2011 to 2012 Academic Year News

john weeksAugust 1, 2011

Weeks Quoted in Science

Distinguished Professor John Weeks contributed to an article in Science magazine on Youth Bulges in the Middle East. The story is entitled Young and Restless Can be a Volatile Mix PDF file.


ming-hsiang tsouAugust 3, 2011

Tsou Pronounced Full Professor

From this month, Dr. MIng-Hsiang Tsou will be a Professor of Geography. Congratulations, Ming.

Dr. Tsou received a B.S. from National Taiwan University in 1991, an M.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1996, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2001, all in Geography. His research interests are in Mapping Cyberspace, Internet mapping and distributed GIS applications, mobile GIS and wireless communication, multimedia cartography and user interface design, and cyberinfrastructure with GRID computing technology. He has applied his research interests in applications such as wildfire mapping, environmental monitoring and management, habitat conservation, K-12 education, and homeland border security. He is co-author of the book, Internet GIS, published in 2003 and served on the editorial boards of the Annals of GIS (2008-) and The Professional Geographers (2011-). Tsou was the co-chair of the NASA Earth Science Enterprise Data System Working Group (ESEDWG) Standard Process Group (SPG) from 2004 to 2007 and the 2007-2008 Chair of the Cartographic Specialty Group in the Association of American Geographers (AAG). He is the Webmaster for the Geographic Information Science and System (GISS) Specialty Group in AAG since 2006. Tsou received the 2004 and 2010 Outstanding Faculty Award at San Diego State University, and his name was listed in Marquis Publishing Who’s Who in America in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Tsou was appointed by the National Academy of Science in 2006 to serve on the committee on “Research Priorities for the USGS Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science”. In 2007, he created and maintained an interactive Web-based mapping services for San Diego Wildfires 2007 Leave geography site and his efforts have been recognized by the AAG newsletters and the San Diego Union Tribune (newspaper). In 2008, Tsou served as a senior researcher in the GeoTech Center Leave geography site. In 2010, Tsou served as the Principle Investigator (PI) of a NSF-CDI project, “Mapping ideas from Cyberspace to Realspace” Leave geography site, funded by the National Science Foundation, Division of Computer and Network Systems, NSF Program CDI-Type II Award #1028177. He also initiated an open web mapping project in 2011, called “We Help Each Other” (WHEO) Leave geography site.


marta jankowskaAugust 11, 2011

Jankowska Awarded NSF Dissertation Research Improvement Grant

Marta Jankowska has just been officially notified from the National Science Foundation that she has been awarded a Dissertation Research Improvement Grant for her project “Doctoral Dissertation Research: Integrating Space and Place into Children’s Perceptions of Environmental Health Hazards.” The work is under the direction of John R. Weeks (Principal Investigator). This award is effective September 1, 2011 and expires August 31, 2013.


zia salimAugust 26, 2011

Salim Awarded Fulbright Fellowship

Joint doctoral student Zia Salim has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program fellowship to Bahrain. His project will focus on urban planning, land use, and development in Bahrain.

The Fulbright Program is America’s flagship international educational exchange program. It strives to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 American and foreign scholars the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Congratulations, Zia!


george christakosSeptember 12, 2011

Christakos Appointed Adjunct Professor in China

Professor George Christakos, Birch Endowed Chair in Geographic Studies in the SDSU Geography Department, has recently been appointed as Yongqian Chair Professor at Zhejiang University, one of the top five universities in China. Dr. Christakos’ appointment is based on his “broad knowledge and outstanding achievements” (quote from the certificate signed by the president of Zhejiang University).

Congratulations, George!


john weeksSeptember 13, 2011

Weeks Discusses Poverty on KPBS

Professor John Weeks, was a guest today on KPBS’s Midday Edition Leave geography site program, discussing the latest Census Bureau report on poverty.


September 15, 2011

Beginning of Semester Picnic

The Department of Geography’s beginning of the year picnic was held on September 9, at Coronado’s Tideland Park. The Pizza/Potluck affair included current faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students. Even the little geographers came out. The weather was great and the food superb.

