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News / Events : Archive : Department News 2012

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December 18 - Annual Department Holiday Party

The annual Geography Department Holiday Party was held on December 14, 2012. There was food, drinks, trivia, and laughter had by all during the two hour extravaganza. For all the photos from the party other recent events, please visit the department's Facebook page.

Dr. Doug Stow reading a trivia question Dr. Pascale Joassart Marcelli holding up her prize The prizes Dr. Andre Skupin, who moderated the event

November 20 - Rushton Gives 2012 Getis Lecture

Dr. Gerard Rushton, a professor of geography from the University of Iowa, was the Arthur Getis Distinguished Lecturer for 2012. The title of his talk, presented last month, was Spatial Analysis for Population Health .

Dr. Gerard Rushton with Dr. Art Getis

November 16 - Tsou on KPBS

Professor Ming-Hsiang Tsou was interviewed by KPBS, San Diego's Public Broadcasting Station regarding his NSF funded project Mapping Ideas. The aim of the project is to track spatial patterns of publically-accessible web pages and social media (Twitter) based upon searching predefined clusters of keywords determined by domain experts.

View the full article and video on the KPBS website.

November 13 - Crotty Defends Dissertation

Sean Crotty sucessfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled The Geographies of Day Labor in San Diego County.

My broad research interests lie at the intersection of urban planning and governance, economic geography, legal geography, community studies, and critical perspectives on immigration and race. My dissertation research focused on the spatial organization and operation of immigrant day-labor markets, as well as the socio-spatial relationships between hiring sites and their surrounding neighborhoods that sometimes generate serious community conflicts. Indeed, the primary purpose of my research is to reduce or eliminate day-labor conflicts at the local level through improved urban planning, community building and education, and improved communication networks among laborers. The geographic perspective is critical in my approach, as planning for day labor activities requires understanding how the markets work at multiple spatial scales.

In my dissertation project, I used geographic information systems (GIS) and quantitative analysis in combination with qualitative research methods to explore the geography of day labor markets in the San Diego Metropolitan Area. Specifically, my project examines the distribution and locational characteristics of day labor hiring sites and the neighborhoods that support them. This regional and neighborhood-level analysis is combined with street-level observation and ethnography to understand the ways that spaces of work and social reproduction are informally constructed, maintained, and altered by day laborers and other community members. As a human geographer, my research and analysis is interdisciplinary in nature, and incorporates theoretical perspectives from a variety of disciplines. My work contributes to critical theories of race and ethnicity, community membership, and governance by connecting these literatures with theories of space and place from geography and examining their applicability in the context of day labor activities and conflicts. In particular, my work demonstrates the connection between neighborhood identity and the criminalization of immigrant day laborers. I view this contribution as critical, as it provides a more nuanced understanding of the locational factors that generate day-labor "conflicts." These findings informed my efforts to develop socially-just solutions to day-labor conflicts as a participant-activist with local community groups involved in immigrant outreach and advocacy in the San Diego Metropolitan Area.

Congratulations Sean!

October 17 - Freeman Defends Dissertation

Mary Pyott Freeman sucessfully defended her doctoral dissertation titled An Analysis of Tree Mortality Using High Resolution Remotely-Sensed Data for Mixed-Conifer Forests in San Diego County.

