Jul 17

ChoroPhronesis | UROC projects due | More news on summer activities


Arts FestPenn State highlighted the art of science and the science of art at a booth during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Alex Klippel demonstrates how his lab enables one take a virtual 360-degree field trip to Brazil, Belize, Iceland, and historic University Park campus with virtual reality headsets.


For the summer, DoG news will be published every other week. Continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.

Yanan Xin was featured in an EMS Summer Dispatch.

Now is the time to submit projects for Undergraduate Research Opportunity Connection (UROC) for fall 2017. Projects due by Sunday, July 30. To learn more and submit projects visit: www.geog.psu.edu/uroc

Welcome to visiting Ph.D. student, Ekaterina Chuprikova, who is joining us from the Technische Universität München. Her dissertation is focused on “validation of global land cover data, predictive analysis and spatial-temporal uncertainty estimation and visualisation.”  Over the next couple of months, she will be exchanging ideas with faculty and students in GeoVISTA and the department about these and related topics. Her desk is in 206A Walker Building.

Joshua Inwood was featured on a podcast on NPR about the Confederate Memorial Debates in St. Louis. www.npr.org/podcasts/404742561/we-live-here

Alex Klippel has been named an Associate in the Institute for Cyber Science

A visualization to show forest development under climate change led by ChoroPhronesis member Jiawei Huang in collaboration with Melissa Lucasch, Robert Scheller, and Alexander Klippel, won third prize in the VISTAS contest. Our VIFF (viff.psu.edu) group tested a workflow of translating LANDIS-II output into virtual reality for the very first time, creating this video of the Willow Creek LTER:


Street naming and the politics of belonging [book chapter]
By Derek Alderman, Joshua Inwood
In The Political Life of Urban Streetscapes: Naming, Politics, and Place
By Reuben Rose-Redwood (’02g,’06g), Derek Alderman, Maoz Azaryahu
Access: https://books.google.com/books?id=QkYrDwAAQBAJ&lpg=PT313&ots=cY6JWRaNMe&lr&pg=PT313#v=onepage&q&f=false
Streetscapes are part of the taken-for-granted spaces of everyday urban life, yet they are also contested arenas in which struggles over identity, memory, and place shape the social production of urban space. This book examines the role that street naming has played in the political life of urban streetscapes in both historical and contemporary cities. The renaming of streets and remaking of urban commemorative landscapes have long been key strategies that different political regimes have employed to legitimize spatial assertions of sovereign authority, ideological hegemony, and symbolic power. Over the past few decades, a rich body of critical scholarship has explored the politics of urban toponymy, and the present collection brings together the works of geographers, anthropologists, historians, linguists, planners, and political scientists to examine the power of street naming as an urban place-making practice. Covering a wide range of case studies from cities in Europe, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, the contributions to this volume illustrate how the naming of streets has been instrumental to the reshaping of urban spatial imaginaries and the cultural politics of place.

Archaeological site exploration and analysis
By Wallgrün, J. O., Huang, J., Zhao, J., Ebert, C., Roddy, P., Awe, Jaime, J.,. . . Klippel, A.
In P. Fogliaroni, A. Ballatore, & E. Clementini (Eds.), Proceedings of Workshops and Posters at 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017). Springer: Berlin.
Access: http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319639451

Developing and evaluating VR field trips
By Oprean, D., Wallgrün, J. O., Duarte, J., Pereira, D., Zhao, J., & Klippel, A. (2017).  In P. Fogliaroni, A. Ballatore, & E. Clementini (Eds.), Proceedings of Workshops and Posters at 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017). Springer: Berlin.
Access: http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319639451

Jul 17

Online student focus | ChoroPhronesis at Arts Fest | Sustainable forestry report

IMAGE OF THE WEEKWest Campus Steam Plant

Hmm … what’s missing here? This is the view from the eastern side of Walker Building looking toward the West Campus Steam Plant.


For the summer, DoG news will be published every other week. Continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.

ChoroPhronesis will be featured at the Penn State Arts Festival Booth on Friday, July 14, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  They will be sharing  several augmented virtual reality experiences.

Guido Cervone sent a summer dispatch from Italy:


Online Geospatial Education Student Focus: Jim Daly
We love hearing from our talented students in the Penn State online geospatial program, especially about what they have learned from our classes and how they plan to apply their certificate/degree.
Jim Daly, from Huntington, New York, entered our program in Fall 2013 and is on track to complete his MGIS degree in 2018. For his capstone project, he plans to pursue developing an online subdivision and zoning web map application for local municipalities and residents. The purpose of the application would be to identify property subject to certain state and municipal subdivision and zoning laws based on proximity to environmental features and governmental jurisdictions.


