Aug 18

New grads are here | Field dispatch | West at the top?

MGIS candidates

Four MGIS candidates presented their Capstone Projects at the 2018 Society for Conservation GIS Conference in Asilomar, Ca., July 16-18. Students in front row, left to right: Lara Bennett Hacala, Sarah Cain, April Johnson, and Josh Ferguson. Faculty in back row, left to right: Joe Bishop, Pat Kennelly, Doug Miller.


Peter Backhaus has been appointed as the Student Representative for the Society of Wetlands Scientists Mid-Atlantic Chapter.

Tara Mazurczyk displayed her paintings at the 2018 Bellefonte Arts and Crafts Fair.

Check out the new University Libraries’ Guide to virtual reality. The guide covers what it is, how it can be incorporated into the learning process, and how it can be accessed on campus.

Welcome to the fall 2018 new resident graduate students: Connor Chapman, Bradley Hinger, Elise Quinn, Vivian Rodriguez Rocha, Isabel Taylor, Beichen Tian, Saumya Vaishnava, and Jacklyn Weier. 


Field dispatch from a tributary of the Blue Nile

Bronwen Powell
Aug. 6, It is 11:00 p.m. in Kamashi, Ethiopia. I’ve been lying in the pitch dark for two hours. It is so dark it doesn’t matter if I open or close my eyes. The town hasn’t had any electricity for five months now, at least in part because Ethiopia has just emerged from a state of emergency over political protests that ended with the resignation of the old Prime Minister. I’m listening to my stomach grumble and wondering if it is the end of the stomach bug I have had, or hunger pains from not eating for two days, or both. The dogs and donkeys on the edge of town take up a chorus of anxious calling, faintly beyond them I can hear the hyenas. I’m glad to hear the hyenas, a sign that not so much has changed since I was last here three years ago. But lots has.

When I landed in the capital Addis Ababa, I could barely perceive any impact of the political crisis on the boom the city has been experiencing for many years now. The skyline is lined with new buildings under construction, as always. The people in Addis are jubilant about the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the end of the state of emergency, they literally beam when they talk about it. All the taxis and shops are plastered with his photo and Ethiopia flags. Here in Kamashi, people are less sure. The new Prime Minister has pledged to end the regional system of administration which has allowed the Gumuz (the minority indigenous ethnic group I work with) to have a political voice after generations of marginalization. Lots has changed in Kamashi, too. The trade-offs of “development” can be seen everywhere. Most of the round traditional Gumuz houses, made from bamboo and thatch, have been replaced with square houses and tin roves purchased though the sale of sesame seeds. But the road is worse, not better, battered by the many heavy trucks that now leave the area carrying cash crops and coal from the new coal mine. And the forest has receded yet farther. The new road built through the forest while I was working here three years ago, to give access to remote communities, is now lined for many kilometers with the homes and fields of immigrants who are sharecropping with the local Gumuz community.

Beyond the immigrant homes and farms, the new road, only three years old, is covered in grass, the bridge across the river is yet to be completed, so no one ever drives it. I realize that these local development trade-offs are complicated by the fact that the Gumuz territory represents a large portion of the watershed for the Blue Nile river, and the loss of the to-date relatively intact forests and ecosystems here could have long-reaching impacts. Ethiopia and Egypt have had escalating political tension over the water pouring from these forests for years now (and especially the giant new hydro electric dam under construction downstream). I wonder if anyone has thought through what would happen to the Blue Nile water flow the if the forests here disappear? My stomach complains again and I decide I am hungry and search for my flashlight.

Atlas Obscura
In Early Maps of Virginia, West Was at the Top

Captain John Smith is perhaps best known for his (possibly fictional) encounter with Pocahontas. Whatever the true nature of that meeting was, the British explorer distilled his explorations and meetings with the indigenous people of what is now Virginia into a remarkable map that defined European impressions of the region for the majority of the 1600s.


Carbon storage dynamics of temperate freshwater wetlands in Pennsylvania

Tara Mazurczyk, Robert P. Brooks
Wetlands Ecology and Management
Healthy wetlands play a significant role in climate change mitigation by storing carbon that would otherwise contribute to global warming, leading to the reduction of water and food resources as well as more extreme weather phenomena. Investigating the magnitude of carbon storage potential of different freshwater wetland systems using multiple ecological indicators at varying spatial scales provides insight and justification for selective wetland restoration and conservation initiatives. We provide a holistic accounting of total carbon values for 193 wetland sites, integrating existing carbon algorithms to rapidly assess each of the following carbon pools: above-ground, below-ground, soil, woody debris, shrub cover, and herbaceous cover.

Cities as Spatial and Social Networks: Towards a Spatio-Socio-Semantic Analysis Framework

Luo W., Wang Y., Liu X., Gao S.
In: Ye X., Liu X. (eds) Cities as Spatial and Social Networks. Human Dynamics in Smart Cities. Springer, Cham
Cities have been studied as geo-social systems embedded with intricate and complicated spatial and social networks (e.g., transportation, telecommunication, and internet). In addition to the duo of spatial and social aspects, semantics, which study the logic aspects of meanings behind behaviours and phenomena, come underneath as the latent information (e.g., activity types of people) to enrich the geo-social models for spatial phenomena. For example, individual-level similarity of semantic trajectories for location-based social networks can be used to recommend potential friends or develop collaborative travels. Semantics infer the activity behind people’s spatial choices and the functions of places, transform coordinates of trajectories/spatial flows into certain types of activities, and remark locations in space with meaningful labels of functions of cities.

White supremacy, white counter-revolutionary politics, and the rise of Donald Trump

Joshua Inwood
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space
To understand and contextualize Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States, we must place his election in the context of a white counter-revolutionary politics that emerging from the specific geographic configurations of the US racial state. While academics and political commentators have correctly located the election of Trump in the context of white supremacy, I argue we need to coordinate our understanding of white supremacy and the electoral politics that fueled Trump’s rise in the context of anti-Black racism by examining how the US racial state turns to whiteness to prevent change. Throughout the development of the United States, whiteness has long stood as a bulwark against progressive and revolutionary change so much so that when the US racial state is in economic and political crisis, bourgeoisie capitalism appeals to the white middle and working classes to address that crisis.