For my research I have been working on various methods to document and understand the increase of tree dieback in our local montane sky islands. The montane mixed-conifer forests of San Diego County are currently experiencing extensive tree mortality, which is defined as dieback where whole stands are affected. This mortality is likely the result of the complex interaction of many variables, such as altered fire regimes, climatic conditions such as drought, as well as forest pathogens and past management strategies. Conifer tree mortality and its spatial pattern and change over time were examined in three components. In component 1, two remote sensing approaches were compared for their effectiveness in delineating dead trees, a spatial contextual approach and an OBIA (object based image analysis) approach, utilizing various dates and spatial resolutions of airborne image data. For each approach transforms and masking techniques were explored, which were found to improve classifications, and an object-based assessment approach was tested. In component 2, dead tree maps produced by the most effective techniques derived from component 1 were utilized for point pattern and vector analyses to further understand spatio-temporal changes in tree mortality for the years 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2005 for three study areas: Palomar, Volcan and Laguna mountains. Plot-based fieldwork was conducted to further assess mortality patterns. Results indicate that conifer mortality was significantly clustered, increased substantially between 2002 and 2005, and was non-random with respect to tree species and diameter class sizes. In component 3, multiple environmental variables were used in Generalized Linear Model (GLM - logistic regression) and decision tree classifier model development, revealing the importance of climate and topographic factors such as precipitation and elevation, in being able to predict areas of high risk for tree mortality. The results from this study highlight the importance of multi-scale spatial as well as temporal analyses, in order to understand mixed-conifer forest structure, dynamics, and processes of decline, which can lead to more sustainable management of forests with continued natural and anthropogenic disturbance.

Congratulations Mary!

October 9 - Kennedy quoted in Politico, has an article published on Open Democracy

Congratulations to doctoral student Elizabeth Kennedy, who had a very productive September. On the 28th, she was quoted in an article from Politico about her work with child migrants.

"You can't separate this migration from the violence associated with the U.S. drug policy," she told POLITICO. "This is a U.S. driven problem and we can't escape being culpable for it." Read the full article entitled Child-migrant Problems on the Rise.

Earlier in the month on September 5th, Elizabeth had an article published on Open Democracy about her own experiences working with young migrants on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Read the full article entitled A Child's transnational journey "to be someone".

October 1 - Weeks quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune

Distinguished Professor John Weeks was quoted extensively in an article from the San Diego Union Tribune about updating the census categories for race and ethnicity.

Read the full article, entitled Census may change race, ethnicity terms.

September 27 - Stow et al. Receive $993,000 NASA Grant

Congratulations to Doug Stow and his colleagues on their recent NASA grant "The Urban Transition in Ghana and Its Relation to Land Cover and Land Use Change Through Analysis of Multi-scale and Multi-temporal Satellite Image Data." The grant is part of the NASA Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science Program. The research team consists of PI Doug Stow, Co-PIs John Weeks and Li An as well as David Carr (UCSB), Ryan Engstrom (George Washington University), Foster Mensah (University of Ghana), and SDSU-UCSB Geography Ph.D. students Magdalena Benza-Fiocco and Sory Toure.

September 24 - An Part of Team Awarded new $1.45 Million NSF-CNH Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Li An, who is part of a team that was recently awarded an National Science Foundation - Dynamics Coupled Natural and Human Systems (NSF-CNH) grant, entitled: "CNH: Feedbacks Between Human Community Dynamics and Socioecological Vulnerability in a Biodiversity Hotspot," (PI Scott T. Yabiku, ASU, co-PIs: Sharon J. Hall, ASU; Li An; Abigail M. York, ASU, and Dirgha Ghimire, University of Michigan). The project team will be investigating connections between non-family organizations and management institutions, and the spread of an invasive weed, Mikania micrantha, in the buffer zone surrounding the Chitwan National Park in Nepal.

September 10 - Beginning of the Semester Picnic

The Department of Geography's beginning of the year picnic was held on September 7, 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 below.

People milling around at Tidelands Park Wider shot of people talking at Tidelands Park Empty pizza boxes and a few faculty A couple of people sitting at Tidelands Park

September 4 - Stuart Aitken receives the Monty Award

Congratulations once again to Dr. Stuart Aitken. During the Convocation Ceremony on August 23, Stuart officially received his Monty Award. Check out a few selected pictures from the event below.

To see the video about Stuart that showed during the Convocation, click here.

Stuart Aitken and his family at the Monty Award Ceremony The 2012 Monty Award Winners Stuart Aitken with the President, Dean, and Provost Stuart Aitken with his award


August 27 - Kennedy quoted in the New York Times

Doctoral student Elizabeth Kennedy was quoted in the Sunday edition of the New York Times about her work with unaccompanied minors.

"The children at home feel unloved, they feel empty," said Elizabeth G. Kennedy, a researcher at San Diego State University who studies child migrants. "If parents know their child is feeling empty and is in danger, they will make a decision."

