Fall 2019 Newsletter

Applied Geography Specialty Group Updates

What is Applied Geography?

From Hannah Torres, Old Dominion University

word cloud

This fall, the Applied Geography Specialty Group sent a short survey to its members and friends to learn more about what work applied geographers do, and how geographic approaches are being used to solve real-world problems. Emerging from the responses, the AGSG has a new “About Us” page on our website, which offers a definition for applied geography and highlights some of the shared interests among those who responded. Our community shares an emphasis on real-world problem-solving, yet applied geographers come from a wide range of backgrounds and specializations with expertise in GIS, urban geography, spatial analysis, economic geography, disaster management, water resources, transportation, and medical geography… just to name a few! The Applied Geography Specialty Group of the AAG provides a fantastic opportunity for geographers of all career levels to network across academic, governmental, and private sectors. Attend an AGSG sponsored session at AAG Denver or stop by our business meeting to learn more about the specialty group.

2020 Applied Geography Awards Call

From Hannah Torres, Old Dominion University

This year, the Applied Geography Specialty Group is pleased to continue offering two award opportunities for students, faculty, or other practitioners outside of the academic realm: the Applied Geography Travel Award, to facilitate AAG Denver meeting attendance, and the Applied Geography Research, Curriculum, and Project Development Award, to support the application of geographic approaches to solve real-world problems in research, project implementation, or education/outreach across academic, governmental, or private sectors. Please visit the Applied Geography Specialty Group’s Awards webpage (http://community.aag.org/appliedgeography/awards) to learn how you can apply for these awards.

The travel award is open to all members of the specialty group who are presenting in any research-related capacity at the meeting. Applicants must be dues-paying members of the Applied Geography Specialty Group to be eligible for consideration. Multiple awards of $150 each will be granted. If selected, awards will be distributed to registered awardees before the meeting. Awardees are expected to attend the AGSG business meeting during the 2020 AAG meeting to be recognized for their achievement. 

The Applied Geography Research, Curriculum, and Project Development Award serves to support and promote the success of members of the Applied Geography Specialty Group. working in the Applied Geography field on projects/activities related to research, practice, and curriculum. Applicants must be dues-paying members of the Applied Geography Specialty Group to be eligible for consideration. One or more awards ranging from $250-500 each will be granted to develop or implement a diverse range of applied geography projects. Winners will be contacted by email and announced in the AGSG Spring 2020 Newsletter. 

Funding is not guaranteed as applications are selected competitively. Travel award applications are due no later than Applications are due no later than Jan. 31, 2020. Project Development Award Applications are due no later than February 14, 2020. If you have questions, please contact the awards committee chair, Dr. Thomas Thaler (thomas.thaler@boku.ac.at) or AGSG chair, Dr. Hannah Torres (htorres@odu.edu).

Anderson Medal Nominations Due December 1

From Hannah Torres, Old Dominion University

The James R. Anderson Medal of Honor is the highest distinction which the Applied Geography Specialty Group (AGSG) can bestow. The Medal is awarded by the AGSG Board of Directors in recognition of the most distinguished service to the profession of geography. The AGSG Directors may bestow a Medal on individuals or organizations in recognition of notable contributions to the advancement of the profession through outstanding accomplishments in one or more areas of industry, government, literature, education, research, service to the profession, or public service. A Medal is so distinctive an honor that it is bestowed only if the accomplishments are truly outstanding. Past well-known recipients include the 'father of floodplain management', Gilbert White and Esri founder, Jack Dangermond. If you know of a person or organization that has made game-changing impacts on the field of applied geography, consider submitting a nomination packet by December 1, 2019 to Dr. Michael N. DeMers at demers01@gmail.com. Only members of the Applied Geography Specialty Group can make nominations, however, nominees need not hold current group membership. To learn more about the nomination process, please visit http://community.aag.org/appliedgeography/andersonmedal/andersonmedal-application.