Fusing Heterogeneous Data: A Case for Remote Sensing and Social Media

H. Wang, E. Skau, H. Krim and G. Cervone
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2018.2846199
Data heterogeneity can pose a great challenge to process and systematically fuse low-level data from different modalities with no recourse to heuristics and manual adjustments and refinements. In this paper, a new methodology is introduced for the fusion of measured data for detecting and predicting weather-driven natural hazards. The proposed research introduces a robust theoretical and algorithmic framework for the fusion of heterogeneous data in near real time. We establish a flexible information-based fusion framework with a target optimality criterion of choice, which for illustration, is specialized to a maximum entropy principle and a least effort principle for semisupervised learning with noisy labels.

Jul 18

Investigating diet changes | Travel grants | Dept. earns safety certification


Rachel Passmore alumna videoRachel Passmore, a 2014 Penn State geography alumna, studies human geography. She’s worked in India and Grenada and is now enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University. She is featured on the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Youtube Channel.


  • The Department of Geography has been recognized by Penn State Environmental Health and Safety as “certified” in meeting the Integrated Safety Plan Phase I requirements.
  • Save the date for the Penn State GIS Day on Tuesday, November 13. As more information becomes available, the Penn State GIS Day site will be updated.
  • Karen Cox was the April Rock In Role Award winner, selected by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Staff Advisory Committee (SAC). Karen stepped up to assist during renovations that were occurring in the Walker Building. She volunteered to help while a co-worker was on vacation and her help made it possible to meet renovation deadlines in multiple rooms. This allowed a new faculty member to move into their new office on time.
    If there is an outstanding staff member you would like to nominate for upcoming Rock In Role awards, submit your nomination by the end of the month. All entries are reviewed and voted on by the SAC at their next meeting.
  • Missy Weaver has been selected for the Smart Track to Success program at Penn State World Campus, receiving a scholarship, mentoring, and other resources to help her be successful as a new student.


Researcher tackling loss of healthy traditional diets in Morocco

Morocco’s food landscape has been undergoing a major shift: Obesity is on the rise while traditional, healthy food is becoming more scarce.

Penn State geography researcher Bronwen Powell wants to know what’s driving these trends. To do that, she and her team are on the ground in Morocco investigating how different foods end up in markets and how community members view those foods.

Global Programs announces spring 2018 Travel Grant recipients

Geographers receiving grants include Denice Wardrop, Megan Baumann, Meg Boyle, and Xi Liu.

Twice a year, Global Programs seeks travel grant applications from faculty and graduate students. The Travel Grant program supports faculty travel related to developing global awareness, global literacy and global competency among our undergraduate population. Graduate students may apply for the grants for assistance with travel to international conferences with the goal of promoting and supporting global leadership in scholarship and international engagements.


Commentary II: New postcolonial insights on gender, indigeneity, and development, and refractions to environment and health issues

Karl S. Zimmerer
Progress in Human Geography
Postcolonialism is at once a vigorous knowledge network, a wide-ranging coalescence of theoretical analysis, a powerful critique of policy, and a practical toolkit used to dissemble and connect ideas and concepts. For the past few decades it has been extensively and productively engaged in rethinking ideas of nature and culture and applying these insights to environment and health issues. The postcolonial perspective on nature and culture has framed understandings of the powerful dynamics of gender, race, and ethnicity that permeate policy and management in these other fields. This perspective has offered major insight into the asymmetrical power relations of persistent social groups (women, indigenous people, Afro-descendants, urban and rural poor) and the entwining of their politically and policy-mediated relation to resource access and certain spaces. In the case of environmental issues, for example, these spaces have included the territories designated as parks, nature reserves, and protected areas.

A Large-Scale Location-based Social Network to Understanding the Impact of Human Geo-Social Interaction Patterns on Vaccination Strategies in an Urbanized Area

Luo W, Gao P, and Cassels S.
Computers, Environment and Urban Systems
Cities play an important role in fostering and amplifying the transmission of airborne diseases (e.g., influenza) because of dense human contacts. Before an outbreak of airborne diseases within a city, how to determine an appropriate containment area for effective vaccination strategies is unknown. This research treats airborne disease spreads as geo-social interaction patterns, because viruses transmit among different groups of people over geographical locations through human interactions and population movement. Previous research argued that an appropriate scale identified through human geo-social interaction patterns can provide great potential for effective vaccination. However, little work has been done to examine the effectiveness of such vaccination at large scales (e.g., city) that are characterized by spatially heterogeneous population distribution and movement. This article therefore aims to understand the impact of geo-social interaction patterns on effective vaccination in the urbanized area of Portland, Oregon. To achieve this goal, we simulate influenza transmission on a large-scale location-based social network to 1) identify human geo-social interaction patterns for designing effective vaccination strategies, and 2) and evaluate the efficacy of different vaccination strategies according to the identified geo-social patterns. The simulation results illustrate the effectiveness of vaccination strategies based on geo-social interaction patterns in containing the epidemic outbreak at the source. This research can provide evidence to inform public health approaches to determine effective scales in the design of disease control strategies.

Development of an Agent-based Model to Investigate the Impact of HIV Self-testing Programs for Men Who Have Sex with Men in Atlanta and Seattle

Luo W, Katz D, Hamilton D, McKennie J, Jenness S, Goodreau S, Stekler J, Rosenberg E, Sullivan P., and Cassels S.
JMIR Public Health Surveillance
DOI: 10.2196/publichealth.9357
In the United States HIV epidemic, men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the most profoundly affected group. Prevention science is increasingly being organized around HIV testing as a launch point into an HIV prevention continuum for MSM who are not living with HIV and into an HIV care continuum for MSM who are living with HIV. An increasing HIV testing frequency among MSM might decrease future HIV infections by linking men who are living with HIV to antiretroviral care, resulting in viral suppression. Distributing HIV self-test (HIVST) kits is a strategy aimed at increasing HIV testing. Our previous modeling work suggests that the impact of HIV self-tests on transmission dynamics will depend not only on the frequency of tests and testers’ behaviors but also on the epidemiological and testing characteristics of the population.

While we dialogue, others die: A response to ‘The possibilities and limits to dialogue’

Derek Alderman, Joshua FJ Inwood
Dialogues in Human Geography
We revisit Martin Luther King Jr’s famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail (2013 [1963]), using his words to frame our thinking about the promise, limits, and efficacy of dialogue. The life and death politics of everyday oppressed people should directly inform any consideration of the merits of scholars engaging in (or disengaging from) dialogue, what they ultimately say, and with whom they engage in dialogue and political action. The stakes are too high—for the academy, broader society, and especially for those groups who bear the direct burden of injustice—not to engage in scholarly dialogue and debate. It is also important for scholars to communicate in resonant ways and enhance the value of their academic dialogue to oppressed groups. The most significant threat to scholarly dialogue is not necessarily from extremists; rather, the challenge lies in creating consequential dialogue with those who remain silent and indifferent in the face of what King called ‘the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed’.

