Spring 2016 Colloquium Series
Debbie Fugate is Chief of The Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU), an interagency unit within the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues at the U.S. Department of State. HIU’s mission is to identify, collect, analyze, and disseminate all-source information critical to U.S. Government decision makers and partners in preparation for and response to complex emergencies worldwide. The unit also promotes innovative geospatial technologies and best practices for humanitarian information management.
Debbie also serves as the senior advisor to the Geographer of the United States, and manages interagency projects on human geography and urbanization. Debbie has a Ph.D. in Geography from San Diego State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara with a specialty focus in demographic analysis and urban remote sensing. Prior to joining the Department of State she served for almost a decade as a demographer for the U.S. Government, analyzing demographic trends worldwide with a focus on humanitarian, health and crisis contexts.
In my work I use sound and image, to generate spaces and moments, that can bring emotions and thoughts about the experience of living social and personal situations. I try to make my creations rich in symbols and poetics. Born in Mexico City, based in San Diego, Francisco Eme works as a composer and sound and multimedia artist. His work has developed in the areas of sound art and electroacoustic music, performing pure electronic, instrumental and mixed compositions, sound acts, sound installations and video. He has also done works for dance, theater and media. His works have been presented in México, United States, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Canada, Argentina and El Salvador. Festivals featuring his work have included the San Francisco Tape Music Festival, In-Sonora Digital Art Festival, Distanze, Festival Internacional Cervantino, among others. His formation is primarily self-taught but Francisco has also undergone studies in the Mexican Center for Music and Sound Arts (CMMAS) and the Laboratory of Musical Informatics and Electroacoustic Music at UNAM. He has taught courses at different art schools in México, in subjects ranging from electronic musical composition to video-making, sound engineering and music production.
Justin is a co-founding partner at Sosolimited, an interactive design studio with offices in Boston and San Diego. He focuses on the creative applications of new technologies in entertainment, architecture, and communication. Most notably, Sosolimited has created Twitter driven lightshows, an algorithmic clothing line, and a chandelier that tells us about resource scarcity. The studio has performed and exhibited artwork internationally at festivals and museums including Ars Electronica, Transmediale, The Walker Art Center, Cooper Hewitt, Shanghai Biennial, and the ICA Boston. Justin is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab, and holds degrees in Media Arts & Physics.
The idea of “core concepts” of spatial information and spatial computing is slowly maturing. While originally designed to help students understand GIS (an educational goal that remains important), the concepts are developing into a set of lenses through which to view geographic environments and to select computations on their representations. The main motivation for this evolution has been the desire to make geographic or spatial computing more accessible across disciplines. In this talk, I will present an overview of the current status of core concepts, core computations, and their implementations. It shows some application results and reports on methodological and implementation challenges we are facing.
Much of the western U.S. is increasingly susceptible to wildfire activity due to drier conditions, elevated fuel loads, and expanding urbanization. The immediate impacts of wildfires include vulnerability to debris flows, flooding, and impaired water quality. Fires also alter longer-term surface runoff and subsurface water storage, where recovery to pre-fire conditions is dependent on post-disturbance climatology, geophysical and hydrologic parameters, time since disturbance, and ongoing anthropogenic influences. This work focuses on evaluating the coupled vegetation and hydrologic recovery for two watersheds burned by the 2003 Old Fire in the San Bernardino Mountains. This presentation will also highlight future work and collaborative directions in post-fire hydrology such as long-term continuous simulations with ParFlow, a three-dimensional, distributed hydrologic model. These simulations are anticipated to improve our understanding of post-fire hydrological partitioning between water balance components and the spatial variability of watershed processes. Predicting burned system response to disturbance (anthropogenic and natural) has significant implications for water sustainability, ecosystem regimes, and ultimately will provide information to resource agencies responsible for post-fire hydrologic management and mitigation.
