Site Navigation

Section Navigation

News / Events : Archive : Department News 2010

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

December 21 - Hisakawa Receives Scholarship

Master's student Nao Hisakawa has been awarded an Austrian Marshall Plan Scholarship. The Austrian Marshall Plan funds scholarships and fellowships for academic exchanges between Austria and the U.S. with a special focus on universities of applied sciences and technical universities. The Scholarship is a three month fellowship to conduct research at Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in Villach, Austria.

Nao's research project will involve analyzing the geographical landscape of the borders between Austria and Hungary, Austria and Slovenia, and Austria and Italy using GIS and remote sensing technologies.

Congratulations, Nao!

December 16 - Stoler Received Fellowship

Doctoral student Justin Stoler s one of this year's recipients of the very prestigious Inamori Fellowships.

The award letter from Vice President Tom Scott noted that: Competition for Inamori Fellowships was intense. There were 70 applicants representing masters and doctoral candidates from every college of our university. The review committee pared the applicant list to 24 finalists and met this week to discuss and select the ten recipients.

Congratulations, Justin!

December 16 - Jankowski Gives Invited Talk

Professor Piotr Jankowski gave an invited talk at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Arizona on December 9, 2010. The title of the talk was Geovisual Analytics and Volunteered Geographic Information.

November 22 - Weeks Receives Research Award

Professor John Weeks is this year's recipient of the Albert Johnson Research Award and Distinguished Professorship.

During his thirty-six years at SDSU, John has assembled an impressive record of research and scholarship that has gained him national and international recognition as a social scientist with expertise in demography, spatial demographics and GIScience.

With around seventy articles and chapters in academic journals and books, John has compiled an impressive record of scholarly publication. In addition, he has published seven books both as single authored monographs and as an editor of anthologies. It is no mean achievement that one of his single authored books has been the leading introductory text in demography for the last thirty years. Although Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues is a textbook intended for undergraduates, the bulk of John’s publication are for high level academic consumption. He has published several times in the prestigious International Journal of Remote Sensing. One of his more recent articles appeared in American geography’s flagship journal, The Annals of the Association of American Geographers. He publishes in a variety of disciplinary outlets including the Journal of Community Health and The Journal of Immigrant Health and Latino/a Research Review. In the last couple of years, he has published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Population, Space and Place, and International Migration. That his work is published in a substantial number of non-geography journals is testimony to the broad academic appeal of John’s work.

There is no doubt that John’s work has helped the Department of Geography achieve its top ranking as a graduate program in the United States. He is an inspiration to his colleagues and students.

Congratulations, John.

November 16 - Bosco Gives Invited Talk

Professor Fernando Bosco is giving an invited talk in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto in Canada on November 19th. The talk is part of the “Intersections” Lectures Series. The talk is entitled “Place and the Politics of Memory in Buenos Aires”.

November 15 - Baby Farley-Wolf Arrives

The Department is pleased to announce the birth of Clara Rosemary Wolf, born Sunday, November 7, 2010. According to mom Dr. Kathleen Farley-Wolf, little Clara is “ beautiful and perfect.”

Congratulations to Kathleen and father Ben.

November 15 - Skupin Begins Work on NSF Grant

A team of researchers at Hunter College - CUNY, New Mexico State University, Brigham Young University, and SDSU has been awarded an NSF grant in support of a project entitled Geographic Information Science and Technology BoK2: Foundational Research. Building on the success of the initial GIS&T Body of Knowledge (BoK1), the project will work on a framework for its future evolution, toward maintaining and expanding this knowledge base of GIS&T in a dynamic, interactive and collaborative fashion. With BoK1 as its organic point of departure, BoK2 aims at creating a transformational, dynamic environment for pedagogy, knowledge building, discourse, collaboration, and research in GIS&T. It will leverage immersive synthetic environments, ontological analysis, and knowledge visualization approaches. The SDSU team will focus on the latter, building on Dr. André Skupin’s expertise in the visualization of abstract information spaces, including the semantic mapping of text documents (see In Terms of Geography). Researchers from the four participating universities will meet here in the Department for a kick-off meeting, November 11-12. The current project will run through 2013.

Partial result showing 
        the interactions of different Geography research areas

November 15 - Skupin Gives Invited Talks in Ireland

This month, Dr. André Skupin will give two talks in Ireland, following an invitation from University College Dublin. On November 15, he will be a guest speaker at a conference on Cultural Dimensions of Innovation, with a talk entitled Visualizing Déjà Vu: A Computational Exploration of Geographic Attribute Space. The following day he will give a second presentation, at the Humanities Institute of Ireland.

November 9 - Pryde to Receive Gilbert F. White Award

Emeritus Professor Philip Pryde has been selected to receive the Gilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) for 2011.

Dr. Pryde has distinguished himself as a scholar in many ways, including authoring several books and publications in prestigious outlets such as Nature, Science, and disciplinary journals such as The Geographical Review, and the Professional Geographer of the Association of American Geographers, but he has truly brought distinction to the discipline through his tireless devotion to public service. For the past four decades he has been involved with local governmental bodies and regional conservation groups, frequently serving as their chair or president, or sitting on their governing board.

Phil has been a major force in the implementation of both community and scientific based watershed approaches in addressing water resource problems in San Diego County and other locations. He has been instrumental in the establishment of river parks along coastal streams in southern California. But what distinguishes Phil’s public involvement is the superb manner in which he has been able to blend teaching, research, and community service in the area of environmental protection.

