GIS Day 2016

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Poster Display: Pattee Library, Franklin Atrium

Information Fair: Pattee Library, Leisure Reading Room, 1:00-3:00pm

Participants include: Department of Geography, Online Geospatial Programs, Geodesign Graduate Programs, CEI/Envirobotics, PASDA, Office of the Physical Plant, University Libraries, Blue RasterPopulation Research Institute’s (PRI) Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) Core, GeoHIVE

Career Panel: Paterno Library, Foster Auditorium. 3:15-5:00pm

Available via MediaSite Live

Panel speakers: Stephen Ansari (Blue Raster),  Christopher Gabris (Blue Raster), Frank DeSendi (PennDOT), Raymond Stolinas (Ferguson Township), Stephanie Hulina (GDA Corp.), Tyler Gill (DigitalGlobe GeoHive), Mark Niessner (PA Game Commission)

Moderator: Tara LaLonde, University Libraries, GIS Specialist

Background of Career Panel Participants:

Stephen Ansari has 18 years of experience in GIS and web application development that provides the foundation for managing and delivering mapping solutions and customized web applications for customers worldwide.  As a founding partner of Blue Raster, he enjoys sharing leadership, vision and practical experience with groups making a positive impact on our world.  He has provided solutions to hundreds of great organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency, Smithsonian, World Bank, National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund and the World Health Organization.  He earned a B.S. in Earth Science from Penn State in 1998 and continues to influence practical aspects of curricula with real world experience, hoping to inspire new graduates with taking on some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Christopher Gabris graduated from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 2009 with a B.S. in Geography and focus on GIS. He has since worked in the Washington, DC area as a GIS Specialist for multiple engineering and design firms, where he led the charge in integrating emerging GIS technologies, specifically mobile data collection and web visualizations, into environmental remediation projects. During this time, he earned his Masters in Professional Studies in GIS and is also a certified GIS Professional (GISP). For the past two years, he has been at Blue Raster, working with many Federal, State, local, private and non-profit clients to help transform their data into stories through interactive web and mobile mapping applications. As a member of his neighborhood associations Board of Directors, Chris volunteers his GIS expertise to promote economic development, and participates in Penn State Department of Geography alumni events focused on outreach and mentoring opportunities.

Frank DeSendi has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography from the Pennsylvania State University. Frank is the Manager of the Geographic Information Division at PennDOT and is a former Chair of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials’ GIS for Transportation (AASHTO GIS-T) Task Force. Frank started at PennDOT in 1989 and has worked in the geospatial field at PennDOT since 1995.

Raymond Stolinas graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography with a concentration of Cartography, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems in 1991, and held multiple county planning positions, including at the Wilkes-Barre City Planning Department, Bradford County Department of Community Planning & Mapping Services, and currently is the Director of Planning & Zoning for Township of Ferguson in Centre County where he deals with a mix of both rural preservation and suburban growth and development issues.  Utilization of GIS technology has not ceased with his new position and his Department coordinates with the Township GIS technician on various planning projects.

Stephanie Hulina is a co-founder and President of GDA, a State College firm specializing in Remote Sensing applications for agriculture and the environment. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geography from Clark University, and a B.S. in Economics from Penn State. Prior to starting GDA in 2004, she held positions in both private industry and the Federal Government, at the U.S. EPA and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Mark Niessner is currently the GIS Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He graduated from PSU with a Geography degree with the GIS option in 2003. He grew up in the central Pennsylvania area with a brief absence while serving in the US Navy. He has worked many jobs from landscaping, paving/construction, Scuba instructor, wetland restoration specialist just to name a few. While not being taken for walk by my dog I enjoy activities such as Flint Knapping, photography or just about anything that gets him outdoors.

Tyler Gill graduated from University of Missouri – Columbia in 2015 with a B.A. in Geography and Political Science, as well as a Geospatial Intelligence certificate from United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. As an undergraduate he worked at the Center for Geospatial Intelligence, a research center located at the University of Missouri – Columbia. Tyler currently works for DigitalGlobe in Tampa as a Geospatial Analyst and is pursuing his M.A. in International Security from the University of Arizona. His focus in research and work is the relationship between human geography, spatial statistics, and international relations.

