IMAGE OF THE WEEK
The image shows the students taking part in a mapping activity during the 2018 event. SYWIG day is Thursday, March 21—Supporting Women in Geography’s annual Supporting Young Women in Geography (SYWIG) Day will be held on March 21, 2019. Seventh and eighth grade girls from Centre County middle schools Philipsburg-Osceola and Moshannon Valley will be visiting the department to participate in interactive workshops led by SWIG volunteers covering a range of topics in geography. The event provides a unique opportunity to connect young women in the State College area and bring geography to life through creative activities led by Geography graduate and undergraduate students. Organizers of this year’s event are SWIG officers, Ruchi, Emily, Elham, and Michelle, with a special thanks to Stacey, Jamie, Julie, Jacklyn, Izzy, Elise, Emily, Sam, Erin, Tara, Saumya, Jodi and the office staff. Through this acknowledgment, SWIG endeavors to highlight the extraordinary service of women in the department every day.
Welcome to Mamma Sawaneh, visiting scholar from The Gambia, working with Erica Smithwick this semester.
15th annual Penn State Powwow is scheduled for April 6-7.
The Smith Center is pleased to announce that the twentieth series of the Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography will be held at the Newberry Library, Nov. 7 through Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.To register or for more information, please contact Smith Center Program Assistant Madeline Crispell at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (312)-255-3575.
Karl Zimmerer and Megan Baumann were recently awarded an NSF-GSS Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) grant. It is titled “Doctoral Dissertation Research: Social-Environmental Feedbacks Between the Use and Governance of Water and Soil in Dryland Irrigation Megaprojects.”
A 2014 report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research ranked American cities according to residents’ “happiness.” The results have surprised many people. This brings to a question that is closely related to resilience and sustainability research: are the happiest cities also most resilient to disasters? The answer to the question relies on how we measure community resilience.
- Friday, March 22
- 3:30 p.m. in 319 Walker Building, Coffee and refreshments
- 4:00 in 112 Walker Building, Lecture
- Coffee Hour To Go webcast
It’s May, 2016, and another drizzly day on the Chesapeake. I’m aboard Hōkūle‘a, the Hawaiian voyaging canoe circumnavigating the globe promoting a message of Mālama Honua, meaning “take care of the Earth.” I joined the crew in Yorktown, Virginia, for nine days of journeying in the Chesapeake Bay area, meeting with local Indian tribes and exploring environmental issues and solutions.
Editor’s Note: The following two articles were printed together in the summer 2018 GEOGRAPH as a package to honor the late Peirce Lewis. If you missed it, the Oct. 2, 2018 Coffee Hour lecture given by Richard Schein (’83g) was also a celebration of Lewis’s life and scholarship. You can view the talk here: http://live-geog.psu.edu/Mediasite/Play/c5740d0b55744ec88abb03e8cdb1a99d1d
An energetic man in his late fifties greeted us by switching off the lights and switching on a slide projector.
“As we plunge into intellectual darkness, let me assure you that after this class, you will never be able to look at the world in the same way again. At least, I hope not.” In spectacles and a khaki field jacket, Peirce Lewis fit everybody’s idea of a geography professor.
“I’m going to show you the cultural landscape of the United States and give you the tools to understand why things are where they are, and how they got to be that way,” Lewis continued. “Then you will show yourselves and me what you have learned by going out there and reading the local landscape yourselves. This first slide . . . “
I have just spent a poignant afternoon browsing my correspondence with Peirce; hours sweet with nostalgia for an acquaintanceship that began when I joined the Penn State geography faculty in 1967 and grew into comradery; hours of sadness that his death brought that relationship to the definitive end.
Analysis of remote sensing imagery for disaster assessment using deep learning: a case study of flooding event
Liping Yang, Guido Cervone
This paper proposes a methodology that integrates deep learning and machine learning for automatically assessing damage with limited human input in hundreds of thousands of aerial images. The goal is to develop a system that can help automatically identifying damaged areas in massive amount of data. The main difficulty consists in damaged infrastructure looking very different from when undamaged, likely resulting in an incorrect classification because of their different appearance, and the fact that deep learning and machine learning training sets normally only include undamaged infrastructures. In the proposed method, a deep learning algorithm is firstly used to automatically extract the presence of critical infrastructure from imagery, such as bridges, roads, or houses. However, because damaged infrastructure looks very different from when undamaged, the set of features identified can contain errors. A small portion of the images are then manually labeled if they include damaged areas, or not. Multiple machine learning algorithms are used to learn attribute–value relationships on the labeled data to capture the characteristic features associated with damaged areas. Finally, the trained classifiers are combined to construct an ensemble max-voting classifier. The selected max-voting model is then applied to the remaining unlabeled data to automatically identify images including damaged infrastructure. Evaluation results (85.6% accuracy and 89.09% F1 score) demonstrated the effectiveness of combining deep learning and an ensemble max-voting classifier of multiple machine learning models to analyze aerial images for damage assessment.
Jet stream dynamics, hydroclimate, and fire in California from 1600 CE to present
Eugene R. Wahl, Eduardo Zorita, Valerie Trouet, and Alan H. Taylor
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Moisture delivery in California is largely regulated by the strength and position of the North Pacific jet stream (NPJ), winter high-altitude winds that influence regional hydroclimate and forest fire during the following warm season. We use climate model simulations and paleoclimate data to reconstruct winter NPJ characteristics back to 1571 CE to identify the influence of NPJ behavior on moisture and forest fire extremes in California before and during the more recent period of fire suppression. Maximum zonal NPJ velocity is lower and northward shifted and has a larger latitudinal spread during presuppression dry and high-fire extremes. Conversely, maximum zonal NPJ is higher and southward shifted, with narrower latitudinal spread during wet and low-fire extremes. These NPJ, precipitation, and fire associations hold across pre–20th-century socioecological fire regimes, including Native American burning, postcontact disruption and native population decline, and intensification of forest use during the later 19th century. Precipitation extremes and NPJ behavior remain linked in the 20th and 21st centuries, but fire extremes become uncoupled due to fire suppression after 1900. Simulated future conditions in California include more wet-season moisture as rain (and less as snow), a longer fire season, and higher temperatures, leading to drier fire-season conditions independent of 21st-century precipitation changes. Assuming continuation of current fire management practices, thermodynamic warming is expected to override the dynamical influence of the NPJ on climate–fire relationships controlling fire extremes in California. Recent widespread fires in California in association with wet extremes may be early evidence of this change.
Diversity, representation, and the limits of engaged pluralism in (economic) geography
Emily Rosenman, Jessa Looms, & Kelly Kay
Progress in Human Geography
Within geography writ large, and economic geography in particular, there has been increasing interest in ‘engaged pluralism’ – defined by its proponents as lively and respectful engagement across theoretical, methodological, and topical lines – to increase diversity and build mutual respect among scholars. Drawing on feminist and postcolonial scholarship, we offer a sympathetic critique of engaged pluralism, grounded in a review of publishing trends in economic geography. Our findings reveal theoretical inertia around particular topics and paradigms, as well as low rates of publishing participation from women. We close with a discussion of engagement, reciprocity, and meaningful contact.