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Applying for NIHHIS funds to map urban heat?
We’ve compiled answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The 2022 Urban Heat Mapping project is seeking proposals from groups who will map urban heat and use the maps to take action to reduce the risk of heat illness in their communities. Reviewers will look for evidence of connected, invested, and driven campaign networks that will organize a volunteer-powered mapping event, and then use the information they receive to take action. Reviewers will also consider that the Urban Heat Mapping project has a goal to collect data across different parts of the country for the long-term improvement of their model.

If you feel your locality has the capacity to organize and conduct a successful heat mapping campaign, and ways to apply these data to take action to prepare for and combat heat across your community, the following answers may be helpful for your application and campaign planning.

Note: For an overview of Heat Watch campaigns, you can view a 1-hour seminar by Vivek Shandas, principal of CAPA Strategies. CAPA Heat Watch pages offer further information. You can also follow along with announcements, progress, and tips by subscribing to the Heat Beat newsletter.

Heat Campaign Applications for Funding FAQ

Timing for Campaign

When is the best time to conduct a heat-mapping campaign?

Ideally, mapping campaigns are conducted on one of your region’s hottest days of the year. It’s important to map on a day when there is no rain and minimal cloud cover.

Can we get help for selecting the date for our mapping campaign?

We’ll be tapping into NOAA’s climate and weather data and expertise to help you identify potential mapping dates. We’ll share information in the Heat Beat newsletter and potentially via webinar as the season progresses. You can check this map and article for a look at your region’s normal hottest day of the year.

By when do we need to submit our completed application for funding?

Final submissions are due on January 14, 2022, at 5 pm Eastern. Submit to this Google Form. Note that you can edit your submission up until the deadline.

When will we receive the equipment for conducting the heat mapping campaign?

Equipment will be shipped to arrive 3-7 days prior to your campaign date.

Can we keep the equipment for longer than one week?

Depending on demand for equipment at the time of your campaign, CAPA Heat Watch may be able to discuss extended sensor lease or sale with you. In general, the summer months are very busy, so it’s best to plan to return the equipment directly after your mapping event.

May we purchase and use our own equipment?

Yes, CAPA Heat Watch will provide a recommendation and work with you to ensure proper set up and usage.

When will we get the results from the heat mapping campaign?

Within 6-8 weeks following your campaign, you will receive datasets and maps showing traverse points (driving paths) and area-wide temperature predictions for morning, afternoon, and evening, as well as a prepared report for the region you mapped.

When will we find out if we are selected to receive funding, and when can we get started?

We intend to announce funding recipients in February 2022. We encourage groups to move forward with plans and preparations well ahead of the heat season.

What if our proposal is not funded? What are some next steps can we take?

Anyone is welcome to move forward with a heat mapping campaign whether or not they are selected to receive funding through NIHHIS. The average cost of a heat watch campaign through CAPA Heat Watch is around $15,000, and funds can come from multiple sources. (Cost may vary up or down as a function of the size of your city.)


What types of organizations usually partner together to organize heat mapping campaigns?

Local organizations with the ability to act on the findings of your heat mapping campaign are ideal. You can start by connecting with science museums, city departments, and universities as well as local organizations involved with the environment, health, social and environmental justice, and conservation. The mapping campaigns are designed to be very accessible volunteer opportunities, so you need not limit recruitment to related fields. See Tips for Building Your Team »

If we receive NIHHIS funding, can we use it to offer a payment or incentive to our volunteers

No. Compensating volunteers is one way to recruit people from diverse and/or underserved communities, but NIHHIS funding cannot be used for this purpose. Many campaigns have found that providing some incentive can help them build relationships with new groups, so we encourage you to consider if you can provide cash or gift/gas cards to your volunteers from local funding sources. The decision to offer some sort of incentive to volunteers is up to each local effort.

How much time will a mapping volunteer need to spend on this heat campaign?