Dr. Fernández-Giménez will share her personal and professional journey from the humanities to the natural and social sciences, as a participant and then leader of large interdisciplinary collaborative research projects, towards a reconnection with art (poetry) as a way to explore the complex confluence of place, identity, landscape and community. In a storytelling format the talk will narrate scientific and personal stories of trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural and participatory research projects and lessons learned, interwoven with reflections on practicing interdisciplinary science as a white Hispanic female researcher/educator in a historically white male dominated field/institution. Reflections will focus on both the intellectual process and the social and cultural contexts of interdisciplinary work, and the challenges and opportunities these present for scientific insight and personal growth.
In this presentation the requirements and methodology for measurement by airborne remote sensing of wildland fire energetics and behavior will be discussed along with recent results from fire measurements in southern California.
Airborne remote sensing at infrared wavelengths can quantify large-fire properties and behavior, including energy release or intensity, residence time, fuel consumption rate, rate of spread, and soil heating. Remote sensing at a high temporal rate can track fire-line outbreaks and acceleration and the location and rates of spotting ahead of a fire front. Yet infrared imagers and imaging spectrometers typically used for earth remote sensing are saturated by—and incapable of measuring—the very bright infrared light that radiates from large wildland fires. Thus they provide a limited or even distorted view of fire activity.
The Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and its partners have addressed this problem by developing and applying infrared imaging systems for quantitative, high-resolution measurements of wildland fires. These include the FireMapper thermal-imaging radiometer, which has been applied to produce and disseminate accurate visualizations of large-fire activity, during active burning periods for multiple fires, in near real-time.
Measurements with the FireMapper have shown that the course of remotely sensed long-wave radiation after the passage of a fire front provides a measure of the cumulative energy release by that front. Spatial patterns in the radiant flux density were locally correlated to a pre-fire normalizeddifference vegetation index as derived from near-infrared/red photography. Difference images at high temporal resolution have shown advecting thermal patterns that appear related to wind velocity in the flaming front. The forward progress of two wind-driven chaparral fires in southern California also has been shown to be slowed and arrested as the fires encountered young age classes of vegetation, a result important to fuel management.
We use increasingly dynamic and mobile map displays for every-day decision making tasks (i.e., daily commutes in congested cities), and to find solutions to and communicate about complex global environmental challenges and societal needs (i.e., global climate change). However, we still have a poor understanding on how autonomic nervous activity might influence the already limited perceptual and cognitive resources of display users, for example, in time critical situations or in dilemmatic decision-making contexts (e.g., navigation, disaster mitigation and response, search and rescue, etc.).
In this talk, Dr. Fabrikant will highlight ongoing empirical research on animated and mobile map display use in the lab and in the wild, capitalizing on ambulatory human behavior sensing methods (i.e., eye tracking, galvanic skin response, and EEG measurements). With this collected empirical data and supported by cognitive/vision theories we are guiding the process of designing maps for salience and positive engagement, thus aiming to create usable and useful visual analytics tools.
Dr. Sara Irina Fabrikant is a Professor of Geography, and leading the Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis (GIVA) group at the GIScience Center of the Geography Department at the University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland. She is currently the Head of the UZH Geography Department and an appointed member of the Swiss Science and Innovation Council, advising the Swiss Federal Council for issues related to science, higher education, research and innovation policy.
Her research and teaching interests lie in geographic information visualization and visual analytics (geovis), GIScience and cognition, graphical user interface design and evaluation, including dynamic cartography. She is the elected Vice President of the International Cartographic Association (ICA). She has been the program committee co-chair of various conferences (e.g., AGILE 2008, GIScience 2010, CartoCon 2014, COSIT 2015), and also serves as a member of various editorial journal boards in her field of research. Other professional service includes memberships and functions with the Association of American Geographers, the North American Cartographic Information Society, and the Swiss Society of Cartography.
Brasília, in the Federal District, Brazil, was built in the 1950s, and is a modernistic and planned city based on the idea of specifically delimited spaces for housing, government offices, hospitals, and leisure. Family life was originally planned to take place in areas of the housing sector, called superblocks, where local shops and services would be found.
The key questions of this presentation are: which contrasts could be found between Lucio Costa’s master plan and children’s concepts about the city? How do children experience a city that was actually planned to be functionally fragmented?