HLPE Report #11: Sustainable forestry for food security and nutrition
By HLPE Project Team members: Terence Sunderland (Team Leader), Fernande Abanda , Ronnie de Camino Velozo, Patrick Matakala, Peter May, Anatoly Petrov, Bronwen Powell, Bhaskar Vira, Camilla Widmark
Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
Video conference with panel: http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/4399/icode/
Download a PDF of the report: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/hlpe/hlpe_documents/HLPE_Reports/HLPE-Report-11_EN.pdf
In October 2014, the CFS requested the HLPE to conduct a study on Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition. The HLPE is now launching the report in FAO. Q&A session will follow the presentation (link to agenda below). Forests and trees contribute to food security and nutrition (FSN) in multiple ways. They provide wood, energy, foods and other products, generate income and employment, delivering ecosystem services vital for FSN, including water and carbon cycle regulation and protection of biodiversity. Increasing and competing demands on land, forests and trees create new challenges and opportunities and impact FSN. This report calls for a renewed understanding of sustainable forestry in order to fully integrate the different functions of forests and trees, from farm and landscape to global levels, as well as at different timescales, for enhanced FSN and sustainable development. This requires inclusive and integrative governance mechanisms at different scales that enable the full and effective participation of concerned stakeholders, particularly of forest-dependent indigenous peoples and local communities.

Jun 17

Brooks gets SWS award | ChoroPhronesis releases app | Michael P. Murphy winners named


Brooks wetlands award
Robert Brooks (left) receives an award recognizing him as a Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists at the society’s annual conference held in June 2017, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. SWS President Gillian Davies (right) presents the award. Photo by SWS.


For the summer, DoG news will be published every other week. Continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.

Robert J. Farnsworth, a retired US Army Reconnaissance Engineer, and Lt. Drew Cavanagh, US Coast Guard,  received the 2017 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence. Farnsworth was presented with the award at GEOINT 2017. Cavanagh will be recognized at Penn State’s Military Appreciation Day Nov. 11, 2017.

Giselle Redila (undergraduate IST major and ChoroPhronesis intern) received a Penn State Student Engagement Network Grant. She will be working on immersive visual
analytics projects this summer.

Guoqiang Peng (incoming visiting scholar from Nanjing Normal University) received a Chinese Scholarship Council 2017 Scholarship and will be joining ChoroPhronesis this fall.

Yu Zhong (undergraduate intern at ChoroPhronesis) was accepted into the Schreyer Honors College.

Thanks to mobile app developments led by Jan Oliver Wallgrün, ChoroPhronesis has released the beta version of its first app via the google app store.


Brooks elected Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists
Robert P. Brooks was elected as a Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists at the society’s annual conference held in June 2017, San Juan, Puerto Rico. A Fellow is the highest recognition of membership bestowed by the society. Nominees must be active society members who have been nominated by other active members to receive the honor, recommended by the Fellows Committee and elected by the SWS board of directors.

Brooks is a nationally recognized leader in wetland science and policy with more than 35 years of experience working in inland freshwater wetlands and riverine ecosystems.

“Dr. Brooks has served in a professorial role for over 35 years, educating students of all ages. Whether through formal classroom teaching, laboratories and field trips, or numerous outreach events, he always finds ways to ignite the passion of his students. His love and dedication to the subject—wetlands, other aquatic ecosystems, and their wildlife and biota—are noteworthy, and have not faded,” said his nominator, Christopher B. Craft, the Janet Duey Professor of Rural Land Policy, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University.

“Beyond formal appointments, Dr. Brooks leads by example, through diligent and sustained professional activities, setting an example for students and colleagues in wetland science and related fields.  What stands out about Rob’s career is how he seeks to integrate research, teaching, outreach, and service endeavors, as he and his students and staff add to the knowledge base about wetlands, and their place in watersheds, and communicate the importance of aquatic ecosystems to varied audiences,” Craft said.

Brooks is currently the Ruby S. and E. Willard Miller Professor of Geography and Ecology, and Director of Riparia at Penn State, a center “where science informs policy and practice.”

Researchers create virtual mobile tour of University Park campus
From the 1915 class gift of the Old Main sundial to the 2013 “We Are” structure, Penn Staters have a rich history of contributing back to the University. As new landmarks and class gifts sprout up across the University Park campus, it’s often difficult for the average visitor to keep track of each gift’s location and history.

