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One Shared Story is a volunteer-based non-profit organization founded in 2018. One Shared Story volunteers assist community groups in researching, preserving, and curating hidden histories. 18th and 19th century documents omit full names of women, enslaved persons, and people of color. Their work uses location as an index to help trace family roots and reveal history’s hidden community heroes. Community volunteers help create new data from historic maps and transcription of historic documents. 

One Shared Story was encouraged to try the Esri’s ArcGIS Hub Premium as a platform for volunteer collaboration. However, the platform was very new and the documentation was still being developed. One Shared Story also only had one GIS administrator to try to implement the new offering. Therefore, they made an appeal to GISCorps for help.

Bhanu Vedula, the selected GISCorps volunteer for the mission, brought years of experience administering GIS resources for a local government and an enthusiasm for community GIS. Together they were able to setup an Initiative and to work out how to manage community accounts. Bhanu helped One Shared Story with laying out the Initiative site, and establishing best practices for permissions and access to data and apps (considering the difference between engagement with Trusted Community Partners and the public at large). She advised One Shared Story on appearance and branding and encouraged them to use the platform to make documentation and guides from training events available. All the while, they stayed in communication with the Esri’s ArcGIS Hub team and provided them with some good feedback on their experience building a Hub for history-related work. 

Their pilot Hub Initiative here:

Notice the counters tallying the work of community volunteers – features digitized, cemeteries reported, and historic sites suggested. Their partner, the Fluvanna County Historical Society, reports their volunteer pool increased dramatically because of this project. Thanks so much GISCorps and especially volunteer Bhanu Vedula.

Screen capture of One Shared Story Hub


Our nonprofit organization was excited about a new GIS project we were starting, but with limited technology personnel resources we were worried about successfully implementing the components in time to capture the motivation of novice data volunteers. With the support of GISCorps, we were able to work with a highly experienced GIS professional to increase the efficiency of the project, improve the interface design, and complete testing so that our new local GIS data volunteers would enjoy a successful first experience in using GIS.

Robin Patton, One Shared Story


This was an amazing opportunity.One Shared Story’s positivity and enjoyment for the cause made me feel great about what I was doing. The core committee’s support involved ensuring that each member of the project team were adequately supported and that we had solid communication and cooperation. I am looking forward to participating in more missions from GISCorps.
Bhanu Vedula, GISCorps Volunteer
One Shared Story logo
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