Check out the photos.

Panorama of the Geography PicnicConversing around the food tableTalking with a little GeographerConversing with Ph.D. studentsA big and little GeographerConversing with Master’s studentsConversing around the food tableConversing around the food table


diana richardsonOctober 3, 2011

Richardson Receives AEP Award

Diana Richardson is this year’s recipient of the Association of Environmental Professionals’ Outstanding Contribution to the Environmental Profession award.

Diana has taught environmental and natural resource conservation courses for the Geography Department at SDSU since the mid-1980s. During that time she has mentored countless environmental professionals and won numerous teaching awards. In the past she has been involved in a number of extra-curricular environmental drives on campus including GreenFest, the Green Campus Newsletter, The Common Experience 2010 to 2013 Social Justice and Environmental Integrity program, and getting students involved with Council-member Donna Frye’s environmental initiatives. She is impassioned about the environment and will organize fieldtrips around sustainability issues just about anywhere in the Southwest United States and Baja California. She is also involved in a number of local issues that relate to EPA and CEQA, including organizing workshops to help local professionals.

Diana’s recognition as one of the region’s top environmental teachers and activists is well overdue. She will receive the award at the AEP’s Awards and Scholarship benefit on October 20, 2011, at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.

Congratulations, Diana!


ming-hsiang tsouOctober 7, 2011

Tsou Project Highlighted in 360

The latest 360 Magazine Leave geography site has a wonderful article on Professor Ming Hsiang-Tsou’s National Science Foundation funded Mapping Cyberspace Leave geography site project.


October 21, 2011

SDSU Geographers win AEP Awards

Diana Richardson receives her award at AEP dinner.Jaime Speed-Rossiter receives her award at AEP dinner

The Association of Environmental Professionals held their annual dinner on October 20, 2011, at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse. The Department of Geography was well represented at the event with Diana Richardson receiving the award for Outstanding Contributions to the Environmental Profession. Doctoral candidate Jaime Speed-Rossiter received a “big” check from the AEP scholarship program.

Congratulations to both Diana and Jaime!


john weeksOctober 31, 2011

Weeks Quoted in Aljazeera

Distinguished Professor John Weeks was quoted extensively in an article from Aljazeera about the world population reaching seven billion. Discussing the milestone, Weeks addresses the challenges we face in feeding and providing for an ever growing population.

Read the full article, entitled “Are we facing a crisis of overpopulation?” Leave geography site.


November 3, 2011

Aitken Speaks at Literacy Conference

As a precursor to Geographic Awareness Week, the Greater San Diego Reading Association put on a Literacy and Geography Conference on Saturday Oct 29th. The conference was at the San Diego County Education Offices and was attended primarily by K-12 teachers and student teachers. Dr. Stuart Aitken spoke on the ways that teachers should think about using the Geography Department at SDSU as a resource. He also spoke about several of the department’s local and international projects and invited audience members to get in touch if they wanted to learn more. His talk generated significant interest and several of the teachers have been getting in touch this week.

Banner for Geaography Awareness Week, November 13-19, 2011


marta jankowskaNovember 3, 2011

Jankowska Interviewed Regarding Climate Change

The journal Nature Climate Change interviewed SDSU doctoral student Marta Jankowska along with UCSB Geography Professor Dr. David Lopez-Carr about the collaborative research effort they led looking at climate change in Mali, Africa. The effort examined spatial modelling of water availabilty, malnutrition, and livelihoods. Other contributors included Chris Funk and Gregory Husak from the Climate Hazards Group at UCSB, and Zoe Chafe from UC Berkley.

