Apr 16

Recognition Reception is April 29 | Peuquet named UCGIS Fellow


Gockley Bench composite

This bench is located on the northwest side of Walker Building and bears a plaque in memory of Jeff Gockley. The plaque shows part of this quote: “A map in the hands of a pilot is a testimony of a man’s faith in other men; it is a symbol of confidence and trust. It is not like a printed page that bears mere words, ambiguous and artful, and whose most believing reader—even whose author, perhaps—must allow in his mind a recess for doubt. A map says to you, ‘Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not.’ It says, ‘I am the earth in the palm of your hand. Without me, you are alone and lost.” ― Beryl Markham, West with the Night.  The Gockley family will be with us at the Recognition Reception on Friday, April 29, to give the Jeff Gockley Memorial Award to a top rising senior (current junior) in the GIS option. We hope you will join us. More details and RSVP.


Eden Kinkaid received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship from the US Department of Education for academic year 2016–17.

At the college Wilson Awards Banquet, held on Sunday, April 17:

  • Lorraine Dowler received the “Faculty Mentoring Award.”
  • Brent Yarnal received the “Wilson Award for Outstanding Service.”
  • Alan Taylor received his “25-Year Service Award.”

Alex Klippel, leading a team of nine researchers across several colleges at Penn State, received funding from the Cyber Science Institute for a project on: Immersive Analytics—3D/VR Environments to Support Expert Decision Making for Climate Change Scenarios.

Ashlee Adams passed her proposal defense.

Anne Mosher (MS 1983, PhD 1989) was appointed chair of the double-major in Citizenship and Civic Engagement at The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Nari Senanayake received the Evelyn Pruitt National Fellowship for Dissertation Research from Society of Woman Geographers and the Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Research Award from the Penn State Inter-institutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK).

E-K Kim has had two paper presentations (one with Alan MacEachren and another with Hang-Hyun Jo) accepted to the 2nd Annual International Conference on Computational Social Science, held at Northwestern University, 23-26 June 2016.

E-K Kim has received grants from KUSCO, KSEA, and Penn State UPAC for the conference she is organizing “The 1st Symposium on Research Methodologies in the Big Data Era” on May 13-15 here in Walker Building. For more details and to register.

The first-year cohort invites you to the department end-of-year picnic at Sunset Park, Saturday, April 30, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. More details and RSVP form.

E-K Kim, Ramzi Tubbeh, and Peter Koby have been elected as the new grad reps.


Penn State’s Peuquet named 2016 UCGIS Fellow
Donna J. Peuquet, professor of geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Department of Geography, has been selected as a 2016 Fellow by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS).

Fellows are individuals who have contributed significantly to the advancement of geographic information science education and research. No more than two Fellows are selected in any given year. Peuquet is the 23rd person and the first Penn Stater to be recognized as a UCGIS Fellow.

Researchers study location’s role in romance
Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck had their holiday in Rome. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks had their meeting at the top of the Empire State Building in New York. And of course, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman will always have Paris.

Cities have long played an important role in romantic relationships, both on and off screen. Couples met in coffee shops, had picnics in the park and went on dates at the bowling alley. But a Penn State research team says that’s begun to change with the rise of online dating and weekend-long Netflix binges.

44-year teaching and research career draws to a close for EMS associate dean
Hampton Nelson ‘Nels’ Shirer says he first got the weather bug growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, watching his father design and build weather monitoring equipment that they installed in their backyard.


Toward the Integrated Framework Analysis of Linkages among Agrobiodiversity, Livelihood Diversification, Ecological Systems, and Sustainability amid Global Change
By Karl S. Zimmerer and Steven J. Vanek
In Land 2016, 5(2), 10;
Scientific and policy interest in the biological diversity of agriculture (agrobiodiversity) is expanding amid global socioeconomic and environmental changes and sustainability interests. The majority of global agrobiodiversity is produced in smallholder food-growing. We use meta-analyses in an integrated framework to examine the interactions of smallholder agrobiodiversity with: (1) livelihood processes, especially migration, including impacts on agrobiodiversity as well as the interconnected resource systems of soil, water, and uncultivated habitats; and (2) plant-soil ecological systems.

