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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates, Education & Resources


Instead of a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane which are isolated to a specific location, we are ALL facing an abundance of threats and anxiety related to the Coronavirus crisis. 

  • URISA Members are busy assisting their agencies with mitigation and response, providing critical location information.
  • URISA Members are reworking their education plans to provide their students with learning opportunities via e-learning and alternate delivery methods. 
  • URISA Members are supporting their customers remotely, to make sure their solutions are being deployed effectively, while at the same time trying to connect and form relationships with new customers to keep their businesses solvent and staff employed.

... all while protecting the health of their families, friends, and loved ones.

Whether we are faced with fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, or major oil spills, a digital response has become as critical to a successful outcome as the responders on the ground. GIS has become a common platform for data exchange, analysis, collection, and communication. We are already seeing innovative applications emerging. GIS is already proving to be of great value to the emergency management and health disciplines, but we are seeing an emergence of its applications during this response to adjust elections processes, keep businesses on track, protect at-risk populations,
ensure transportation networks are moving, optimize food distribution, and more.

The COVID-19 response offers an opportunity for the GIS community to come together, apply new ideas, and document lessons learned. URISA’s GISCorps is a prime example of this coming together for a common good, matching volunteers with GIS skills to organizations who need support. They have responded to hundreds of calls for support for nearly 20 years and their collective experiences have been immeasurable in contributing to the speed of recovery, the quality of decisions and positive impact on people’s lives in trying times.  

  • Let URISA be your Community and Support System – Connect electronically via our social networks and URISA Connect. During the 9/11 crisis years ago, we were able to meet in our neighborhoods, places of worship, offices, and public places to share and process our thoughts and anxieties. And that helped deal with the crisis immensely. But with social distancing, we can't do that.  So share your challenges with your fellow members and let’s solve problems and share solutions through all of the remote tools we now have available.   
  • Virtual Education and Training – We already had to cancel a conference in March and many other events have been cancelled or postponed. In-person training isn't available in the immediate future. At the same time, we know that our members have the need to grow their expertise and knowledge. Many of you who are working from home may now have time to pursue training and certification. URISA's committees and partners are in positions to provide education and training virtually to support your professional development. 

With over one billion views, most of us have seen the GIS dashboard that Johns Hopkins University has stood up to track the global spread and monitor impacted regions. The COVID-19 GIS Hub is another resource. It contains maps, datasets, tools, and other material to help your organization respond. It’s a leading example of how you can rapidly scale and deliver information and resources to a community. Sites like these are helping guide states, counties, and cities to localize the data and implement applications within their own jurisdictions. 

Esri and URISA are hosting a webinar focused on GIS Tools, Templates and Free Resources for COVID-19 on
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 2:30 PM ET/1:30 PM CT/12:30 PM MT/11:30 AM PT 
 GIS and location analytics can help guide your organization’s response to COVID-19.  Attend and learn how to access and use the free GIS tools, templates, data and resources.  Join us for a live presentation by Esri’s Dr. Este Geraghty, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Richard Leadbeater, State and Local Government Solutions.
Registration Link

We’ve been here before with 9/11, earthquakes, Katrina, wildfires and many more. The GIS community has been here with best practices on emergency response, offers of software and assistance, and data – as they are today. One of our longest running corporate partners, Esri, continues to extend these resources to nonprofits, and state and local governments who need a little more assistance, through their Disaster Response Program (DRP). They offer complimentary GIS technology and expertise when your capacity is exceeded. I would encourage URISA members to take advantage of this program. Requests are monitored 24/7 and can assist you with GIS software needs, technical support, services, and data.  

Like the emergency responses in the past, there is much to learn from the COVID-19 efforts. We plan to share these best practices with you at future URISA webinars and events so we can scale our understanding and continue to prove the important role GIS plays in our world.

We are committed to providing the resources and tools you need to help meet today’s very difficult challenges. We'll continuously update the lists below. Please email your suggestions and additional links and opportunities.



With most upcoming in-person conferences and events being cancelled or postponed, take advantage of other virtually-delivered education, including:

Keep your kids occupied with geography:

Professional Development

Recent URISA Recorded Webinars that you may have missed:

Recent URISA  Podcasts you may have missed (in partnership with Directions Magazine):

GIS Certification - work on your portfolio and learn about the GISP exam.


URISA's GISCorps - GISCorps has not yet received an official project request related to this crisis. However, it is recommended that you can use your GIS skills to help out a local shelter, environmental group or other nonprofit that you care about. Take the GIS Service Pledge and get a free ArcGIS personal use license to work on a meaningful project. 

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap: In regards to COVID-19, HOT has not yet received an official request. In light of that, they are suggesting that local OpenStreetMap Chapters &  Communities launch projects to map resources that are lacking in your area.  HOT suggests remote mapping events while COVID-19 remains a significant threat to public health. Here is some guidance on how to conduct a successful remote mapathon. More

Virtual Events from our Partners


Mon, Mar 30, 2020 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Webinar: Women in GIS: Social Justice featuring Ms. Sophia Garcia, GIS Analyst  

This talk explores how a young GIS professional, Ms. Sophia Garcia, uses GIS to focus on achieving social justice during international women’s month. In this webinar, participants will:
  • Learn about a real-world career that uses GIS
  • Hear about real-world examples of how women use GIS
  • Understand the career and education path of a young GIS professional
  • Develop clarify on the power of women in GIS especially during International Women’s Month

View/Listen to Webinar

  March 30 - April 3, 2020 In light of the recent travel and gathering restrictions brought on by COVID-19, DATAMARK will be hosting a virtual Public Safety GIS Conference from March 30 - April 3, 2020. This conference is free to attend, and is intended to offer education and support to GIS and Public Safety Professionals whose travel to other conferences, meetings, or events has been cancelled. 

To register and stay informed, please follow the link below. We hope to see you there!

GIS Tools, Templates and Free Resources for COVID-19 - Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 2:30 PM ET/1:30 PM CT/12:30 PM MT/11:30 AM PT

GIS and COVID-19:  GIS and location analytics can help guide your organization’s response to COVID-19.  Attend and learn how to access and use the free GIS tools, templates, data and resources.  Join us for a live presentation by Esri’s Dr. Este Geraghty, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Richard Leadbeater, State and Local Government Solutions.

GIS for COVID-19 online roundtable hosted by King County GIS User Group (open to all)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (PDT)

high-quality aerial imagery


Tuesday, April 14 at 1 PM Eastern/12 PM Central/11 AM Mountain/10 AM Pacific

The Future of Smart City Planning: Employing High-Res Aerial Imagery

What are you using to plan for the smart cities of the future? Having access to real location intelligence helps you identify areas for development, pinpoint potential problem situations, and track property assets over time and remotely. Discover how using Nearmap's rich aerial location content--3D, vertical, and oblique--can help empower your government planning with smarter data.

Speaker: Jeremy Hank, Government Industry Account Manager








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