Networking Reception: Paterno Library, Mann Assembly Room, 5:00-6:30pm

Drawing for a $75 Amazon Gift Card, provided by Geographic Research Inc., producer of SimplyMap

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Poster Display: Pattee Library, Franklin Atrium

Speakers/Lightning Talks: Paterno Library, Foster Auditorium, Available via MediaSite Live

Morning Speakers: Remote viewing via MediaSite Live

Moderator: Nathan Piekielek, University Libraries, Geospatial Services Librarian

10:00-11:00AM: Keynotes

Blue Raster

Stephen Ansari, Christopher Gabris 

Protecting the World’s Forests with Global Forest Watch (GFW) Fires

Blue Raster is excited to tell the story of how GIS and related technologies have captured the world’s attention around the topic of deforestation. The Global Forest Watch (GRW) Fires platform helps detect illegal forest buring and hold accountability to individuals and corporations who set them. Using real-time satellite data, high resolution imagery, detailed land use layers, and mobile and email alers, GFW Fires is a collaboration between governments, NGOs, corporations and individuals, with the shared goal of protecting the forests.

Stephen Ansari a founding partner of Blue Raster, he enjoys sharing leadership, vision and practical experience with groups making a positive impact on our world.  He has provided solutions to hundreds of great organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency, Smithsonian, World Bank, National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund and the World Health Organization.

Christopher Gabris graduated from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 2009 with a B.S. in Geography and focus on GIS. He earned his Masters in Professional Studies in GIS and is also a certified GIS Professional (GISP). For the past two years, he has been at Blue Raster, working with many Federal, State, local, private and non-profit clients to help transform their data into stories through interactive web and mobile mapping applications.

DigitalGlobe’s GeoHIVE (Human Imagery Verification Effort)

Speaker: James Wilson, Associate Geospatial Analyst, Tampa, Florida

“GeoHIVE (Human Imagery Verification Effort) is a DigitalGlobe crowdsourcing community that provides solutions to geospatial problems.  Using a proprietary web interface called GeoHIVE Editor, members of the HIVE search satellite imagery for geospatial points of interest including land-use boundaries, road, marine, industrial, and electrical infrastructure, and natural disaster zones.  Users have access to both current and archived DigitalGlobe imagery, as well as a variety of tools to create points, lines, and polygons.”

James Wilson joined DigitalGlobe in May 2016 as an Associate Geospatial Analyst. He has a B.S. (2009) and M.S. (2016) in Geology from the University of South Florida. James’ background is in geologic field mapping, active tectonics, volcanology and Python programming, but he currently develops geospatial tools and workflows for platforms such as ArcGIS and PostgreSQL. He provides developmental support for GeoHIVE campaigns by locating appropriate DigitalGlobe imagery, updating PostgreSQL tables with campaign parameters and geoprocessing campaign results.

11:00-11:15AM: Break

11:15-12:00PM: Lightning Talks

  • Alex Jasper, (Planetary Science and Astronomy, Undergraduate), Internship experience at the National Air and Space Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, mapping subsurface structures on Mars

Alex Jasper is a Junior in the Eberly College of Science, majoring in Planetary Science and Astronomy with minors in Astrobiology, Geography, GIS, and Geosciences. He spent the past summer in Washington DC where he was an intern in the National Air and Space Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Science, under supervisor Gareth Morgan, and Department Head, Bruce Campbell. This internship focused on mapping subsurface structures on Mars using data from the SHARAD instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

  • Yosef Bodovski, (Population Research Institute’s (PRI) Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA)), GIS and Social Science Research

Yosef Bodovski is a GIS Research Analyst at the Computational and Spatial Analysis Core which is a part of the Population Research Institute and Social Science Research Institute. Yosef has a BA in Geography and Sociology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Master of GIS from Penn State. Yosef is actively involved in multiple research projects and provides technical support to researchers who use GIS and spatial analysis in the field of social sciences.

  • Joe Ceru, (National Weather Service, State College, PA)

Joe Ceru is a general forecaster and GIS program leader at the State College Weather Forecast Office.  The National Weather Service is a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is an Operating Unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Currently, Joe is working on a project with student volunteers from Penn State University and Millersville University to update the Tornado climatology for Central Pennsylvania to then study the effects of topography on tornado generation.

  • Beth Fletcher King and Michelle Zeiders (Senior Lecturers in the Department of Geography and John A. Dutton e-Education Institute), Teaching Introductory GIS classes Online

Beth Fletcher King, M.Ed. is co-author and instructor of GEOG 483 – Problem Solving with GIS and instructor of GEOG 482: The Nature of Geographic Information. Beth is the Assistant Program Manager for Online Geospatial Education. She follows the progress of students in the Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS) degree program. In her role as an Assistant Program Manager, Beth has regular communication with students to identify questions and concerns and to ensure that students’ questions are addressed by the appropriate faculty member, staff member, or administrator. She previously worked as a GIS Analyst for a private water/wastewater engineering firm, where she managed a wide range of GIS projects, from turnkey sanitary sewer conversion to 911 rural addressing.