Phil has been a tremendous representative of Geography and of the AAG and is extremely deserving of the AAG Gilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors.

Text taken from AAG Press Announcement

November 9 - Weeks to Give Keynote

Professor John R. Weeks will be the opening keynote speaker on November 17th at the 35th Annual Meeting of the California Association for Institutional Research, to be held here in San Diego. The theme of the conference is the how the census relates to planning for higher education, and Dr. Weeks's address will focus on that issue. The California Association for Institutional Research (CAIR) is dedicated to the fostering of unity and cooperation among persons having interests and activities related to institutional research and/or planning in California institutions of postsecondary education.

September 23 - Swobodzinski Receives APCG Award

Doctoral candidate Martin Swobodzinski was awarded the President's Award for Outstanding Paper by a Ph.D. student at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (APCG) held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, September 15 – 18, 2010.

The title of Martin's paper is Sequence alignment and regression analysis for the exploration of human-computer interaction.

In his paper, Martin elaborates on the motivation, challenges, and benefits of analyzing data on human-computer interaction that was collected via an Internet platform for public-participation transportation planning. He applies sequence alignment analysis in combination with logistic regression analysis to determine the significance and strength of association between individual-level variables (ie., socio-demographics) and usage patterns of the various components of the Internet platform. The goal of the analysis is to gain insight into the preferences of the subjects for analytical and/or deliberative participatory tools— knowledge that is instrumental for a better understanding of the requirements of and expectation towards future public-participation systems.

Congratulations, Martin.

September 21 - Rey to Give Getis Lecture

The Sixth Annual Arthur Getis Lecture in Spatial Analysis will take place on October 1, 2010, West Commons 220, at 3:00 PM. The speaker will be Professor Sergio J. Rey of Arizona State University. Dr. Rey is an outstanding spatial analyst and software developer. He is well known for his pioneering work on STARS, Space-Time Analysis of Regional Systems and GEODA. Dr. Rey was a faculty member in the department of Geography at SDSU until 2008. His topic is New Approaches for Exploratory Space-Time Data Analysis (ESTDA).

All are invited to attend.

September 20 - SDSU Group Edits New Book

Dr. Stuart C. Aitken, Dr. Kate Swanson, Dr. Fernando Bosco, and Dr. Tom Herman are the co-editors of a new book, Young People, Border Spaces and Revolutionary Imaginations. The book is currently in press with Routledge.

This book advances new theoretical and empirical work on the ways young people negotiate, resist and revolutionize border spaces The ideas in this collection began with a workshop at San Diego State University that brought together researchers interested in borders and young people. The workshop, entitled “Mapping North American Youth Cultures,” was convened in August 2008 and funded by the Canadian Government and San Diego State University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Youth and Space (ISYS).

Based upon discussions that pulled together child researchers living and working close to the borders of Mexico, the United States and Canada, the essays in this collection highlight the idea that material and metaphoric borders give way to young people’s material experimentation with cultural, social and political relations. None of the participants in this collection came to the initial discussions with concrete ideas much less polished research papers, but talk brimmed with stories of young people’s experimentations. Discussions continued after the initial workshop and the result is this collection of essays, which is very much a collaboration between the editors and each participant. The collection does not comprise polished empirical research papers nor practiced theoretical arguments, but rather stories of young people’s lives, variously experienced and reported upon. The borders discussed run the gamut from bodies, families, communities, institutions and nations and they are not exclusively focused on North American contexts. What is offer here is a taste of, and ongoing insight into, literal and metaphorically bordered lives of young people and the revolutionary imaginations that transcend those borders.

September 15 - Aitken to Give Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Stuart C. Aitken is to give the First Annual Distinguished Lecture in Human Geography at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada on Thursday, September 30, 2010.

The title of the talk is “Doing Geography at the Edge of the World: Embattled Leagues of Children and Seals Teeter on the Rim.”

Lecture Flyer

September 13 - Department Welcomes the New Semester

Lecturer Giorgio Curti seated on a picnic table, talks with graduate students. Faculty and students help themselves to food and drink under the trees at 
        Tidelands Park Faculty and students gathered at Tidelands Park

The annual department “Welcome to the New School Year” picnic was held on September 3, at Tidelands Park on Coronado Island across San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego. This is a time when the department welcomes all incoming and returning students to the new school year.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

September 13 - An and Tsou Receive NSF Grant

Search results for 
        H1N1 April 29 and May 6 2009, ploted in ArcGIS software Screen capture of H1N1 
        distribution in the United States shown as a surface in ArcGIS.

Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou and Dr. Li An received a new National Science Foundation award for $1,300,213 for support of their project, entitled “CDI-Type II: Mapping Cyberspace to Realspace: Visualizing and Understanding the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Global Diffusion of Ideas and the Semantic Web”. This project will start on October 1, 2010 and last for four years. This project is a multidisciplinary collaboration with Dr. Dipak K Gupta (Political Science), Dr. Jean Marc Gawron (Linguistics), and Dr. Brian Spitzberg (Communication), all from San Diego State University.