Quantifying space, understanding minds: A visual summary approach
By Mark Simpson, Kai-Florian Richter, Jan Oliver Wallgrün and Alexander Klippel
In Journal of Spatial Information Science
Access: doi:10.5311/JOSIS.2017.14.292
This paper presents an illustrated, validated taxonomy of research that compares spatial measures to human behavior. Spatial measures quantify the spatial characteristics of environments, such as the centrality of intersections in a street network or the accessibility of a room in a building from all the other rooms. While spatial measures have been of interest to spatial sciences, they are also of importance in the behavioral sciences for use in modeling human behavior. A high correlation between values for spatial measures and specific behaviors can provide insights into an environment’s legibility, and contribute to a deeper understanding of human spatial cognition. Research in this area takes place in several domains, which makes a full understanding of existing literature difficult. To address this challenge, we adopt a visual summary approach. Literature is analyzed, and recurring topics are identified and validated with independent inter-rater agreement tasks in order to create a robust taxonomy for spatial measures and human behavior. The taxonomy is then illustrated with a visual representation that allows for at-a-glance visual access to the content of individual research papers in a corpus. A public web interface has been created that allows interested researchers to add to the database and create visual summaries for their research papers using our taxonomy.

Jun 17

New EMS dean | Summer dispatch: Fukushima | ICS updates


campers in GrenadaRachel Passmore (’14) sends this photo of campers on a river tubing trip from her Peace Corps service in Grenada (West Indies) She and her Grenadian counterpart hosted a sex education camp for 20 Grenadian youths.


For the summer, DoG news will be published every other week. Continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.


Penn State faculty member named College of Earth and Mineral Sciences dean
Lee Kump, a University faculty member and leading paleoclimatologist, has been named the new dean of Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, pending approval of the Penn State Board of Trustees on July 21. Kump will serve as interim dean from June 1 to July 20.

Institute for CyberScience upgrades research cyberinfrastructure
The Institute for CyberScience (ICS) has completed a major upgrade of its Advanced CyberInfrastructure (ICS-ACI), Penn State’s high-performance research cloud. The upgrade efforts involved adding new computing capabilities and migrating computing hardware from Penn State’s 1960s-era Computer Building to a newly built, state-of-the art data center facility.

May 17

We are … at the UN | Promotions announced | Protecting plant biodiversity


we are ... at the UN

Passing notes in class?  Bronwen Powell sends this photo from the UN Forum on Forests held in May at UN Headquarters in New York. After introductions, she received a note from fellow Penn Stater Mahmoud Ablan (’07, ’16gr), a lead organizer and advisor at the UN,  “We are …”


For the summer, DoG news will be published every other week. Continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.

Courtney Jackson (’15), who will start her Ph.D. program in geography at Penn State this fall, received an award to participate in the 2017 National Water Center Innovators Program Summer Institute.

Rachel Passmore (’14) will finish her 27 months of Peace Corps service in August. She will begin graduate school, to obtain her master of public health, at Columbia University in New York during the same month. She would like to thank Susan Friedman and Lorraine Dowler for their support throughout the application process.

Promotions announced:
Alexander Klippel has been promoted to professor.
Stefanie Rocco has been promoted to senior lecturer/senior instructor.
Michelle Zeiders has been promoted to senior lecturer/senior instructor.


Alumni mentoring program underscores dedication to improving student experiences
Looking back at when he began his first job as a geoscientist, Penn State alumnus Enrique Perez said he saw how a formal alumni mentoring program could have benefited him.

“I’m from a low-income family in Georgia and I didn’t have any relatives in the sort of career I was pursuing,” he said.

Integrative approach needed to protect crop biodiversity, researcher says
While studying ways to protect and strengthen the biodiversity and social accessibility of food plants, Karl Zimmerer, professor of geography, often finds simple solutions.

Sometimes growers have simply run out of seed for a unique strain of crop or garden plant. That food source could be gone forever, or quickly replenished if a seed bank is operating in the region.

May 17

Congratulations to grads | MOOC on FutureLearn | Scholarly publications


undergraduates at commencementGeography undergraduate students, from left (rear) to right (front): McQuillin Murphy, Jack Swab, Grant Smith, Anna Blyth, Yuhao Wang, Kathy Cappelli, Max Rudner, Judy Smith, Paul Yost, Torie Herdt, Jordan Qualtieri-Tyrrell at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Commencement Ceremonies at the Pegula Ice Arena on Friday, May 5, 2017.


For the summer, DoG enews will be published every other week. Please continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.

Alumnus Patrick Stephens, has just had a map published as part of a scientific article.  Stephens generated this map while working on an independent study with Andrew Carleton in fall 2015.

Megan Baumann, Eden Kinkaid, and Carolynne Hultquist were elected at the new grad reps for 2017–18  Lauren Fritzsche will continue to serve during the fall semester.