The interview, “Stunted by climate” Leave geography site (behind a pay wall) is part of a segment called “Beyond Boundaries”.


andré skupinNovember 8, 2011

Skupin Speaks in Utah

Dr. André Skupin has been invited to give the capstone presentation within the University of Utah’s Geography Awareness Week events. The presentation will be on November 18, 2011. His lecture, entitled How to Map Practically Anything: Towards a Cartography of High-Dimensional Space, will argue for the applicability of such notions as reference systems, base maps, overlays, or the duality of discrete object and continuous field conceptualizations, far beyond geographic phenomena. Paired with the concept of high-dimensional space, we are in a position to tackle anything from large collections of scientific papers to social media artifacts, from crime statistics to climate monitoring data. This presentation will review some recent efforts in dealing with such data through a series of conceptual, computational, and visual transformations, with examples from the medical, environmental, and other domains, with the goal of demonstrating that it is indeed possible to map practically anything.

Composite snippet of two multidimensional maps, one for medicine and the other music.


john weeksDecember 1, 2011

Weeks Comments on Population

Disinguished Professor John Weeks was quoted in a front-page story on “Senior Population Grows” in today’s (12/1/11) San Diego Union-Tribune. That story is not yet available on the web. He was also quoted in another front page story two weeks ago: 11/16/2011, “Census: Fewer on the Move in America,” Leave geography siteSan Diego Union-Tribune (page A1).


arthur getisDecember 7, 2011

Book Dedicated to Arthur Getis

“Perspectives on Spatial Data Analysis” edited by Luc Anselin and Sergio J. Rey, is dedicated to SDSU Emeritus Professor Arthur Getis. The hefty novel, which includes a 20-page introduction that analyzes Getis’s impact, takes both a retrospective and prospective view of the field of spatial analysis. The book includes selected reprints of classic articles by Dr. Getis with current observations by leading experts in the field and is a fitting tribute.

Congrats Art!


January 9, 2012

Department Holiday Party

The annual Geography Department Holiday Party was held on December 9, 2011. There was much food, drink, and trivia had by all during the three hour extravaganza.

Faculty and students gathered around the seminar table eating and drinking, handing out presents Faculty and students gathered around the seminar table eating and drinking, handing out presents


andré skupinJanuary 17, 2012

Skupin Speaks in South Africa

Dr. André Skupin is currently in South Africa, following an invitation by that country’s Agricultural Research Council(ARC). The visit builds on long-standing ties between ARC and our Department and includes presentations at ARC-ISCW (Institute for Soil, Climate and Water) in Pretoria and at the Department of Forestry and Wood Science at Stellenbosch University. Dr. Skupin is also meeting with researchers from other South African research organizations, including the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). These consultations relate to diverse topics, ranging from wildfires, invasive plant species, and climate change to economic development.

Schematic of interconnections of ARC and other universities


alex zvoleffJanuary 30, 2012

Zvoleff Named Inamori Fellow

Warmest congratulations to doctoral student Alex Zvoleff who was chosen as the Inamori Fellowship recipient for 2011-2012. For this incredibly competitive fellowship, Alex was one out of 10 recipients chosen from 86 candidates. The Inamori Fellowship Program is named for Dr. Kazuo Inamori, and is awarded to San Diego State University graduate students who demonstrate a high degree of scholarly accomplishments in addition to exceptional faculty mentor recommendation, and past and future research work.

Alex received a B.S. in Earth Science from UCSD and an M.A. in Climate and Society from Columbia University. He is currently working with Dr. Li An investigating links between environment, population, and habitat in the Chitwan Valley, Nepal. He is also working with both Dr. An and Dr. John Weeks on examining linkages between neighborhood characteristics and health in Accra, Ghana.


alex messinaFebruary 6, 2012

Messina Research Featured

Doctoral student Alex Messina has had his dissertation research featured in the Samoa News Leave geography site. Alex is currently in American Samoa doing field work on sediment sources and their relation to coral reef health. Dr. Trent Biggs is Alex’s doctoral advisor.


ming-hsiang tsouFebruary 7, 2012

Tsou Recevies Mapping Project Funding

Congratulations on Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou’s award for “GIS Mapping Project Serving Older Adults” Leave geography site, in the amount of $33,500.00, from The San Diego Foundation!