This project will form a new multidisciplinary research framework in connecting social science and computer science for analyzing the dynamic information landscape on the Internet in which ideas spread quickly. By combining GIScience and geo-locating skills in a Web search mechanism, this project illustrates a new approach to information query, retrieval, and analysis methods. The creation of semantic knowledge bases will upgrade traditional “data mining” methods to advanced “information mining” approaches. This research will facilitate the development of space-time analysis methodology, a rapidly growing field in the context of the traditional separation between time series analysis and spatial analysis. The innovative semantic and spatiotemporal analysis framework will provide a new direction for social science research to track the spread of ideas, to analyze where they go and how fast, and to analyze the ideological, social, and religious conditions that promote that spread.

August 27 - Patti O'Leary Receives Teaching Award

It is with great pleasure that the department announces that Patti O'Leary is to be recognized by the National Urban League (NUL) as a recipient of a teaching award for three years or more earlier this decade.

Patti is recognize for her work with at-risk youth in both teaching math/science and in tutoring and SAT preparation. She received the Best Practice Teaching Award three years in a row (nominated by parents and/or students) from NUL and, as such, is considered an “Educator of the Decade.”

As a volunteer, Patti taught math and science to high risk high school youth (previously dropped out or expelled) in Southeast San Diego. She personalized a text and lessons to include funny situations with the names of the students and used activities that they enjoyed in order to make the lessons fun (e.g. football arcs on field goals, for chemistry she set up a crime scene and used math to make measurements of velocity, etc.). Patti’s students entered a national math competition and placed in the upper 25th percentile. All of the students in the years she taught went on to a 4-year college. Two majored in math at a UC campus and have since graduated; 18 have graduated from college or are in their last year of their undergraduate program.

Patti will be honored at a dinner on Saturday Oct 2, 2010 in New York City.

Congratulations Patti.

August 26 - Stutz Book Out

The sixth edition of The World Economy co-authored by Dr. Frederick Stutz will be available in January 2011. The textbook is used at 200 – 300 colleges and universities each year.

August 23 - Partnership between SDSU and FNNR

Research and Education Partnership between SDSU and FNNR (China):

On August 6, 2010, a Research-Education-Outreach agreement was signed between the College of Arts and Letters at SDSU and Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) in China. Many of you may have heard of this reserve as part of the Golden Monkey Project, but the partnership extends beyond the Guizhou golden monkey, encompassing other protected species in this biodiversity 'hotspot', community development, and human-environment interaction. This is a major step in international collaboration between SDSU and FNNR and involves not only faculty and students from Geography, but also from Anthology, Biology, and the San Diego Zoo. Thanks to Drs. Paul Wong, Stuart Aitken, and Li An for their substantial efforts in establishing this partnership! More details, including copies of the agreement, can be found on Dr. An’s STACS group website

August 17 - Remote Sensing History in the Department

The ERDAS Corporation has produced “San Diego State University: An ERDAS Legacy” that discusses the department’s use of ERDAS products since the 1980’s.

August 17 - Geography Workshops Offered

The Department of Geography is offering six (6) one-day workshops during the 2010 Fall Semester. The workshops will showcase the research being conducted in the department. As such, the workshops are structured on the assumption that participants will have a degree and extensive course work or experience in GIS or Remote Sensing.

To sign up for one or all of the workshops, please visit the College of Extended Studies and then click on “Geography”.

August 2 - Beginning of Semester Meetings

The orientation meetings for the new school year are as follows:

  • Incoming Master's Student Meeting: Wednesday, August 25, 9:30am, Storm Hall 337. All new incoming master's students must attend.
  • GA/TA Meeting: Wednesday, August 25, 10:30pm, Storm Hall 337. All new and returning master's Graduate and Teaching Assistants must attend.
  • Doctoral Meeting: Wednesday, August 25, 1:00pm, Storm Hall 321. All Doctoral student must attend.

July 19 - Christakos Book Forthcoming

Dr. George Christakos’ new book, Integrative Problem Solving in Time of Decadence, will soon be available from Springer Press.

In a tour de force account of how to figure out a world turned decadent, George presents a unique study of Integrative Problem-Solving (IPS). As we would hope, there is sophisticated math and science in this volume, but there is also an important connection to social analysis and philosophical thinking. Only by engaging and connecting a full range of disciplines, George argues, can we arrive at a satisfactory account of problem-solving.

Citing as Decadence, the “unholy alliance of financial corporation and radical postmodernism,” George contends that contemporary higher education and research, among other things, is plagued by a desire to satisfy lower human needs and, by so doing, it dismisses tradition and past knowledge. He argues that only by understanding the power of Decadence can we embark upon a realistic study of environmental and health problems and their rigorous solutions.

July 15 - Fraley Awarded Fellowship

Grant Fraley was awarded a 3-month fellowship from Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation to conduct research in geocomputation at the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences in Villach, Austria. Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation funds scholarships and fellowships for academic exchanges between Austria and the U.S. with a special focus on universities of applied sciences and technical universities. Grant’s fellowship is a direct result of collaboration established by Dr. Piotr Jankowski (SDSU) and Dr. Gernot Paulus (Carinthian University of Applied Sciences). Nicole Simons was last year’s recipient of the fellowship.

July 15 - SDSU Geography Ranked Seventh

SDSU's Geography graduate program is ranked 7th nationally in a 2010 study of faculty scholarly productivity, beating out longer-established programs at such schools as the University of California at Berkeley, Texas A&M University and Cornell University.

The ranking is based on research by Academic Analytics of Stony Brook, N.Y., which specializes in compilation and analysis of data on the productivity of university faculty. Institutions subscribe to the database to get objective rankings of their programs. The rankings are widely touted as a more viable alternative to the subjectively-based U.S. News and World Report.