Jul 18

Geographers at Arts Fest | New course GEOG 397 | Pulling in diversity in athletics


Alex Klippel demonstrates the use of VR googles at the Penn State Art of Discovery tent during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in 2017. He returns this year to share his research on immersive technologies. Visit him on Saturday, July 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.. And don’t forget to visit with another geographer, Denice Wardrop, who will explore mankind’s relationship with plastics, also on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to noon. The Art of Discovery booth is next to Willard Building.



Explore the impacts of plastics through art at Arts Festival

Plastic bottles. Kitchen bags. Toys. Medical devices. Each year, mankind produces more than 320 million tons of plastic — roughly the same weight as all of humanity itself put together.

“Think about that,” said Denice Wardrop, professor of ecology and geography at Penn State. “Every year we recreate humanity in plastic.”

New course puts Penn State students in control of transformational technology

GEOG 397 will convene for the first time at University Park in fall 2018
In his decade of teaching at Penn State, Professor of Geography Alex Klippel has seen immersive technologies disrupt everything at the University from education to research to outreach. His belief in the power of this machinery to improve the learning process guided his creation of GEOG 397: Immersive Technologies – Transforming Society through Digital Innovation.

Penn State launches new graduate certificate for geospatial software developers

Certificate in geospatial programming and web map development being offered exclusively online through Penn State World Campus

Penn State has launched a new graduate certificate aimed at helping geospatial professionals working in the GIS and web mapping industries to expand their software development and coding skills.

Athletic ‘pull’ increases campus diversity

The next time you see your favorite collegiate athlete on the field or court, think again about their road to getting there.

That is something Clio Andris, assistant professor of geography at Penn State, has spent the past several years piecing together. Her findings were published in The Professional Geographer.


Social Cyber-Security

Carley K.M., Cervone G., Agarwal N., Liu H.
In: Thomson R., Dancy C., Hyder A., Bisgin H. (eds) Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling.
Social Cyber-Security is an emerging scientific discipline. Its methodological and scientific foundation, key challenges, and scientific direction are described. The multi-disciplinary nature of this field and its emphasis on dynamic information strategies is considered.

Coupling Traffic and Gas Dispersion Simulation for Atmospheric Pollution Estimation

Cervone G., Dallmeyer J., Lattner A.D., Franzese P., Waters N.
In: Wang S., Goodchild M. (eds) CyberGIS for Geospatial Discovery and Innovation.
A CyberGIS approach is presented in this chapter where microscopic traffic simulation and gas dispersion simulation systems are combined in order to estimate atmospheric pollution for different scenarios. The combination of these two simulation models allows for detailed investigations of different situations such as the investigation of pollution impacts of different traffic infrastructure variants, as well as for prediction of expected pollution and whether pollutant thresholds will be exceeded. For different case studies, real data about traffic movements provided by the state government, a digital terrain model of the area as well as real measurements of atmospheric data have been used. The evaluation of the approach shows that variations in the settings, regarding traffic or atmospheric conditions, lead to different patterns of observed pollution. The CyberGIS environment described is used to run multiple simulations on a distributed cyberinfrastructure, where the high-end computational resources are available on servers in Europe and in North America.

Jun 18

ICIK and Murphy awards | Beetles to battle | New Riparia website


Tutlane climate boundary Ickesburg

Ralph W. Tutlane, Jr. (’83) shares this image showing the distinct boundary of the C Climate, with the blooming trees at the bottom of the picture, and the D Climate at the top of the picture where the trees have not yet started blooming. “I took these pictures on 5/2/18 on PA Route 17 a couple of miles east of Ickesburg, PA, in Perry County. It is the Tuscarora Mountain Range on the Perry County side of the Mountain. Juniata County is at the top of the range.”


  • Ryan Baxter was promoted to associate teaching professor.
  • Beth King was promoted to associate teaching professor.
  • The new Riparia website is up and running and is still available at the same link as the previous website (http://riparia.psu.edu).


Penn State graduate students win award in geospatial intelligence

A team of Penn State graduate students recently received the 2018 Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence, a Penn State endowed scholarship award, for work they did during a geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) course offered though the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute.

Conservationists introduce loosestrife beetles to battle invasive plants

[Ed. note: Rob Brooks and Peter Backhaus consulted with the nonprofit group, Wildlife for Everyone Foundation]
A small group from Wildlife For Everyone gathered to see more than 600 alien Galerucella calmariensis beetles released late last month at the Julian Wetlands — a man-made marsh adjacent to Miles Hollow Road, north of Port Matilda.

Insects accidently imported from other countries have caused big problems. The list is long — emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, hemlock wooly adelgid and, now, the spotted lanternfly. However, this alien beetle has been introduced to solve a problem, not cause one.

ICIK names 2018 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Research Award winners

Penn State graduate students Marie Louise Ryan, Johann Strube and Megan Griffin have been recognized with the 2018 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Research Award to help fund their research pursuits. The award, open to all full-time Penn State undergraduate and graduate students, is funded by the Marjorie Grant Whiting Endowment for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledge and supported by Penn State’s University Libraries and the Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK).


From Census Tracts to Local Environments: An Egocentric Approach to Neighborhood Racial Change

Barrett A. Lee, Chad R. Farrell, Sean F. Reardon, Stephen A. Matthews
Spatial Demography
Most quantitative studies of neighborhood racial change rely on census tracts as the unit of analysis. However, tracts are insensitive to variation in the geographic scale of the phenomenon under investigation and to proximity among a focal tract’s residents and those in nearby territory. Tracts may also align poorly with residents’ perceptions of their own neighborhood and with the spatial reach of their daily activities. To address these limitations, we propose that changes in racial structure (i.e., in overall diversity and group-specific proportions) be examined within multiple egocentric neighborhoods, a series of nested local environments surrounding each individual that approximate meaningful domains of experience. Our egocentric approach applies GIS procedures to census block data, using race-specific population densities to redistribute block counts of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians across 50-meter by 50-meter cells. For each cell, we then compute the proximity-adjusted racial composition of four different-sized local environments based on the weighted average racial group counts in adjacent cells. The value of this approach is illustrated with 1990–2000 data from a previous study of 40 large metropolitan areas. We document exposure to increasing neighborhood racial diversity during the decade, although the magnitude of this increase in diversity—and of shifts in the particular races to which one is exposed—differs by local environment size and racial group membership. Changes in diversity exposure at the neighborhood level also depend on how diverse the metro area as a whole has become.