Data from two research projects that started in 2013 in Brasília will be compared and contrasted, taking into account two completely different groups of children. The first project focused on a government run daycare center located in the North Wing (Asa Norte), which received 21 young children from 3 to 11 months of age. They spent approximately 10 hours a day together, 5 days a week, sharing spaces and following the same planned routine. Most of them traveled on a daily basis from deprived neighborhoods to Brasília.
The second project investigates the urban experiences of four middle class children, two girls and two boys, aged 5, who live in the North Wing. Each child was invited to build a city, a methodological idea inspired by the map-like model approach (Błaut et al 2003), which featured wooden blocks and miniature artefacts (such as cars, trees, city monuments). This project discusses the category of hybrid city, a representation made by children that fuses elements of real cities and imagined ones.
Despite the limits imposed by adult supervision in specialized spaces and the physical boundaries determined by Brasília itself, children’s knowledge and uses of the city are not limited. The analysis develops questions about the different geographies built for and by children in Brasília.
Albert W. Johnson Research Lecture
Dr. Stow will present his lecture entitled Sensing the Environment from Above Over Time: How We Monitor, Study and Manage Geographic Phenomena and Processes. Dr. Stow’s research was characterized by one of his peers as showing “the myriad of ways in which these airborne and satellite data can provide incredibly useful and otherwise almost impossible-to-obtain insights into how the world works.”
As a pioneer in developing novel approaches to remote sensing, his research along with his collaborators has helped to understand areas as diverse as shifting vegetation patterns under changing climatic conditions, factors driving fire risks and rates of wildfire spread, and the assessment of infrastructure damage after earthquakes. Dr. Stow will review his research which focuses on multi-temporal remote sensing for studies of earth system processes and human activities. Application of his research will include studies of urbanization in California and Ghana, habitat and natural resource monitoring in southern California, China and the North Slope of Alaska, and natural hazards in the California context.
Dr. Stow helped co-found the Center for Earth Systems Analysis Research (CESAR), which annually supports a staff of four permanent technical staff and an average of 10 graduate students with up to $2M a year from extramural grants. His research is supported by research grants with total funding over $20 million from NASA, NSF, NIH, US Forest Service, DHS, DOT, and state and local agencies. He is the author or co-author of over 150 refereed publications and 80 conference proceedings papers and technical reports. In addition, Professor Stow served as department chair and doctoral program adviser for SDSU Geography.
The Albert W. Johnson University Research Lecture Series is a program sponsored by Graduate and Research Affairs and the University Research Council.
Spatial technologies are not merely impartial and benign tools, but are instead artifacts that embody social and political imperatives and ways of knowing. This has been shown in phenomena from GIS to Big Data, from Google Maps’s search algorithm to Tweets, from securitzed airport spaces to digital neighborhood boundary geometries. Data, software, and hardware reflect social relations, values, hopes, and fears. In recent disaster response efforts such as the 2010 and 2015 earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal, respectively, crowdsourcing, social media, and new mapping platforms - in such contexts commonly called “digital humanitarianism” - were heralded as “revolutionary” to relief efforts, purportedly improving democratic decision-making and empowering citizens. Concurrently, cities, regional planning agencies, and states are opening their spatial datasets to the public under similar discourses and with reference to “transparency” and “accountability”.
In this presentation I draw on ethnographic research conducted 2012-2013 to understand the social and political processes underwriting new uses of spatial technologies and data. I elucidate the politics and struggles around how people, knowledge, and places come to be encoded as data in digital humanitarianism, and the political-economic contexts in which its emergence is situated.
Lastly, building on this research I begin to chart continuities with the “open data” and “smart cities” movements. I will show that many of the lessons from digital humanitarian research can be leveraged to theorize open data and smart cities. As both digital humanitarianism and smart cities increasingly impact socio-spatial relations, it is important for geographers to illuminate their geographies, modalities, and politics.