Academic Analytics compiles a Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, which measures scholarly productivity based upon book and journal publications, journal article citations, federally funded research grants and professional awards. Productivity indexes are based on the cumulative score of a program’s faculty compared with national standards within the discipline. The information is gathered for more than 200,000 faculty members representing 118 academic disciplines in 387 U.S. universities.

July 1 - Swanson Publishes Spanish Language Book

Dr. Kate Swanson has recently published a book in Spanish with Facultad Latinosmericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) - Abya-Yala titled “Pidiendo Caridad en la Ciudad: Mujeres y niños indígenas en las calles de Ecuador”.

June 24 - Wang Receives Best Student Paper Award

Ninghua Wang, joint doctoral program student, won the Second Place Award in the Best Student Paper Competition at the 18th International Conference on Geoinformatics in Beijing, China, where he presented the paper titled “Analyzing Spatial Effects of Hotspot Policing with a Simulation Approach”.

The International Conference on Geoinformatics is a well-known annual forum for geographic information science professionals. The 18th conference was held in Beijing, China. It provided an opportunity for all professionals involved in GIS, GPS, and RS research and development to discuss new ways to advance the theory, technology, and applications of GIScience.

May 21 - Dr. Biggs is Now an Associate Professor

Dr. Trent Biggs has been promoted to an Associate Professor. He is now part of the tenure faculty. The promotion is in recognition of outstanding contributions to the university and geography in teaching, scholarships, and service.

Congratulations Dr. Biggs.

May 21 - Cortez Interviewed By KPBS

Samuel Cortez, a Geography Masters student, was interviewed recently by KPBS on the travel ban to Tijuana. The US State Department issued a travel warning against travel in Mexico that was also issued by the SDSU University Police on April 12, 2010. As a result research projects, internships and classes taking place in Tijuana were suspended until further notice. SDSU appealed the decision by the chancellor’s office because of the large number of activities we have with Tijuana. The appeal was denied and all academic activities by SDSU in Tijuana were suspended, including many on-going projects in our department. Samuel was taking a Latin American Studies Seminar on the US-Mexico Border that took place in Tijuana. The seminar looked at different aspects of Tijuana society. After the ban took effect Samuel were barred from going out there.

KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson came to the class and interviewed Samuel and the professor Dr. Victor Clark-Alfaro. The interview took place on May 5 and it was aired on May 12 on KPBS’ NPR Morning edition. The article and sound clip of the interview has been posted on the KPBS website :

May 5 - Yuki Hamada Defends Dissertation

Congratulation to Yuki Hamada who successfully defended her doctoral dissertation titled “Characterizing Conditions of California Sage Scrub Communities of Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems Using Remote Sensing” on April 9, 2010. Yuki explains her dissertation:

Biodiversity loss is an urgent global issue. For California’s Mediterranean-type ecosystems, protecting biologically diverse vegetation communities such as the California sage scrub (CSS) community type is vital to conserving rare, threatened, or endangered species, as well as overall species richness of the region. While existing monitoring methods such as field surveys and vegetation type mapping provide ecologically valuable information, they do not provide information about internal conditions of CSS communities. Fractional cover of plant life forms is frequently utilized to examine conditions of arid and semi-arid vegetation communities. For the CSS community type, however, the utility of life-form fractional cover has not received adequate attention as an effective monitoring variable indicating ecological integrity; thus, no reliable, cost-effective methods have been developed. This dissertation investigates the effectiveness of fractional cover of true shrub, subshrub, herb, and bare ground for quantifying CSS community conditions, tests remote sensing approaches to obtain spatially comprehensive life-form cover fractions, and explores the utility of life-form fractional cover maps for sustainable, effective long-term monitoring of CSS communities of southern California.

Past studies indicate that fractional cover of plant life forms an effective measure for quantifying CSS community integrity, and remote sensing is the only means to estimate spatially exhaustive cover fractions cost-effectively over large extent. Among the remote sensing approaches teste4d, object-based image analysis using pansharpened QuickBird imagery shows the most promise for estimating life-form fractional cover within CSS communities because of its high accuracy (e.g., RMSE as low as 6.4%) and robustness in esimating cover fractions and ability of providing life-form-level landscape metrics. Multiple Endmember Spectral Mixture Analysis using SPO imagery is also capable of estimating cover fractions with comparable accuracy, thus is beneficial for retrospective analysis for life-form cover changes and cost-effective ecological monitoring. Using spatially exhaustive life-form cover fractions, maps indicating CSS community conditions and species' life-form cover preference can be obtained. Such maps can fill information gaps between field-based data and vegetation type maps and provide valuable information about habitat recovery, habitat suitability, and ecological integrity of CSS communities. By combining those methods, mover effective CSS community monitoring can be achieved.

Out of her dissertation, two manuscripts are currently review with Journal of Arid Environments and Remote Sensing of Environment. Another manuscript will be submitted to Environmental Management. As an postdoctoral research associate at the Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory (starting from July 2010), one of the oldest research laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy, Yuki is excited to conduct research on cumulative impact of anthropogenic disturbances on critical terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for sustainable renewable energy resources development in the nation.

Dr. Hamada's doctoral committee members were: Dr. Douglas Stow (Chair), Dr. Janet Franklin (SDSU/ASU), Dr. Dar Roberts (UCSB) and Dr. Phaedon Kyriakidis (UCSB). Her dissertation was partly supported by Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant.

