Feb 20

Coffee Hour with Jason Hackworth | Robinson on misleading maps | CAUSE for sustainability


Saumya TASaumya Vaishnaya, a teaching assistant for GEOG 30 Environment and Society in a Changing World, facilitates a student activity illustrating the concept of the tragedy of the commons through a game on tuna fishing and commons management.


Alumnus Nathan Amador Rowley (Ph.D., 2015) was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University in the Department of Geology and Geography, effective in the fall semester.

Alumna Robin Leichenko (Ph.D. 1997) Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography at Rutgers University, was elected as an American Geographical Society councilor. She will serve a three-year term.

Andrew Carleton is co-PI on a Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment seed grant proposal that was selected for funding. The project, “Climate Change on Hudson Bay—A Century after ‘Nanook,’” is a collaboration between Carleton and Associate Teaching Professor of Anthropology Kirk French.

Ken Davis, professor of atmospheric and climate science, will give the EarthTalks lecture on Monday, March 2, at 4 p.m. in 112 Walker Building. His talk is titled, “U.S. methane emissions: What do we know? What can be done?”

Penn State Transportation Services and Penn State Student Affairs Health Promotion and Wellness are sponsoring a free bike touring 101 workshop on Thursday, March 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 327 HUB-Robeson Center. As this is an indoor, classroom-style workshop, a bicycle will not be required for participation. To register.

The Delta County, Colorado GIS Department is accepting applications for an E911 GIS Technician. Applications are due March 6, 2020. For more information and to apply.

The new College of Earth and Mineral Sciences magazine, “Impact” is now available online The 2019 issue includes an article on the 50-year history of Coffee Hour.


Jason Hackworth
Manufacturing Decline: How Racism and the Conservative Movement Crush the American Rust Belt

Despite the considerable overlap between the presence of non-white people and generalized population (and capital) flight in a variety of national contexts, the urban decline literature almost entirely ignores race and racism as active causes of urban shrinkage. Most literature focuses on conventional economic explanations (e.g. levels of deindustrialization), and solutions (e.g. reinvention of the economy around a creative class paradigm). This presentation, which is based on material from the book Manufacturing Decline: How Racism and the Conservative Movement Crush the American Rust Belt (2019, Columbia University Press), explores the role of racism as an active cause of urban decline. More than simply being the cause of economic distress, declining cities and their often non-white citizens are actively constructed as virtual bêtes noires to advance conservative political interventions.


Libraries to offer session on marginalized populations in the maps collection

The Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information, part of Penn State University Libraries’ Research Informatics and Publishing department, will offer an informational session, “Discovering Marginalized Populations in the Maps Collection,” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on March 4, in W13 Pattee Library on the University Park campus.

Symposium at U.S. Capitol seeks solutions to election security
Anthony Robinson was a speaker

A thriving democracy requires fair elections, but U.S. elections face real threats from multiple sources, including state election infrastructure attacks and social engineering on social media platforms. As the 2020 election approaches, lawmakers, election officials, Congressional staffers, researchers, members of the intelligence communities, academics, candidates and media will come together in the U.S. capital for the first-ever “Hacking the U.S. Election: How Can We Make U.S. Elections More Secure?” symposium to work to secure U.S. elections.

View the video of Robinson’s talk

Online, residential students join together to study sustainability

They attend Penn State from many different locations, but that didn’t stop a diverse group of students from joining together to tackle sustainability challenges.


What’s the market got to do with it? Social-ecological embeddedness and environmental practices in a local food system initiative

Russell C.Hedberg II, Karl S.Zimmerer
Food system localization is often advocated by academics, activists, and policy makers as a means of effectively addressing the negative social and ecological consequences of current systems of food production. Activists and academics alike point to the range of different social relations facilitated by proximity and face-to-face interactions that are defining features of some local food system initiatives (LFSI). The concept of social embeddedness, which posits that economic activity is entangled with ongoing social relations, is frequently used to interpret the social relations of LFSI and to frame overarching arguments. Social embeddedness has been used to describe the alterity of LFSI, but much of this work has yet to assess how embedded social relations affect market functioning or sustainability in these systems—particularly for environmental aspects of sustainability. In this article we utilize the lens social embeddedness to assess what we call social-ecological embeddedness (SEE), which considers how, and to what extent, environmental practices on LFSI farms are enmeshed with the ongoing social relations of the local food system initiative. After developing the SEE approach, we use it to examine how social relations in a farmers’ market network in New York City, USA, influence environmental practices on participating farms, and the implications of social-ecological embeddedness for building more sustainable food systems.