Applied Geography Specialty Group at #aagDenver

From Rebecca Loraamm, University of Oklahoma

The AAG is currently organizing sessions for the 2020 Annual Meeting in Denver. The Applied Geography Specialty Group (AGSG) welcomes the opportunity to sponsor or co-sponsor sessions themed to the application of various geographic techniques solving real-world geographic problems. These sessions would include (but are not limited to) applications dealing in the 5 major themes of Applied Geography: movement, human-nature interactions, location, place/place-making and regional issues. If you are organizing a session for the 2020 AAG meeting, and are interested in sponsorship from the AGSG, please contact Rebecca Loraamm (rloraamm@ou.edu) by November 20, 2019 to request sponsorship. For more information on session types, see the following: https://www2.aag.org/AAGAnnualMeeting/Call_for_Submissions/Session_Types/AAGAnnualMeeting/SessionTypes.aspx?hkey=3b49e292-5b82-4002-87b0-5e05acbfc2b7

So far, AGSG is sponsoring the following sessions at AAG 2020 in Denver:

  • Symposium on Human Dynamics Research (Organizer: Xinyue Ye). Sessions include:
    • Panel: Liberated Mapping through the Bodies and Structures and Mapping Ephemerality Projects
    • Paper: Convergence Research of GIScience, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Paper: Critically Assessing Business Geographies: Tools, Techniques, and Histories (Organizer: Jack Swab) 
  • Paper: Geography and the Municipal Fire Service (Organizer: Tracy Whelen) 
  • Paper: Animals and their Use of Space (Organizer: Claire Burch)
  • Paper: Geographic Techniques Implemented in Modern Decision-Making (Organizer: Austin Stone)
  • Paper: Remote Sensing of Urbanization, Urban Climate, and Environment
  • Paper: Community Engagement and Action 1 & 2
  • Paper: Innovative Research in Ethnic Geography
  • Panel: Integrating Instruction and Research: An open discussion on engaging your classes in research (Organizer: Nicole Hutton)
  • Panel: Community Engagement at the Academic – Governmental Nexus: Geographers Serving on Governmental Boards 1 & 2 (Organizer: Matthew Liesch)
  • Panel: Power and Positionality in Community Geography (Organizers: Emily Barrett and Hannah Torres)
  • Poster: Creative poster session on Community Geography (Organizers: Emily Barrett and Hannah Torres)
  • Student Competitions: 2020 RSSG Student Illustrated Paper Competition 1 & 2 (Contact: Qiuyan Yu) 

Stay up-to-date on AGSG sponsored sessions and learn more by clicking here.

Recent Events

Human Planet Forum: Palisades, NY (Sept 30 – Oct 2, 2019)

From Lauren Childs-Gleason, NASA Capacity Building Program

The second Human Planet Forum took place in Palisades, NY 9/30-10/2 and provided a unique opportunity to hear from experts working on different aspects of a variety of issues relating to mapping population, economic activity, administrative boundaries, and human settlements. Humans continue to change the surface of the Earth at a rapid pace, and in turn our settlements, infrastructure, and activities remain highly sensitive to environmental variability and change. Monitoring and prediction of urbanization, population movement, rural development, and related changes in the Human Planet are therefore vital. The Human Planet Initiative of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is working to harness new data sources, technologies and analytic approaches to address key needs for improved understanding and modeling and for better tools for decision making in support of sustainable development. As part of the Forum program, the World Wide Human Geography Data (WWHGD) Working Group organized a set of live-streamed sessions October 2, “Mapping Internal Administrative Boundaries”, which included a panel discussion and 19 lightning talks by diverse experts from government, industry, humanitarian organizations, and academia. To see these presentations, visit www.wwhgd.org/.

Pecora 21 / ISRSE 38: Baltimore, MD (Oct 6-11, 2019)

From Austin Stone, University of Georgia

A joint meeting of the 21st William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium (Pecora 21) and the 38th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE-38) convened in Baltimore, Maryland, USA from October 6 – 11, 2019. The combined conference was hosted by NASA, NOAA, and the USGS, with an overarching theme of “Earth Observation – Continuous Monitoring of Our Changing Planet: From Sensors to Decisions.” With over 500 presentations covering a broad spectrum of remote sensing topics, the conference provided a great opportunity for early career professionals to gain insight into the remote sensing field. For more information about the conference and to access presentations, visit https://pecora.asprs.org/

CEOS Plenary: Hanoi, Vietnam (Oct 14-16, 2019)

From Lauren Childs-Gleason, NASA Capacity Building Program

The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) coordinates and harmonizes Earth observations to make it easier for the user community to access and use data. Each year, CEOS holds a plenary where the world’s space agencies gather to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate to enhance Earth observation resources, data standards, processes, and applications. Oct 14-16th, CEOS gathered in Hanoi, Vietnam where discussions focused on a suite of topics such as climate observations and carbon monitoring strategies, forest monitoring, ocean color, future data architectures, analysis ready data, disaster management, capacity building, and sustainable development goals. To see presentations from the plenary and other CEOS meetings and learn more about CEOS, visit http://ceos.org/.