The objective of our research is to produce a readily accessible, interactive mapping tool which provides timely and useful information to agencies that provide services to older adults in San Diego County (both non-profit and government. Agencies will utilize the map to collaborate with other service providers, understand which areas lack various services, and develop strategies to reach out to underserved populations.

Screen capture of Web GIS information


justin stolerFebruary 10, 2012

Stoler Defends Dissertation

Justin Stoler successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled Spatial Patterns of Water Insecurity in a Developing City: Lessons from Accra, Ghana on February 9, 2012 at SDSU.

Intraurban differentials in safe drinking water in developing cities have been exacerbated by rapid population growth that exceeds expansion of local water infrastructure. In Accra, Ghana, municipal water is rationed to meet demand, and the gap in water services is increasingly being filled by private water vendors selling packaged “sachet” water. Private sector sale of sachet water has grown to fill an important gap in household water security, and consumption of sachet water has been on the rise in West Africa over the last decade. Sachets extend drinking water coverage deeper into low-income areas and alleviate the need for safe water storage. This potentially introduces a health benefit over stored tap water, but at an additional cost both financially and environmentally. The long-term implications of these changing consumption patterns remain unclear. This work begins by reviewing recent shifts in drinking water sources from recent Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys, as well as the history, economics, quality, and regulation of sachet water in Ghana’s Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area. It proceeds to explore correlates of using sachets as the primary drinking water source in two large samples of women drawn from separate household surveys in Accra, and investigates links between sachet water and reported diarrhea episodes in a subset of children under five. Broadly speaking, multilevel models link sachet use to low socioeconomic status and neighborhood water rationing, and sachet consumption yields a protective effect on child diarrhea. Sachet water also seems to have transitioned from an initial luxury good of the rich to a widespread phenomenon of the urban poor between 2008 and 2010. Given sachet water’s many tradeoffs, this work provides a more holistic understanding of the drinking water landscape that will inform municipal planning and efforts toward sustainable drinking water provision in the region.

Dr. Stoler will finish the academic year as a post-doc working with his committee chair, Dr. John Weeks. The rest of his doctoral committee members are: Dr. Li An (SDSU), Dr. David López-Carr (UCSB), and Dr. Stuart Sweeney (UCSB).


February 14, 2012

An and Tsou Present Research at AAAS

Dr. An Li (left) and Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou (right) will present their NSF-funded research project at the up-coming AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science) Annual meeting in Vancouver. Dr. Tsou organized the symposium session: Web Surveillance: Fighting Terrorism and Infectious Diseases, Saturday, February 18, 2012: 1:30 PM, Ballroom A (VCC West Building).

  • Ming-Hsiang Tsou, San Diego State University, Mapping Ideas from Cyberspace to Realspace with Geospatial Fingerprints
  • Li An, San Diego State University, How Do Ideas Spread over the Internet? Evidence from Space-Time Analysis

The AAAS session is sponsored by their NSF-funded project, “Mapping Cyberspace to Realspace: Visualizing and Understanding the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Global Diffusion of Ideas and the Semantic Web”

Screen image of iPhone vs Android marketing test


March 6, 2012

Department Desert Campout

The March 2-3 Geography Campout in Anza Borrego desert was a great success this year. The event was well attended with some folks coming for a very cold Friday night and most showing up on Saturday and staying over. The flowers were not quite what they’ve been in the past, but a good time was nonetheless had by all.

Anza Borrego Department campsite Trent Biggs with his Baby Hiking Pack Cactus Flowers


kate swansonMarch 6, 2012

Swanson to Give Keynote

Dr. Kate Swanson will give a keynote address at the Race, Ethnicity and Identity Conference held at Grand Rapids Community College. The Conference runs from March 23 to March 29. The title of her keynote is “Exploring Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Childhood in the Andes: A Geographical Perspective”.

For more information on the conference Leave geography site.


arthur getisMarch 9, 2012

Getis Receives Award

Dr. Arthur Getis has been selected to receive the Founders Medal of the Regional Science Association International to be awarded in Timisoara, Romania, on May 9. This award is given once every four years. Dr. Getis will be the 8th recipiant of the award. Previous awardees include Walter Isard, William Alonso, and Peter Nijkamp.

