched a new program called the "GIS Service Pledge". Esri has committed to donating a personal use license of ArcGIS software for each GISCorps volunteer who takes a "GIS Service Pledge" to volunteer for a good cause. You can read more about the Pledge activities in this newsletter. 
Thank you once again for your continued support of GISCorps. We are grateful to you and our volunteers for their remarkable service.

With warmest regards,

GISCorps Core Committee: Dianne Haley, German Whitley, Leslie Zolman, Allen Ibaugh, Carol Kraemer, David Hansen, 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 four missions are currently in progress with several more in the works. Detailed accounts of these projects are posted on our Ongoing Projects Page.  

Featured Projects

Transforming a website story to an interactive Story Map
WWF is one of the leading organizations working on conservation globally. Kafue Flats is one of the designated RAMSA sites in the Zambezi River Basin. The Kafue Flats, covering an area of 6,500 sq. km in Zambia are faced with a number of competing demands from various users. Read more here.

Volunteer developing ArcGIS Online training videos in Spanish

FONAFIFO is a Costa Rican government institution that provides payments to landowners who enter into contracts with the government to preserve forested lands, practice sustainable forest management, etc., in exchange for environmental services. FONAFIFO sought the assistance of a GISCorps volunteer capable of creating training videos for ArcGIS Online in Spanish. Read more here.

Volunteers create web app for the Good Seed Community Development Corporation
The Good Seed Community Development Corporation ( Good Seed CDC) and SPA 6 Homeless Coalition requested support for a new mapping application. The purpose of the collaboration with GISCorps was to create a web app where community stakeholders can inform a homeless outreach team of a homeless individual, family, veteran or youth in need of support and engagement. Learn more here.

HOTOSM Digitizing- Iran/Iraq Earthquake
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck the border region between Iraq and Iran on Sunday, November 12. This has been the deadliest quake in the world this year. 530 people were killed and 7,817 were injured. HOTOSM opened multiple tasks and GISCorps put a call out for volunteers with intermediate and advanced skills in JOSM due to the difficult, densely packed building mapping. Nine volunteers contributed over 22 hours. Read more here.


GIS Service Pledge 

On November 15, 2017, in partnership with Esri, URISA's GISCorps launched a new program called the "GIS Service Pledge". Esri, the world leader in spatial analytics, has committed to donating personal use licenses of its ArcGIS software for each GISCorps volunteer who takes a "GIS Service Pledge" to volunteer for a good cause. For details, click here.

Since its launch, 18 volunteers have applied for the license and so far, 16 individuals have been granted a license. If you have a worthy cause that could benefit from GIS, apply for the Pledge here Send any questions about the GIS Service Pledge to: .

Conference Announcements 

GIS-Pro & CalGIS 2018
URISA's 2018 GIS-Pro conference will take place in Palm Springs, CA on October 9-12 with Jack Dangermond as the featured keynote speaker. 

As in previous years, there will be GISCorps gatherings and presentations. If you would like to submit a presentation proposal, please do so by March 5. Share your good work!  Topics are invited in these overall categories: 
  • GIS Supporting Health and Human Services
  • GIS Leadership & Management
  • GIS for Natural Resources
  • GIS for Next-Gen 9-1-1 and Emergency Response
  • Data Driven Communities aka Smart Communities
  • Technology
  • Preparing for GISP Certification
  • Inspiring the Future of GIS and Education
For details and an online submission form, click here.

Volunteer Profiles 

Name: Erin Goh, University of Glasgow
Project: Worldwide Fund for Nature-Zambia (WWF-Z) Interactive Story Maps - 2017
I am delighted to receive such a wonderful opportunity from GISCorps to be able to contribute my GIS skills in solving the problems of environment, mankind and natural resources. My first GISCorps mission was to help WWF Zambia to develop an interactive story map that highlighted the pertinent risks and opportunities within the Kafue Flats. The story map will be published on Nature-Zambia's website to let both private and public sectors to become more engaged in sustainable water management in Zambia. It was a great experience working with the Zambia team. Read more here.

Name: Amin Alhassan, Freelance GIS Professional
Project: Good Seed App Development - 2017
It was a great honor for me when I was given the opportunity to help Good Seed Community Development Corporation. My task was to customize, configure and host a crowdsource application on Amazon AWS. The application mission was to coordinate Los Angeles' Service Planning Area (SPA) 6 response to end/reduce homelessness for families, youth, veterans, and individuals. Read more here.

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

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

URISA's GISCorps Core Committee

Shoreh Elhami

Dianne Haley

Dave Hansen

Allen Ibaugh

Carol Kraemer  

German Whitley

Leslie Zolman


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Partner Organizations








Disaster Charter   


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News from Friends of GISCorps 


Nonprofit Organization Program  


Disaster Response and Assistance


ArcGIS Online for Organizations

URISA  Education  Calendar

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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.