Upcoming Events

AGU Fall Meeting: San Francisco, CA (Dec 9-13, 2019)

From Lauren Childs-Gleason, NASA Capacity Building Program

As the American Geophysical Union (AGU) marks its Centennial in 2019, its annual meeting returns December 9-13th to San Francisco, the home of the AGU Fall Meeting for more than 40 years. Join a diverse community in collaborating across borders and boundaries to explore and develop our research. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in Centennial presentations and special events that will bring to life the past, present and the future of our science. Today we stand at the intersection of history and our future. Fall Meeting 2019 will prepare you for what’s ahead: rapid developments in our science, new approaches to observing our Earth and beyond, the introduction of new data streams, growing demand for accessible science, the expansion of convergent science, and more. AGU will celebrate its past and inspire the future by bringing together the people, the imagination, and the science that will ignite our next hundred years to make our planet safer, cleaner, and more sustainable. For more information, visit: www.agu.org/Fall-Meeting.

Esri Mid-Atlantic User Conference: Philadelphia, PA (Dec 10-11, 2019)

From Lauren Childs-Gleason, NASA Capacity Building Program

The Esri Mid-Atlantic User Conference is the can't-miss event to learn, train, collaborate, and network with your peers from the regional GIS technology user community. Join Esri in Philadelphia December 10–11th to discover how GIS is the intelligent nervous system, and see the new capabilities and solutions from Esri. The conference includes technical workshops and user sessions, expert-led trainings, and one-on-one networking opportunities. Visit: www.esri.com/en-us/about/events/esri-mid-atlantic-uc/

2020 Geodesign Summit: Redlands, CA (Feb 24-27, 2020)

From Lauren Childs-Gleason, NASA Capacity Building Program

The global crises of our time include climate change; resource scarcity; massive migrations of our planet's inhabitants; and the challenges being faced by our local communities—strained infrastructural resources, economic exclusionism, and marginalized environmental quality. These cannot be solved with the same mind-set we had when we discovered them. Leveraging new understandings, approaches, and technologies will be essential in formulating a clear vision for turning the tide on these challenges and working toward a more vibrant future. Join thought leaders, innovators, and other visionaries to see firsthand how they are leveraging geodesign and technology to confront challenges head-on and plan for our future. Visit: www.esri.com/en-us/about/events/geodesign-summit/overview.

Research and Award Highlights

Dissertation applying SES Framework wins award in International Planning

From Shruti Syal, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Shruti Syal (PhD'19 Regional Planning, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign) recently won the Gill-Chin Lim Award for Best Dissertation in Planning for her work, A Socio-Ecological Systems Perspective on Planning for Informality: The Case of Delhi’s Drain-Adjacent Informal Settlements. Her research draws on the fields of planning, geography, and environmental science to examine the juncture between informality, institutions, and infrastructure. Juxtaposing plan analysis, water quality tests, land use analysis, ethnographic work, and institutional analysis, she uncovers the ecological impact of these settlements, and explains how institutions govern stakeholder behavior, determine access to waste-related infrastructure, and in turn influence city ecology. Thus grounding that the complex dynamics between drainage flow, waste management, land development, and the institutions managing them must be studied in an integrated way, she imaginatively modifies the Social-Ecological Systems Framework and uses it to analyze service and infrastructure provision in these settlements, explaining why decentralized community-managed provision can be more socio-ecologically sustainable than current forms of service provision by regulatory agencies and/or NGOs. This research thus bridges scholarship in Planning and Geography.

Generating high-resolution population grid using Microsoft building footprints

From Xiao Huang, University of South Carolina

100m grid

100 m population grid covering the entire CONUS

This study presents an approach to generating 100m population grid in the CONUS using 125 million building footprints recently released by Microsoft. Land use dataset from the OpenStreetMap (OSM) was applied to trim raw buildings footprints by removing those that are not likely residential. Layers derived from trimmed footprint statistics were designed and considered as weighting scenarios, with which a dasymetric model was applied to disaggregate the ACS census tract estimates into a 100m population grid product. The results confirm the efficiency of the OSM trimming process as it largely contributes to obtaining more reasonable heterogeneity of population distribution within complicated urban fabrics. Among the proposed weighting scenarios, the weighting layer using trimmed footprint size achieves the best performance. The performance, however, varies in states, presumably due to the different levels of urbanization and various building distribution patterns. The results suggest that building footprints alone, particularly footprint size after trimming, can better summarize the heterogeneity of population at micro-level. The product is expected to benefit various studies that require spatially explicit, high-resolution population data.


