We apply computational theories, methods, tools, and technologies to understand complex spatiotemporal processes and solve geographical problems.

Spatial Database Management: Knowledge of database is a highly desirable skill in GIS to efficiently and effectively store, manage, and access big spatial data for data analytics and geospatial application development. Key research and technical themes include relational and object-oriented database design, query languages and performance, distributed database management system, and heterogeneous data integration.

Programming for GIS: Programming is an essential and a high demand skill in GIS to make tedious GIS tasks easier, faster and more accurate by automating data input/output, data preprocessing, analytical algorithm execution, and visualization. Our department utilizes and offer courses for multiple programming languages for GIS including Python, R, Java, Processing, Javascript, and Structured Query Language (SQL).

High-Performance Computing: Unprecedented amount of geospatial data have been collectively generated everyday via ubiquitously distributed geosensor networks, location aware devices, and social media. High-Performance Computing (HPC), often in the form distributed and/or parallel computing such as cluster computing, grid computing, supercomputing, and cloud computing enables to efficiently and effectively collect, store, process, query, analyze, visualize, model, update, share and integrate big geospatial datasets.


big data workflow graphic

Big Data Visualization and Spatiotemporal Modeling of Aggressive Driving Leave geography site

More than half of fatal traffic crashes occur due to aggressive driving according to AAA (American Automobile Association) Foundation for Traffic Safety. Ubiquitous technology has made it possible to monitor driver behavior at a high frequency for a long period of time. This provides an opportunity for researchers to investigate risky driving behavior at a large scale.

Collaborating with the National Safety through Disruption (Safe-D) University Transportation Center (UTC), this project aims to develop a big data analytics framework and visualization tool to conduct spatiotemporal modeling and classify and visualize aggressive driving behavior using data from emerging technology. As an essential safety planning tool in the era of big data, this framework/tool can be used to identify where and when aggressive driving occurs.

map of computational thinking courses by state

EG-RCN: Encoding Geography Research Coordination Network Leave geography site

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) launched its “Encoding Geography” Initiative in 2018, a long-term commitment to expand geo-computational thinking at all levels of geography education. This initiative will inform a research strategy to design geo-computational curricula that (1) is inclusive, (2) supports teacher learning, and (3) can be measured for effectiveness. Such efforts will require collaborative work and dialogue between different stakeholders. The National Center for Research in Geography Education (NCRGE) is providing funds to initiate a Research Coordination Network to initiative the long term objectives of AAG's Encoding Geography initiative.



Survey of the location, function and spread of cities; the spatial and functional arrangement of activities in cities, leading to an analysis of current urban problems: sprawl, city decline, metropolitan transportation. Field trips may be arranged.

Political and economic forces shaping the structure and organization of cities; physical and human consequences of urbanization; environmental, economic and social sustainability of cities. Housing, transportation, land use, urban services, employment, segregation, and social inequality.

Worldwide trends in urbanization. Case studies of selected cities from various culture areas with focus on international variations in city structure and urban problems.

Intensive study of a spatial aspect of human geography. May be repeated with new content. See Class Schedule for specific content.