Jun 18

Collecting images for VR | Telly Awards | We Are The Sensors


Alan Taylor Ishi Wilderness

Here is an image from Alexander Klippel and Alan Taylor’s trip to the Ishi Wilderness. They collected 360 videos that they are editing to explain the history, role, and importance of fire in California. Here is one video that Graduate students Arif Masrur and Jiawei Huang helped editing. It is in stereo which has a very nice depth effect when viewed through a VR headset. This is automatic when someone visits YouTube on a mobile device, just put it in your favorite VR viewer: https://youtu.be/uClrPVdB-o8

Alan Taylor‘s project also has a website with 360 images: https://ishiwildfire.geog.psu.edu/


Mark Simpson passed his proposal defense and comps.

Erica Smithwick participated in two of four WPSU-TV projects that received Telly Awards:

Guido Cervone’s work was mentioned in an article in the scientific section of the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, the second most widely circulated newspaper in Italy. The article is in Italian, and its headline, “I Sensori Siamo Noi” means “We Are The Sensors,” and talks about his work on using citizen science during disasters.


EMS academic and alumni leaders create Open Doors Scholarships

Lee and Michelle Kump are both experienced educators — Lee as the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) and professor of geosciences at Penn State, and Michelle, a 2001 Penn State alumna, as a reading specialist in the State College Area School District. As a result, they both have worked with many students who have financial need.

The Places in the U.S. Where Disaster Strikes Again and Again

In the last 16 years, parts of Louisiana have been struck by six hurricanes. Areas near San Diego were devastated by three particularly vicious wildfire seasons. And a town in eastern Kentucky has been pummeled by at least nine storms severe enough to warrant federal assistance.


Remote Studio Site Experiences: Investigating the Potential to Develop the Immersive Site Visit

Oprean, Danielle, Verniz, Debora, Zhao, Jiayan, Wallgrün, Jan Oliver, Duarte, José P. and Klippel, Alexander
Learning, Adapting and Prototyping – Proceedings of the 23rd CAADRIA Conference – Volume 1, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 17-19 May 2018, pp. 421-430
Immersive technologies are now enabling better and more affordable immersive experiences, offering the opportunity to revisit their use in the architectural and landscape studio to gain site information. Considering when travel to a site is limited or not possible, immersive experiences can help with conveying site information by overcoming issues faced in earlier virtual studios. We focused on developing three applications to understand the workflow for incorporating site information to generate an immersive site experience. The applications were implemented in a semester-long joint architecture and landscape architecture studio focused on remotely designing for the Santa Marta informal settlement in Rio, Brazil. Preliminary results of implementing the applications indicate a positive outlook towards using immersive experiences for site information particularly when a site is remote.

Beyond Inventory and Mapping: LIDAR, Landscape and Digital Landscape Architecture

Murtha, Timothy; Golden, Charles; Cyphers, Ann; Klippel, Alexander; Flohr, Travis
Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture
Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) applications have rapidly transformed remote sensing and scientific research of landscapes, especially research targeting ecological systems and cultural resources. While used in landscape architecture and landscape research by select research groups, it’s not broadly applied as a primary source of information in landscape ecological design and planning projects.

Augmented Reality and the Scenic Drive

Orland, Brian; Taylor, Micah; Mazurczyk, Tara; Welch-Devine, Meredith; Goldberg, Lacey; Candler Scales, Mary; Murtha, Timothy; Calabria, Jon
Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture
We are interested in the general question of how to augment the viewed landscape with representations of its otherwise invisible aspects and using these to prompt visitors to reveal previously unidentified aspects of that same landscape. We take a participatory, grassroots perspective, where expert and local knowledge are made available, but emphasis lies in the collection of new or explanatory information from the broadest feasible range of participants. This paper proposes a process for capturing not just individual experience of place, but collective experience built upon the individual. Crowd-sourced imagery and sound “bites” populate an augmented reality (AR) environment and prompts visitors to the AR to consider and respond to those originating experiences with their own. We provide and project additional environmental data to prompt embellishments, corrections or additions. In our prototype, the goal is to locate as-yet-unidentified valued highway landscapes, but the general approach has application in numerous other settings where understanding collective grassroots experiences in the landscape is essential for its protection and preservation.


May 18

Caps and gowns | NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship | Abandoned factories


commencement spring 2018

Caps and gowns: Penn State Geography class of 2018 (with department staff Melissa Weaver and Jodi Vender, front) at the Pegula Ice Arena on May 4 for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Commencement.


  • 2018 Ice Cream Social and United Way Basket Raffle will take place on June 20 in the courtyard at Walker Building. We will begin scooping ice cream at 1:00 p.m.
  • Justine Blanford was elected to serve as a director for the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and also one of the inaugural TRELIS fellows, selected from a group of her peers to participate in a new UCGIS initiative focused on the professional development of women in our academic discipline.
  • Tim Yuskavage (’11) received his Master of Arts from the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in May 2018. He continues to work for the US Government as an analyst.
  • One more grad rep has been elected: Jade Huang.
  • Sarah Chamberlain’s book, Field Guide to Grasses of the Mid-Atlantic, has been published by Penn State University Press.


IST doctoral student [and geography alumnus] receives NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship

Scott Pezanowski, a doctoral candidate in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has received the NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship given by the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium for 2018-2019.

The mission of the program is to expand opportunities for Pennsylvanians to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space programs by supporting and enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research and outreach programs. The one-year fellowship consists of a $5,000 monetary award, presented to outstanding graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields related to NASA research and development.

Meet the latest tourist attractions: Abandoned factories

Trip-planning multiple choice: a) Mountains b) Sand c) Surf d) Factories. If you picked the last vacation option, you’ve got company. “We’re finding a hunger,” says Michael Boettcher, an urban planner and industrial-history buff. “Everyone has been to Disney World, and it’s like, what else you got?”


