It’s still winter, but heat season is right around the corner!

To reduce the risk of heat illness that arrives with hot days, the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) encourages municipalities to gather data and produce a map of their community’s hottest neighborhoods. Pending availability of federal funds, NIHHIS intends to provide financial support to 20 cities where groups are willing to organize and run volunteer mapping campaigns, and then engage municipal leaders in addressing their issues of urban heat. The application for funding is now available.

We anticipate awarding financial support to organizations based on the likelihood that they can:
(1) develop strategic community partnerships to address issues of urban heat;
(2) organize and support volunteers in a one-day mapping event; and
(3) implement resilience-building actions based on the campaign's results.

Last year, NIHHIS provided financial support for groups in eight cities to map temperature and humidity across their communities. Mapping campaigns take place on a single day—one of the hottest days of the year—when volunteer drivers cruise pre-selected routes with sensors attached to their cars or bikes. Maps produced from the data show urban heat islands where people may be most vulnerable to heat illness. NIHHIS’ partner, CAPA Strategies, LLC, provides equipment, training, and data processing for the mapping campaigns. NIHHIS provides information on mounting and publicizing a campaign, assistance in choosing the best day for mapping, and resources to help cities address issues of urban heat. After the mapping, groups receive a high-resolution (neighborhood-scale) map of heat across their communities and a report that can help them begin to address the issue. All products from the mapping campaign are open-source, and can be used by individuals, businesses, and elected leaders to identify and address issues of urban heat.

Groups organized by science museums and local justice movements are among previous years’ most successful campaigns. Some groups publicize their efforts broadly and get their stories told by local television stations and other news outlets. Some groups also include a public information fair in their plans, to raise awareness of the potential for heat illnesses among residents and elected officials. For one example of a 2019 campaign, see this post on Boston Museum of Science’s Wicked Hot Boston project ».

If you are considering a campaign to map urban heat islands, please complete the form and let us know if you need financial assistance. We also encourage all potential organizers and participants to sign up for our electronic newsletter, the Weekly Heat Beat. The newsletter offers a range of information on heat health issues and gives heat-mapping groups a platform to share their successes and challenges and learn from one another. Sign up for the newsletter ».

Applications for support are due by 5 PM Eastern on Monday, March 2, 2020. We intend to notify responders of our ability to co-invest in your campaign by mid-March, 2020.

Fill out this form to register your interest and apply for funding »

Read more about the NIHHIS offer of funding »