Congratulations, Art!


March 12, 2012

Students Receive Awards

Three students have received awards in the last week.

First off, Master’s student Joe Saltenberger received the David Woodward Award for Best Electronic Map at the 39th CaGIS Annual Map Design Competition for Web GIS for Older Adult Services. View the map Leave geography site

Doctoral candidates Alex Zvoleff and Marta Jankowska picked up awards at the SDSU Student Research Symposium. Alex received the President’s Award for his presentation on population, health and environment in high priority conservation areas. Marta won the Library Award for her presentation on climate and health in Mali.

Congratulations to all!


chris lippittApril 9, 2012

Lippitt Defends Dissertation

Christopher Lippitt has successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled Time-Sensitive Remote Sensing.

This dissertation explores the readiness of remote sensing science, in terms of methodological prescription and theory, to address time-sensitive information requirements. It synthesizes and evaluates predominant conceptualizations of remote sensing and critically evaluates them in terms of their ability to inform the design of remote sensing systems to address time-sensitive information requirements, presents a novel conceptual model of remote sensing based in information theory, and demonstrates the evaluation and updating of a remote sensing system to meet the time-sensitive information requirements of wildfire managers in California.

In chapter 2, current conceptualizations of remote sensing are found lacking in their ability to inform the optimization of remote sensing systems for application to time-sensitive phenomena because they omit several factors affecting the timeliness of information delivery. Characteristics of a conceptual remote sensing model appropriate for time-sensitive remote sensing are identified; such a model should: (1) conceptualize the collection of technologies used to acquire, process, and distribute remote sensing information as a single system that can be optimized; (2) acknowledge that remote sensing exists to inform decisions; (3) recognize that the decision maker (i.e., user) and information are both fundamental to the effectiveness of such decisions; and (4) account for tradeoffs between the type, reliability, and timeless of information produced by remote sensing systems. The Fields of Operations Research, Decision Science, and Systems Theory are highlighted as likely sources for methods and theory on the optimization of remote sensing systems to meet the needs of specific users and user groups.

Chapter 3 presents a conceptual model of remote sensing as a communication system for the transmission of information; the remote sensing communication model. The mathematical model of communication from engineering, broader philosophical perspectives on the nature of information and communication, and the map communication model are used to conceptualize remote sensing a communication system, explain the production, communication, and ingestion of remote sensing information, and to estimate the timeliness of information delivery by remote sensing systems. The remote sensing communication model places remote sensing within a decision support context, where the effectiveness of a decision and the subsequent value of an information product is dependent upon both the qualities of the information (e.g., timeliness, accuracy) and the nature of the decision process (e.g., user bias, technical expertise, cartographic proficiency). The conceptualization of remote sensing as a communication system permits the estimation of sensor, channel, and receiver capacity. Methods for the estimation of sensor, channel, and receiver capacity are outlined, but further research into the reliable estimation of both human and automated receivers is warranted.

Chapter 4 applies the Remote Sensing Communication Model (RSCM) to improve a tactical wildfire remote sensing system to better meet the time sensitive information requirements of emergency response managers in San Diego County, USA. A thermal infrared airborne remote sensing system designed and operated by the United States Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station for active wildfire monitoring is documented and updated based on the RCSM. Analysis of the thermal infrared remote sensing system in the context of the RSCM identified three configuration changes that can improve the effectiveness of the information produced when employed by wildfire incident commanders for suppression prioritization: (1) limit spectral sampling collection to a single waveband; (2) complete image processing steps onboard; and (3) provide information on wildfire locations to incident commanders in the form of a static map.

Collectively, this research evaluates current theoretical and methodological approaches to the design of RSSs using a structured approach and proposes a novel conceptual model of remote sensing grounded in geographic and information theory. It explores and highlights the issues and challenges presented by the use of remote sensing to fulfill time-sensitive information requirements, defines a common vocabulary for their discussion, and provides methods for the systematic evaluation and design of RSSs to address time-sensitive information requirements.