Smart Festivals? Security and Freedom for Well-Being in Urban Smart Spaces

Jeremy W. Crampton, Kara C. Hoover, Harrison Smith, Steve Graham & J. Colette Berbesque
Annals of the American Association of Geographers
DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1662765
In this article we use the natural lab of music festivals to examine behavioral change in response to the rapid introduction of smart surveillance technology into formerly unpoliced spaces. Festivals are liminal spaces, free from the governance of everyday social norms and regulations, permitting participants to assert a desired self. Due to a number of recent festival deaths, drug confiscations, pickpockets, and a terroristic mass shooting, festivals have quickly introduced smart security measures such as drones and facial recognition technologies. Such a rapid introduction contrasts with urban spaces where surveillance is introduced gradually and unnoticeably. In this article we use some findings from an online survey of festivalgoers to reveal explicit attitudes and experiences of surveillance. We found that surveillance is often discomforting because it changes experience of place, it diminishes feelings of safety, and bottom-up measures (health tents, being in contact with friends) are preferred to top-down surveillance. We also found marked variation between men, women, and nonbinary people’s feelings toward surveillance. Men were much less affected by surveillance. Women have very mixed views on surveillance; they simultaneously have greater safety concerns (especially sexual assault in public) and are keener on surveillance than men but also feel that it is ineffective in preventing assault (but might be useful in providing evidence subsequently). Our findings have significant ramifications for the efficacy of a one-size-fits-all solution of increased surveillance and security in smart places and cities and point to the need for more bottom-up safety measures.

Spatial Learning in Smart Applications: Enhancing Spatial Awareness through Visualized Off-Screen Landmarks on Mobile Devices

Rui Li
Annals of the American Association of Geographers
DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1670611
Smartphones have become a significant platform in everyone’s daily lives. For example, maps and map-based services on smartphones bring great convenience for wayfinding. They affect users’ spatial awareness, however, due to their small sizes. That impacted spatial awareness can lead to degraded spatial knowledge and disorientation. This study intends to address these issues associated with spatial learning on smartphones by adapting cartographic and cognitive theories and investigating a new design for presenting spatial information on smartphones that can support users’ awareness of space. The design uses the distinctive identities of spatial locations beyond the mapped screen as landmarks and visualizes the identities and distances of landmarks in distance through visual variables. Following previous pilot studies, this study evaluates the effectiveness of using such a design on aspects related to spatial awareness. Results provide additional details on the advantage of using specific visual variables to enhance the acquisition of spatial knowledge and spatial orientation. Although smart devices are ubiquitous in everyone’s lives, it is still important to address the cognitive issues between those devices and their users. This study provides evidence that design can further contribute to the improvement of map-based applications on smartphones, which provides convenience and enhances users’ spatial learning of new places.

Estimating populations in refugee camps: a toolkit using remotely sensed data

Green, B. and Blanford, J.I.
Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Throughout 2018, approximately 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced due to armed conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations around the world; of those, 40 million were internally displaced persons (IDP), 25.4 million refugees, and 3.1 million asylum-seekers. Effective management of refugee and IDP camps rely on accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive population estimates. However, obtaining this information is not always easy. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop a methodology and custom toolset that estimates populations based on dwellings derived from automated feature extraction of high-resolution, multi-spectral orthorectified imagery.Estimates were determined for five Rohingya refugee camp populations and compared with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR)baseline data to determine accuracy.

Feb 20

No Coffee Hour this week | Fowler on Harrisburg | New WPSU podcast


Coffee Hour mug shot

Speakers Committee co-chair Emily Rosenman (right) with Akira Drake Rodriguez, Joint Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design and School of Social Policy & Practice, who was the Coffee Hour speaker on February 7, 2020. She spoke about her ongoing project to help stakeholders gain spatial justice and educational justice within the School District of Philadelphia.


In January, Carolynne Hultquist joined the Center for International Earth Science Information Network Science Applications division as a postdoctoral research scientist.

The Department of African Studies is hosting a talk on Wednesday, February 12, 12:30-2 p.m. in 319 Walker Building. Guest speaker Robert Voeks, Professor of Geography and the Environment at California State University, Fullerton, will talk on “Out of Africa: Ethnobotanical Conversations in the Atlantic World.”

WE ARE for Science, SoMuSE, and EMS Graduate Student Council are hosting a Diversity Mixer on Thursday, February 13, 4 to 5 p.m. on the ground floor of Deike Building.

Erica Smithwick will give the EarthTalks lecture on Monday, February 17, 4:00 p.m. in 112 Walker Building. Her topic will be “Firescapes of the mid-Atlantic.”

The Institute for Computational and Data Sciences Annual Symposium will be held March 16–17, at The Nittany Lion Inn, University Park campus.


There is no Coffee Hour for Friday, February 14, so you can spend the time with your loved ones. Coffee Hour returns on February 21 with speaker Alex de Sherbinin, Associate Director for Science Applications at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network. de Sherbinin’s talk, “Research Applications of Geospatial Data from the  NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC),” is co-sponsored by the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences.


Millennials eagerly move into downtown Harrisburg, but does that equal growth and change?

Christopher Fowler is quoted

Brad Jones and his business partners weren’t gambling.

As they worked to build more than 150 new apartments in downtown Harrisburg over the past five years, they let the market inform their decisions, Jones said, and all signs pointed to success.

“All across the country, people are moving back to cities,” he said, noting that’s especially true among young, white-collar professionals. “Millennials grew up in the suburbs and want to move back to the city.”

New WPSU podcast highlights Penn State researchers’ work, community impact

A new podcast that highlights the work of Penn State researchers and how their findings impact communities near and far is now available through central Pennsylvania’s public media station.