Mining social media to task satellite data collection during emergencies
Guido Cervone
In SPIE Newsroom (April 14, 2016)
The era of Internet and social media has drastically changed the way individuals all over the world interact and communicate. In particular, the current digital world has changed the dynamics of how we collect and share data across all age groups and socioeconomic statuses. Although social media is not primarily intended for scientific studies, it can be an invaluable source for distributed and timely measurements. This is especially true during disasters and emergencies, where first responders and emergency managers rely on multiple sources of data inputs to make decisions.


Last week’s feline was Frank, companion to Donna Peuquet. Send a photo of your animal companion to geography@psu.edu.

Apr 16

Miller Lecture with David Cowen | Robinson Fulbright to Austria


MGIS Students and adviser

All in one place! Doug Miller traveled to Portland for an MGIS talk at the 5th International Conference on Fuels and Fire Behavior. The trip also gave him a chance to pull together four MGIS students from the Portland area for lunch at Mother’s in downtown Portland. Pictured from left to right: Sabrina Turner, Doug Miller, Chad Tinsley (graduated last year), Troy Wirth , and Jason Harshman.“It’s the first time I’ve ever had this many of my MGIS advisees together!” Miller said. “Sabrina and Troy are just starting their capstone projects. Chad’s MGIS capstone last year allowed him to get a job with his current company in Portland. Jason gave his talk today at the 5th International Conference on Fuels and Fire Behavior. His talk garnered an invitation to write a piece for the trade publication, Wild Fire. It’s been a great trip!”


Travis Young passed his candidacy exam.

Yanan Xin passed her candidacy exam.

Alan Taylor and Thomas Lauvaux received seed funding from PSIEE or “Characterizing mechanisms of rapid fire spread under low wind speed conditions that lead to high intensity/severity fire.” and Alan Taylor and 17 others had a review and synthesis paper published in Forest Ecology and Management, “Management of mixed-severity fire regime forests in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.”

Jeremy Crampton (M.S. ’87, Ph.D. ’94) was appointed Director of the Committee on Social Theory for 2016-2019 at the University of Kentucky. The CST was founded in 1989 by J.P. Jones III, Wolfgang Natter and Ted Schatzki as a graduate certificate program and distinguished lecture series in social theory. We also publish the journal disClosure.

Xi Liu and Ramzi Tubbeh were awarded the EMS Centennial Research Travel Award by the EMS Graduate Student Council.


Coffee Hour
The Miller Lecture David Cowen “The Changing Geospatial Landscape”
It has been more than three decades since president Clinton issued Executive Order 12906 Coordinating Geographic Data Acquisition and Access: The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Through his extensive experience with the National Research Council’s Mapping Science Committee, the National Geospatial Advisory Committee and the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) Report Card Committee on the NSDI, Cowen has had the opportunity to track the progress of the federal government in providing geospatial data to meet the needs of society. In this presentation he will share his assessment of the current status of the NSDI and the changing role of various stakeholders in the collection, maintenance, use and sharing of geospatial data.

Geography professor receives Fulbright grant to work in Austria
Anthony Robinson, assistant professor of geography at Penn State, has been selected to receive a Fulbright grant to teach and conduct research at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Beginning Jan. 2017, Robinson will spend six months working in the Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS).

Eckerstrom and Megaludis honored with 2016 McCoy Award
Soccer player Britt Eckerstrom, a senior majoring in geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and wrestler Nico Megaludis, a senior majoring in business administration in the Smeal College of Business, were selected as the 2016 recipients of the Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award.


petoftheweekApr19Photo by Trina Miller Bauer, pet sitter and “catographer.”
Ol’ Blue Eyes is this feline’s nickname. Who is he and who are his humans? Send your guess and/or a photo of your animal companion to geography@psu.edu.