Africa’s first democrats: Somalia’s Aden A. Osman and Abdirazak H. Hussen, Abdi Samatar. Indiana University Press, Bloomington (2016)

Sarah A. Radcliffe, Patricia Daley, Joshua Inwood, James Sidaway, Abdi I. Samatar
Political Geography
The Review Forum on Abdi Samatar’s book Africa’s First Democrats ( Samatar, 2016) arose from initial conversations at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG Annual conference in 2017. Under the umbrella theme of Decolonising Geographical Knowledges, Abdi Samatar and Joshua Inwood discussed the book and its wider relevance for the field of political geography. This review forum continues the conversations begun there, with an additional two commentators and Samatar’s response. As a conversation between black and white geographers, between political geographers of diverse theoretical and substantive interests, and as a conversation about the methods, frames and frameworks through which we come to understand power and geography, this Review Forum seeks to be a space for practices of decolonising geography. Decolonisation carries multiple meanings yet crucially points to efforts to both identify and challenge the dispositions of power whose origins and hegemony lie rooted in colonialism. Decolonisation becomes an issue of concern for geography as power relations in the colonial present permeate knowledge and ways of producing knowledge; “knowledge production and everyday relations are informed by European colonial modalities of power and propped up by imperial geopolitics and economic arrangements” (Collard, Dempsey, & Sundberg, 2015, p. 323; Radcliffe, 2017). Going beyond postcolonial analysis, decolonisation encourages re-thinking the world from Africa, from Latin America, from Indigenous places, and from marginalized academia ( Grosfoguel, 2012).

Connecting the Dots: Cultivating a Sustainable Interdisciplinary Discourse Around Migration, Urbanisation, and Health in Southern Africa. In: Winchester M., Knapp C., BeLue R. (eds) Global Health Collaboration

Hunter-Adams J., Makandwa T., Matthews S.A., Nyamnjoh H., Oni T., Vearey J. (2018) SpringerBriefs in Public Health. Springer, Cham
This chapter describes our experiences in connecting a group of emerging Southern African scholars around the inherently interdisciplinary field of migration, urbanisation and health. South Africa, as with other countries in the region, is witnessing multiple simultaneous and interconnected transitions – health, demographic, social, economic and political. Defining, measuring and better understanding the dynamics and complexities of these transitions is a fundamental step in the professionalizing of next-generation scholars in the area of migration, urbanisation and health. In this chapter we discuss themes, definitions and the process of forming group discourse at the nexus of migration, urbanisation and health. Driven by substantive questions derived from studies of the lived experiences of urban migrants in South Africa, specifically the intertwining of migration trajectories and health histories, a central goal of our collaborative endeavour was ‘to connect the dots’ – key concepts, data, measures and methods – in order to identify common themes and research priorities that will facilitate the participation of next-generation scholars in developing innovative and new research agendas. We report on the themes that emerged from a 2015 workshop held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg that brought together senior and early-career scholars to discuss ways of engaging with migration, urbanisation and health in the Southern African context. We close with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges for early-career scholars in this field, identifying next steps to develop and sustain in-country capacity to influence both research and public policy.

Calibration of Safecast dose rate measurements

Guido Cervone, Carolynne Hultquist
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
A methodology is presented to calibrate contributed Safecast dose rate measurements acquired between 2011 and 2016 in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. The Safecast data are calibrated using observations acquired by the U.S. Department of Energy at the time of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi power plant nuclear accident.

The methodology performs a series of interpolations between the U.S. government and contributed datasets at specific temporal windows and at corresponding spatial locations. The coefficients found for all the different temporal windows are aggregated and interpolated using quadratic regressions to generate a time dependent calibration function. Normal background radiation, decay rates, and missing values are taken into account during the analysis.

Results show that the standard Safecast static transformation function overestimates the official measurements because it fails to capture the presence of two different Cesium isotopes and their changing magnitudes with time. A model is created to predict the ratio of the isotopes from the time of the accident through 2020. The proposed time dependent calibration takes into account this Cesium isotopes ratio, and it is shown to reduce the error between U.S. government and contributed data. The proposed calibration is needed through 2020, after which date the errors introduced by ignoring the presence of different isotopes will become negligible.

May 18

Virtual Mayan ruins | Female firefighters | Academic promotions


online grads at Dutton receptionFaculty, advisers and students—one participating virtually via robot—in the online geospatial programs celebrate commencement at a reception held by the Dutton e-Education Institute on Sunday, May 6. Pictured from left: Anthony Robinson, Justine Blanford, Jim Detwiler, Anthony Scavone, Ric Stamm, Jessica Story Noonan (robot), Ryan Baxter, Danielle Groff, Dan Steiner, Todd Bacastow, Greg Thomas.


  • Erica Smithwick has been promoted to professor.
  • Chris Fowler has been promoted to associate professor.
  • New grad reps elected for next year: Mark Simpson and Peter Backhaus
  • Julie Sanchez won the best student paper award of the Polar Geography Specialty Group at the 2018 AAG annual meeting in New Orleans.
  • Jiayan Zhao came in first place in the Saarinen Student Paper Competition awarded by Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography (EPBG) Specialty Group at 2018 AAG annual meeting for his paper, “Walking and Learning in a Large-Scale Mediated Space: Impacts of viewpoint transition and proprioceptive feedback on spatial learning in virtual reality.”


Geography students use virtual reality to recreate Mayan ruins

Ancient Mayan civilization in Central America, which collapsed around 1,000 years ago, is being brought to life in a new Penn State project. Two doctoral students in geography, Jiawei Huang and Arif Masrur, have recreated the Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech, in Belize, using virtual reality.

This project is through ChoroPhronensis, a research unit in Penn State’s Department of Geography founded by Alexander Klippel, professor of geography. Klippel’s research focuses on immersive technologies and spatial information theory.

Female firefighters defy old ideas of who can be an American hero

Five women graduated from New York City’s Fire Academy on April 18, bringing the number of women serving in the Fire Department of New York to 72 – the highest in its history.

The FDNY’s 2018 graduating class also includes the first son to follow his mother into the profession. She was one of the 41 women hired in 1982 after the department lost a gender discrimination lawsuit and was ordered to add qualified women to the force.

Penn State promotions in academic rank, effective July 1, 2018

The following is a list of academic promotions for tenured and tenure-line faculty members at Penn State, effective July 1.