May 5 - Guest Speaker Does Research Presentation

There will be a research presentation by Stacy Rebich Hespanha, Doctoral Candidate, UC-Santa Barbara, on Friday, May 7, 3:30pm, in REGAL (Nasatir 390). The presentation is titled "Emotion and Climate Change Communication: U.S. News Media 1969 - present"

As you can see based on the title and abstract, hers is an ambitious study with far-reaching implications and relevance for a wide range of geographic interests. Whether you're interested in environmental policy, human emotion and behavior, or contemporary approaches in computation and visualization, there will be something for you.

Here is a breif description of Stacy's presentation: As scientific understanding of the causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change continues to increase, public opinion in the US has moved in the opposite direction, towards greater disbelief and greater focus on uncertainties. While potential factors in this seeming paradox are many, advocates on both sides of the issue are quick to point to journalists and news organizations as promoters of bias, misconception, controversy, uncertainty, and fear. My work seeks to reveal themes and patterns in news reports about global warming and climate change over the history of public communication about the issue, and I will present preliminary results (in the form of Self-Organizing Maps) of an algorithmic text processing study based on over 100,000 news stories published or aired between 1969 and 2009. I will also report on preliminary analyses of data gathered through web surveys that were designed to document people’s emotional responses to the text and images used in news stories about climate change. These results support and build upon contemporary cognitive-emotional theory in general and previous work on communication about climate change in particular. Based on these connections, I will conclude by discussing potential explanations of the news media’s role in the disconnect between the scientific community and the general public on this issue, and what this research implies for how scientists and climate change communicators should craft their messages for the public.

We encourage all to attend.

May 5 - Lopez and Jankowska Recognized in Research Competition

Two of our Fellow Geographers have been recognized in the "Places We Live" research competition sponsored by USAID, the International Housing Coalition (IHC), The World Bank, Cities Alliance, and the Woodrow Wilson Comparative Urban Studies Program (CUSP):

Dr. Anna Carla Lopez, now an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow in our department, was a finalist and received an Honorable Mention in the competition for her paper "Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire? Urbanization and Sustainable Food Systems in Accra, Ghana"

Marta Jankowska, PhD student in the department, was also a finalist in the competition for her paper: "Continuums of Vulnerability in the Slums of Accra, Ghana"

The finalist's papers have been posted on the World Bank's Urban program website:

Congratulations Dr. Anna Carla Lopez and Marta Jankowska

April 30 - Skupin Gives Keynote Lecture at AAG

Dr. André Skupin was invited to give the annual "Waldo Tobler Distinguished Lecture in Geographic Information Science" at the AAG Meeting in Washington D.C., sponsored by the AAG's Geographic Information Systems and Science Specialty Group. His lecture was entitled "Tri-Space: Conceptualize, Compute, Visualize" and introduced a new approach for systematic exploration of multi-temporal attribute spaces. It featured results of Skupin's recent collaboration with colleagues George Christakos and Trent Biggs, former post-doc Alexander Kolovos (now at SAS Institute Inc.), and several graduate students, including Grant Fraley, Martin Lacayo, and Ninghua Wang.

April 23 - Smith and Fraley Win Awards at AAG

Both Diana Smith and Grant Fraley won awards at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, which was held in Washington, D.C., April 14-18.

Diana Smith won the first prize of the Cartography Honors Student Paper Competition. Her paper was about "Formalizing and evaluating principles of web-based animated cartography using arctic sea ice examples" in which she devised principles of web-based animated cartography based on existing arctic sea ice animations and then conducted user testing to explore the ability of the principles to contribute to knowledge gain. They paid for her conference registration and gave her $100.

Grant Fraley won the second prize of the GISSG Honors Student Paper Competition. His paper was about Multiple Objective Geographic Modeling for Hazards Using a Genetic Algorithm with Spatial Fuzzy Adaptation.

Congratulations Diana and Grant

April 16 - Whitaker Stars in Video

Terressa Whitaker (MA 2009) stars in a video about the hydrology of Yosemite. To view this video follow this link here

Congratulations Terressa

April 16 - Swanson Book Interview

Kate Swanson was interviewed by Nicholas Crowder, for a website called 'Latin American Book Review' about her book 'Begging as a Path to Progress'. To hear more about her book listen to the interview by clicking here

Congratulations Kate

April 9 - Ye Defends Dissertation

Congratulation to Xinyue Ye who successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled “Comparative Space Time Dynamics” on March 12, 2010. Xinyue explains his dissertation topic:

The study of economic inequality and convergence continues to attract enormous attention thus becoming a dynamic academic landscape where interdisciplinary literature has evolved. This interest has been reflected in the spatial and temporal thinking in this research domain, that is, the analysis of spatial patterns of economic convergence and the temporal dynamics of geographical inequality. However, the literatures of process analysis and form analysis are mainly separated. Consequently, the integration of the above two rich and growing literatures offers opportunities for a truly spatially integrated social science. Hence, the aims of this dissertation are two-fold: first, to develop a comprehensive framework to integrate multiple dimensions and scales, and systematically compare regional economic structure and interactions; second, to further the understanding of the role spatial and temporal effects might play in regional economic growth. The objective of this dissertation is the crossfertilization of exploratory space time analysis and regional economic growth. This research will apply these new methods to compare Chinese space-time economic structure with that of the United States. In addition, these methods will be implemented in the Open Source software package STARS: Space-Time Analysis of Regional Systems that facilitates the study of space-time economic process.

