Active MAPS membership is only granted to accredited GIS professionals in the ACT region, who complete a membership application package, attend an initial Induction session, pass the Police check and a Working With Vulnerable People check and complete a six-month Probationary MAPS membership period. MAPS runs one recruitment drive per year on an ‘if needed’ basis to maintain around 50 active volunteers.
Volunteers are only expected to undertake training each year and to be on a rotating call roster. ESA hold a few dedicated training events per year for all members. It is highly recommended all members attempt to make at minimum two training events per year, but ESA and the supervisors understand and respect that this is not always possible due to personal or work commitments. Training is mostly provided in flexible times, during evenings and on weekends outside of normal work hours. There is no expectation volunteers will need to take time off work to conduct our training programs.
The rotating call roster is purely a mechanism to spread the ‘who to call first’ amongst all members. Members will only receive a call or email if or when an incident escalates to a point where extra personnel are required. Members may be placed on ‘active stand-by’ during major incidents or forecasts of total fire bans. Members will only be deployed if personal or work commitments allow.
Please note that deployment could mean that you are away from work and home for a number of days. If travel to emergencies is not possible for you, this is fine as we still need members to be available for local ACT emergencies.
If you have any questions, please contact one of the staff of the ESA Spatial Services section by calling 6207 8481 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently asked questions
I don’t live in Canberra or the surrounding region. Can I still join MAPS?
No. Membership is restricted to this geographic area as we are sponsored by the ACT Emergency Services Agency. All of our training is conducted here and our deployments depart from here and we cannot logistically manage volunteers outside of this area. If you live in WA, you can apply to join MAPS WA which is part of DFES. There are currently no other MAPS groups in Australia.
I represent a software/hardware vendor and we would be interested in talking to MAPS about providing our products to assist in an emergency.
Thank you, but the MAPS model means that we do not maintain any software or hardware for use in emergencies. We deploy to agencies who are already set up in this regard and our volunteers will use the resources already in place in that agency. We recommend vendors make a relationship with each of the agencies in the states and territories responsible for emergency management with a view to having a written plan on how you can assist in an emergency. Emergency services agencies plan well in advance for major emergencies. Offers for providing products and services during major emergencies are mostly not accepted as the response agency has already established thorough training and procedures in the technologies they will apply to the response and they are often too busy to look into new technologies.
I don’t have great GIS skills but I want to learn more. Can MAPS teach me?
The MAPS volunteering models assumes a high level of GIS skills. We do not train our members in GIS, but provide specific training on how to use existing GIS skills in the event of an emergency.
I am interested in doing long-term projects in humanitarian aid or long-term disaster recovery. Is this something that I can do with MAPS?
No. MAPS volunteers are only utilised on an “as required” basis during major emergencies when emergency management agencies begin to run short of skilled GIS personnel. Most of our members have other full-time jobs. We do not undertake GIS projects, but would recommend contacting GISCorps or MapAction as these organisations provide GIS support to these kinds of endeavours.