Erica Smithwick was a panelist on Conversations LIVE: Climate Change with host Patty Satalia on Thursday, April 27.


Penn State opens mapping course on FutureLearn MOOC platform
Penn State’s massive open online course “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution” will open May 8 on FutureLearn, the United Kingdom’s leading MOOC platform.

Record 83 undergraduates receive 2017 Erickson Discovery Grants
Geography undergrad Eva Bonta is a recipient
At Penn State, an increasing amount of students are forgoing their usual summer routines and participating in research in the field, lab, or studio. For some, this means staying close to campus while others travel thousands of miles away to research topics in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and arts fields.

Army captain balanced military training, deployment while completing his degree
Duhon graduated with a master’s degree in homeland security
Army Capt. Andy Duhon has been busy the past four years. He attained his current rank and position after completing Army courses and trainings. He took language immersion classes before serving overseas. He deployed to West Africa for six months, and he and his wife had two kids.


Leveraging Big (Geo) Data with (Geo) Visual Analytics: Place as the Next Frontier [book chapter]
By Alan M. MacEachren
In Spatial Data Handling in Big Data Era
Access DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-4424-3_10
A tension exists in the discipline of Geography between the concepts of space and place. Most research and development in Geographical Information Science (GIScience) has been focused on the former, through methods to formally structure data about the world and to systematically model and analyze aspects of the world as represented through those structured data. People, however, live and behave in socially constructed places; what they care about happens in those places rather than in some abstract, modeled ‘space’. Study of place, by human geographers (and other social scientists and humanist scholars), typically using qualitative methods and seldom relying on digital data, has proceeded largely independently of GIScience research focused on space. There have been calls within GIScience to formalize place to enable application of Geographical Information Systems methods to place-based problems, and some progress in this direction has been made. Here, however, a complementary view is offered for treating ‘place’ as a first class object of attention by capitalizing on the combination of “big data” and new human-centered visual analytical methods to enable understanding of the complexity inherent in place as both a concept and a context for human behavior.

A decade of colonization: the spread of the Asian tiger mosquito in Pennsylvania and implications for disease risk
By Taber, Eric D.; Hutchinson, Michael L.; Smithwick, Erica A. H.; Blanford, Justine I.
In Journal of Vector Ecology  Jun 2017, Vol. 42 Issue 1, p3-12. 10p.
In recent decades, the Asian tiger mosquito expanded its geographic range throughout the northeastern United States, including Pennsylvania. The establishment of Aedes albopictus in novel areas raises significant public health concerns, since this species is a highly competent vector of several arboviruses, including chikungunya, West Nile, and dengue. In this study, we used geographic information systems (GIS) to examine a decade of colonization by Ae. albopictus throughout Pennsylvania between 2001 and 2010. We examined the spatial and temporal distribution of Ae. albopictus using spatial statistical analysis and examined the risk of dengue virus transmission using a model that captures the probability of transmission. Our findings show that since 2001, the Ae. albopictus population in Pennsylvania has increased, becoming established and expanding in range throughout much of the state. Since 2010, imported cases of dengue fever have been recorded in Pennsylvania. Imported cases of dengue, in combination with summer temperatures conducive for virus transmission, raise the risk of local disease transmission.

Constructing landscapes: Healthcare contexts in rural South Africa
By Margaret Winchester and Brian King
In Medicine Anthropology Theory 4, no. 1: 151–176
Access http://www.medanthrotheory.org/read/7212/constructing-landscapes
The concept of therapeutic landscapes has been adopted from geography by anthropologists with a similar commitment to addressing the intersections between the construction of place and the multifaceted and symbolic dimensions of health. Drawing from health geography and medical anthropology, we take up the challenge from these fields to approach health broadly in order to understand how health decision making is connected to intersecting political, economic, social, and cultural processes that shape what options are available to people. This article presents findings from an ongoing study of the political ecology of health in northeastern South Africa. We consider how therapeutic landscapes are produced by physical infrastructure, social dynamics, and the use of
natural resources for livelihoods and health management. While each of these dimensions is critical in shaping human health, we argue that it is through their interaction that therapeutic landscapes are produced. Landscapes of care are thus complicated and shifting, with rural households making strategic decisions to leverage government support, social support, and resources for health management. We conclude by emphasizing the need for further integration of anthropological and geographic frameworks in studying human health.