Chris has accepted a tenure track position with the Department of Geography at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Congratulations, Chris!


kate swansonApril 18, 2012

Swanson Videos from GRCC

On March 29th, Dr. Kate Swanson was the Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) Visiting Geographical Scientist at the Grand Rapids Community College Race and Ethnicity Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Funded by GTU, the International Geographical Honor Society, and managed by the AAG, the Visiting Geographical Scientist Program sponsors visits by prominent geographers to colleges and universities across the country. Its purpose is to stimulate interest in geography, especially in small departments that do not have the resources to bring in well-known speakers. As part of her visit to GRCC, Dr. Swanson was interviewed for the college television station (Conversation with a Geographer: Kate Swanson Leave geography site). Her keynote talk titled, “Exploring Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Childhood in the Andes: A Geographical Perspective” Leave geography site was also recorded.


andré skupinApril 25, 2012

Skupin Speaks at UCSB and UCSD

Dr. André Skupin will give a talk within the colloquium series of the Geography Department at UC Santa Barbara, on April 26. His lecture, entitled How to Map Practically Anything: Towards a Cartography of High-Dimensional Space, argues for the applicability of such notions as reference systems, base maps, overlays, or the duality of discrete object and continuous field conceptualizations, far beyond geographic phenomena. The presentation will review some recent efforts in dealing with high-dimensional data through a series of conceptual, computational, and visual transformations, with examples from the medical, environmental, and other domains, with the goal of demonstrating that it is indeed possible to map practically anything.

Earlier in the semester, Dr. Skupin gave a presentation within the Division of Biomedical Informatics at UC San Diego. That talk was titled Visualizing the Topical Structure of the Medical Sciences: A Self-Organizing Map Approach and discussed results of an NIH-funded study in which a team of researchers at Indiana University and SDSU implemented a visualization of the biomedical knowledge domain, based on over two million scientific publications. The study involved deployment of supercomputing hardware and parallelization, in order to deal with a neural network of very large size and dimensionality, as well as extensive use of GIS.

Visualization of the interconnections of the UCSB faculty publications


kathleen farleyMay 5, 2012

Farley Speaks at Oregon State

full sized Starker Lecture Series announcement PDF file

Dr. Kathleen Farley will give a talk in the Oregon State University Starker Lecture Series: Watershed Moments: People, Forests & Water on May 10, 2012. The title of her talk will be Land Use, Climate Change, Water, and Other Ecosystem Services: Connecting Science to Users, Policies, and Programs

Both land-use change and climate change are important drivers for water resources, and understanding the direction, magnitude, and timing of these influences can be challenging. Another key challenge is to connect and communicate this science to water users, landowners, policy makers and program developers to help them adapt to changing conditions and find effective approaches for managing water and other ecosystem services. Drawing on example spanning from the Oregon Cascades to the Ecuadorian Andes to global syntheses, Dr.. Farley will examine challenges associated with gaps in the scientific understanding of the effects of land-use and climate change on water resources and other ecosystem services as well as efforts to fill gaps in communicating the science to stakeholders.


May 7, 2012

Geography Receives CAL Awards

Geography department College of Arts and Letters award

The Geography Department, along with Women’s Studies, were selected by College of Arts and Letters students as the CAL Departments of the Year. This is the first year these awards have been given.

The department received further honors as Undergraduate Sean Losee, doctoral student Denise Goerisch, and Justin Stoler, who recently completed his doctorate received Aztec of the Year awards.

Congratulations to all.


ming-hsiang tsouMay 10, 2012

Tsou Speaks in Taiwan

Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou will give a Keynote Speech at the 8th Taipei International Digital Earth Symposium Leave geography site on May 17, 2012 at Taipei, Taiwan. The title of his talk is Mapping Social Media and Diffusion of Innovations on Digital Earth: Revealing the Invisible World.

