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Volunteers Assisting WHO-GOARN on GIS Training

The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) is a global technical partnership established by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a key mechanism to engage the resources of technical agencies beyond the United Nations for rapid identification, confirmation and response to public health emergencies of international importance. GOARN comprises over 250 technical institutions and networks (and their members) across the globe. These partners include medical and surveillance initiatives, regional technical networks, networks of laboratories, United Nationals organizations (e.g. UNICEF, UNHCR), the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ICRC, IFRC), international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (e.g. Médecins Sans Frontières, International Rescue Committee, Epicenter), and national public health institutes. All have the ability to pool their resources rapidly to assist affected countries seeking support.

GOARN has requested GISCorps volunteers to conduct online training sessions for 40 individuals from the GOARN network so that the GOARN partners can better take advantage of GIS resources provided to their organizations. The training session will cover basic knowledge and usage of ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Operations Dashboard, and ArcGIS Insights. Lisa Silva and Noah Krach were selected for the role.

Recruitment completed, project in progress

GISCorps Volunteers Mentor New Mappers for Crowd2Map Tanzania

Three GISCorps volunteers, Emmanuel Jolaiya from Nigeria, Sharon Omojah from Kenya, and Katarina Spasenovic from Italy have stepped up to meet the challenge of helping Crowd2Map Tanzania ( mentor new mappers and working to put Tanzania on the map. Crowd2Map attracts a great number of new mappers from all over the world to add data to OpenStreetMap. To help with data quality and training of new mappers, Crowd2Map Tanzania asked GISCorps to provide volunteers who were experienced mapping in OpenStreetMap using advanced editing tools and other open source GIS software.

Crowd2Map Tanzania is a crowdsourced mapping project set up by Tanzania Development Trust (, a volunteer-run UK charity established 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, an open source map available to all, with the help of over 13,500 volunteers worldwide and 1500 on the ground in Tanzania.  With minimal budget and no staff, they have so far added over 4.2 million buildings. In 2017, they were awarded a microgrant by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap to train community mappers in 8 areas of Tanzania, and in 2018 they ran a mapathon as part of the UN general assembly in New York, sponsored by UNFPA.  They have also set up 8 different  Youthmappers Chapters in Tanzania (, and organised 2 Open Data Day events there, as well as the first State of the Map Tanzania.

Recruitment complete, project in progress






NASA COVID-19 Digitization Project

COVID-19 Human Activity Monitoring (HAM) with Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Observations is a NASA-funded project to monitor human activity level change around the world due to COVID-19 lockdown and re-opening. They are processing a large volume of satellite radar data to produce maps of human activity level for about 100 major cities in the world to address the following questions:

  1. How have reductions in human activity varied across different cities?
  2. Do reductions in activities correspond to the different levels of success of different cities in controlling outbreaks of the virus? 

Parking lots are usually exposed to satellites and can represent human activity level. In order to validate and quantitatively analyse their results, they are currently trying to classify a number of ground targets in Los Angeles County into several business types. However, the relevant parking lot locations, shapes, and extents vary from one business to another.

They requested GISCorps volunteers to draw a polygon of the parking lot of each given business. 20 volunteers have been deployed to the project.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

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

  • Matt Shmigelsky
  • Andrea Saul
  • John Watermolen

Northern Rockies

  • Bobbi Johnson
  • Micah Lott

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 this Story Map:

Volunteer Assisting Pennsylvania Resources Council

Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) is an environmental non-profit organization established in 1939. Their mission is to lead and promote individual and collective action to prevent waste and conserve Pennsylvania’s environmental resources for each generation.

They have requested the assistance of a GISCorps volunteer to help with data management and building story maps and web applications to display several of their resources (landfills, recycling centers, incinerators, etc.). Brett Heist, a GISCorps volunteer in Michigan, was selected for the role.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

GISCorps Admin Team Renewed for 2020 Hurricane Season

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.

Volunteer Chosen to Assist Warehouses4Good

Warehouses4Good is a non-profit organization that was created to improve the logistics of food distribution in rural counties.  Inadequate, unaffordable, or non-existent warehouse space in rural counties limits both inbound deliveries of donated food and outbound transport of locally-produced, revenue-generating products. Regional food banks serving these communities with food donations are often 100 miles or more away, increasing cost and decreasing frequency of rural food relief. More daunting, warehouse space in these communities is either non-existent or not fit for this purpose. To alleviate this problem, Warehouses4Good is using advanced tools for site selection, planning, construction and operation. Warehouses4Good aims to build or buy/renovate facilities which will host hunger relief and food hub non-profits in these underserved rural communities.

To accomplish this, Warehouses4Good requested a GISCorps volunteer to help with GIS analysis that would help determine the locations where warehouse space will have the most positive impact on the philanthropic supply chain. Lauren Weaver, a GISCorps volunteer from Kentucky, was selected to help Warehouses4Good with initial analysis and map creation that will be used in grant applications to government and philanthropic foundations.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

Volunteer Analyzing Health Data

In preparation for potential population growth in the future, a grass-roots volunteer team in a region in India is studying the distribution and patterns of common ailments and diseases in a nearby city. The team requested one GISCorps volunteer to perform statistical and spatial analysis on the data. The volunteer will also create various maps to help visualize the data and analysis. Nicole White, a GISCorps volunteer from Canada, was selected for the role.

Recruitment complete, project in progress

COVID-19 Lost Loved Ones and Recovery Stories Project

Several years ago, Esri started a “Celebrating Lost Loved Ones” application to pay tribute to those lost to the opioid epidemic. Now, as countless lives are being lost to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the idea of building a similar platform to memorialize  COVID-19 losses was suggested. It is easy to see the news and be overwhelmed by the numbers, while forgetting these numbers represent real lives that were loved by their friends and family.

At a time of such great loss, there is also hope, as over a million diagnosed cases have recovered from the virus. So in a similar vein, a platform to share stories of recovery has also been created.

If you would like to submit a memorial story or share your story of recovery, please visit this “Coronavirus Stories of Loss and Recovery” Hub page, and fill out the appropriate form. There you can also browse previous submissions. Our volunteers will validate each entry before they post to the final viewer.

Four GISCorps volunteers were selected for this project and will be responsible for validating all submissions. They are: Krista McPherson (California), Jenny Cheng (Washington), Songmei Li (Illinois), and Amy Kaple (Colorado). Esri was instrumental in building the Survey123 submission forms, the Attachment viewers, and the Hub page.

Recruitment Complete, project in process.


Hundreds of Volunteers Create Nationwide COVID-19 Testing Site Layer

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 openly available to local governments, healthcare providers, 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 FEMA’s 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 to edit the advanced iframe block.

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

Press about this mission

App of the Week: COVID-19 Testing Sites Locator (FEMA Response Geospatial Office Weekly Bulletin. April 24, 2020.)

GISCorps Builds an Authoritative Map of COVID-19 Testing Sites (Esri Blog. April 29, 2020.)

What’s New in Civic Tech: Gov Data Efforts Evolve in Crisis (Government Technology. April 30, 2020.)

Recruitment complete; project in process.

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