Climate Change and Food: Challenges and Opportunities in Tropical Mountains and Agrobiodiversity Hotspots

The rains had just begun in Huánuco in central Peru when we arrived in early February 2016. This time of year is usually midway through the roughly six-month rainy season that stretches from October to May. Instead, the unseasonal heat and months of drought that year were a shock to people in Huánuco—and to us. Only a week or two earlier, we were told, the landscape of the Húanuco valley had resembled the drab brown of the height of the dry season. We had just begun a project focused on biodiversity (agrobiodiversity) in the food landscapes of indigenous small landholders, as well as on their dietary patterns amid dynamic changes in the environment and society. We’re a diverse team of faculty, scientists, field practitioners and students from multiple institutions.


Comparing Daily Temperature Averaging Methods: The Role of Surface and Atmosphere Variables in Determining Spatial and Seasonal Variability
Jase Bernhardt and Andrew M. Carleton
Theoretical and Applied Climatology
The two main methods for determining the average daily near-surface air temperature, twice-daily averaging (i.e., [Tmax+Tmin]/2) and hourly averaging (i.e., the average of 24 hourly temperature measurements), typically show differences associated with the asymmetry of the daily temperature curve. To quantify the relative influence of several land surface and atmosphere variables on the two temperature averaging methods, we correlate data for 215 weather stations across the Contiguous United States (CONUS) for the period 1981–2010 with the differences between the two temperature-averaging methods. The variables are land use-land cover (LULC) type, soil moisture, snow cover, cloud cover, atmospheric moisture (i.e., specific humidity, dew point temperature), and precipitation. Multiple linear regression models explain the spatial and monthly variations in the difference between the two temperature-averaging methods. We find statistically significant correlations between both the land surface and atmosphere variables studied with the difference between temperature-averaging methods, especially for the extreme (i.e., summer, winter) seasons (adjusted R² > 0.50). Models considering stations with certain LULC types, particularly forest and developed land, have adjusted R² values > 0.70, indicating that both surface and atmosphere variables control the daily temperature curve and its asymmetry. This study improves our understanding of the role of surface and near-surface conditions in modifying thermal climates of the CONUS for a wide range of environments, and their likely importance as anthropogenic forcings—notably LULC changes and greenhouse gas emissions— continues.

Spillover systems in a telecoupled Anthropocene: typology, methods, and governance for global sustainability
Jianguo Liu, Yue Dou, Mateus Batistella, Edward Challies, Thomas Connor,Cecilie Friis, James DA Millington, Esther Parish, Chelsie L Romulo, Ramon Felipe Bicudo Silva, Heather Triezenberg, Hongbo Yang, Zhiqiang Zhao, Karl S Zimmerer, Falk Huettmann, Michael L Treglia, Zeenatul Basher, Min Gon Chung, … Jing Sun.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
The world has become increasingly telecoupled through distant flows of information, energy, people, organisms, goods, and matter. Recent advances suggest that telecouplings such as trade and species invasion often generate spillover systems with profound effects. To untangle spillover complexity, we make the first attempt to develop a typology of spillover systems based on six criteria: flows from and to sending and receiving systems, distances from sending and receiving systems, types of spillover effects, sizes of spillover systems, roles of agents in spillover systems, and the origin of spillover systems. Furthermore, we highlight a portfolio of qualitative and quantitative methods for detecting the often-overlooked spillover systems. To effectively govern spillover systems for global sustainability, we propose an overall goal (minimize negative and maximize positive spillover effects) and three general principles (fairness, responsibility, and capability).

Exploring invasibility with species distribution modeling: How does fire promote cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion within lower montane forests?
Peeler, J.L. and Smithwick, E.A.H.
Diversity and Distributions
Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is notorious for creating positive feedbacks that facilitate vegetation type conversion within sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the western United States. Similar dynamics may exist in adjacent lower montane forest. However, fire‐forest‐cheatgrass dynamics have not been examined. We used species distribution modeling to answer three questions about fire and invasibility in lower montane forests: (Q1) Does fire create more suitable habitat for cheatgrass? (Q2) If so, which site attributes are altered to increase site suitability? (Q3) Does fire increase connectivity among suitable habitat and enhance spread?

Decentralization, healthcare access, and inequality in Mpumalanga, South Africa
Margaret S. Winchester and Brian King
Health & Place
Healthcare access and utilization remain key challenges in the Global South. South Africa represents this given that more than twenty years after the advent of democratic elections, the national government continues to confront historical systems of spatial manipulation that generated inequities in healthcare access. While the country has made significant advancements, governmental agencies have mirrored international strategies of healthcare decentralization and focused on local provision of primary care to increase healthcare access. In this paper, we show the significance of place in shaping access and health experiences for rural populations. Using data from a structured household survey, focus group discussions, qualitative interviews, and clinic data conducted in northeast South Africa from 2013 to 2016, we argue that decentralization fails to resolve the uneven landscapes of healthcare in the contemporary period. This is evidenced by the continued variability across the study area in terms of government-sponsored healthcare, and constraints in the clinics in terms of staffing, privacy, and patient loads, all of which challenge the access-related assumptions of healthcare decentralization.


Apr 18

Recognition Reception | Women firefighters | Undergrad exhibition


Not all Penn State geographers went to the American Association of Geographers annual meeting in New Orleans. Alan Taylor shares this photo from the US Regional Association of the ​International Association for Landscape Ecology in Chicago. Pictured left to right: Alan Taylor, Lucas Harris, Jamie Peeler, and Natalie Pawlikowski, at the Cloud Gate sculpture, nicknamed, “the bean.”


  • Alumnus Joshua Stevens @jscarto was recognized as one of 50 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Geospatial, Data Science, and Visualization.
  • Carolyn Fish accepted a tenure-track job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon.
  • Alumnus Peter Howe (’12g) was awarded an NSF CAREER grant from the Geography and Spatial Sciences program. The 5-year project is titled “CAREER: Location-Aware Social Science for Adaptation: Modeling Dynamic Patterns in Public Perceptions and Behavior.”
  • Josh Inwood will deliver the inaugural Liberal Arts First-Year Valedictory Address.
  • Aparna Parikh has accepted an offer for a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College, and will be housed in their Department of Geography.
  • Cary Anderson won the AAG Cartography Speciality Group’s Illustrated Paper Award for her work on assessing emotional reactions to different map designs.
  • Julie Sanchez received an award from the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium.


Department to hold annual Recognition Reception on Friday, April 27

Throughout the academic year, our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends have contributed significantly to our department, community, and society. To extend our appreciation, we will recognize the accomplishments of our community during this annual event. This year’s Recognition Reception will feature the department’s graduating seniors, which provides a special opportunity to join them in celebrating their experience in the department and embarking on the next phase of their lives.


