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GISCorps volunteers respond to 12 disaster response projects during and after hurricanes and earthquakes

Summer 2017 was a busy year for GISCorps volunteers. After unprecedented consecutive natural disasters between June and November, 150 volunteers contributed over 1300 hours of their time to help impacted communities. Further detail on each of the 12 projects are listed below.

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. Volunteers included Fajrin, Dennis Irorere, Kingsley Obi, Elisabeth Smith, Maitphang Syiem, Olabisi Regina Abe, Tim Hohn, Bruce Willett, and Rahwa Embaye.

HOTOSM Advanced Validation Mission – Hurricane Maria

HOT requested the assistance of advanced validators for Puerto Rico road network. Five volunteers joined this project and their activities resulted in 22 hours of contributions. Advanced validators are: Troy Wirth, Tim Hohn, Suthakaran Sundraralingam, Deninis Irorere, and James Smith, with support from Emmor Nile (OSM subcommittee lead), Russell Deffner and Blake Girardot from HOTOSM.

FEMA/Standby Task Force – Hurricane Maria

Twenty-nine GISCorps volunteers joined a project launched by FEMA and Standby Task Force shortly after hurricane Maria. They contributed a total of 203 hours to this project. Here’s a link to a web story on SBTF’s website.

FEMA/Stand By Taskforce - Hurricane Maria screen shot

FEMA/Stand By Taskforce - Hurricane Maria screen shot with map popup

Direct Relief – Hurricane Maria

Direct Relief requested the assistance of GISCorps volunteers. Seven volunteers were deployed to this project and they collectively spent 95 hours on this project. They were: Brian Russo, Rohini Swaminathan, Amélie Davis, Eli Cox, Patricia Solís, Javier Arce-Nazario, and Miguel Garriga. Here’s a link to a web story on Direct Relief’s website.

Crowd sourcing project with NAPSG – Hurricane Maria

Our third NAPSG project began after hurricane Maria made a landfall. Five GISCorps volunteers responded to the third NAPSG call for volunteers and spent 41 hours on this project. Volunteers participating in this project were: Jhon Silva, Adrianna Maberry, Sabina Giri, Casey Wilson, and Linda Mudie.

HOTOSM digitizing – Hurricane Maria

Seventeen GISCorps volunteers assisted in HOT tasks after hurricane Maria made a landfall. They reported a total of 135 hours. Volunteers participating in this project were: Eleza Boban Kollannur, Aamir khan, ShivaGangaiah.Kp, Adrianna Maberry, Bruce Willett, Michael Templeton, Maria Gouveia, Okebiorun Moses Kehinde, Duncan Kinnear, Malinga Prabhasara, Bellinda Monge, Linda Mudie, Habib Ur Rahman Qasimi, Rahwa Embaye, Tim Hohn, Zhenni Jiang, and William Brenton Jr.

HOTOSM tasks – Hurricane Maria task manager screen shot

HOTOSM digitizing – Mexico earthquakes

Sixteen GISCorps volunteers joined HOT in mapping affected areas after the massive earthquake in Mexico. Volunteers reported a total of 121 hours for this project and are: Maria Gouveia, Malinga Prabhasara, Habib Ur Rahman Qasimi, Michele Kmiecik, TM Gapinski, Davince Koyo, Amin Alhassan, Denis Krivoguz, Eleza Boban Kollannur, Jomals Mathews John, Jas Sagoo, Rahwa Embaye, ShivaGangaiah.Kp, Deepika Singh, Heather Campbell, and Simran.

HOTOSM digitizing – Hurricane Irma

Shortly after hurricane Irma made a landfall, GISCorps volunteers joined the Humanitarian OpenSteetMap (HOT) in mapping the affected areas. Eighteen volunteers worked for 176 hours on this project. They are: Aly Ollivierre, Katie Pickett, Sonja Jamilla, Janet Chipman, Bellinda Monge, Davince Koyo, Scamehorn, Ryan, Malinga Prabhasara, Jomals Mathews John, Jonathan Clayton, Maria Gouveia, Bruce Willett, Deepika Singh, Sonal Raisinghani, Sarah Hartholt, Eleza Kollannur, Tawny Gooda, and Michele Kmiecik.

Crowd sourcing project with NAPSG – Hurricane Irma

Similar to hurricane Harvey, GISCorps volunteers responded to the second NAPSG call for volunteers, this time after hurricane Irma impacted the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys. 19 volunteers responded to the call and geo-located 100’s of photos from various social media sites. They reported a total 88 hours for this project. Volunteers participating in this project were: Shiva Gangaiah.Kp, Tim Hohn, Jas Sagoo, Jhon Silva, Jomals Mathews John, Eadie Kaltenbacher, Ralyne Silva, Michael Vander Doelen, Chad Ajamian, Ed Amrhein, John Haddad, Gouri Vishnubatla, Kelley McDonnell, Laura Bailey, Yang Liu, Kit Jones, Jacob Raymond, Christina Brunsvold, and Jay Meehl.

Crowd sourcing project with NAPSG - Hurricane Irma screen shot of Irma path

Crowd sourcing project with NAPSG - Hurricane Irma photos submitted dashboard

GIS Programmer/Web App Developer – Hurricane Harvey

As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health, safety, and security threats. They were actively involved in the recovery stage of hurricane Harvey and contacted GISCorps to make a GIS programmer available to them. The specific need was for a Python programmer with ArcGIS web map and app skills. Work entailed downloading daily, data from a FEMA REST service of shelters, storing in a geodatabase, and developing a web map and app as a dashboard of the shelters depicting population over time. The recruitment resulted in selection of Jeff Pires from Geneva, Switzerland. He provided the assistance that CDC needed and is still in contact with them and expects to finalize the project in coming weeks.

Crowd sourcing project with NAPSG – Hurricane Harvey

The NAPSG Foundation ( is a US based non-profit organization, actively building the capacity of emergency responders and public safety leaders to use geospatial tools and technology that enhance mission critical decision making. They provide free resources for the public safety community to help implement effective solutions to common problems. They launched a project that facilitated the upload of photos posted on the media and social networks on an ArcGIS Online web application. They requested assistance from GISCorps volunteers and several GISCorps replied to the call.

Fort Bend County project – Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, surpassing the record set by Hurricane Katrina. It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year span in which no hurricanes made landfall at such an intensity in the country. Shortly after the landfall and for a period of more than a week, 23 GISCorps volunteers assisted in mapping the road closures in Ford Bend County and reported a total 379 hours. Road closures were placed on an ArcGIS Online web application and the efforts were led by Beni and Paresh Patel, two long time GISCorps volunteers from Houston, TX.

Volunteers who participated in this project were: Alexis Handelman, Shoreh Elhami, Abhishek Kala, Kristin Bartlett-Hoisington, Paresh Patel, Ellen Nodwell, Beni Patel, Troy Wirth, Amanda Miner, Leslie Zolman, Adrian Welsh, Katie Pickett, Langdon Sanders, Kenny Leon, Michael Dittman, Kristin Goff, Karol Francis, Mikias Wondimu Hundie, Khondaker Islam, Bhanu Vedula, Dick Kotapish, Bhavna Kalla, and Phanindra Dulam.

Fort Bend County project – Hurricane Harvey screen shot of map

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