Events 2019

GIS Day 2019

Penn State GIS Day strives to bring together those who are working with GIS, geospatial technologies, remote sensing, maps, and location-based research on campus together to foster greater geospatial awareness on campus, within the community, and beyond. We encourage participation across disciplines to both new and experienced users of geospatial information.

Recording of Presentations

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Exploring the world through geovisualization

Geospatial Technology Demonstration

11am-12pm: Geospatial Technology Demonstration, Collaboration Commons Atrium

Representatives from the Penn State University Libraries, Maxar, and more will share demonstrations of geospatial applications.

Presentations/Lightning Talk Presentations

1:30pm-3:00pm: Presentations, Foster Auditorium, Media Site Live

1:30-2:00pm: Keith Swavely, Account Executive, Esri.

“ArcGIS Online: Changing the Way Governments Do GIS”

An overview of how ArcGIS Online is changing how governments use GIS and a showcase of examples.

Keith Swavely is an Account Executive for Local Governments with Esri.  Keith has been in the Geospatial field for over 27 years and supports Local Government agencies by assisting with GIS best practices and implementing the ArcGIS Platform.  He is a 1992 graduate of Penn State University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Earth Sciences with a Geography/GIS concentration.

2:00-2:05pm: Maxar,  Todd M. Bacastow – Sr. Director, Strategic Growth and Emerging Technology and Desiree Petrie – Sr. Manager, Strategic Growth and Emerging Technology

Todd is a Sr. Director, Strategic Growth at Maxar Technologies where he works with leadership to shape the direction of the business and leads innovation initiatives across industry, government, and academic partners that combine satellite imagery, non-traditional geospatial data, and machine learning. Todd also serves as the SpaceNet lead for Maxar, a first of its kind open data project for the geospatial industry that seeks to advance uses of computer vision. He has worked in product management and strategic partnership roles at DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, and SPADAC since 2010. Todd earned a B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology and the Schreyer Honors College from The Pennsylvania State University in 2005.

Desiree Petrie is a Sr. Manager, Strategic Growth at Maxar Technologies, where she supports the development and execution of opportunities across the company around earth intelligence and provides technical guidance to a range of government and commercial customers. She has worked with Maxar Technologies for nearly 10 years, working under former companies GeoEye, in Satellite Customer Operations; DigitalGlobe, as a Geospatial Analyst and Product Manager; and Radiant Solutions, as a Technical Project Manager. Desiree is a Pennsylvania native and Penn State Geography alumna, who is passionate about maps, space technologies, and traveling.

2:05-2:10pm:  Jonathan Abel, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Japanese, Teaching film with CINEmap: A Pedagogical View on Geotagging Global Cinema

Jonathan E. Abel is an Associate Professor of Japanese Studies and Comparative Literature at Penn State University.  His book Redacted: The Archives of Censorship in Transwar Japan (University of California Press, 2012) won the Weatherhead East Asia Institute First Book Prize.  His current book project explores the role of Japanese new media in transforming the world in unexpected ways.

2:10-2:15pm: Robert Phillips Office of the Physical Plant, Aerial Photography/LIDAR

Robert Phillips is a 2008 graduate of the Penn State Department of Geography. He has worked as a GIS Specialist at Penn State Office of Physical Plant since 2013.

2:15-2:20pm: Colin Grube, Office of the Physical Plant, Tree Survey

Colin Grube is a 2016 graduate of Penn State majoring in Forestry and minoring in GIS. He has worked as a GIS Specialist at Penn State Office of Physical Plant since 2018.

2:20-2:25pm: Laura Clemente-Harding Enhanced Terrain Processing (ETP)

Laura Clemente-Harding currently serves as a Research Physical Scientist at the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) – Geospatial Research Laboratory (GRL) working on weather and terrain integration, on-foot routing, land surface and boundary layer interactions, soil moisture monitoring, and geoinformatics. In addition to various research efforts, she is the geospatial lead within the Meteorological and Geospatial Collaboration Community of Practice. She is also a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at Penn State researching computationally efficient methods for quantifying uncertainty. Prior to joining ERDC, Ms. Clemente-Harding obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology from Penn State, interned at MESO, Inc., obtained her Master’s degree in Earth Systems Science from George Mason University, and Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence from George Mason University.

2:25-2:30pm: Manzhu Yu, Assistant Professor in GIScience, Geospatial Data Science for Extreme Weather Study

Dr. Manzhu Yu received her bachelor’s degree in Remote Sensing from Wuhan University in 2012 and doctoral degree in Earth System and Geoinformation Science from George Mason University in 2017. She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow and a Co-PI (2019–2024) at the NSF I/UCRC Spatiotemporal Innovation Center jointly operated at George Mason University, Harvard University, and University of California, Santa Barbara before joining Penn State as an assistant professor of GIScience. Dr. Yu’s research focuses on spatiotemporal theories and applications, atmospheric modeling, environmental analytics, big data and cloud computing, and the ability to use the above to solve pressing issues in natural hazards and sustainability. She hopes to continue to combat the life and economic costs associated with natural hazards by facilitating more accurate and timely analyses for extreme weather events. She has collaborated actively with researchers in several other disciplines of Geography, Environmental Science, and Computer Science, particularly on the interdisciplinary solutions for natural hazard management and the contributing physical and social factors of these natural hazards.

2:30-2:35pm: Erin Arndt, GIS Coalition President

2:35-2:40pm: Michelle Ritchie and Kelly Meehan, What does adaptation look like? A geographical investigation of tropical adaptation efforts

Michelle Ritchie is a Ph.D. Candidate in Geography and Climate Science. Broadly, her scholarship examines environmental changes and their impacts on human populations using mixed methods. Her dissertation research explores climate change adaptation within social-ecological systems. She holds an M.A. in Geography focusing on Environmental Resource Management and a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies. Topically, she is also interested in transformative change, political ecology, environmental justice, and creative methods.

Kelly Meehan is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Geography to graduate in May 2020 with additional certificates in Geographic Information Systems and Environment and Society Geography. Throughout her time at Penn State she contributed to climate change research, held three GIS internships, studied abroad in Ireland, and is acting Treasurer of GIS Coalition. Kelly deeply values sustainability and conservationism, and is in pursuit of incorporating those values in her future career after graduation.

2:40-2:45pm: Dan Meehan, GeoDesign Program Manager, Musser Gap Project

2:45-2:50pm: Weiming Hu, Graduate student Geography, Using a Genetic Algorithm for Optimal Location Finding in Weather Predictions

Bio: Weiming Hu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography. He received a B.E. from Wuhan University majoring in Remote Sensing and GIScience and an M.S. from Penn State majoring in Geography. Now he is continuing his Ph.D. study in uncertainty quantification for photovoltaic solar energy production forecast. His research interest lies in high-performance computing, computational algorithms, and spatial analysis. He is one of the core developers and active maintainers for the Parallel Analog Ensemble package.

2:50pm-2:55pm: Peter Amico, Online Geospatial Program MGIS Graduate Student

2:505m-3:00pm: Questions and closing remarks

3:00pm-4:00pm: Networking and refreshments in the Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information, 1 Pattee Library

3:00pm-6:00pm: Center for Immersive Experiences (CIE) Open House, Collaboration Commons Atrium (W003).

Please contact Tara Anthony ( for additional information.

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