Fighting fire with societal norms

There are a few statistics about women firefighters that stand out to Penn State researcher Lorraine Dowler.

Women account for about 7 percent of firefighters nationwide. Men and women firefighters have the same average age, but women are paid $10,000 less, on average, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Even in the San Francisco Fire Department, which has made great strides toward equal representation, just 15 percent of firefighters are women. In the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), that figure is less than 1 percent.

Undergraduate Exhibition wraps up record year

Arts and Humanities winner is working with Alex Klippel and Jiawei Huang in ChoroPhronesis
Hundreds of students and judges bustled about in the HUB-Robeson Center Wednesday evening for the 2018 Undergraduate Research Exhibition on the University Park campus of Penn State. From musical presentations in the Flex Theater posters in Alumni and Heritage halls, the University’s best were promoting the fruits of their academic and artistic pursuits.

Students see green: Mock spill illustrates potential impact of wastewater leak

Bright green water swirled around Mariah Airey’s boots as it made its way into Black Moshannon Creek.

A freshman at State College Area High School, Airey watched as green dye trickled down a tributary, mixed with the clear water in the creek and then rushed downstream.


The future of behavioral and cognitive geography: a coda

Roger Downs
Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography, 2018

American archives and climate change: risks and adaptation

Mazurczyk, T., Piekielek, N., Tansey, E., & Goldman, B.
Climate Risk Management
Climate change directly affects the future security of cultural resources. Cultural heritage and in particular, archives, are increasingly at risk of degradation due to climate change threats and triggers. This study evaluated present and future consequences of water-related climate change impacts using a mapping methodology to assess exposure of American archives to incompatible weather extremes.

HIV as social and ecological experience

Brian King and Margaret S. Winchester
Social Science and Medicine
The spread and varied impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic demonstrate the complex and reciprocal relationships between the socio-political and biophysical dimensions of human health. Yet even with increasing research and policy attention there remain critical gaps in the literature on how HIV-positive households manage health through their engagement with social and ecological systems. This is particularly urgent given improvements in the global response to the epidemic, whereby expanded access to antiretroviral therapy has extended the possibility for survival for years or decades. Because many HIV-positive families and communities in the Global South remain dependent upon a diverse set of resources to generate income and meet subsistence needs, the impacts of disease must be understood within a mix of social processes, including the maintenance of land and collection of natural resources.

Apr 18

The Miller Lecture with Ariel Anbar | Herbarium profiled | Public mapping project awarded


Morrocan marketBronwen Powell (right) shared this photo from Asni Market in the High Atlas Mountains near Marrakech, Morocco in December 2017. She is interviewing a vendor and assisted by a translator.


  • April 18 at 7:00 p.m., the GIS Coalition will be holding its final meeting of the semester in 229 Walker Building. Guest speaker Mark Simpson will talk about GIS and virtual reality for data representation.
  • April 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., SWIG will be hosting three interactive workshops teaching girls the importance of space and place by using maps/cartography, aerial photography, and VR, as part of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) biannual Girl Scout Workshop.
  • Guido Cervone received a College of Earth and Mineral Sciences postdoctoral award, which will fund a postdoctoral position for two years.
  • Eden Kinkaid passed her dissertation proposal defense on April 16.
  • At the 2018 AAG annual meeting, alumnus Jase Bernhardt (’16g), now in the Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability at Hofstra University, was elected director of the AAG Climate Specialty Group.
  • Hari Osofsky’s Emory Law Journal article, Energy Partisanship, (with University of Melbourne’s Jacqueline Peel) was awarded the 2018 Morrison Prize, which recognizes the most impactful sustainability-related legal academic article published in North America during the previous year.
  • Next year’s SWIG officers will be Ruchi Patel, Michelle Ritchie, Elli Nasr, and Emily Domanico.


The Miller Lecture with Ariel Anbar: Education Through Exploration: Reimagining Learning in a Digital Age

Digital learning environments are being developed to meet the need for discovery-based and active learning at scale, enabling pedagogy that is interactive and adaptive to the learner as well as new modes of assessment. Building on the successes of tools and platforms such as the Khan Academy, Coursera, EdX, and PhET, the sophistication of interactivity, adapativity, and assessments continues to improve, driven by a combination of technological innovation and learning sciences research. This convergence creates new possibilities, but demands new approaches to the design of learning experiences.

  • 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:00 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast


Preserving Seeds of Knowledge: Natural history flourishes at Penn State’s PAC Herbarium

Located in the Whitmore Lab on the Penn State campus, the PAC Herbarium may be one of University Park’s best-kept secrets.

Cabinets and shelves are lined with more than 107,000 carefully dried, preserved, and mounted plant specimens from around the world. The room’s temperature is kept at 69 degrees throughout the year to keep mold and insects away. Treasured specimens collected by Evan Pugh, Penn State’s first president, showcase the legacy of the herbarium and the role it has played in the university’s history as a leader in agricultural sciences.

Public Mapping Project wins 2018 Brown Democracy Medal

As conversations about how to stop partisan gerrymandering continue around the country, the work being done by this year’s Brown Democracy Medal winner could not be more timely or more relevant.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy will award the 2018 Brown Democracy Medal to the Public Mapping Project, an initiative led by Micah Altman, director of research and head of the program on information science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Michael McDonald, associate professor of political science at the University of Florida.

One-fifth of carbon entering coastal waters of eastern North America is buried

Coastal waters play an important role in the carbon cycle by transferring carbon to the open ocean or burying it in wetland soils and ocean sediments, a new study shows.

The team, led by Raymond Najjar, professor of oceanography in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, constructed the first known carbon budget of the eastern coast of North America from the southern tip of Nova Scotia, Canada, to the southern tip of Florida. They tracked the flows of organic and inorganic carbon into and out of coastal waters.