Read the full article, entitled Young and Alone, Facing Court and Deportation.

August 22 - An, Stow, Aitken, et al. Receive $1.3 million NSF Award for Golden Monkey Project

A multidisciplinary research team from San Diego State University (Geography, Biology, and Educational Technology) and University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill (Geography and Biostatistics) has received an NSF award of $1.3 million for four 4 years. The newly funded project is entitled "CNH: Sustainability of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in Coupled Natural and Human Systems". The Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) NSF Program "promotes interdisciplinary analyses of relevant human and natural system processes and complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse scales". This funded research seeks to understand the interactions between payment programs and coupled systems over space and time, focusing on essential feedbacks among human livelihoods, demographic behavior, and the environment. The study site is the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in China, home to the endangered Guizhou golden monkey. The team proposes to use a novel approach complementing remote sensing and camera trapping with participatory mapping, interviews, and participatory agent-based modeling. Congratulations to the PI Dr. Li An and the research team: Stuart Aitken, Douglas Stow (Geography), Rebecca Lewison (Biology), Minjuan Wang (Educational Technology), Richard Bilsborrow (UNC Chapel Hill, Biostatistics), and Xiaodong Chen (UNC Chapel Hill, Geography)! We look forward to hearing about your progress!

Here is the non technical abstract

July 31 - 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 Pozna?, 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.

July 5 - 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.

July 2 - An, Yang, and Zvoleff Visit China

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 (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).

June 25 - 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.

June 22 - Skupin Spoke in Austria, Switzerland, UK

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” 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 conference.

June 18 - Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco Receive NSF Grant

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

June 18 - Swanson to Speak in Paris

Dr. Kate Swanson will speak at the Urban Marginality and the State conference, June 20–21, 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.

For more information, please see the conference website and the conference program.

June 18 - 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.

May 24 - Tsou to Receive Faculty Award

Dr. Ming-Hsaing Tsou will receive a President’s Leadership Fund 2012 Faculty Excellence Award. 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.

May 23 - 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 2012–2013 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.

May 23 - Farley and Skupin Receive Promotions

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.

May 10 - Tsou Speaks in Taiwan

Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou will give a Keynote Speech at the 8th Taipei International Digital Earth Symposium 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). 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 7 - 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.

May 5 - Farley Speaks at Oregon State

Link to full sized Starker Lecture Series announcement

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.

April 25 - 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

April 18 - 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). Her keynote talk titled, “Exploring Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Childhood in the Andes: A Geographical Perspective” was also recorded.

April 9 - 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.

Going forward, it would seem that the fields of Operations Research, Decisions Science, Systems Theory, and Software Engineering could make significant contributions toward the development of both theoretical and practical approaches to the design of remote sensing systems to address time-sensitive information requirements. Design paradigms that explicitly seek to engineer systems for usability, such as the waterfall model or “Big Design Upfront”, offer potential to permit the engineering of RSSs to meet the information requirements of specific users. In general, increased attention should be paid to the design of remote sensing systems and the impact that design has on users’ ability to readily employ that information to produce value. The limited operational use of remote sensing to address time-sensitive information requirements and collective finding of this dissertation suggest that the development of RSSs for specific time-sensitive applications (e.g., wildfire response, earthquake response, oil spill response) and response areas, such that those preconfigured RSSs can be activated during an appropriate event and provide appropriate information products that are easily employed by decisions makers, is likely the only way to ensure the effective use remote sensing in a hazard response context, and likely time-sensitive applications in general.

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

Congratulations, Chris!

March 12 - 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

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!

March 9 - 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 6 - 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.

March 6 - 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

February 14 - 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).

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

February 10 - 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 7 - Tsou Recevies Mapping Project Funding

Congratulations on Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou’s award for “GIS Mapping Project Serving Older Adults”, 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

February 6 - Messina Research Featured

Doctoral student Alex Messina has had his dissertation research featured in the Samoa News. 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.

January 30 - 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.

January 17 - 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 

January 9 - 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

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