The determinants of dietary diversity and nutrition: ethnonutrition knowledge of local people in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania
By Bronwen Powell, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Sera L. Young and Timothy Johns
In Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Access DOI: 10.1186/s13002-017-0150-2
Diet and nutrition-related behaviours are embedded in cultural and environmental contexts: adoption of new knowledge depends on how easily it can be integrated into existing knowledge systems. As dietary diversity promotion becomes an increasingly common component of nutrition education, understanding local nutrition knowledge systems and local concepts about dietary diversity is essential to formulate efficient messages.
Methods. This paper draws on in-depth qualitative ethnographic research conducted in small-scale agricultural communities in Tanzania. Data were collected using interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation in the East Usambara Mountains, an area that is home primarily to the Shambaa and Bondei ethnic groups, but has a long history of ethnic diversity and ethnic intermixing.
Results. The data showed a high degree of consensus among participants who reported that dietary diversity is important because it maintains and enhances appetite across days, months and seasons. Local people reported that sufficient cash resources, agrobiodiversity, heterogeneity within the landscape, and livelihood diversity all supported their ability to consume a varied diet and achieve good nutritional status. Other variables affecting diet and dietary diversity included seasonality, household size, and gender. The results suggest that dietary diversity was perceived as something all people, both rich and poor, could achieve. There was significant overlap between local and scientific understandings of dietary diversity, suggesting that novel information on the importance of dietary diversity promoted through education will likely be easily integrated into the existing knowledge systems.

Map Projections and the Internet [book chapter]
By Kessler, Fritz, C., Sarah E. Battersby, Michael P. Finn, and Keith C. Clarke
In Choosing a Map Projection
Access DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-51835-0_4
The field of map projections can be described as mathematical, static, and challenging. However, this description is evolving in concert with the development of the Internet. The Internet has enabled new outlets for software applications, learning, and interaction with and about map projections . This chapter examines specific ways in which the Internet has moved map projections from a relatively obscure paper-based setting to a more engaging and accessible online environment. After a brief overview of map projections, this chapter discusses four perspectives on how map projections have been integrated into the Internet. First, map projections and their role in web maps and mapping services is examined. Second, an overview of online atlases and the map projections chosen for their maps is presented. Third, new programming languages and code libraries that enable map projections to be included in mapping applications are reviewed. Fourth, the Internet has facilitated map projection education and research especially with the map reader’s comprehension and understanding of complex topics like map projection distortion is discussed.

Apr 17

Recognition Reception | An indirect approach to human rights? | Course development seed grants


Penn State Department of Geography’s graduate wetlands class spent the Earth Day weekend exploring a gradient of wetlands in southern New Jersey from freshwater Atlantic White Cedar swamps of the Pinelands to coastal salt marshes of Delaware Bay. Here, the two come together where sea level rise is forcing salt marshes to invade the low-lying cedar swamps. Rot-resistant cedar tree trunks can be seen in the background protruding from the encroaching salt marsh. Their Society of Wetland Scientists matching t-shirts display their support for the March for Science. From right to left are: Rob Brooks (instructor), Peter Backhaus, Zheng Lin, Kyle Clark, Josh Wisor, Jesus Ruiz-Plancarte, Travis Young, and Ramzi Tubbeh (not pictured: Tim Gould and Tara Mazurczyk were involved in other contributing activities over the weekend).


Meg Boyle is serving as a panelist tonight (April 25), at the “Teach-in on Climate Change and Environmental Policy in the Age of Trump,” 6:30-8:00 p.m. Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library.

The department’s annual Recognition Reception takes place Friday, April 28 in Walker Building.

Diane Felmlee (Sociology), Alan MacEachren, Stephen Mathews, and Justine Blanford received a Seed Grant from the Social Science Research Institute.

Yanan Xin and Megan Baumann have been selected as the UROC coordinators for the 2017–18 academic year.

Bronwen Powell was invited to speak at this year’s UN Forum on Forests to be held during the first week of May at UN Headquarters in New York.

Annie Taylor, Director of the Dutton e-Education Institute will become EMS Assistant Dean of Distance Learning and Director, Dutton e-Education Institute.

Liping Yang, Guido Cervone, and Alan M. MacEachren won an NVIDIA GPU Grant (NVIDIA Awarded one Titan X Pascal GPU card).


When using the phrase ‘human rights’ hinders human-rights initiatives
A. Marie Ranjbar noticed a peculiar pattern in the conversations she was having as part of her dissertation research. A doctoral candidate in geography and women’s studies at Penn State, Ranjbar was interviewing minority ethnic groups in northwest Iran for research into how certain ethnic groups view a shrinking lake in northwest Iran, Lake Urmia.