Apr 16

Coffee Hour with Gian Rocco | Landscape trap | Alternative burstiness parameter


Geography students at AAG

Geography students attending the American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual meeting in San Francisco, California, March 29–April 2. Each one presented a paper or poster at the research conference.


Carolyn Fish won Best Paper in the AAG Cartography Specialty Group Honors Student Paper Competition.

Nate Frey has accepted a postdoc at the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University, to begin in September.

E-K Kim received Student Leadership Award from KAGES (Korea-America Association for Geospatial and Environmental Sciences).

Amanda Young won the Best Student Oral Presentation for her paper at the Ameridendro 2016 conference last week in Mendoza, Argentina.


Coffee Hour with Gian Rocco
Of Timber Rattlesnakes, Red Beds, and Groundwater: in Pursuit of the “Holy Grail”
Biologists are known to spend inordinate amounts of time and resources seeking the animals they study. The endeavor becomes even more burdening when rare, imperiled or elusive species are targeted. An understanding of “where to look” is a critical first step in facilitating wildlife study and by extension, the protection of the targeted species or the specific environment critical to its survival. Snakes rarely come to mind when “species protection” is mentioned as no other vertebrate group is as feared, loathed or misunderstood.

“Landscape trap”: Severe fires turning forest to shrubland in California
Large tracts of forest in California are being destroyed by severe fires and some may struggle to recover, instead being replaced by dense shrubland, according to researchers.

A new study found that large, intense burns brought on by fire suppression, drought and other factors may result in historically forested areas of the state changing to shrubland. The shrubs are adept at growing after burns and can keep a hold on these large areas long term, even permanently.

Fulbright Features: Scholar getting firsthand knowledge of refugee research
[Editor’s note: Marina Burka is spending the 2015–16 academic year in Glasgow, Scotland, as a Fulbright Scholar pursuing a master’s degree in human geography and volunteering with an activist organization that supports asylum-seekers and migrants in Scotland.]
On my flight to Rome for the Easter holiday this year, I woke with my head pressed against the window and opened my eyes to an aerial view of the Mediterranean Sea. Even from 36,000 feet above sea level, I could see the white caps of waves far below, all the indication I needed that these were rough waters.


Integrating social network data into GISystems
By Clio Andris
In International Journal of Geographical Information Science
doi: 10.1080/13658816.2016.1153103
Today, online social media outlets provide new and plentiful sources of data on social networks (SNs) and location-based social networks (LBSNs), i.e., geolocated evidence of connections between individuals. While SNs have been used to show how the magnitude of social connectivity decreases with distance, there are few examples of how to include SNs as layers in a GISystem. If SNs, and thus, interpersonal relationships, could be analyzed in a geographic information system (GIS) setting, we could better model how humans socialize, share information, and form social groups within the complex geographic landscape.

Burstiness parameter for finite event sequences
By Eun-Kyeong Kim, Hang-Hyun Jo
In arXiv:1604.01125v1 [physics.soc-ph]
Characterizing inhomogeneous temporal patterns in natural and social phenomena is important to understand underlying mechanisms behind such complex systems, hence even to predict and control them. Temporal inhomogeneities in event sequences have been described in terms of bursts that are rapidly occurring events in short time periods alternating with long inactive periods.

Optimal bidding in a Day-Ahead energy market for Micro Grid under uncertainty in renewable energy production
By Gabriella Ferruzzi, Guido Cervone, Luca Delle Monache, Giorgio Graditi, Francesca Jacobone
In Energy
In this paper, a decision making model to formulate the optimal bidding in the Day-Ahead energy market and to evaluate the risk management for a LV grid-connected residential MG, taking into account the uncertainty of renewable power production, i.e., PV (photovoltaic), is proposed. Several investigators have analyzed the role played by MGs into the deregulated electricity market, their contribution to energy price reduction and to the reliability system increase, as well as their impact on the best strategy devising to minimize operating costs.