Currently, Xinyue is repackaging the dissertation into several publications. He is also invited by NSF to review the proposal. As an assistant professor of the Center for Regional Development and School of Earth, Environment and Society at Bowling Green State University (starting from August 2009), he is excited to have four research assistants in the coming academic year, working on space-time model and toolbox for analyzing regional development.

Dr. Ye's doctoral committee members were: Dr. Serge Rey (Chair), Dr. Arthur Getis, Dr. Li An, Dr. Michael Goodchild (UCSB) and Dr. Richard Church (UCSB). His dissertation was supported by NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant.

April 8 - Stoler Receives Travel Award

Doctoral student Justin Stoler will receive a 2010 Graduate Student Travel Fund award to continue his dissertation research. Justin was one of the few awardees picked from 78 applications.

The GSTF award is being used to facilitate Justin's travel to Accra, Ghana, where he is currently engaged in disseration research that explores the links between drinking water sources, water quality, and human health in urban slums.

Congratulations, Justin.

April 5 - Fraley, Freeman, and Lippitt Collect Remote Sensing Awards

Doctoral student Grant Fraley was awarded the 2010 Graduate Student Achievement Award for Remote Sensing and GIS Based Studies by the ASPRS (American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing), Southwest Region. He will receive the award Tuesday, April 27th during the 2010 ASPRS Annual Conference in San Diego, CA (April 26-30).

At the conference Grant will also present an unrelated paper entitled Implications of Low-cost Sensor Technologies for UAV Imaging Applications.

In addition to Grant Fraley, two other SDSU doctoral students, Mary Freeman and Chris Lippitt received a 2010 Graduate Student Achievement Award for Remote Sensing and GIS based studies from the Southwest ASPRS region. The three $300 awards were all given to SDSU students.

Congratulations Grant, Mary, and Chris.

Grant Fraley Mary Freeman Chris Lippitt

April 5 - Hamada Earns Poster Award

Doctoral candidate Yuki Hamada earned second place for her poster, Characterizing Conditions of California Sage Scrub Communities in Mediterranean-type Ecosystems Using Remote Sensing at the 2010 Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Conference in Palm Springs.

The following is an abstract of the poster contents:
Protecting the biologically diverse California or coastal sage scrub (CSS) communities is vital to conserving rare, threatened, or endangered (RTE) animal species and overall species richness of California’s Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs). To protect these ecologically significant communities, monitoring integrity of the community type is equally critical to maintaining its extent and distribution. Current monitoring methods (i.e. field-based surveys and vegetation type mapping), however, do not adequately quantify internal conditions of CSS communities. This research investigates the effectiveness of remote sensing for estimating fractional cover of true shrub, subshrub, herb, and bare ground within CSS communities, which would aid in quantifying CSS community health. It also explores the utility of spatially exhaustive life-form cover fractions for CSS habitat conservation. Ten advanced remote sensing approaches based on combinations of image types with varying spatial resolution (i.e. 0.15 m to 10 m) and image processing/analysis methods (i.e. per-pixel, object-based, and mixture models) were tested. The results show that object-based image analysis (OBIA) using pansharpened QuickBird imagery (0.6 m) is capable of estimating fractional cover most accurately with error as low as +/-6.4%. Using cover estimates derived from this approach, maps representing CSS community conditions and life-form cover preference of Polioptila californica (California gnatcatcher) were created. The estimates were also applied to generate ternary plots indicating life-form composition of CSS communities. Spatially exhaustive life-form fractional cover aids in developing more comprehensive monitoring systems by filling information gaps between existing monitoring methods.

March 25 - Dr. Hui Lin Does Lunch Talk

Dr. Hui Lin

Dr. Hui Lin, Professor and Director of Institute of Space and Earth Information Science (ISEIS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), will be talking during the Lunch Talk on March 26 (Friday) 12pm – 1pm, Geography Seminar Room (SH321).

Dr. Hui Lin is Director of Hong Kong Base of National Remote Sensing Center of China. He graduated from Wuhan Technical University of Surveying and Mapping in 1980, received Master of Science degree from Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1983, and Ph.D. from University at Buffalo in 1992. Hui Lin joined CUHK in 1993 with major research interests in satellite remote sensing, virtual geographic environments (VGE), and urban and historic GIS. He was elected academician of International Eurasia Academy of Sciences in 1995 and member of the Expert Committee of China Lunar Exploring Program in 2008. Hui Lin is the founding president of International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Science (CPGIS) and the chief editor of the journal Annals of GIS.

His topic for the Lunch Talk is What could be after Geographic Information System?
GIS, after continual development in last 40 years, has been widely used in various fields by researchers, governmental officials, businessman, and many professionals and non-professionals. With its root from maps, GIS has more functions including spatial analysis and static spatial modeling. However, many GIS users today are looking for a platform which is of geo-process modeling functions, such as wild fire modeling and air pollution spreading simulation. The framework of GIS with a geo-coded database shows its bottleneck for this kind of dynamic modeling. What should we do for integrating the geo-coded database and the geo-process models? Virtual geographic environments (VGE) could be an answer as a new framework beyond GISystem.