Office for General Education announces Integrative Studies Seed Grant awards
Geographers Jennifer Baka, Lorraine Dowler, Chris Fowler, Joshua Inwood, and Karl Zimmerer are among awardees
The Integrative Studies Seed Grant Program, offered through the Penn State Office for General Education, will support 71 different course development projects this summer. In response to the large volume of highly qualified proposals, the budget was generously increased by more than 50 percent by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Undergraduate Education.


Short-term photovoltaic power forecasting using Artificial Neural Networks and an Analog Ensemble
By Cervone, G., Clemente-Harding, L., Alessandrini, S., Monache, L. D.
In Renewable Energy
Access http://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2017.02.052
A methodology based on Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and an Analog Ensemble (AnEn) is presented to generate 72 h deterministic and probabilistic forecasts of power generated by photovoltaic (PV) power plants using input from a numerical weather prediction model and computed astronomical variables. ANN and AnEn are used individually and in combination to generate forecasts for three solar power plants located in Italy. The computational scalability of the proposed solution is tested using synthetic data simulating 4450 PV power stations. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Yellowstone supercomputer is employed to test the parallel implementation of the proposed solution, ranging from one node (32 cores) to 4450 nodes (141,140 cores). Results show that a combined AnEn + ANN solution yields best results, and that the proposed solution is well suited for massive scale computation.

Source Reconstruction of Atmospheric Release with Limited Meteorological Observations Using Genetic Algorithms
By Petrozziello, A., Cervone, G., Franzese, P., Haupt, S. E., Cerulli, R.
In Applied Artificial Intelligence
Access doi: 10.1080/08839514.2017.1300005
A genetic algorithm is paired with a Lagrangian puff atmospheric model to reconstruct the source characteristics of an atmospheric release. Observed meteorological and ground concentration measurements from the real-world Dipole Pride controlled release experiment are used to test the methodology. A sensitivity study is performed to quantify the relative contribution of the number and location of sensor measurements by progressively removing them. Additionally, the importance of the meteorological measurements is tested by progressively removing surface observations and vertical profiles. It is shown that the source term reconstruction can occur also with limited meteorological observations. The proposed general methodology can be applied to reconstruct the characteristics of an unknown atmospheric release given limited ground and meteorological observations.

Apr 17

Coffee Hour with Keefover-Ring | Crane named Global Programs avp | Recognition Reception


European Beech at Walker Building eastern entrance

A springtime view of the eastern corner entrance to Walker Building, seen through the large buds on the European Beech (Fagus sylvatica). Join us here on April 28 for the annual Recognition Reception. We recognize the accomplishments of our community during this important annual event. We will also celebrate renewals to labs in the department; help us to dedicate our new learning spaces.


  • Tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the State Theatre, a public screening of “Managing Risk in a Changing Climate” followed by a panel discussion, including Erica Smithwick.
  • Russell Hedberg is on the board of the AAG Geographies of Food and Agriculture Speciality Group which published an op-ed in the Finger Lakes Times on how the current administrations proposed immigration policies will affect the food and agriculture sector in the US.
  • Tara Mazurczyk, Natalie Pawlikowski, Cary Anderson, and Lauren Fritzsche will be the SWIG officers for 2017-2018.
  • Azita Ranjbar has accepted a tenure-track position with Ohio State’s Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Morteza Karimzadeh has accepted a lecturer position with Ohio State’s Department of Geography.
  • Alumna Rachel Passmore is going to attend Columbia University in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a specialization on women’s health.
  • Alumna Adrienne Cooke is going to the University of Illinois, fully funded on a fellowship.
  • Teresa Onorati arrived as a visiting scholar in GeoVISTA/Geography. She will be here collaborating with several of us through the end of summer. Onorati is visiting from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. She is currently a postdoc in the Department of Computer Science; her research is focused on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to empower social knowledge in domains of public interest like crisis management and politics.
  • Karl Zimmerer’s article on “Agrobiodiversity and a Sustainable Food Future” was referenced on the blog Roots, Tubers, and Bananas.
  • Alan MacEachren, Jenn Baka, and Prasenjit Mitra (IST), along with postdoc Liping Yang received a Seed Grant from the Institute for CyberScience for their proposal: Comment Analytics: Leveraging Big Unstructured Data to Understand Spatial and Temporal Variations in Public Response to Government Policy.


Final spring 2017 Coffee Hour with Ken Keefover-Ring: The space-thyme continuum and other tales of chemical biogeography
Plants produce a wide variety of so-called “secondary compounds” which they use for many different functions, including deterring their herbivores or attracting their pollinators. Many of these compounds are familiar to us since we have co-opted them for our own purposes, such as fragrances and flavors (essential oils) and medicines and stimulants (aspirin and caffeine). While we associate specific plants with certain compounds, in natural populations the chemistry of some plant species can be quite variable. I am interested in this variation and how secondary compound-mediated interactions between plants and other organisms can change over a plant’s range. In this talk I will discuss where the fields of chemical ecology and biogeography meet and use some of my work to illustrate the ecological and evolutionary implications of plant chemical variation over the landscape.

