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GISCorps Volunteer Assisting Get Us PPE

The mission of Get Us PPE is to get donated PPE to those who need it most. They are the largest national non-profit getting PPE to healthcare and essential workers free of charge. To request PPE donations, frontline workers register their needs on Get Us PPE’s website. This information has allowed Get Us PPE to amass a comprehensive non-governmental database of PPE shortages in the United States.

GISCorps volunteer Jeff Scarmazzi is selected to assist Get Us PPE in automating data integration from the existing database into ArcGIS Online to enable spatial analytics. Jeff will also be developing web applications to help identify areas with high PPE requests.

Recruitment complete, project in progress


Volunteer Chosen to Provide Support for Mission Blue ArcGIS Online Management

Mission Blue is a nonprofit organization uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for their vision of a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots. The organization has designated 135 Hope Spots around the world – rich marine ecosystems that could form the seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean if adequately protected. Mission Blue currently utilizes Survey123 to collect Hope Spot nominations, ArcGIS Online to organize Hope Spot data as hosted feature layers, and StoryMaps to share Hope Spot information.

Mission Blue requested one volunteer for six months to provide advanced GIS consulting, and Laura Delle Palme was selected. Laura will develop both an internal and external dashboard or Hub site, offer recommendations to streamline Hope Spot data collection, and provide technical documentation and training to Mission Blue staff.

Recruitment complete, project in progress.

GISCorps Admin Team Renewed for 2021 Hurricane Season

2021 Update:

GISCorps is entering its fifth year providing volunteer support for NAPSG Foundation’s Crowdsourced Disaster Photo mapping program. Also known as #PhotoMappers, this team of volunteers finds and maps crowdsourced photos of on-the-ground conditions during natural disasters in the United States and its territories. To date, hundreds of GISCorps volunteers have geolcoated thousands of photos, providing a valuable source of situational awareness that federal, state, and local emergency managers have come to rely on as they assess initial impacts and allocate resources. Each of those photos is validated by the small but mighty PhotoMappers Admin Team. The Admin team not only reviews each upload for relevance and accuracy, but they also assign a primary FEMA Community Lifeline and an initial damage assessment score to each photo. They also provide support to the rest of the PhotoMappers volunteers.

Led by Erin Arkison, the 2021 PhotoMappers Admin Team includes Kelli Brock, Christina Brunsvold, Johnathan Clementi, Brad Fisher, John Haddad, Kenny Hornfeldt, Keith Johnson, Hannah Larsen, Katie Picchione, Jason San Souci, Alicia Tyson, and Dacey Zelman-Fahm.

Mid-2020 Update:

To keep up with this busy season, three additional volunteers have joined the NAPSG Crowdsourcing Admin Team. Welcome, Johnathan Clementi, Kenny Hornfeldt, and Sean Lim!

2020 Update: 

With the NAPSG Crowdsourcing application expanding to earthquakes and tornado events, as well as being on standby for the 2020 hurricane season, GISCorps polled the 2019 admin volunteers for their availability in 2020. Christina Brunsvold, John Haddad, and Dacey Zelman-Fahm are continuing with the team, along with new member, Alicia Tyson from Alabama. Two members, Eadie Kaltenbacher and Melvin Nforba are on to new endeavors. We wish them well and thank them for their services in 2019. Erin Arkison has joined the GISCorps Core Committee and will be working with German Whitley leading the Disaster Response Subcommittee. 

The team continues to evolve the apps and dashboards as well as improving and refining workflows for different types of disaster events.

2019 Team:

Building on a series of successful collaborations in the last year following Huricanes Florence, Michael, and Barry, NAPSG Foundation, CEDR Digital Corps, and GISCorps have been hard at work preparing for the remainder of the 2019 hurricane season. Together, we’re ready to continue providing on-the-ground situational awareness to emergency managers and first responders with the 2019 Hurricanes Crowdsourced Photos Story Map.

2019 Hurricanes Crowdsourced Photos app
2019 Hurricanes Crowdsourced Photos app

In addition to updating applications and reworking workflow documentation, GISCorps project manager German Whitley has 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.

Working alongside Paul Doherty of NAPSG and Rob Neppell of CEDR Digital Corps, these experienced and dedicated volunteers will validate photo submissions for accuracy and formatting and assign FEMA Community Lifeline categories. They’ll mine social media for imagery that can be geolocated, and they’ll help keep our applications up and running and our documentation current. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll be on hand in our shared Slack channels to support other GISCorps volunteers as they geolocate photos and video and add them to the map.

Recruitment complete, mission in progress.