Michelle Zeiders, M.S. teaches both GEOG 483 – Problem Solving with GIS and GEOG 484 – GIS Database Development. She has been teaching introductory and software-intensive GIS courses since 1998. Prior to joining the certificate program, Michelle worked as a GIS Programmer/Instructor for the Penn State Population Research Institute, a GIS Project Manager/Instructor for the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University, a GIS Project Manager at a private civil engineering firm and a GIS Analyst at Mapquest. She received a bachelors degree in public administration and a master’s degree in geoenvironmental studies from Shippensburg University.

  • Andrés G. Mejía Ramón, (University Graduate Fellow, Department of Anthropology), Remote Sensing, GIS, and Archaeological Prospection in Teotihuacan, Mexico

An archaeometrist and environmental archaeologist, Andrés came to Penn State this year from Dartmouth College after finishing his bachelor’s in Physics and Anthropology. He works in Mesoamerica, primarily in the Central Mexican Highlands, specializing in the development of complex societies, water management, agricultural intensification strategies, paleoecologies, and the applications of geophysics and remote sensing to archaeology. Andrés currently directs the project “The Paleohydrology of the Teotihuacan Valley,” seeking to better understand water management at the ancient Teotihuacan state, and is a co-organizer of the International Symposium on the Sociopolitical Organization of Teotihuacan.

  • Joe Sommer  (Professor, Fellow ASME, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering), GIS Tools for Small Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture

Joe Sommer joined Penn State in 1980 following completion of his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State and has served as Interim Head of the Department and Graduate Coordinator.  His research interests include mechatronics, three-dimensional kinematics, biomechanics and vehicle dynamics with recent projects ranging from multibody dynamics, to osteometric statistics, to locomotion in microgravity, to tractor overturn, to Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) and Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV).  He is a member of ASB and ISB, and is Fellow of ASME.

  • Charles Krugger (ESRI Campus Ambassador, Penn State Geography Undergraduate), Experience as a Campus Ambassador for ESRI

Charles Krugger is a first semester Senior working on my degree in Geography with a GIS focus.  I am a campus ambassador for Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) and worked at their International User Conference this summer as a Student Assistant.  I am an adult student with prior work experience as an International Flight Mechanic working on Sikorsky Blackhawk and Seahawk Military Helicopters.  Once I graduate I look forward to helping people understand issues affecting people by working with data that relates to people to our environment and issues facing our changing world.

Afternoon Lightning Talk Speakers: 1:30PM-3:30PM, Remote viewing via MediaSite Live

Moderator: Jodi Vender, Department of Geography, Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising and Alumni Relations, Director, Peter R. Gould Center for Geography Education and Outreach

  • Nathan Piekielek, (Geospatial Services Librarian, University Libraries),The *NEW* Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal

Nathan Piekielek is the Geospatial Services Librarian at Penn State where he supports spatial teaching and research across all university departments and units. Prior to coming to Penn State, he was a postdoctoral research associate at Montana State University where he worked with USGS Climate Science Center statisticians, software developers and climate scientists. He holds masters and phd degrees in ecology and worked for and with the US National Park Service for nearly 10 years. Application of advanced geospatial tools is the common thread throughout the last >20 years of his educational and professional experiences

  • Ryan Baxter (Senior Researcher and Instructor), Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) 

Mr. Baxter is a Senior Researcher and Instructor in the Dutton e-Education Institute and the Department of Geography within the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences at Penn State. He develops and teaches courses within the Penn State Online Geospatial Program, and specializes in cloud and server technologies. Mr. Baxter is active in several research projects at Penn State’s Institutes of Energy & the Environment that span two topical areas: geographic information science and the land use implications of energy production. In particular, he is the lead developer and system administrator for the Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access clearinghouse (PASDA) and the Penn State Data Commons.

  • Colin Grube (Penn State Forestry Undergraduate, Maps Library Intern) and Miranda Waldman (Penn State Geography Undergraduate, Maps Library intern),  1980’s National High Altitude Photography, seamless coverage of Pennsylvania for PASDA database

Colin is a senior undergraduate major in Forest Management with a minor in GIS and currently an University Libraries GIS Aerial Photography Intern. Colin has an associate degree in Forest Technology, Pennsylvania College of Technology, and is a student member of The Society of American Foresters. Colin is a board member of the Woodbourne Nature Conservancy Management Committee for an old growth forest preserve in Susquehanna County, PA.

Miranda is a Junior in Geography with a focus in GIS. She is an GIS Aerial Photography Intern for the Donald W. Hamer Maps Library, and has been working here since the summer. She is very excited to study abroad in South Africa next semester through the Parks and People program, and hopes to put her Geography skills to good use.