Arthur Getis Distinguished Lecture Series
Scientists are often beset by lack or paucity of longitudinal data that are essential when dealing with space-time pattern shift. Current space time analysis methods are largely designed for longitudinal data analysis, where the same subjects are measured over multiple times. We develop a unique framework that is empowered to reveal the intrinsic (often hidden) temporal trend behind multi-time, subjects-varying data without spatial or organizational aggregation. This framework starts with a space-time optimization model that generates pseudo-longitudinal data that best fit the empirical statistical distributions of other independently sampled subjects (units) at multiple times. Then the framework employs a latent trajectory modeling (LTM) approach with spatial filters to analyze the so-generated pseudo-longitudinal data, revealing each subject’s (unit) temporal trajectory and potential causes behind such trajectory. This framework builds on the Ghanaian Population and Household Survey (DHS) data collected in 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2014, each of which features around 1,000 randomly sampled, but temporally-different women. The significance of this research lies in the ease and usefulness of this framework for deciphering the temporal trend and related mechanisms behind such trend based on multi-time, subjects-varying data. Equally useful is this framework’s capability of making use of spatially explicit, yet autocorrelated data, adding a spatial dimension that is seldom available in traditional longitudinal data analysis.
Anthropogenic watershed disturbance by deforestation, agriculture, and urbanization alters sediment loads to nearshore environments, enhancing sediment stress on corals near the outlets of impacted watersheds. Few studies have developed an integrated understanding of sediment sources, transport processes, and deposition in small, reef-fringed embayments and many are outside the scope of local environmental managers in remote islands like at the study site, Tutuila, American Samoa. Integrating field measurements and models of suspended sediment yield from the watershed, water circulation over the reef, and sediment accumulation in traps on the reef showed that the predominant anthropogenic sediment source was a small gravel quarry, and water circulation patterns deflect the flood-supplied terrigenous sediment from the stream over the northern reef where it caused enhanced sediment stress on corals. This work provides an example of how a scientific, process-oriented Ridge to Reef study of sediment dynamics can answer critical scientific and management-oriented questions about the source, transport, and fate of sediment in the near-short environment.
Numerous studies have highlighted that water resources and hydrologic extremes are sensitive to climate change. An interesting research question is what the role of climate change is in occurrence of extreme events. More importantly, how climate extremes may change under future climate conditions and emission scenarios. Therefore, there exists a strong need to study water resources and hydrologic cycle under different climate change scenarios at the global scale. In the past decades, numerous methods and models have been developed for assessing climate change impacts on water resources. However, there are still major research gaps from uncertainties in climate model simulations to limitations in the current large scale water cycle (or global hydrologic) models. Some of the current research gaps include: (I) high uncertainty of climate model simulations; (II) limitations and high uncertainties of the global hydrologic model simulations because of calibration challenges at the global scale; and (III) lack of frameworks for accounting for the local resilience and man-made infrastructure in climate impact assessment studies. The overarching goal of this study is to address the above mentioned research gaps. In this study, several novel evaluation metrics are introduced that can be used for evaluation of errors and biases in input data which is a key factor in the overall uncertainty of climate change studies. Furthermore, this study suggests a better representation of the hydrologic cycle at the global scale through a comprehensive multi-objective calibration framework for global hydrologic models. Then, a modeling framework is presented for accounting for local resilience in climate change studies. Finally, this study outlines a framework for combining top-down and bottom-up approaches for climate change impact assessment.
This talk examines the politics around water supply in California, particularly focusing on the diversion and transfer of water from rural and agricultural areas to urban places. This research has focused on the discourses, policies, and laws that have been used to justify and to contest water transfers and diversions, which can carry externalized social and environmental costs. The research compares three cases of highly contested rural-to-urban water transfers and diversions at three lakes in California— Owens Lake, Mono Lake, and the Salton Sea.
Alida Cantor received her PhD from Clark University in 2016. Her research, grounded in political ecology, focuses on legal and political dimensions of water resources management in California.
This presentation focuses on the multiple meanings national borders are likely to endorse and the ambivalent effects they exert on border cities and regions.
First, I elaborate upon the concept of borders’ multiplicity and show how borders should not be reduced to a single function such as a barrier or an interface, but rather need to be conceived of as social constructions that endorse multiple meanings and generate ambivalent effects. I seek to highlight, in particular, in what ways borders may represent a resource, given their other potential roles, meanings and interpretations. Secondly, I present the results of an empirical study on the analysis of border effects on the performance of metropolitan areas in Europe.