Hundreds of Volunteers Create Nationwide COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Site Layers

2021 Update

In January 2021, the COVID-19 Testing Sites data creation team began mapping COVID-19 vaccination sites in addition to testing sites. Like the testing sites data, the vaccination site location data is available as a public feature service view and can be accessed on the COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Sites Data Creation Project Hub Site. A COVID-19 Vaccination Sites in the United States dashboard (similar to the COVID-19 Testing in the United States dashboard) was also developed to publicly display aggregated statistics about the data and the progress of the project.

To help support that effort, project leaders sent out a second recruitment announcement to new volunteers who had joined GISCorps after the initial launch of the COVID-19 Testing Sites data creation mission. Eighty-four volunteers responded to that call, joining the team of remaining volunteers in their dedicated Slack channel. The volunteers continue mapping data in an ArcGIS Online-based Volunteer Portal application, which has evolved continuously through the course of the project.

As of the end of February 2021, GISCorps volunteers had mapped over 43,000 testing and vaccination sites, and the COVID-19 Testing Sites feature service view had been viewed over 14 million times. The dataset is featured in state, county, and local testing site finder maps and dashboards and has been cited in numerous articles and studies. A list of related articles and applications appears at the bottom of this post.

Credit for this achievement goes not only to the mission volunteers (especially standout volunteer Jessica Beres, who has singlehandedly mapped over 7,000 sites), but also to the many government entities, testing and vaccination providers, nonprofit organizations, and private citizens who have contributed to the effort by submitting data via Survey123 form, spreadsheets, and spatial data layers. The GISCorps COVID-19 Testing Site data creation team is grateful for the amazing support and collaboration they have received from all over the country. Please see the Thank You section of the project Hub site for a list of contributors.

Original Announcement

On March 19, Esri’s Disaster Response Program requested GISCorps assistance in helping to fill critical information gaps they were hearing from the user community in the response to the COVID-19 disease pandemic. The first task was for creating a nationwide layer of COVID-19 testing site locations. This dataset is open and available to local governments, healthcare providers, journalists and the public as one component of the comprehensive Coronavirus Response Solution that Esri is offering free of charge for six months to public health agencies and other organizations that request it. GISCorps and Esri are also coordinating with the federal Crowdsourcing Team on current and future needs.

Over 500 U.S. volunteers with ArcGIS Online experience responded to the recruitment email sent out by the GISCorps Core Committee.

Find out how to access or contribute to the GISCorps COVID-19 Testing Site data

Working together in a dedicated Slack channel and a custom Volunteer Portal Dashboard equipped with an embedded editing application built with Web App Builder, these volunteers are hard at work scouring official sources for testing site locations and requirements. Each volunteer has “adopted” one or more counties and committed to updating data for those counties on a daily basis throughout the mission.

Volunteer Portal

GISCorps volunteers also collaborated with Coders Against COVID, who contributed physician-vetted data they had developed through their crowdsourcing site,

Volunteers are also sharing a public Survey123 form with contacts at health departments, local governments, and healthcare facilities so that those organizations can submit updated information as soon as it is made public. Volunteers review these submissions, verify their accuracy against official websites, and add them to the map on an ongoing basis. They have been instructed to include only those testing sites whose locations have been made public through official channels such as the websites of health departments, local governments, and testing providers.

In addition, GISCorps can provide a spreadsheet template to state and local government agencies or healthcare providers to facilitate bulk upload of testing site locations; please contact us at to find out more about that option.

To facilitate public access to COVID-19 testing site location data, GISCorps has configured a mobile-friendly public Testing Site Locator application, a COVID-19 Testing in the United States dashboard and a COVID-19 Data Explorer application. In addition, a public view layer of the Testing Sites dataset is available as an ArcGIS REST service or a JSON file for anyone who would like to use it. All these resources are available on the GISCorps COVID-19 Resources Hub site.

Click here for a full-screen version of the application.

Press and Data Use

Recruitment complete; project in process.

Volunteers Continue Long-Term Wildfire Initial Attack Mission

2020 Wrap-up

Early in 2020, long time partner, NAPSG (the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS), requested GISCorps volunteer support for the 2020 wildfire season. Wildfire initial attack is a dynamic period of time where information comes in from many disparate sources. It can be difficult to rely on a single source of information, local-, state- or region-wide. NAPSG developed a Wildfire Initial Attack interface (utilizing ArcGIS Online Experience Builder) to allow volunteers to map newly reported wildfires.  Trained volunteers utilized social media reports, official sources, news stories, and other supporting data (remote cameras, weather reports, etc.) to accurately and quickly put fires on a map, particularly during times of high fire danger.