WPSU Penn State’s Reach podcast tells the stories of Penn State researchers, their studies and how their work impacts central Pennsylvanians, the nation and world. The new podcast from WPSU — an outreach service of Penn State — is available on the WPSU Digital website and through the station’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Feb 20

Coffee Hour with Akira Drake Rodriguez | Brewer remakes the map | CLD accepting proposals

IMAGE OF THE WEEKBrewer accepts awardCynthia Brewer accepts the O.M. Miller Cartographic Medal from the American Geographical Society, with Marie Price, AGS Council president, left, and Christopher Tucker, AGS Council chair, right. See the feature story, Remaking the map: Professor receives medal for influence in cartography. Image: American Geographical Society


Saumya Vaishnava and Harrison Cole have been named as 2020–21 reps for the EMS Student Council.

EarthTalks seminar on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at 4 p.m. in 112 Walker Building will feature Chris House speaking on, “Positive Societal Impacts of Origin of Life and Space Sciences Research.”

The John A. Dutton e-Education Institute will host “Speed Dating with Learning Technologies” for faculty, staff and graduate students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, in two locations: 116 Steidle Building and the adjacent atrium. Register for “Speed Dating with Learning Technologies” by Feb. 7.

The Center for Landscape Dynamics is offering a Grad Research Award competition. Applications are due March 2, 2020. For more information and to download the RFP.


Akira Drake Rodriguez
A Spatial Approach to Educational Justice: The Comprehensive School Planning Review Process of Philadelphia

In 2013, the School District of Philadelphia, under the state-run School Reform Commission, recommended closing 32 public schools following a report by a no-bid consultant. Following significant resistance by a number of education advocates, only 23 schools were closed. However, most were in Black and Latinx neighborhoods, eradicating another source of community stability in an increasingly inequitable city. In May 2019, the SDP announced they would again have a comprehensive planning process, this time in response to the city’s growing population and school enrollment. Much has changed between the two planning processes: the school board is no longer under state control; the consultants hired for the planning process were hired through a competitive bidding process; and the increasing transparency and multi-year timeline of this process allows for increased participation and intervention by community stakeholders. However, the process remains extremely exclusionary and technocratic: the goals are to maximize facility utilization while creating thoughtful transitions for students. Long-term educational and spatial justice issues of racial segregation, cognitive and lingual discrimination, school funding inequity, and environmental justice through lead and asbestos remediation are not addressed.

Issues of spatial justice and educational justice overlap in that they privilege the perspectives and interests of those who have been historically marginalized by spatial and educational processes. This talk will discuss how a multitude of interests – parent groups, community groups, immigrant groups, student activists, environmental justice groups, teachers and paraprofessionals, urban planners and education reformers – are mobilizing across and within school borders (catchment areas) to achieve these just aims. Using a participatory action research design, this talk will discuss preliminary findings of how different approaches to achieving just aims are received by those in power.


Remaking the map: Professor receives medal for influence in cartography

If you have consulted or created a map using GIS software, chances are you have encountered Cynthia Brewer’s influence without being aware of it. In recognition of her contributions to the field of cartography, Brewer, who is professor and head of the Penn State Department of Geography, was awarded the O. M. Miller Cartographic Medal by the American Geographical Society at the 2019 Fall Symposium.


Avoiding The Issue: A Critique of Organizational Socialization Research From Feminist and Minority Perspectives

Angela Michele Rogers
Organization Development Journal
Organizational socialization, onboarding, is an important process that has become more
complicated as workplaces become more diverse. Women and minorities entering predominantly or historically white male organizations will fare even worse than white males when onboarding is neglected, due to a variety of factors. Research on organizational socialization is reviewed and critiqued from diversity perspectives. The findings indicate that issues of diversity and inclusion have not been adequately considered by researchers.

WRF Simulation, Model Sensitivity, and Analysis of the December 2013 New England Ice Storm

Julia Simonson, Sean Birkel, Kirk Maasch, Paul Mayewski, Bradfield Lyon, Andrew Carleton
Ice storms pose significant damage risk to electric utility infrastructure. In an attempt to improve storm response and minimize costs, energy companies have supported the development of ice accretion forecasting techniques utilizing meteorological output from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. The majority of scientific literature in this area focuses on the application of NWP models, such as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, to ice storm case studies, but such analyses tend to provide little verification of output fidelity prior to use. This study evaluates the performance of WRF in depicting the 21-23 December 2013 New England ice storm at the surface and in vertical profile. A series of sensitivity tests are run using eight planetary boundary layer (PBL) physics parameterizations, three reanalysis datasets, two vertical level configurations, and with and without grid nudging. Simulated values of precipitation, temperature, wind speed, and wind direction are validated against surface and radiosonde observations at several station locations across northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. The results show that, while the spatially and temporally averaged statistics for near-surface variables are consistent with those of select ice-storm case studies, near-surface variables are highly sensitive to model when examined at the station level. No single model configuration produces the most robust solution for all variables or station locations, although one scheme generally yields model output with the least realism. In all, we find that careful model sensitivity testing and extensive validation are necessary components for minimizing model-based biases in simulations of ice storms.

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