  • 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

Robert Crane named associate vice provost for Global Programs
After a national search for an associate vice provost for Global Programs, Robert G. Crane, director of Strategic Initiatives within Global Programs at Penn State, has been named to the post.

“Rob is a tireless advocate for international education and a strong believer in the ideals of transforming Penn State into a truly global university,” said Michael Adewumi, vice provost for Global Programs. “Recommended by the search committee, Rob is an excellent choice, given his experience and close working knowledge and leadership roles in Global Programs over the years. His ability to take on projects and tasks that not only benefit our students and the University as a whole, but also benefit the nation and other countries is longstanding and proven.”

Apr 17

Coffee Hour-Miller Lecture with Anthony Bebbington | Easterling award | Spring events


Geog undergrads at AAG poster session

Undergraduate students in the Department of Geography (from left), Kathy Cappelli, Christopher Mertz, Adelaide Kellett, Connor Klassen and Andrew Brown participated in research poster sessions at the American Association of Geographers annual meeting in Boston, Ma., April 5–9 2017.


Eva Bonta received a Penn State Erickson Discovery Grant for her project “Gastronomic Tourism in Mezcala, Mexico.”

Benjamin Carlsen’s team won “Best Visualization” at Penn State’s 2017 ASA Datafest competition

Aparna Parikh’s paper, “Ignoring perceptions, heightening risk: Examining paradoxes of urban safety policies for women working the night shift in Mumbai, India” receiving the Glenda Laws Student Paper Award from the AAG Global Perspectives On Women Specialty Group.

Ethan Davis was interviewed on “The Morning Mixtape” radio program about his new farm “Strong Roots Organic Farm” and CSAs on Friday, April 7.


Coffee Hour is the Miller Lecture with Anthony Bebbington: Mapping forest threats: the challenge of infrastructure and extractive industry
Debates over the Amazon forest in the 1970s established the adverse effects of large scale infrastructure on forest cover and forest peoples. Yet while scholars and activists in geography and related fields demonstrated the political and economic factors shaping forest conversion, the war over who in practice gets to determine the extent of forest cover continues to wage on. Forests have become increasingly disputed territories, and those disputes challenge the maintenance of forest cover and the rights of populations who live from the forest. In these disputes over forests, the expansion of extractive industry investment and investment in infrastructure play a particular role. This is the case for large and small-scale of extraction and infrastructure alike. This talk presents on-going work that attempts to assess the extent and significance of these two sectors as threats to forest cover, with a focus on the Amazon, Indonesia and Mesoamerica.

  • 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
  • Next time: April 21 Ken Keefover-Ring

Easterling receives national ‘Giving Back Award’ for promoting diversity
William Easterling, dean of the College of the Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS), received the 2017 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for his contributions to increasing diversity and promoting opportunities for students and faculty.

“Dean Easterling is very attuned to issues of power and privilege and equity, as well as to underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and actively works to make a positive difference,” said Victoria Sanchez, EMS’ associate dean for educational equity. “In his time as dean, he has made diversity, equity and inclusive excellence a priority for the College.”

Using geodesign for Major League Baseball stadium development
The best way for students to learn about geodesign is to apply their learning to real world projects, especially because many of the online students are already in the workforce.

Jim Sipes, a faculty member for the online geodesign program at Penn State and renowned designer with Sand County Studios, developed a project to investigate the new Atlanta Braves baseball stadium and neighborhood development as the challenge for the fall 2016 Geodesign II course on urban landscape change issues.


Agrobiodiversity and a sustainable food future
By K. S. Zimmerer, S. de Haan
In Nature Plants
Access doi:10.1038/nplants.2017.47
The biodiversity of food plants is vital for humanity’s capacity to meet sustainability challenges. This goal requires the rigorous integration of plant, environmental, social and health sciences. It is coalescing around four thematic cornerstones that are both interdisciplinary and policy relevant.

Traditional Sustainable Harvesting Knowledge and Distribution of a Vulnerable Wild Medicinal Root (A. pyrethrum var. pyrethrum) in Ait M’hamed Valley, Morocco
By Abderrahim Ouarghidi, Bronwen Powell, Gary J. Martin, Abdelaziz Abbad
In Economic Botany
Access 10.1007/s12231-017-9374-2
This study examined traditional harvesting knowledge and practices, paired with field-based assessment of distribution of a vulnerable wild medicinal root, Anacyclus pyrethrum var. pyrethrum, in southern Morocco. Research included focus groups, qualitative interviews, and a survey of 38 collectors. Based on local knowledge, replanting trials were conducted and transects and plot-based assessments were used to examine distribution.