NASA DEVELOP Summer Opportunity

From Amanda Clayton, NASA DEVELOP National Program

Are you interested in helping address environmental issues from space? Check out the NASA DEVELOP National Program! Operating out of 11 locations across the United States, we bring together teams of students, recent graduates, and early career professionals to work on 10-week rapid feasibility studies. These projects work directly with a partner organization whose decision-making processes can benefit from the use of NASA Earth observing satellite data. As a participant, you will gain experience using remote sensing and GIS techniques, improve technical writing, enhance your knowledge of project management, and work on a multidisciplinary team. The summer term will take place June 1 through August 7 and applications will be accepted between January 20 and February 28. For more information on our locations and eligibility, please visit our website: https://develop.larc.nasa.gov/ or e-mail us at NASA-DL-DEVELOP@mail.nasa.gov. Don’t miss out on your chance to DEVELOP your career!

Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory Staff Associate

From Lauren Childs-Gleason, NASA Capacity Building Program

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is seeking a Staff Associate to work with its International Research Institute for Climate and Society’s successful and growing team. The responsibilities of this position are to advance research in integrating climate information (monitoring and forecast) into applications for natural disasters and emergencies within the humanitarian sector, in particular for floods. This aligns with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society’s mission, which is to enhance society’s capability to understand, anticipate, and manage the impacts of climate in order to improve human welfare, especially in developing countries and benefits IRI’s partner community (e.g. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent and NASA). For more information about the position and requirements, visit https://pa334.peopleadmin.com/postings/4130.

Tenure-Track GIScience Position at UNC Wilmington

From Joanne Halls, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

The Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences at the University of North Carolina Wilmington invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor in GIScience with an expected start date of August 1, 2020. We seek a faculty member with expertise in one or more of the following: GIS programming (e.g. Python and/or R), mobile data analytics, spatial statistics, cyberGIS, and/or geovisualization. Preferred candidates will apply this expertise to integrated socio-environmental systems and their vulnerability to coastal hazards. We seek an individual with teaching experience in GIS and programming/scripting such as advanced spatial data analytics, cartography, and others related to the individual’s expertise and will fit with our undergraduate programs (BA Geography, BA Geoscience, BS Geology, BS Oceanography) and graduate programs (MS Geoscience and GIS Certificate). Priority consideration will be given to applications received by November 30, 2019, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled. For questions about the position, please contact the search committee chair: Dr. Joanne Halls, hallsj@uncw.eduTo apply, please visit https://jobs.uncw.edu/postings/2003

Assistant Professor of Urban Environmental Systems Position at OU

From Rebecca Loraamm, University of Oklahoma

The Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma (http://geography.ou.edu) invites applications for an Assistant Professor focused on Urban Environmental Systems. We seek an innovative scholar with the potential to make significant contributions in the understanding and management of urban-environmental systems. The successful candidate will be capable of research excellence in the area of urban resilience and sustainability. The ideal candidate will employ spatial modelling, data science, urban informatics and/or urban remote sensing to address relevant questions in areas such as climatology, water quality, urban dynamics and complexity, infrastructure, and/or ecosystem impacts. For more information or to apply, click here.

To see what AGSG is saying on Twitter, visit https://twitter.com/applied_geog.

New Joint PhD Program at UNM – NMSU Begins in Fall 2020

From: Mike DeMers, New Mexico State University

There is, at last, a geography doctoral program in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment! This program is a joint offering of the departments of geography at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and the University of New Mexico (UNM). Students in the program have access to faculty and resources on both campuses, and doctoral diplomas bear the seals of both universities. The New Mexico Joint Doctoral Program in Geography is designed to build both theoretical and applied knowledge, which enables students to pursue a wide range of career pathways. This program brings together two outstanding universities and offers a unique opportunity for study in New Mexico’s diverse and distinctive landscapes. And builds upon the strengths of the two departments by providing the education, training, and experience necessary for professional careers in higher education, private industry, and government. We offer a rigorous, research-based degree that is focused on environmental change, dryland resource management, complex cultural landscapes, and the methods needed to understand them. During the program students will learn qualitative and quantitative research methods, and how to use them in combination to create a mixed-methods approach to geographic research student are based on existing expertise and future career goals. The program’s main regional foci are New Mexico and the broader Southwest region, the Mexico-U.S. borderlands, and Latin America.

For admissions requirements and doctoral program-specific details visit https://geographyphdnmsu.unm.edu/.