March 25 - Abbenate Designs Projections for SDSU School of Theatre

Dominic Abbenate

Last fall, SDSU Geography Master's student Dominic Abbenante designed the projections for the SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film production of Dear Harvey as a competing production for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The production, after successfully advancing to the Region 8 Festival in Utah, has been selected as one of four productions nationally to be performed as a concert reading, with music and projections at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The performance will take place Friday, April 16 at the Kennedy Center Family Theatre at 5 p.m. Dominic is currently finishing his Master's thesis on the Geographic Spaces of Urban Theatre Performance.

For more information about the production, visit:

March 22 - Three Books by SDSU Geographers Nominated to be Honored

The Awkward Spaces of Fathering

Three books by SDSU Geographers nominated to be honoured at this year's Geographical Perspectives on Women (GPOW) Book Event at the 2010 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting:

Stuart Aitken. 2009. The Awkward Spaces of Fathering. Ashgate. ISBN: 9780754670056. (Stuart Aitken's book The Awkward Spaces of Fathering was also rated 'Highly recommended' in Choice, which is the leading source for academic librarians.)

Dydia DeLyser, Steve Herbert, Stuart Aitken, Mike Crang, and Linda McDowell, Eds. 2010. Handbook of Qualitative Geography. Sage. ISBN: 9781412919913.

Kate Swanson.2010. Begging as a Path to Progress: Indigenous Women and Children and the Struggle for Ecuador's Urban Spaces. University of Georgia Press. ISBN: 9780820331805.

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Time: 7-9pm (Announcements will be made at 7:45 PM).
Venue: Society of Woman Geographers 415 E. Capitol St. SE Washington, DC 20003
Telephone: (202) 546-9228

March 15 - Annual Department Camping Trip

Last weekend the Department had its Annual Department Camping Trip. The group of students and professors traveled out to the desert to have some fun. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed being surrounded by nature. Below are a few pictures. The first picture is of a cactus that is budding with flowers. The second is a picture of Dr. Skupin cooking. The last picture is of a group getting ready for a hike.

Blooming cactus Dr. Skupin cooking Hiking group

March 11 - Crotty Receives Dean’s Award

Congratulations go to Doctoral Student Sean Crotty who received the Dean's Award for his presentation at the SDSU Student Research Symposium on Saturday, March 6, 2010.

Sean’s talk was titled “The Geography of Day Labor in San Diego”. Sean basically examines the geographic distribution of day labor hiring sites in San Diego. The two factors he talked about in this paper were: 1) the connection between hiring site locations and spatial concentrations of employment in “connected industries” (the industries that most commonly hire laborers), and 2) Some of the situational characteristics of hiring sites, which help us understand why particular spaces are better or worse for day labor within areas of high connected industry employment.

March 9 - Getis’ Amazing February

Emeritus professor Dr. Arthur Getis had an amazing month of February.

  1. He was awarded the status of Fellow by the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science. Dr. Getis was in the inaugural group of three fellows; the others are David Mark and Lynn Usery.
  2. The award of a Hooker Distinguished Visiting Professorship at McMaster University in Canada. He spent a week giving lectures and visiting with faculty and graduate students.
  3. The publication of Perspectives on Spatial Data Analysis by Springer, a volume edited by Luc Anselin and Serge Rey, which is a review of Dr. Getis’ work and is essentially a festskrift. A festschrift is a tradition among Norwegians and Swedes to honor senior colleague's work by publishing a volume of essays honoring the colleague's corpus of work.
  4. Also, Dr. Getis recently had published The Handbook of Applied Spatial Analysis: Software Tools, Methods, and Applications.

Congratulations to Dr. Getis!

February 1 - Professors Out and About

At the La Jolla Playhouse last season, Kate Swanson led discussion about the urban geography in Unusual Acts of Devotion, a play set in a New York City apartment. More recently, Trent Biggs stood under the stage lights of the IMax theatre in the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center to speak about the Amazon and field questions at the San Diego movie premiere of The Greatest Places.

January 6 - Giorgio Curti Defends Dissertation

Congratulation to Giorgio Curti who successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled “The Body Geographic: Affect, Imagination and the Relationality of Be(com)ing, or Movements through Spinozan Earth-Writings” on December 18, 2009. Giorgio explains his dissertation topic:

