Help us create precise agricultural map of the national park, rivers, rain-forest and plain fields of District Santa Isabel, Panama

Project: GIS mapping with sub-meter accuracy and collected data processing into graphic agricultural map

District Santa Isabel is located on the Caribbean coast of Province of Colon. Since last year, we have been working hand in hand with them in order to help them improve their living conditions while preserving their cultural identity as well as respecting the environment. They reach to us with proposal of helping them to provide more information about their land and surroundings to exploit more possibilities and reach agricultural potential of the area.

The GIS mapping project will be realized in four phases:

  1. Field raw data collection with rugged GPS equipment supporting advanced GNSS technology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. For this first phase, we will go into the wild, each data collection trip is going to be a duration of three days. We will be accompanied by a local guide and we’ll camp in nature, away from the community. We will also create and collect GPS ground control points to orthorectify aerial drone photography

  2. Download and process all collected data with GPS equipment and drone photography using different computer software.

  3. Preparation of graphic agricultural map with layers: Hydrological Map, Land Use, Contour and Soil Map

  4. Enviromental classes to explain various application of the new GIS map for agricultural purposes.

Our main objectives of the project are to prepare the land use map, contour map showing the digital elevation model, ground water resource mapping that is the map showing the potential groundwater bearing zones within that particular area, and application of GIS in the integrated farm. The digitized map will cover the water bodies, cultivable lands, forest areas, soil characteristics, etc.

On the daily program: complementary basic Spanish lessons from our project coordinators, helping with GPS data collecting, helping data post-processing into GIS map, collective cooking, intervention in workshops and childcare. You will get the change to immerse yourself in the daily life of an indigenous tribe and members of local community

No specific skills and/or experience is needed for this project, but a good physical condition is required as well as a desire for discovering and sharing. Students in fields like civil engineering, engineering, construction or environment are welcome!

An indigenous village can highly benefit from your presence. Beyond the help that you may provide on-site, the presence of a foreigner in the village over-joys the children, peaks the youth’s curiosity and enlivens everyone’s daily life.

If you have a knowledge, a passion to pass on, or a talent to share, you will be able to share it with the community’s children and adults. Initiatives are welcomed, as long as they respect the community, its values and its lifestyle.


  • At your arrival in Panama City, you will be welcomed by our local team. They will lead you to the community, which is about a 4-hour drive from the airport.

  • The first night will be spent in Ceiba Leaf campus. There will be a thorough briefing on the Emberá’s way of life, about your work on the project, the nature surrounding us, and about the safety measures to respect during your stay.

  • The next day we will leave for the village, where you will get to know the members of the tribe, and the host family with whom you will stay throughout the program.

  • The next 5 days, the program comprises of 40 hours of necessary basic wilderness/jungle survival training

  • The rest of the program comprises of 25 hours of work per week for the mapping project, with weekends free to explore the local area.

  • The program offers optional 10 hours of complementary basic Spanish lessons from our volunteer coordinators per week

  • After the first two weeks of the program, we will go back to Ceiba Leaf for one night so that we can regroup and talk about the needs of the group.

  • The last night, from the 5th to the 6th of August, we will stay at Ceiba Leaf so that everyone can share their experience with others and get ready to leave.

  • The 6th of August, our team will drive you back to Panama City/Airport.

NOTE: Volunteers will live simply and immersed in the environment around you, exactly the same way the locals live. There will be no running water during your stay, nor electricity, and obviously, no Wi-Fi. Headlamps, solar lights, torches are a necessity. Volunteers will sleep in a private room, in a hammock or on a mattress that we will provide. Most of the families live on hunting, fishing, and basic food such as, rice, beans, root vegetables, and fruits of the season. The village is located in the middle of the tropical jungle, so expect to meet all kinds of animals and insects. The primary language is Spanish, so basic knowledge will be useful.

Volunteers will have plenty of time to explore the surroundings, the national park, the rainforest, the rivers, and the beaches. Additional activities are available like; fishing, snorkeling, archery, horse riding, surfing, kayaking, kitesurfing. Equipment rental fee may apply.

Where does the money go

The involvement in the water system project costs 1,500 USD per participant, all included.

The sum will be spent as follow:

-          600 USD to help fund the purchase of equipment

-          300 USD to the host families to cover accommodation, food, and snacks.

-          600 USD to cover operational costs of the project


Practical details

Dates: All year around, with an option to extend your 30 days stay for fixed weekly rate 300 USD

Price: 1,500 USD

Participants: 8 to 16 persons

What is included:

  • Transport from Panama City to El Progreso community

  • 30 days of accommodation, 3 meals and one snack per day

  • Basic wilderness/jungle survival training, course completion certification

  • Tutorials and instructions how to use land surveying, GIS and other equipment by our skilled instructors and project coordinators, course completion certification

  • All tools and materials

  • English-Spanish lessons, course completion certification

  • All taxes and fees

  • Transport to Panama City from El Progreso community

Please fill the form for more information:

Name *

If you have any question, please don't hesitate to ask.