URISA's GISCorps has had a busy and important year. Following the Indonesian Tsunami Disaster, a group of GISCorps volunteers was deployed to assist in recovery efforts. Assistance was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan and most recently, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, GISCorps mobilized volunteers to facilitate map production, data management, and other critical functions (http://www.urisa.org/katrina2.htm) . The volunteers had an immediate impact. In light of these important contributions, URISA's conference in Kansas City, Missouri (October 9-12) will feature a number of GISCorps events:
- Opening Session to include volunteer experiences from both the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts: To recognize the important contributions of GISCorps of the past year, a number of the volunteers and organizers of the relief efforts will be introduced. A special guest, eight year old philanthropist Bilaal Rajan, will inspire us to continue the call for action as we have seen that "Together we can make a difference".
- Project Showcase: a comprehensive poster display from GISCorps relief efforts will be part of the exhibition.
- Silent Auction to support GISCorps: attendees will have the opportunity to bid on souvenirs from destinations served by GISCorps volunteers. All proceeds to go to GISCorps fund.
- Monday Luncheon presentation by key members of the Hurricane Katrina response effort.
- Tuesday Luncheon Seminar: This session will be a venue to discuss GISCorps' Hurricane Katrina relief efforts"¦what went right and what went wrong and what changes can be made so that we're even more prepared and effective next time around. We'll explore the answers to questions such as: what can we do if another disaster hits us in 2 weeks? How can we plan to be more effective in the long run? We will also discuss the importance of model language and developing standards or a work plan that can be pushed up to the highest level to stress the importance of geospatial technology in emergency operation centers.
- Wednesday Session: Report on other Missions Meet the volunteers who have made the GISCorps' overseas projects a reality. They include: Dr. Frank Chang, reporting on his mission in Indonesia; Vietnam Veterans of America/UNLJC team on their mission in the Indian Ocean region; Seeds India/Map Action team working remotely from the US on Indian islands; Shoreh Elhami on her mission to Afghanistan working with UNDP's Afghanistan Information Management Services (AIMS).
GISCorps continues to accept volunteer applications in preparation for the next request for assistance from the affected region.
Source: URISA, Sept. 19, 2005