Bye week for Coffee Hour | Alum blends maps and hoops | UN taps into geographers


points per shot mapKirk Goldsberry’s Points per Shot map shows that the average value for 3-point shots is significantly higher than for mid-range shots. Image: Kirk Goldsberry


Bronwen Powell has been invited by the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) to participate in a meeting to set Global Forest Indicators (a set of indicators on the importance of forests that all countries will report on). She was invited to contribute to efforts to set indicators for the way Forests contribute to Food and Nutrition.

Luke Trusel’s research was cited in last week’s UN IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.

Humphrey Fellows Fall Presentation Series starts this week in 102 Chambers; noon-1:00 p.m. October 10 talks:

  • More than just books: The underestimated impact of academic libraries on Jordan.
  • Use it, don’t lose it: A tale of highly educated housewives in Pakistan

SWIG is convening an Undergrad/Grad Round Table Discussion for students interested in applying to graduate school on Thursday, October 17 at 6:15p.m. in 319 Walker Building.

The 2019 Esri Mid-Atlantic User Conference will be held December 10–11 in Philadelphia, Pa.

Call for Proposals: UCGIS Symposium 2020, May 28–June 1, 2020, Honolulu, Hawaii.


A bye week for Coffee Hour,  next talk is October 18

For more information about Coffee Hour and to view previously recorded Coffee Hour talks, visit


For the love of maps and hoops: Geography alumnus excels in basketball analytics

As a geography student, Kirk Goldsberry never needed an excuse to make maps. The trick was finding ways to combine cartography with his other love — basketball.

The Penn State geography alumnus found professional success combining his passions. He is a leader in basketball analytics, having worked as an NBA front office executive and as a writer for ESPN.

In his most recent work, The New York Times best-selling book “SprawlBall: A Visual Tour of the New Era of the NBA,” Goldsberry examines how the proliferation of the 3-point shot, and other trends, have helped transform the league, perhaps in unexpected ways.

“My book is just another example of a geographer noticing a change, searching for its essential causes, and trying to explain them via the mighty combination of maps, stats and prose,” Goldsberry said.


Environmental Knowledge Cartographies: Evaluating Competing Discourses in U.S. Hydraulic Fracturing Rule-Making

Jennifer Baka, Arielle Hesse, Erika Weinthal & Karen Bakker
Annals of the American Association of Geographers
DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1574549
In this article, we evaluate competing environmental knowledge claims in U.S. hydraulic fracturing (HF) regulation. We conduct a case study of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) rule-making process over the period from 2012 to 2015, which was the first attempt to update federal oil and gas regulations in thirty years. Our study addresses a gap in the energy geographies and environmental governance literatures, which have yet to evaluate systematically HF-related decision-making processes at the policymaking scale. We mobilize theoretical insights from science and technology studies on boundary objects and critical environmental discourse analysis to conduct a “cultural cartography” of the BLM’s rule-making process. Our analysis of a subset of 1.4 million public comments submitted to the BLM, combined with fifteen stakeholder interviews, focuses on (1) who participated in the rule-making process; (2) the types of knowledge claims advanced in support or opposition of the rule; and (3) how these claims affected the rule-making process. In contrast to recent literature that finds increased “horizontality” of environmental knowledge production, we find a clear hierarchy that privileges government knowledge—including federal government–sponsored research and existing laws—above all other categories of evidence cited. As such, we argue that government knowledge—which in this case brought disparate stakeholder groups together to debate HF regulation—functions as a key boundary object in the rule-making process. We conclude with a discussion of implications for both research and policy.

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