How to Volunteer Your GIS and Cartography Skills

Caitlin Dempsey


Those with GIS and cartography skills that want to volunteer to help out can do so remotely with these calls for actions as mapping non-profits respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

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GIS Corps

GIS corps, the non-profit volunteer GIS effort from URISA, matches GIS volunteers with organizations worldwide to provide short-term geospatial services. You can signup with GIS Corps to offer your services based on your skills and available hours. Visit: GIS Corps

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) organizes volunteers from around the world to map geographic data in data-poor areas. You can see what types of volunteers they need at any given point by visiting the HOT volunteer opportunities page.

You can also volunteer to help with mapping tasks. All critical mapping tasks can be viewed on OpenStreetMap’s Tasking Manager site. Mapping needs can be filtered by skill level and urgency. For more detail about how to get involved read this previous article: Volunteer to be a Digital Humanitarian and Help With Mapping Projects.

MapRoulette is a site set up to help mappers find and complete mapping tasks to assist with OSM data collection:

MapRoulette has dozens of mapping Challenges that are created by experienced mappers. Each Challenge is about improving OSM in one very specific way. Do you want to add pedestrian crossings? Fix bridges? Add opening times for shops? There’s a challenge for it. Each challenge has many tasks, perhaps even thousands. Do as few or as many as you want. If a challenge is too easy or too hard for you, just jump into something else, knowing that every time you click ‘I fixed it!’, you have made a meaningful contribution to the world’s maps.


This open-source mobile app helps to fill in critical geographic data for the Missing Maps project. Users can swipe through satellite imagery on their mobile devices which provides data to the Missing Maps project so vulnerable areas can be mapped in more detail. These mapped areas are then used to coordinate humanitarian efforts. Visit: MapSwipe.

Related: Swipe Through Satellite Data to Help Map Vulnerable Populations

Donate Money to Help with GIS Efforts

Don’t have time to map? You can also help organizations that are focused on providing geospatial support to fight the coronavirus pandemic by donating.

GIS Corps is accepting donations to “to support volunteer GIS expertise for missions worldwide. Visit: GIS Corps

OpenStreetMap accepts donations to help with operational expenses. Visit: OpenStreetMap


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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