Apr 16

Coffee Hour with Sarah Battersby | Epic good news | Using drones to save elephants



A photograph from Jia-Ching Chen’s exhibit on “Remaking the Rural: Beyond China’s Urbanization”


The Penn State Department of Geography has been ranked as the twenty-fifth best program in the World (and fifth best in the United States) for the subject of geography, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject report.

Jia-Ching Chen has a photography exhibit on “Remaking the Rural: Beyond China’s Urbanization” at the Watson Institute at Brown University.

Adrienne Tucker has been named as the winner of the SWIG Nancy Brown Geography Community Service Award. Tucker will be recognized during the department’s Recognition Reception on April 29.

Azita Ranjbar’s proposal ” Silence, Silencing, and (In)Visibility: The Geopolitics of Tehran’s Silent Protests ” was selected for the Glenda Laws Student Paper Competition Award from the Geographic Perspectives on Women Specialty Group.

The new online graduate certificate program in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation being offered by through World Campus has the cover and an article in the April 2016 Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing Journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). The issue will go out to all members of ASPRS, and will have bonus distribution at the April Imaging & Geospatial Technology Forum (IGTF) conference.

Amber Boll-Bosse, a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky, and Jennifer Lumpkin, an undergraduate student at Sinclair Community College, are the co-winners of the 2016 Jennifer Fluri and Amy Trauger Student Essay and Creative Works Competition, sponsored by SWIG.

Ramzi Tubbeh received the AAG’s Latin America Specialty Group Field Studies Award to support fieldwork for his master’s thesis on “how the Arakmbut people of Southeastern Peru use a bottom-up version of REDD+ to advance their rights to self – determination. In the process, narratives of nature, conservation, indigeneity, and livelihoods are coproduced in a negotiation with other actors.”


Coffee Hour with Sarah Battersby
Helping people see and understand spatial data
Don’t let bad things happen to your good data. When used correctly, visualizations of data can improve the decision-making process. However, even good data scientists can struggle with “doing the right thing” in creating appropriate and useful visualizations. Success is a visualization where the reader can focus on the meaning in the data, and not have to spend time wondering about the meaning of, or being misled by, a crazy mess of symbols and colors.

New, hands-on exhibit at EMS Museum teaches basics of topographical maps
A new, interactive exhibit on display in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Museum & Art Gallery lets visitors get their hands full of learning and fun. Using the Augmented Reality Sandbox, which was unveiled in spring 2016, visitors get a hands-on lesson in how topographical maps work.

Online students apply skills in out-of-class engaged scholarship opportunities
Eric Ekobeni learned how to develop a work breakdown structure — organizing a project into smaller, more manageable components — in his online Penn State business management classes. When it came time to put those skills into practice in an internship, he chose an unconventional route: helping build a school in his native Cameroon.


Predicting and Preventing Elephant Poaching Incidents through Statistical Analysis, GIS-Based Risk Analysis, and Aerial Surveillance Flight Path Modeling
By Michael J. Shaffer and Joseph A. Bishop
In Tropical Conservation Science
The illegal poaching of African elephants for their ivory is endangering the existence of the species. Protecting elephants can be a very challenging task for wildlife rangers considering the vast areas that elephants inhabit, which is often in remote locations. Using statistical analysis and Geographic Information Systems, this study investigated the locations of poaching incidents within the Kenyan Tsavo ecosystem to reveal patterns that could assist rangers in predicting high risk poaching areas. Our study found that poaching incidents were more likely to occur in close proximity to roads, water features, and on specific types of land cover. This study also provides a method for modeling the flight path and achievable surveillance area for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, which has become a popular tool in the field of wildlife conservation.

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