This talk will introduce a new research method, called the Spatial Web Automatic Reasoning and Mapping System (SWARMS) Leave geography site. SWARM is designed to track spatial patterns of publically-accessible web pages and social media (Twitter) based upon searching predefined clusters of keywords determined by domain experts. Web pages and tweets associated with the same keywords were converted into visualization maps using GIS functions. Given the extent to which the human population is “plugged into” the online world, this new approach may illustrate a new research direction for scientists to study human thoughts, behaviors, disease outbreaks, global web contents, and new communication theories.

Web site banner for Taipei symposium


May 23, 2012

Farley and Skupin Receive Promotions

kathleen farley andré skupin

Dr. André Skupin and Dr. Kathleen Farley have been promoted to the rank of Professor and Associate Professor (with tenure) respectively.

This is appropriate recognition of their dedication, hard work, excellent teaching and superlative scholarship. Kathleen and André are truly wonderful colleagues and this promotion is well deserved.

Congratulations to both.


stuart aitkenMay 23, 2012

Aitken Honored as CAL Outstanding Faculty Member

Dr. Stuart Aitken was selected to receive the Outstanding Faculty Award for the College of Arts & Letters for the 2012 to 2013 Academic Year. This award is well deserved and long overdue. Stuart’s teaching, scholarship, service and leadership are each exceptional and in combination, truly remarkable.

Congratulations, Stuart.


ming-hsiang tsouMay 24, 2012

Tsou to Receive Faculty Award

Dr. Ming-Hsaing Tsou will receive a President’s Leadership Fund 2012 Faculty Excellence Award Leave geography site. He was honored for his multidisciplinary research that directly impacts the community. The award will be given at an award luncheon next week.

Congratulations, Ming.


rick kimJune 18, 2012

Kim Defends Dissertation

Ick-Hoi (Rick) Kim successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled Developing High Performance GIS Simulation Models on Geospatial Cyberinfrastructure: A Case Study of Population Change Models with Grid Computing and Cloud Computing Technologies.

This dissertation research illustrated the parallelization of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) simulation models with cellular automata (CA) and agent-based modeling (ABM) that have been very popular in urban geography. For the case study, the Schelling model (a popular residential segregation model) was parallelized to process a very large amount of real-world data with over 2.8 million resident agents to demonstrate population change in the County of San Diego, California. With the high performance computing capability, the GIS models could simulate dynamic population changes and help us understand the formation of residential segregation. The case study demonstrated performance improvement, technical feasibility, and implementation challenges of the parallelization of GIS simulation models. While high-performance computing is essential for many scientific research disciplines and the domain of computational science, very few geospatial scientists have utilized high-performance computing for the analysis of geographic problems. Two important reasons for this are the lack of accessible high-performance computing resources and very few parallel algorithms developed for GIS applications. This dissertation research presented how to facilitate the utilization of high-performance computing for GIS models. A new user-friendly web portal framework was designed and implemented to integrate distributed computing resources and to provide high-performance computing capabilities for GIS models. Grid computing and cloud computing resources were integrated into the web portal framework with accessible web-based user interfaces.

Dr. Kim’s doctoral committee members were: Professor Ming-Hsiang Tsou (Chair, SDSU), Professor John R. Weeks (SDSU), Professor Keith C. Clarke (UCSB), and Professor Helen Couclelis (UCSB).

Rick has accepted a one year GIS research/teaching position at National University of Singapore.

Congratulations, Rick.


kate swansonJune 18, 2012

Swanson to Speak in Paris

Dr. Kate Swanson will speak at the Urban Marginality and the State conference, June 20 to 21, 2012, in Paris, France. The conference is organized by the International Network for the Study of Advanced Urban Marginality and funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The title of Kate’s paper: From the Streets of Guayaquil to the Streets of New York: the Ironies of “Zero Tolerance” Policing in the Americas.