An Evaluation of a Visual Analytics Prototype for Calendar-Related Spatiotemporal Periodicity Detection and Analysis
By Brian Swedberg, Donna Peuquet
In Cartographica
Access https://muse.jhu.edu/article/652031
Whether it is sunrise, the weekend, or Christmas, some form of temporal structure or periodic pattern governs our daily activities. Understanding them is essential to making sense of human activity, because they frame normality and allow us to identify abnormalities. However, cultural heterogeneity and scale greatly complicate our ability to uncover and understand human activity at a given time within a region. Current research in the field of visual analytics and geography provide methods of addressing spatiotemporal periodicity, but they fall short in providing access to multiple spatial and temporal scales via a relevant calendar. In response to these shortcomings, we developed PerSE (periodicity in spatio-temporal events), a coordinated-view Web application designed to aid users in the detection and analysis of calendar-related periodicity in spatiotemporal event data sets. Given the complexity of such a visualization tool, this paper focuses on the usability and learnability of PerSE. We evaluated the tool through a 20-participant study that consisted of training, a multiple-choice test, and the System Usability Scale. Our analysis of the results shows that the complex combination of visual tools and multi-scale, multi-calendar capability used within PerSE is effective, but still in need of usability improvements.

Planning Dissonance” and the Bases for Stably Diverse Neighborhoods: The Case of South Seattle.
By Lumley-Sapanski, Audrey and Fowler, Christopher S.
In City & Community
Access 10.1111/cico.12224
Recent scholarship has focused extensively on the rise of diverse neighborhoods in U.S. cities. Nevertheless, the theoretical frameworks we have for describing residential settlement patterns generally treat diversity as an unstable and transitory period that is the product of a unidirectional pressure towards segregation. In our analysis of six diverse neighborhoods in Southeast Seattle, we find evidence of processes at multiple scales that not only maintain diversity, but actually reinforce it. From individual decisions about property ownership to broader patterns of regional disinvestment, we find empirical evidence that indicates a need for a more complex theorization of the processes that create and sustain diverse neighborhoods. In our preliminary theorization of these conditions, we call for a conceptualization of residential settlement patterns that is explicitly multiscalar and recognizes a wider range of cultural, economic, and political relations as central to the production of observed patterns of neighborhood settlement.

Mar 17

AAG presenters and reception info | Dowler’s election | Coffee Hour updates


AAG Reception San Francisco

Scene from the Alumni and Friends Reception during AAG in San Francisco. Cindy Brewer [center] makes sure everyone gets enough flatbread pizza. Join us April 7, 2017 for the Alumni and Friends Reception during AAG, at Dillons in Boston, Ma., 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information and to RSVP: www.geog.psu.edu/aag-reception


  • Both Karl Zimmerer and his advisee Nathan Clay had articles published in the March issue of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers.
  • Alex Klippel, Roger Downs, Andrew Carleton, and Karl Zimmerer all contributed articles to The International Encyclopedia of Geography.
  • College of EMS announces a new Stellar Performance Award. Nominations due by the last day of classes for each semester (fall, spring, summer) for recognition during following semester. To learn more about the award and how to nominate a staff member, please visit: www.ems.psu.edu/stellarAward


Coffee Hour schedule announcement
Due to the AAG Annual meeting, April 5–9, 2017, there will be no Coffee Hour on March 31 or April 7. The next Coffee Hour will be April 14. Remember, if you missed a talk, you can view the archived webcast on Mediasite, linked from each talk’s webpage.

Remainder of the spring 2017 Coffee Hour schedule:

  • April 14 The Miller Lecture with Anthony Bebbington, Higgins Professor of Environment and Society and Professor of Geography, Clark University
  • April 21 Ken Keefover-Ring

Many Penn State geographers presenting at AAG 2017
More than 70 Penn Staters, including students (graduate and undergraduate), faculty, and staff are participating in the AAG annual meeting in Boston, April 5–9, 2017.

Newly elected AAG national councilor Dowler sights social justice
Penn State associate professor of geography and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, Lorraine Dowler, has been elected as a national councilor for the American Association of Geographers’ governing body. She is one of six national councilors and will begin her three-year term on July 1.

“In my new role, I will advocate for the discipline to be a leader in education and society more generally in promoting economic justice, political freedom, environmental stability and cultural acceptance,” Dowler said.


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