Three research questions are investigated. First, to what extent does the proximity of a border impact the development of metropolitan functions in cities? Second, which aspects related to the border represent an advantage and which represent a disadvantage? Third, which European border metropolitan areas benefit the most from or are penalized by their proximity to a border? To answer these questions, a multi-dimensional conceptualization of border effects into four main factors is elaborated and empirically tested with the help of econometric modeling.
The ingredients have been converging from different directions for about two decades and coming together progressively faster.
First, it was the computational power that began to grow: Faster processing, more processing units, parallel computations, large scale system, supercomputers in large rooms, on your desk, in the cloud. Then, it was information that got denser: Sensors became cheaper and attribute measurements started flowing in from everywhere, about everything, and in increasing volumes; companies started connecting their customer information and grew an insatiable appetite analyzing everything to maximize profits.
Simultaneously, the facilitators brought things together and set off cooking: Existing knowledge and new techniques are employed to import, wrangle, and explore data; math and statistical methods and algorithms to analyze, categorize, optimize, and score data were drawn to the spotlight; programming languages rise and fall in popularity; people with skills to stir a smorgasbord of techniques and languages become highly-sought certified cooks. This large data orchestration was sparked inside the scientific community, and then discovered and fast blown into large proportions by corporate customers. Part-ignorance, part marketing led this technology movement to be baptized as science, aptly known as Data Science.
The above stew is currently brewing strong, while exploring new options, moving into different directions, and introducing new business models. This upcoming presentation aims to be a) an overview of current elements and trends in the world of Analytics that provides the fire for the stew, and b) a discussion with attendees to explore where the universe of Geography stands in these ongoing developments, and avenues/options to take advantage of new technologies and science.
This presentation will give an overview of some of my main research results, measuring greenhouse gas emission from Arctic tundra ecosystems in Alaska. First, the importance and impact of doing science in the Arctic will be discussed, along with the challenges of conducting research projects in these remote areas, and some of the key gaps in knowledge. Dr. Zona will also cover some of the most recent research directions that are addressing some of these knowledge gaps. She will also provide an idea of why it is important doing research in the Arctic, and how this acquired knowledge can impact society.
Dr. Kerr is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UCSD, Director of the REACH group (Research on Active Aging and Community Health), and Program Leader in Cancer Prevention at the Moores Cancer Center. Dr. Kerr’s research focuses on developing novel methods to objectively assess eating, physical activity and sedentary behavior in time and space using mobile sensors in order to better evaluate interventions that change how and where older adults are active. She has pioneered the use of SenseCams, GPS devices and machine learning methods to improve location and activity classification. She was named on Thomson Reuters World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2015 and 2014.
Electronic health records (EHRs) from academic and community based health care systems are increasingly used for epidemiologic and health services research. The extent to which EHR-based findings can be generalized to the underlying source population is often unreported, and some question the representativeness of such patient populations. Evaluating such “external validity” of EHR-based research requires knowledge of how health care is delivered, and geographically exhaustive data to compare patients with the underlying general population. I will present recent work we conducted in an effort to evaluate the generalizability of the cancer patient population of a large northern California healthcare delivery system by leveraging a unique linkage with the California Cancer Registry and the use of GIS to describe patient characteristics across the service area.
Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Other Disasters: A View from Space
Ronald T. Eguchi
President and CEO, ImageCat
Opening New Doors with Industrial Drones
CEO, Action Drone
Technology and Applications of Remote Sensing in Precision Agriculture
Founder and CEO, SlantRange
Rebecca Morton is President and CEO of GeoWing Mapping, Inc., based in Oakland, California. She founded the company in January of 2015 with the goal of offering both traditional photogrammetric mapping services as well as services related to unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Ms. Morton is certified by ASPRS as a Mapping Scientist and as a Photogrammetrist. She has held numerous technical and managerial positions at leading US mapping firms. Rebecca is currently serving as President of ASPRS.
This presentation will provide a perspective on the technologies utilized and researched by ASPRS members in photogrammetry and remote sensing. Ms. Morton will discuss her own path in the industry and relate her experience with the various technologies that have evolved over the last 20 years.