This conference brings together urban scholars from several disciplines (sociology, geography, social policy, anthropology and political science), and representing 5 continents and 12 countries, to explore the history, structure, and experience of marginality in varied urban settings, with a special focus on the manifold roles of the state as both generator and manager of inequality and precarity in the city.


June 18, 2012

Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco Receive NSF Grant

fernando bosco pascale joassart-marcelli

Professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco have received a three-year research grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the everyday food practices of children and their families in various urban neighborhoods in San Diego. The overall research goal is to better understand the relationships between food, ethnicity, and place. The research project will support Ph.D. and Master’s students, and it is tied to new undergraduate courses on service learning, food justice and community-based geographic research that begin next academic year.

Read the Project Abstract Leave geography site


andré skupinJune 22, 2012

Skupin Spoke in Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Dr. André Skupin has just returned from a European trip that included speaking engagements at several venues. At Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in Villach, Austria, he taught a three-day course on self-organizing maps (SOM) and gave a colloquium on recent research results. In Zurich, Switzerland, he participated in the workshop “Cartography and Narratives” Leave geography site held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), during which he introduced his current efforts of producing A Pictorial Transect of the United States. He then followed an invitation to give a research presentation in the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich, where he spent several days consulting with students and faculty. Finally, he traveled to Newcastle, UK, to present a project titled Nokia MDC Atlas: An Exploration of Mobile Phone Users, Land Cover, Space, and Time (developed in partnership with Harvey J. Miller, University of Utah) at a workshop organized by Nokia in conclusion of its 2012 Mobile Data Challenge. This competitively reviewed event (acceptance rate for oral presentations was less than 20%) was held in conjunction with the Pervasive 2012 Leave geography site conference.


john weeksJune 25, 2012

Weeks on NPR

Distinguished Professor John Weeks was interviewed by KPBS, San Diego’s Public Broadcasting Station regarding the political geography of San Diego and Interstate 8.

View the article and video on the KPBS site Leave geography site.


July 2, 2012

An, Yang, and Zvoleff Visit China

li an shuang yang alex zvoleff

Dr. Li An along with Doctoral Students Shuang Yang and Alex Zvoleff recently returned from a research trip to the Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China, funded by an NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education Leave geography site (NSF-PIRE) Grant (OISE 0729709). During the trip they completed 170 household surveys, conducted a vegetation survey of 60 field plots, and gathered ground control points for orthorectifying satellite imagery. After their visit to Wolong, Li An and Shuang Yang also visited the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) in Guizhou, China, with the support of FNNR’s fund from Guizhou’s Foreign Experts Administration (a provincial government agency). Dr. Li An and Shuang discussed collaboration tasks with local scientists and policymakers, and conducted several household interviews as a pretest for Shuang’s dissertation research. The results from the trip will be described in an upcoming paper comparing conservation strategies and population trends in three nature reserves in Asia (also including the Chitwan National Park in Nepal).


stuart aitkenJuly 5, 2012

Aitken to Give Keynote

On July 13, 2012, Dr. Stuart Aitken presents the keynote address at the last day of the 3rd International Conference on Children's Geographies in Singapore. His talk, entitled “Young People Crossing Borders: Globally Positioned or Cast Adrift?” focuses on a decade of research on children’s movements and mobilities. He draws on examples from his work in the USA, Mexico, Europe and China.


piotr jankowskiJuly 31, 2012

Jankowski Tours Europe

Piotr Jankowski recently returned from a trip to Europe, during which he lectured in Austria, Poland, and Italy. In Austria, at the University of Applied Sciences in Villach, he gave a talk on “Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis in Spatial Multiple Criteria Evaluation” and presented a series of lectures on spatial multiple criteria decision making methods. In Poland, at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, he presented a lecture on “Spatial Data Infrastructures and Volunteered Geographic Information”, in which he discussed opportunities and challenges for spatial data infrastructures including geographic data produced by volunteers. He then traveled to Sardinia, Italy where at the invitation from the University of Cagliari he led a workshop on spatial decision support systems attended by graduate students in architecture, spatial planning, civil engineering, and (surprise) physics.