Once fires were mapped, the outward-facing application provided vetted information to the public pointing them to the most appropriate source for updates and evacuation notices. Twenty-three volunteers were originally recruited for the pilot phase of the project. As the busy season wore on, several new volunteers were rotated in as others needed to move on.  More information on the original vision of the project can be found immediately below this update.

As the season continued, NAPSG’s development team made adjustments and automations to the interface so the public could easily find the most up-to-date, relevant safety messages across a wide geographic area. While this project was never intended to replace local emergency notifications, it did help highlight gaps in messaging and information availability during the initial attack phase of a wildfire, particularly when multiple jurisdictions are impacted simultaneously.  GISCorps volunteers mapped over 1,900 fires during the course of the year, and the map received over 9.5 million views. Volunteers reported a staggering 1,781 hours of contributions.

FireMappers were also featured in an Esri blog post found here.

New for 2021

Based on the obvious interest in the resource, NAPSG has requested volunteers continue with the project in 2021 with a rebranded team name of #FireMappers. Sixteen volunteers have chosen to continue their efforts this season. Based on experiences in 2020, the team plans to streamline and automate as much of the workflow as possible by enhancing the public IRWIN feed, but volunteers will still be on hand to monitor during red flag weather warnings and continue to focus on areas where IRWIN is not readily available.

2021 Continuing volunteers: Brigit Anderson, Keith Johnson, Chrissy Livergood Dawn Hutchinson, Stephen Lai, John Schweisinger, Darlene Pardiny, Joseph M. Veneziano, Ingrid Jourgensen, John Watermolen, Shawna Bjorgan, Sandi Mitchell, Monicque Lee, Eric Shreve, Cassie Hansen, and Melanie Moss

2021 Management Team: Tari Martin and Adam Fackler, NAPSG. German Whitley, GISCorps. Rob Neppell, CEDR Digital. With continuing support from Paul Doherty.

2020 – Original Project Announcement

Volunteers Kick Off Long-Term Wildfire Initial Attack Mapping Mission

Long time partner, NAPSG (the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS), has requested GISCorps volunteer support for the 2020 wildfire season. NAPSG has created a Wildfire Initial Attack ArcGIS Online Experience which will serve as the basis for this pilot project.

Wildfire initial attack is a dynamic period of time where information is gathered from disparate sources, and it can be difficult to rely on a single source of information, state- or region-wide. The goal of this project is to have skilled GIS volunteers on stand-by during times of high fire danger (i.e. red flag warnings). Volunteers will work in conjunction with CEDR Digital volunteers who are experts in social media mining. CEDR will help quickly and accurately map and verify wildfire starts based on reports found in the news, chatter on social media, and information from agency sources.

Once mapped, the outward-facing application will provide vetted information to the public pointing them to the best and most appropriate source for updates. The map is not meant to replace agency information. The map is used to help drive the public to the best available source of information. We do this by putting a point on the map where the fire started and link to the agency website and/or agency map whenever this is available. This effort will complement the newly available public IRWIN feed (see the Esri blog post for more information Improve Your Wildfire Maps with These New Layers).

Twenty-three volunteers have been recruited across nine Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACC). Each GACC team will coordinate with each other in Slack on scheduling and mapping during red flag conditions.

The Landing Page built by NAPSG using Esri’s Experience Builder includes:

  • A full description of the workflow with links to sources
  • Open access to the Initial Attack Survey. While the team hopes to stay on top of all starts during red flag warnings, the Survey is open to all to post new fires if we miss something. A GISCorps member will review/approve ASAP. 
  • Open access to the Public Map and vetted Public Layer that can be used independently in custom apps. This app is only meant for initial attack information.
  • Password-protected access to the Admin App for the pre-vetted GISCorps volunteer team

Volunteers by GACC

Southern California

  • Chrissy Livergood
  • Dawn Hutchinson
  • John Schweisnger
  • Dustin McGrew
  • Jonathan Robinson

Northern California

  • Stephen Lai
  • Cassie Hansen
  • Keith Johnson
  • Brigit Anderson
  • Ashley Cruz


  • Eric Shreve
  • Sandi Mitchell
  • T. Monicque Lee

Rocky Mountain

  • John Watermolen
  • Micah Lott

Northern Rockies

  • Bobbi Johnson

Great Basin

  • Shawna Bjorgan
  • Heather Taylor

Pacific Northwest

  • Kevin C Wyckoff
  • Robyn Pepin
  • Curtis Day


  • Darlene Pardiny
  • Joseph M. Veneziano


  • Erin Dudley
  • Danny E Oliva

Paul Doherty is the NAPSG Project Manager with Adam Fackler serving as the NAPSG Tech Lead. German Whitley and Erin Arkison are managing the project for GISCorps.


