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Volunteer chosen for long-term assistance to Tanzania Development Trust

Crowd2Map Tanzania is a crowdsourced mapping project set up by Tanzania Development Trust, a volunteer-run UK charity set up in 1975 to help grassroots projects in rural Tanzania. Crowd2Map aims to put rural Tanzania on the map. Since 2015, they have been adding schools, hospitals, roads, buildings and villages to OpenStreetMap (OSM), an open-source map available to all, with the help of over 4000 volunteers worldwide and 500 on the ground in Tanzania. With minimal budget and no staff, they have so far added over 2 million buildings and mapped over 70,000 sq kilometres.

As their program grows, they looked to GISCorps to provide a high level GIS advisor to help them achieve their current goals and craft future plans. Emmor Nile, a long-time GISCorps volunteer and OSM subcommittee lead with years of experience working in Africa, was chosen to help guide them in their current and future endeavors. Emmor also hopes to use the project as a training ground for GISCorps volunteers looking to build their OSM skills.

Click here to see current Tanzania Development Trust tasks in the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Task Manager.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

Developing crop yield prediction models for a US-based non-profit organization

Food Aid Project, Inc. 501(c)(3) is a charitable purpose, nonprofit organization whose mission is to support food and economic security by increasing the efficiency of and access to the bulk food procurement and distribution network. They requested a GISCorps volunteer to assist them in developing a real-time, web-based mapping program that will perform global yield prediction via spatial modeling of Special Crops (e.g., edible beans). The recruitment resulted in the selection of Jill Stanford, a GISCorps volunteer from Iowa. Jill is now in contact with Food Aid Project’s representatives.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

GISCorps volunteer configuring and updating story maps

Capital Area Food Bank is a non-profit organization working to solve hunger and its companion problems, such as chronic undernutrition, heart disease, and obesity in the greater Washington, D.C. region. They requested a GISCorps volunteer to assist in configuring and updating their Story Maps to illustrate data related to poverty, food insecurity, and food distribution efforts. Volunteer Sarah Welt has been selected to work with Capital Area Food Bank on this project.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

Volunteer Chosen to Provide User Support for Mountain Rescue Association’s Mission Data Portal

The Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and education. MRA maintains a Mission Data Portal where Search and Rescue teams across the United States and Canada enter data about their missions using an Esri Survey123 form in a web browser or on a smartphone. Some teams enter the data after each mission, while others enter it all at once at the end of each year.

MRA requested one GISCorps volunteer to provide ongoing user support for a period of one year, responding to questions from search and rescue team members regarding login difficulties, data entry instructions, and other technical and workflow issues. The volunteer will also contribute to system documentation, bug reporting, and training.

Eight talented GISCorps volunteers responded to the recruitment, and Shannon Cox of British Columbia, Canada, was selected to fill the role. Shannon is now in contact with MRA representatives and will soon begin supporting MRA’s member teams.

Recruitment complete, project in process.

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Volunteer Selected to Develop an Administrative Dashboard for Mountain Rescue Association

The Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and education. MRA maintains a Mission Data Portal where member Search and Rescue teams across the United States and Canada enter data about their missions using an Esri Survey123 form in a web browser or on a smartphone. Regional Chairs ensure that all teams within their region enter their mission data in a complete and timely manner.

MRA requested a GISCorps volunteer to build an Esri Operations Dashboard that will make it easier for Regional Chairs to monitor the data entry progress of the teams within their regions. GISCorps sent out a recruitment for volunteers with ArcGIS Online and Operations Dashboard skills, and 17 enthusiastic and talented volunteers responded.

The recruitment resulted in the selection of Erin Arkison, a GISCorps volunteer from Texas who has extensive experience in both search and rescue and ArcGIS Online. Erin is now in contact with MRA representatives and will soon begin designing and implementing an administrative dashboard for MRA’s regional chairs.

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Texas Justice Initiative Partners with GISCorps to Develop an Open-Source Map Interface

The nonprofit, volunteer-run Texas Justice Initiative (TJI) provides the public with data about aspects of the Texas criminal justice system. Through TJI’s interactive data portal, journalists, researchers, policymakers, advocates and the general public can query, visualize, and download public information that is otherwise difficult to access and understand. This user-friendly interface was developed by volunteer data scientists and developers using open-source technologies to facilitate replication by similar organizations in other states.

To further their objective of providing intuitive search functionality and meaningful visualizations, TJI contacted GISCorps to request a local volunteer skilled in free and open-source web GIS technology to develop tools for geocoding incoming data and adding interactive mapping and search functionality to the data portal. GISCorps issued a recruitment and identified Jonathan Pascoe, a talented Texas-based volunteer with extensive education and experience in both open-source web development and the fundamentals of geospatial science. Jonathan is now in communication with TJI representatives and will soon begin designing and developing a custom web GIS solution.

Recruitment complete, project in progress.

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Volunteer Integrating External Search and Rescue Mission Data for Mountain Rescue Association

The Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and education. MRA maintains a Mission Data Portal where Search and Rescue teams across the United States and Canada enter data about their missions using an Esri Survey123 form in a web browser or on a smartphone.

While many teams enter data directly into the Mission Data Portal, some regions have an intermediate step. For example, MRA teams in California enter their data into an application maintained by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) that uses a data model identical to the MRA’s. Several other MRA teams use their own mission data collection systems and periodically export their data to the MRA schema. Each year, all these external datasets must be imported into the MRA Mission Data Platform.

MRA requested one GISCorps volunteer to collect, import, and synchronize these datasets into the 2019 MRA data, and to carefully document that process. MRA also asked that the volunteer propose solutions for automating this annual task. Caroline Rose, a GISCorps volunteer who had helped to develop MRA’s Mission Data Portal, was the natural choice for this mission. She is in contact with MRA and work is underway.

Recruitment complete, project in process.

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Volunteer Merging Historical Search and Rescue Data for Mountain Rescue Association

The Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and education. MRA maintains a Mission Data Portal where Search and Rescue teams across the United States and Canada enter data about their missions using an Esri Survey123 form in a web browser or on a smartphone.

Survey123 was incorporated into the Mission Data Portal in 2017, streamlining the process significantly. Prior to that upgrade, MRA member teams had entered their search and rescue mission data into legacy systems starting in 2014. As a result, historical mission datasets are separate from the most current data, complicating MRA’s ability to perform multi-year analyses.

MRA requested one GISCorps volunteer to integrate the historical data into the current data structure, resulting in a single authoritative dataset and a well-documented process. Alice Pence, a GISCorps volunteer from Oregon with extensive experience managing spatial and relational databases, was selected for this mission. She is in contact with MRA and work is underway.

Recruitment complete, project in process.

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Volunteer Analyzing Mountain Rescue Association’s Search and Rescue Data

The Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and education. MRA maintains a Mission Data Portal where Search and Rescue teams across the United States and Canada have entered data about their missions since 2014.

The resulting database serves an important repository of historical information and statistics about MRA member teams’ search and rescue activities. Perhaps more importantly, it also has the potential to improve mountain safety experts’ understanding of lost person behavior, mountain hazards, and the effectiveness of search and rescue tactics and strategies in mountain and wilderness environments. That crucial understanding can then inform development of MRA’s training and education programs aimed at improving mountain safety for both search and rescue teams and the general public.

To that end, MRA requested one GISCorps volunteer to perform spatial and statistical analysis of the data collected by the MRA Mission Data Portal. Jim Kyle, a GISCorps volunteer from British Columbia with a background in both GIS and mountain search and rescue, was selected for the role. Jim is in contact with MRA and work will begin soon.

Recruitment complete, project in process.

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