Advancing Dendrochronological Studies of Fire in the United States

Harley GL, Baisan CH, Brown PM, Falk DA, Flatley WT, Grissino-Mayer HD, Hessl A, Heyerdahl EK, Kaye MW, Lafon CW, Margolis EQ, Maxwell RS, Naito AT, Platt WJ, Rother MT, Saladyga T, Sherriff RL, Stachowiak LA, Stambaugh MC, Sutherland EK, Taylor AH.
Fire. 2018; 1(1):11
Dendroecology is the science that dates tree rings to their exact calendar year of formation to study processes that influence forest ecology (e.g., Speer 2010 [1], Amoroso et al., 2017 [2]). Reconstruction of past fire regimes is a core application of dendroecology, linking fire history to population dynamics and climate effects on tree growth and survivorship. Since the early 20th century when dendrochronologists recognized that tree rings retained fire scars (e.g., Figure 1), and hence a record of past fires, they have conducted studies worldwide to reconstruct [2] the historical range and variability of fire regimes (e.g., frequency, severity, seasonality, spatial extent), [3] the influence of fire regimes on forest structure and ecosystem dynamics, and [4] the top-down (e.g., climate) and bottom-up (e.g., fuels, topography) drivers of fire that operate at a range of temporal and spatial scales. As in other scientific fields, continued application of dendrochronological techniques to study fires has shaped new trajectories for the science. Here we highlight some important current directions in the United States (US) and call on our international colleagues to continue the conversation with perspectives from other countries.


Apr 18

Coffee Hour with Randall F. Mason | AAG information | King’s book receives award


SYWIG day students mapping

Three schools and a total of 35 middle school girls participated in this years Supporting Young Women in Geography (SYWIG) Day, held in the Department of Geography on April 22. One activity, run by Carolyn Fish, Cary Anderson, and Emily Domanico focused on mapping the impacts of climate change. Here, girls are using contour lines on a topographic map to predict what coastal areas would be inundated in the future with 25 feet of sea level rise. Photo: Tara Mazurczyk.


The Department of Geography launched a new website on March 20, 2018. The URL will be the same as before: www.geog.psu.edu, however any links to pages within the old site will no longer work. Check any links you currently have to our website, and contact geography@psu.edu if you are having trouble linking to the pages or content you seek.

  • A paper by Jamie Peeler and Erica Smithwick titled “Exploring invasibility with species distribution modeling: how does fire promote cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion within lower montane forests?” has been accepted for publication in the journal, Diversity and Distributions.
  • Brian King’s book, States of Disease: Political Environments and Human Health, received the Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award from the Political Geography Specialty Group of AAG.
  • Harrison Cole passed his PhD candidacy exam.
  • Aparna Parikh successfully defended her dissertation.
  • Megan Bauman passed her PhD proposal defense.
  • Julia Higson is giving a presentation at the 2018 Center for Global Studies, Penn State-Pittsburgh Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 6 at The Nittany Lion Inn.


Coffee Hour: Randall F. Mason “From geography to design”

My academic and professional path began in geography and (at mid-career) has settled in the design fields of urban planning and historic preservation. This talk draws on work from two different points in my career: research begun in the early 1990s on the urban history of NYC at the turn of the 20th century, very much inspired and informed by the mentorship of Deryck Holdsworth; and work (ongoing since 2014) on the conservation and interpretation of Rwandan genocide memorials. The links between these projects center on interpreting and practicing historic preservation and urban design as cultural and social practices. These, and my other scholarly and professional projects, continue to be informed by the basic insights about societies and built environments I learned first in cultural and historical geography.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast


Penn State Geographers at AAG

More than 70 Penn Staters, including students (graduate and undergraduate), faculty, and staff are participating in the AAG annual meeting in New Orleans, April 9–14.
Among the highlights:

AAG Obituary for Peirce F. Lewis

Peirce F. Lewis, an American geographer and professor emeritus at the Department of Geography at Penn State, died on February 18, 2018 in State College, PA. He was 90.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Peirce worked as a civilian geographer in the U.S. Army Forces Far East Command in Tokyo, Japan from 1953-1955. Afterward, he conducted post-doctoral study focusing on geomorphology of North America. Peirce joined the Geography Department at Penn State in 1958 where he taught until his retirement in 1995.


Procrustes target analysis: A multivariate tool for identification of climate fluctuations

Michael B. Richman and William E. Easterling
Journal of Geophysical Research
Agriculturally important climate fluctuation types are identified by using an expert systems approach to synthesize information concerning the sensitivity of various aspects of Midwestern corn production to climatic variability. This information forms target criteria which are the basis for subsequent multivariate analysis using a technique new to meteorology, Procrustes Target Analysis (PTA), to fit the target to climatological data. Mathematical derivation of PTA is presented, along with an example of its application. The results of the analysis indicate that significant climate anomalies exist in the Midwest which agree with the target coefficients. Their spatial evolution is presented. Further investigation reveals that coherent areas of these fluctuations persist for large periods of the 15‐year windows examined and that they appear to impact corn production.

Architectures of hurry: An introductory essay

Deryck W. Holdsworth, Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, Richard Dennis
Architectures of Hurry—Mobilities, Cities and Modernity
‘Hurry’ is an intrinsic component of modernity. This introductory essay situates ideas about hurry in recent literatures on modernity, mobility, speed, rhythm and time–space compression, but argues for a distinctive focus on the infrastructures, practices and emotions associated with ‘hurry’. To this end, the essay explores literary representations of hurry in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including E.M. Forster’s notion of an ‘architecture of hurry’ on the streets of modern London and Matthew Arnold’s ‘sick hurry’ of modern life, and reviews a lexicon of words often associated with hurried mobility. As an experience, if not as a word, ‘hurry’ predates modernity, yet the very contradictory and ambiguous character of hurry reflects the contradictions and ironies at the heart of urban modernity. The introduction concludes by summarizing the themes of subsequent chapters and acknowledging some inevitable omissions in the range of empirical studies, which also imply scope for future research structured around ideas of modern hurry.

Wood Pulp and the Emergence of a New Industrial Landscape in Maine, 1880 to 1930

John H. Clark (’10g) and Deryck W. Holdsworth
Maine History Volume 52

Maine History Journal

Between the 1880s and 1930s, investors developed over seventy pulp and paper mill sites to exploit the woods and inland waters of Maine. Authors John Clark and Deryck Holdsworth tracked the changing historical geographies of papermaking in Maine during this period through an analysis of data from Lockwood’s Directory, the industry’s leading monitor of investment. They also mapped mill sites, noting their changing capacity and shifts in product types as consumer needs evolved. Their work shows how the development of a railroad network helped facilitate a shift from smaller mills at coastal sites to larger mills at inland settings, which exploited water power from the state’s major rivers. This spatial shift, they argue, was also accompanied by an increasing portion of the ownership being controlled by out-of-state capital.


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