About Me

Contact Information:
Morteza Karimzadeh127 Potter Engineering Building
500 Central Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47901

karimzadeh at purdue dot edu



About Me:

I am a postdoctoral researcher with the PURVAC center at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. I hold a Ph.D. in Geography, specializing in (geo)visual analytics, geographic information retrieval, spatial analysis and geospatial data science. I joined Purdue from Ohio State University. I currently work on and manage a variety of projects at the center and advise graduate students on topics such as visual analytics with integrated deep learning for sustainable agriculture or situational awareness for crisis managements.

I earned my PhD at the Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University. My PhD adviser was Dr. Alan MacEachren. As a graduate assistant at the GeoVISTA Center, I worked on GeoTxt, GeoAnnotator, and SensePlace2 projects as a researcher and developer. GeoTxt is a web API to geolocate microblog posts (specifically Twitter posts), GeoAnnotator is a self-sufficient semi-automatic platform for creating corpora of manually annotated text, and SensePlace2 is a geovisual analytics web application geared towards enhancing situational awareness in times of crisis. I apply my research and engineering efforts to data and questions of interest to Geography and Social Sciences.


Research Interests:

I am interested in the intersection of “text” and “GIScience”, namely Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR) and Extraction. I research and develop systems on top of existing Named Entity Recognizers (NER) that parse natural language (unstructured text), recognize place references, and geolocate them to gazetteer entries. Such systems can be used to geolocate documents and use them in subsequent spatial analysis or geovisualizations. My research also engages with spatial language, and how place references in text are related to each other using spatial qualifiers, such as “near” or “south of” to build models that can be used in precise geolocation and human language interpretation. Furthermore, I am interested in GeoCollaboration; that is, group work with Geographic Information System (GIS) and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), where people constitute the more important component of what I study. I use Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research methods to develop natural language interfaces (instead of operation-based interfaces) for GIS. In all these fields, I implement interactive, model-integrated visual interfaces to improve computations, also known as visual analytics to make my research accessible to a broad audience via working systems or improve the performance of (otherwise merely) computational methods using expert feedback.

I apply my research to questions of interest to the social sciences. For instance, I use social media (Twitter) data to find out what places are being talked about by people from different places (using methods from the aforementioned GIR research). To get a better sense, check out this interactive map that I made using a sample of geolocated tweets to shows how people from different countries tweet about places within their own country or about places in other countries.


Teaching and advising:

At Purdue, I mentor and advise 8 graduate students and 6 undergraduate students working at the Purdue Visual Analytics Center (PURVAC), working on a spectrum of projects from situational awareness for crisis management to sustainability-related decision support systems. I also advise several undergraduate students through Purdue’s VIP and DURI programs (contact me if you are interested in working with us!).

I was a Lecturer with the department of Geography at Ohio State University. I tought GEOG 5100 Spatial Data Analysis and GEOG 5201 GeoVisualization. See final projects here.

At Penn State, I have taught GOEG 363 Geographic Information Systems and helped with early developments of the revised GEOG 585 Open Web Mapping. I have also assisted in teaching GEOG 461W Dynamic Cartographic Representation. You can find student final projects of this course here.

I have supervised undergraduate student research projects at Penn State through the department of Geography’s UROC program.

I also taught the three courses of (1) Computer Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, (2) Geodetic Astronomy and (3) Precise GPS Positioning at the Azad University of Shahre-rey.



I received my BSc degree in Geomatics (Civil-Surveying) Engineering from the SRTT University in Tehran in 2008. I received extensive training in land surveying, geodesy, photogrammetry, remote sensing and geographic information systems. Given my undergraduate training, coupled with internship experiences, I was sure that I had found my passion, and I was ready to embark on my adventure of graduate studies in GIS. And so I did. I received my MSc degree in GIS Engineering from the KNT University of Technology. In my master’s thesis, I researched geospatial web services (OGC approved standards) APIs and their difference and similarities to mainstream IT web services that were approved by the W3C. I also worked as an Instructor at the Azad University of Shahre-rey.

See more on my curriculum vitae or check out my Google Scholar profile for an overview of some publications.

Get in contact:

Have a question or comment? Just want to say hello? I’d love to hear from you! Contact me at: karimzadeh –(at)- purdue –(dot)- edu

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