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GIScience

List of GIScience research projects

For a description of what GIScience entails and a list of Faculty performing research in this area, please visit the GIScience Specialty Page.

Current Research

DOT Award (SDSU PI:  Douglas Stow):  Development of a Remote Sensing Network for Time-Sensitive Detection of Fine Scale Damage to Transportation Infrastructure

Collaborative research project between the University of New Mexico (UNM PI:  Christopher Lippitt) and San Diego State University (SDSU).

The focus of this study is on assessing damage to transportation infrastructure following a major hazard event. The premise is that some transportation infrastructure (such as bridges which impact transportation options), are so critical to saving human lives and supporting emergency response actions that near real-time information on the damage status of such infrastructure is essential and yet may be difficult to ascertain in a timely manor with conventional, ground observations and sensor networks. We hypothesize that the solution to this post-hazard information access challenge is to design flexible, ready-to-deploy, time-sensitive remote sensing systems (TSRSS) based on a network of airborne platforms and digital cameras. The key is to determine which transportation infrastructure types and damage are truly “critical” and then to design and pre-plan low-cost TSRSS that meets maximum time to delivery and minimum information reliability requirements of decision makers. Team members are interacting with and surveying transportation infrastructure managers to determine these timeliness and reliability requirements, as well as estimating and attempting to optimize time to delivery and reliability characteristics of the TSRSS through tool development, simulation and empirical testing of the components of end-to-end TSRSS.

 Additional information Transportation time-sensitive detection from UNM


GIS iBOOK on iPad: Spatial Reasoning and GISCience

The Introduction to GIScience textbook project provides students with a collaborative opportunity to engage a free interactive digital textbook formatted for iBooks on iPad. By exposing high school, community college and first-year university students to the many different facets of GIScience, this highly engaging medium may potentially serve as a springboard into deeper exploration of GIScience academic programs and careers.


NASA Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science (IDS) program Award (PI:  Douglas Stow): 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

Collaborative research project between San Diego State University (SDSU), George Washington University (GWU), University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Ghana, Legon.

The objectives of this project are: (1) to identify, map, and quantify land cover and land use change (LCLUC) within an extensive study area of Ghana over 25 years (1986 through 2010), (2) to understand the relationship between rural-to-urban migration as an outcome of LCLUC and concomitant drivers for the 2000 through 2010 period, and (3) to assess LCULC and its effect on demographic and quality of life factors for four major Ghanaian urban centers during this time period. Our interdisciplinary team is addressing the hypothesis that virtually all of the major LCLUC in both rural and urban areas of Ghana are directly or indirectly driving patterns of inter-regional population change.


NSF Award (PI: Piotr Jankowski): A Spatiotemporal Approach to Sensitivity Analysis in Human-Environment Systems Models

Collaborative research project with Dr. Arika Ligmann-Zielinska, Michigan State University.

This project aims to develop a new spatiotemporal sensitivity analysis (ST-SA) framework that addresses the following objectives: [1] Factor prioritization and model simplification: identify which model input factors (e.g. variables, functions) are mostly responsible for model output variability and, accordingly, which factors are non-influential and can be set to fixed values leading to model simplification, [2] Spatiotemporal factor dependence analysis: explore the extent of model output variability in space and time in response to uncertainty in model inputs, and [3] Policy simulation: identify and select model input values that lead to model realizations promoting sustainable systems. 

The project is expected to result in methods enhancing communication of modeling results to decision makers and other stakeholders. Since many decisions in modern societies are made on the basis of model-simulated impacts, it is essential to understand the sensitivity of impacts to input conditions. By analyzing and visually representing the underlying causes of outcome variability, the proposed methodology promotes model transparency, illuminates contentious decision-making related to common-pool resources, and offers a systematic approach to gaining information about impacts of policies on many different human-environment systems.


NSF-CDI-Type II Award (PI: Dr. Tsou):  Mapping Cyberspace to Realspace: Visualizing and Understanding the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Global Diffusion of Ideas and the Semantic Web. (2010-2015)

(Co-PIs: Dipak K Gupta, Political Science, SDSU; Jean Marc Gawron, Linguistics, SDSU; Brian Spitzberg, Communication, SDSU, Senior Personnel: Li An, Geography). This NSF-CDI project integrates GIS, computational linguistics, web search engines, and social media APIs to track and analyze public-accessible websites and social media contents (tweets) for visualizing and analyzing the diffusion of information and ideas in social media and web pages.


NSF Infrastructure Management and Extreme Events (IMEE) program Award (SDSU PI: Douglas Stow): Optimization of Remote Sensing Networks for Time-sensitive Detection of Fine Scale Damage to Critical Infrastructure

Collaborative research project between San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of New Mexico (UNM PI: Christopher Lippitt).

Within the first hours following a hazard event (e.g., earthquake, flood, tsunami, wildfire passage, nuclear accident, etc.) the key priority is to initiate life-saving activities. First responders and emergency managers need validated situational awareness of the status of critical infrastructure (e.g., utilities, bridges, hospitals, dams, etc.). The most reliable, detailed, and comprehensive means for early and documentable reconnaissance of post-event damage assessment is through low cost airborne imaging systems supported by semi-automated image processing and analysis, and coordinated image/map dissemination capabilities. As the only synoptic sensing technology available, remote sensing represents a critical source of information on the status of infrastructure following hazard events.

The focus of this study is on assessing damage to infrastructure following a major hazard event using airborne remote sensing. The premise is that some infrastructure, particular in cities, is so critical to saving human lives and supporting emergency response actions that near real-time information on the damage status of such infrastructure is essential and yet may be difficult to ascertain with conventional, ground observations and sensor networks. We hypothesize that the solution to this post-hazard information access challenge is to design flexible, ready-to-deploy, time-sensitive remote sensing systems (TSRSS) based on a network of airborne platforms and digital cameras. Our team is collaborating on research pertaining to important elements of end-to-end TSRSS that supports post-disaster assessment of damage to critical infrastructure and allocation of emergency response resources.

Additional information on time-sensitive detection from UNM


NSF-IBSS Award (PI: Dr. Tsou): Spatiotemporal Modeling of Human Dynamics Across Social Media and Social Networks, (2014-2018)

Collaborate with Drs. Jay Lee (Co-PI, Kent State), Ruoming Jin (Co-PI, Kent State), Xinyue Ye (Kent State), Brian Spitzberg (Co-PI, SDSU), Jean Marc Gawron (Co-PI, SDSU), Heather Corliss (SDSU), and Xuan Shi (U of Arkansas). This large interdisciplinary research project studies human dynamics across social media and social networks, focusing on information diffusion modeling over time and space, and the connection between online activities and real world human behaviors.


Polish National Center for Science-Award (PI: Piotr Jankowski): An Experimental Study of Public Participation in Planning Decision Making Using Web-based Geographic Information System

Collaborative research project with researchers from the Institute for Geoecology and Geoinformation, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland

This project investigates the efficacy of methods, tools, and public participation process in urban land use planning. In particular, the project aims to: 1) develop interactive mapping and discussion methods to enable public involvement in land use planning, 2) design and deploy Internet-based tools in a large-scale experiment involving members of the public and professional planners 3) collect data about the participants, participatory process, usage of the Internet tools, and process outcomes, and 4) analyze the participatory process dynamics using novel visual-exploratory data analysis techniques. Project results in the form of developed and tested methods and Web-based software tools are expected to find potential applications not only in urban land use planning but also in other infrastructure development project involving public input.

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.

©Department of Geography, San Diego State University