Explore this mission’s objectives and methods in the #FireMappers Story Map:

ArcGIS Hub Initiative for URISA’s Pro-Equity Anti-Racism Committee

URISA‘s Pro-Equity Anti-Racism Committee has sent out a call for volunteers to help build an ArcGIS Hub site that will assist in strategizing and collaborating to facilitate action that supports the URISA Anti-Racism Pro-Equity & Social Justice Statement adopted September 9, 2020. 

Volunteer Rylee Wrenner from the United States was selected for this position. With her extensive knowledge of Hub for ArcGIS Online, skills in producing training material, and passion for the social issues integral to the mission, we are happy to see her join this mission.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

URISA logo

GIS Mentor Chosen to help Global MapAid in Ethiopia

Global MapAid (GMA) is a US & UK based non-profit organization with a passion and vision to create maps that encourage solutions to human development problems. One current project involves the creation of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system in partnership with a pair universities in Ethiopia and the United States, to help determine where to put shallow boreholes for irrigation in Ethiopia. With the knowledge of where to place irrigation wells, it is possible to improve food production by up to three times, versus a rainfall-only scenario. Currently, there is a lack of experienced hydrogeologists across the developing world to perform siting of these wells; hence the need for the AI system. The AI will be a powerful tool for helping people site boreholes and increase the availability of irrigation.

Currently, in Ethiopia, the UN has estimated as much as 40% of the 110 million population are under-nourished, while the country spends $400 million per year on emergency feeding schemes for 8 million of the worst affected people.  GMA is working on the project with George Mason University and Arba Minch University (Ethiopia).

GMA requested the assistance of a GISCorps volunteer to serve as a GIS mentor to a PhD student within a team of multidisciplinary skilled volunteers, who are also supporting the student and development of the AI. Jay Parrish, a GISCorps volunteer from Pennsylvania, was chosen to help with the project.


Recruitment complete, project in progress


Global MapAid Logo

GISCorps Volunteer Mapping The Green World Campaign

Green World Campaign is an organization with a goal to help “ReGreen the World.” To achieve this goal, they provide eco-education to school-age children, farmers, women, and local elders in an area of poverty and land degradation in coastal Kenya.

They requested a volunteer to help build an Esri Story Map and Operations Dashboard. Armed with these apps, they hope inspire others to be part of this work for people and the planet. 

Lauren Connor, a GIS Analyst who has worked for DigitalGlobe for 4 years, has been selected for the role.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

Green World

Volunteers Helping to Detect Illegal Scrap Tire Dumps in South Africa

The Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) ( is a non-profit, public benefit organization which pioneered a new approach to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and applied it to the scrap tire problem. South Africa generates about 12 million scrap tires annually, with very little recycling or recovery happening, thereby creating a massive environmental problem. REDISA established a national program in 2013 for managing the scrap tires, involving a reverse logistics network to collect scrap tires from dealers, aggregate them, and supply them to recyclers and kilns. By early-2017, REDISA was servicing >95% of scrap tire collection requests. For various reasons, the program was stopped in mid-2017.  Now official sites for scrap tires are overflowing, and there is good reason to believe that illegal dumping is happening on a large scale.

In anticipation of resuming their recycling program, REDISA has requested volunteer help from GISCorps to detect locations of illegal scrap tire dumps using remote sensing. GISCorps chose Beni Patel, from Texas, and Indu Hulisandra, from California.  The project will consist of two phases.  In the first phase, Beni and Indu will conduct a needs assessment to determine if the project is technically feasible given the available imagery.  Assuming the results of the first phase are positive, the second phase will consist of analyzing the available imagery to determine the locations of any illegal scrap tire dumps and providing those locations to REDISA for ground verification.

Recruitment complete, project in progress



Volunteer Selected to Teach Advanced QGIS to American Leprosy Missions

American Leprosy Missions (ALM) is a global organization that serves persons affected by leprosy and related diseases, helping them to be healed in body and spirit and restored to lives of dignity and hope. They work to cure and care for people suffering from leprosy and end this ancient disease in our lifetime.

GIS is new to leprosy field and ALM and its partners are starting to build an international GIS community to support work being done around the world. Collaborators are: ALM (USA), Universidade Federal do Pará (Brazil), the Damien Foundation (Belgium) and NLR (Netherlands). They requested the assistance of a seasoned QGIS instructor to conduct several advanced classes in model building and statistical analysis.

The recruitment resulted in selecting Dr. Mohammad Rajabi, faculty member at the Geomatics Department of BCIT in Vancouver, Canada. 

Recruitment complete, project in progress

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