An exploration of what geography does (and can do) can help uncover its role as a disciplinary mode of encounter in tension with the dominant ontological foundations of Western philosophic and scientific thought. French philosopher Gilles Deleuze points to the existence of two lines of Western philosophical tradition: the dominant one exemplified by the philosophies of Plato, Descartes and Kant, the other a challenge and break from the interiority and artificial dualisms of this “rationalist” tradition and expressed through the works of such philosophers as Lucretius, Hume, Nietzsche and Spinoza (as well as Deleuze himself). It is my position that the latter line, most forcefully the work of 17th century Dutch (Marrano) thinker Benedict (Baruch) de Spinoza, finds a certain vital resonance with(in) geography through a shared epistemological break from and ontological challenge to conventional Western thinking. Nigel Thrift recently argued that “Spinoza was a kind of geographer.” I take this statement one step further to argue that geography does a kind of Spinozan science. I support this claim by first exploring how geography’s content is entangled in enduring intellectual and practical separations which hinder or disallow it adequate expression. I then discuss and illustrate through different topical movements - such as landscape, territorial conflict, gentrification and displacement, media and social networks, and the relationships between children, families and governmental institutions - how Spinoza’s work and its: (1) conceptualization of humans and earth, nature and culture, society and space, as intimately and necessarily inter-connected and inter-related phenomena; (2) immanent understanding of ideas (thought) and material (extension) as two perspectives of the same substance informed and experienced through capacities of embodied imagination, affection (affectio) and affect (affectus); and (3) capacity to serve as a dynamic nexus through which various geographical viewpoints and interests can find lines of agreement or correspondence, presents geographers with a conceptual logic internal to and expressive of the content of the discipline. In its move towards a ‘Spinozan Geography,’ this work - both as a whole and in its composite parts - is not an attempt at a rigorous analytical exposition of Spinoza’s thinking in the academic philosophical sense. In other words, the drive of this work is not for rigor as redundant repetition or analytical critique. Rather, it is a call for and a push towards rigor as an internally consistent and creative “productivism.” Thus, as a “productivist” mo(ve)ment, this work is not propelled by the necessity, need or desire to ‘critically’ trace or embed Spinoza’s thought in or to a particular episteme or time-space. Neither is it driven by the need for an historical or ‘comprehensive’ survey of the geographical tradition. Instead, it is an effort at an open ontological and epistemological assemblage creatively building on Spinoza in fluid molecular dialogue with other thinkers, such as Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Antonio Negri and Brian Massumi, but especially the lineal “geo-philosophers” Deleuze and Guattari and the body geographic - in the double sense of a geographic body of literature and practice and the body as a(n) (un)folding geographic membrane and force - as an affirmative way through which geographers can better gain insights into, grapple with, understand, express, share and explore what geography does. To put it in practical terms, this work is more concerned with what bodies do or can do - in this case assembling bodies of thought, practice and action - than by what they are.

Currently, Giorgio Hadi Curti is working on papers, editing a book on media and geography and a special issue of Aether on media geography and the Middle East, teaching two classes at SDSU and looking for a tenure track J.O.B.

Dr. Curti's doctoral committee members were: Dr. Stuart Aitken, Dr. Fernando Bosco, Dr. David Carr (UCSB Geography), and Dr. Colin Gardner (UCSB Art/Film).

January 6 - Chris Moreno Defends Dissertation

Congratulation to Christopher Moreno who successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled “Geographies of Addiction and Recovery: Drugs, Spaces, and Body Politics” on December 18, 2009. Chris explains his dissertation topic:

The main purpose of my dissertation project was to build on, work through, and expand relational understandings of bodies and spaces to bring different sensibilities to discussions of drug addiction and recovery, particularly as they related to geographical matters. This included, engaging with the subject of drug addiction and recovery through contemporary geographical concerns and debates surrounding the health, ethics, and politics of bodies, as well as relational understandings of space and affect as they intersect in the critical and health geography literature. Through different modes of encounter (film, families, institutions, and communities), I also qualitatively and ethnographically explored the different ways in which drug users (including their social and familial relations) and spaces of drug addiction and recovery evolved and worked to create for themselves new, more active, healthy, body-spaces not necessarily confined to, or limited by, institutional or ideological controls. Ultimately, there were two intended goals and outcomes of this project: 1) to explore conceptually and empirically what drug using and recovering bodies and spaces were capable of by mapping a more hopeful social and spatial politics of drug addiction and recovery, and 2) to offer social science researchers and policy makers different geographical sensibilities from which to approach the complex and emerging relationships between drug use and recovery in differentiating social and institutional contexts.

Three of five chapters in this project were published, forth is currently in review, and the fifth will be submitted here shortly. In the spring, beyond looking for a job and teaching a few classes, I will also be putting together two edited journals on addiction and recovery in Emotion, Space, and Society and Social and Cultural Geography.

Dr. Moreno's doctoral committee members were: Dr. Stuart Aitken, Dr. Fernando Bosco, Dr. Helen Couclelis (UCSB Geography), Dr. Colin Gardner (UCSB Art/Film), and Dr. David Carr (UCSB Geography).

January 5 - Holiday Party Highlights

The annual Geography Department Holiday Party was held on December 16, 2009. There was much food, drink, and trivia had by all during the three hour extravaganza.

Dr. Pascale Joassart reads a trivia question in front of a food laden table. Dr. Pascale Joassart incorrectly answers a trivia question.

January 5 - Swanson Book Coming Soon

Begging as a Path to Progress: Indigenous Women and Children and the Struggle for Ecuador's Urban Spaces is the forthcoming book by Professor Kate Swanson. The book is part of the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation Series from the University of Georgia Press. It will be available in March 2010.

In 1992, Calhuasí, an isolated Andean town, got its first road. Newly connected to Ecuador’s large cities, Calhuasí experienced rapid social-spatial change, which Kate Swanson richly describes. Based on nineteen months of fieldwork, Swanson’s study pays particular attention to the ideas and practices surrounding youth. While begging seems to be inconsistent with—or even an affront to—ideas about childhood in the developed world, Swanson demonstrates that the majority of income earned from begging goes toward funding Ecuadorian children’s educations in hopes of securing more prosperous futures.

“Begging as a Path to Progress is an excellent book that comes to some arresting conclusions. Pleasingly and accessibly written, it is a major contribution to the fields of youth geographies, development studies, and interdisciplinary research on childhood.”
—Craig Jeffrey, coauthor of Degrees Without Freedom?: Education, Masculinities, and Unemployment in North India

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.