  • Tara LaLonde, (GIS Specialist, University Libraries), Library Geospatial Resources

Tara is a GIS Specialist at the University Libraries. Prior to joining the University Libraries in 2013, she held multiple positions at Digital Globe and GeoEye to support imagery product production, collection, and training in the satellite operations and production departments. Tara has a B.A. in geography, Colgate University, and M.S. in geography, Michigan State University. Tara’s interests relate to education of technology applications across a range of learners and settings.

2:20-2:30PM: Break

  • Laura Clemente-Harding (Research Physical Scientist, Engineer Research and Development Center), Tackling Army and Civilian Challenges Through Interdisciplinary Research

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.

  • J.D. Kronicz, (Consultant, Online Geospatial Program Faculty), Using GIS to Identify and Characterize Horizontal Curvature

J.D. has worked as a consultant for over 25 years serving clients in the scientific, environmental, transportation and manufacturing industries.  For the past 15 years his efforts have been primarily focused on developing GIS software applications for transportation.   He led a development team tasked with maintaining over 40 spatially enabled applications for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).  He is currently working closely with PennDOT’s Bureau of Public Transportation and the 60 or so public transit agencies in Pennsylvania to advance statewide technology initiatives in public transportation.  J.D. earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from Saint John Fisher College, a master of science in physical chemistry from the University of Rochester and is also a recent graduate of the Penn State’s MGIS program.  He is also an adjunct faculty member for Penn State and will be teaching GIS for Transportation (Geog 497c) in the spring.

  • Doug Miller (Professor of Geography, Affiliate Faculty Member Dept. of Ecosystem Science and Management), What does UAS mean for GIS?

Professor, Department of Geography, Dr. Douglas Miller is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography (College of Earth and Mineral Sciences) and an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management (College of Agricultural Sciences). He is also the founder, and now Associate Director, of the Center for Environmental Informatics in the EMS Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. Dr. Miller has been actively involved in applying remote sensing and geospatial technology to interdisciplinary research challenges in the earth and environmental sciences for the past 28 years.

  • Lauren Abbott (PhD candidate in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management), Utilizing National Noise Maps to better understand Perceptions of Sounds in National Parks

Lauren Abbott is a Ph.D. candidate in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, as well as, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment; working with Dr.’s Peter Newman and Derrick Taff. Her research and studies focus on protected area and wilderness management, soundscapes, and human health and wellbeing. She is interested in research that can assist policy makers, planners and developers in maintaining the integrity of parks and protected areas.

  • Michael Price (Penn State Anthropology Post Doctoral Scholar), Automated georeferencing of aerial images using SIFT keypoint matching and mutual information maximization

Michael Price is a post-doctoral researcher in the Human Environmental Dynamics Lab in the Anthropology department. His research in Australia’s Desert focuses on fire ecology and foraging decisions of Martu hunter gatherers who ignite fires to increase hunting returns. As part of this project, he has designed an algorithm that automatically georeferences a corpus of historic images from the 1950s using SIFT keypoint matching of overlapping aerial images and mutual information maximization against a modern reference image.

  • Caitlin Smith (Penn State Geodesign Faculty), Parkland County Environmental Conservation Master Plan

Caitlin specializes in the planning and design of broad-scale landscapes, focusing on landscape systems and the regional context for design. She comes to Penn State after working at O2 Planning + Design in Calgary, Alberta Canada where she contributed to both the planning and design studios. Caitlin has worked on landscape conservation master plans for counties and regions across Canada, using GIS as an important analysis, planning, and communication tool. At Penn State, she teaches in the Geodesign program and the department of Landscape Architecture.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Prize Mapping Scavenger Hunt with ESRI. Come map your prize! presented by Charles Krugger, ESRI campus ambassador. (11AM-1PM, W13 Pattee Library, Maps Library)

This GPS activity will guide participants to locations on campus to collect GPS data and then map locations using ESRI software.  Participants meet at Donald W. Maps Library classroom, W13 Pattee Library at 11am for introduction to Scavenger Hunt activities followed by outside GPS activity and return to W13 Pattee library for classroom mapping component.

Mapping Applications: PolicyMap, SimplyMap, and Social Explorer (4:30-5:30PM, 211A Pattee Library) and remote participation via Adobe Connect

Presented by Tara LaLonde, GIS Specialist University Libraries

PolicyMap, SimplyMap, and Social Explorer are mapping applications available by subscription via the University Libraries. These web-based mapping platforms enable the user to use, visualize, and create map outputs in multiple formats. Each product has data unique to the platform and multiple display options. This workshop will highlight their key features, data sources, and display capabilities. Participants will complete a hands-one portion to gain experience navigating each application. Participants are encouraged to create a map using each application at the end of the session. Additional map and geospatial resources will be highlighted.

If you are interested in participating as a lightning talk speaker, please contact Tara LaLonde, GIS Specialist, University Libraries,