Volunteers usually dedicate 5 to 6 hours of time for the campaign. Volunteers’ primary roles are to attend a 30-minute to 1-hour training (remote or face-to-face) prior to the campaign day, and then drive or bicycle their routes on the campaign day (4 - 5 hours).

How much time will a lead organizer need to spend on a local heat campaign? What are their primary tasks?

Organizers usually dedicate around 20-25 hours to the effort, depending on the size of the campaign. Organizers’ roles include recruiting volunteers, coordinating logistics, and communicating with CAPA program managers. Organizers may also spend time getting media coverage for their campaign.

How many volunteers do we need to do the mapping across my city or region?

A driver and a navigator are recommended for every 10 square miles of study area, so it depends on how big your city or region is. Typically, between eight to twelve cars are needed. We also recommend recruiting additional volunteers to provide logistical support and serve as alternates for drivers and navigators.

Can we use bikes to collect data?

Absolutely! Keep in mind bicyclists usually cover about half the distance a motorist can in an hour-long traverse (approximately 5 square miles versus 10 square miles). And bikes can reach areas where motorized vehicles are prohibited (e.g. trails, waterfronts, etc.). However, keep in mind the health risks of having volunteers ride their bikes on very hot days.

What materials will we receive for the campaign? What do we need to develop on our own?

CAPA will provide materials for volunteer outreach and recruitment. They will also provide training and suggestions for publicizing your mapping campaign and follow-up activities. You will not need to generate any new materials, but you are welcome to customize the materials we provide.

How are driving routes decided?

Organizers can generate routes following CAPA’s Route Design guidelines, or the CAPA team can complete this task, if it is part of your service agreement.

Funding Process

Where is the funding coming from and how much is available?

NOAA’s NIHHIS Program, pending availability of federal funds, intends to contribute up to $10,000 for each city selected to receive funding. We anticipate trying to engage as many cities as possible, and are flexible about how much support will be available for each city, doing our best to accommodate cities’ different needs. These campaigns are designed in the spirit of public/private partnership. Matching funds or in-kind efforts contributed by local stakeholders are one way to solidify public engagement and investment in the process and outcomes. (Note: the amount requested from NIHHIS in your application is one of our selection criteria. In an effort to support as many cities as possible, we may favor cities that are offering a higher percentage of their campaign’s costs in matching funds.)

What is the process for distributing funds?

For groups that are selected to receive financial support, funding will go to CAPA Strategies—the private company that supplies the equipment, training, data processing, analysis, resulting heat maps, and a final summary report of findings—on behalf of the entity who is organizing the mapping campaign. CAPA will enter an agreement (contract) with that entity regarding the loan and return of their equipment, and for the data processing, map generation, and final report.

Who will be reviewing my application?

We have arranged a panel of heat-health experts from federal and city governments and national organizations to serve on the review panel.

How much total money is available?

Pending availability of federal funds, we intend to distribute a total of $100,000, with not more than $10,000 allocated for any one locality.

Do we, as a city or regional entity, need to provide funding?

We highly recommend obtaining some local funding to show your investment in the process and outcomes. Local sponsorship can also solidify engagement, and enable NIHHIS to sponsor heat mapping in a larger number of cities, which is a goal of the program.

If we work with CAPA, does our city need to create a sole-source contract? If so, can you help us with that process?

Funding a heat mapping campaign through a business or nonprofit organization may be easier than working through city finance departments, yet CAPA can work with entities of all types. If you decide to organize a campaign through your municipality, we can provide sample text that you can adapt and use for your sole-source justification.

Where can I find publications on campaign methodology?

Specific articles on methodology and proven interventions can be found at the following links:

You can find additional articles by searching “Shandas” and “Urban Heat”.



The Urban Heat Island Citizen Science Campaigns are made possible by:




NIHHIS is made possible by our participating agencies.













About Us

NIHHIS is an integrated information system that builds understanding of the problem of extreme heat, defines demand for climate services that enhance societal resilience, develops science-based products and services from a sustained climate science research program, and improves capacity, communication, and societal understanding of the problem in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat.  NIHHIS is a jointly developed system by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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