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September 26, 2005

For the fourth time in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, URISA’s GISCorps was asked to provide GIS volunteers to the affected areas. This time the request was for two (2) volunteers who will be deployed to Jackson and Hancock Counties’ EOC offices, both in Mississippi.

The following list includes all technical and non-technical requirements for this position.


  • Will function as a Map Production specialist and as such must be very proficient in creating maps in ArcGIS 9X environment and in working with peripherals (plotters and printers)
  • While familiarity with geo-coding and Map Books is a plus, SDE knowledge is not required
  • GPS knowledge is useful but not required
  • Experience in disaster management is a plus
  • Is not required to bring own equipment (laptop or GPS)
  • Must be able to work well in a team environment, be flexible and prepared to work under unpredictable conditions. You may end up working by yourself or one more GIS professional at these locations.


  • Must be able to arrive in Jackson, MS by Monday 9/26 or Tuesday 9/27 at the latest
  • Must be able to work at least 5-7 days and preferably 8-10 days
  • Will work 12-hour shifts
  • EOCs will provide lodging either in hotels, at the EOC, or tents and on cots (depends on the location)
  • EOCs will provide meals and transportation
  • Must bring sleeping bags, and suitable clothes and be prepared for an extremely hot weather
  • Must arrange and pay for your own flight, will be reimbursed for the cost of the ticket later (cost of other related expenses will also be defrayed by EOC with original receipts). Please note that you must fly to Jackson airport. You will be picked up by EOC staff upon arrival. If you are driving, you must have a full tank upon arrival and take extra gas containers with you.
  • The following GISCorps volunteers met the requirements and are arriving in Jackson today and tomorrow:
    • Joel Nelson, Information Technology Specialist – GIS, University of Minnesota, MN, URISA Member
    • Ed Cardenas, GIS Applications Manager, City of Cleveland, OH, URISA Member

It was a phenomenal opportunity to contribute in ways that many people only dream of. I was able to use skills that I have learned and pass them to others, while learning new things from the professionals I encountered along the way. The cultural exchange was all around us, and being immersed in it during a difficult time in these people’s lives is something I will not soon forget. I would most definitely participate in this program again. THANK YOU GISCORPS!!!

Joel Nelson, University of Minnesota


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