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The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is a non-profit, cross-disciplinary organization devoted to the advancement of geospatial professionals around the world. URISA provides the international GIS community opportunities for professional development, advocacy and resources, and a vibrant peer network.

In September 2020, URISA announced a commitment to undergoing organizational change to become an pro-equity anti-racist (PEAR) organization through the release of the URISA Anti-Racism Pro-Equity & Social Justice Statement, which adheres to their GIS Code of Ethics.

To support the rollout of this organizational change, it was identified that a central platform was needed to organize and enable volunteers to work on pro-equity anti-racist initiatives, organize equity-related resources for the broader GIS community, and serve as the new face of URISA’s ongoing mission to promote ethical practice in GIS. As its platform, URISA chose ArcGIS Hub Premium to allow for seamless integration with the apps, resources, and analytic tools on ArcGIS Online. Rylee Wrenner, a GISCorps Volunteer in Vermont, was selected to lead configuration for this project.

Configuration of the Hub Site began with an exploration of the different types of people who would be accessing the site as well as content to be hosted. The core workflow involves PEAR volunteers collaborating on various initiatives organized under 10 Lines of Business (LOBs), which define key aspects needing to be addressed by an organization committed to doing PEAR work. The LOBs would be visible to the public, along with other resources geared towards GIS and non-GIS people alike.

After defining the user workflows, a site wireframe was developed to account for different users and their purposes in interacting with the site. Next, content was gathered and populated into the site. Finally, several ArcGIS Online apps were configured to allow URISA to manage incoming volunteer applications, provide ArcGIS Online access to accepted volunteers, and monitor the ongoing development of the program.

Getting the site up and running to support volunteers was the goal of the first phase of Hub configuration. Along the way, it became clear that another phase of Hub Site and Web App development would be needed to further develop the site based on an expanding vision while allowing for a more immediate release so the teams may begin work. This broader timescale will help ensure sustainable adoption of best practices and allow time for additional content creation around public education as well as engagement of the broader GIS and Equity communities.

This deployment of ArcGIS Hub Premium will provide teams of PEAR volunteers access to ArcGIS Online to collaborate on mission-driven GIS initiatives under the Lines of Business. ArcGIS Online provides the infrastructure for teams of volunteers through the Community Organization which accompanies ArcGIS Hub Premium and groups, which allow for sharing and collaboration.

The launch of this site marks the beginning of a new era for URISA as a pro-equity, anti-racist organization. In bringing equity to the forefront as a mission and through the LOBs framework, URISA is setting an example for other geospatial organizations and providing people an opportunity to become involved applying geospatial skills to pro-equity, anti-racist work.

To become a PEAR volunteer, apply through this Survey123 form.

Project complete

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