Students in GEP 690/EES 79904 Workshop in GISc Research, Spring term 2011.
Back row, standing, left to right: Kristen Grady (EES Doctoral Program); Hildegaard Link (EES Doctoral Program); Prof. Maantay; Aviva Rahmani (GISc Graduate Program); Emily Peterson-Perez (GISc Graduate Program); Zakkiyyah Shah (Geography/GISc Program); Tiffany Mae Brown (GISc Graduate Program, GISc Lab Tutor); Cordelia Nervi (GISc Graduate Program). Front Row, Seated, left to right: Ronald Alphonse (GISc Graduate Program); Brian Morgan (Geography/GISc Program, GISc Lab Manager); Rachel Goffe (EES Doctoral Program); Patricia Reed (GISc Graduate Program)
For academic year 2011-2012, I will be on sabbatical and will not be teaching any formal classes. Normally, I teach both GEP 350/650, Special Projects in GISc: Environmental Modeling and Spatial Analysis; and GEH 490/GEP 690,Workshop in GISc Research. Many students take these two courses as a sequence, and they are both required for the Certificate Program in GISc.
GEP 350/605, Special Projects in GISc: Environmental Modeling and Spatial Analysis is an intermediate-level GISc course, focusing on real-world environmental applications of GISc. In this course, we build on the principles of GISc presented in the introductory courses, but delve deeper into GISc concepts and geographic theory, develop basic environmental models, conduct complex spatial analyses, engage in quantitative reasoning as well as qualitative methods, and create advanced cartographic products. But most importantly, students in this class use what they have learned in order to design a GISc research project based on their individual interests.
In past years, these student projects have included such diverse topics as adapting a model to estimate sea ice thickness in Antarctica; conducting an historical analysis of the relationship between elevation and socio-economic class in NYC; calculating the earthquake hazard in the Bronx; developing a hazard vulnerability assessment tool for flooding in NYC; examining the historical process of gentrification/neighborhood change in north Philadelphia; mapping the distribution of sandalwood trees in Fiji; modeling forest fire risk in Colombia; assessing the impacts of tourism on deforestation in Nepal; estimating fish species richness in the Bronx River; studying the process of gentrification in Greenpoint-Willismsburg, Brooklyn; and predicting the optimal locations for carbon sequestration sites in the U.S., to name only a few.
GEH 490/GEP 690, Workshop in GISc Research is a very interesting and challenging class where students have the opportunity to implement their project ideas that they developed during the prior term in GEP 350/605. Because the students have developed project concepts that reflect their own interests, there is always a very wide diversity of project topics, utilizing various methodologies and data sets, and representing all different parts of the world for their geographic study extents. Students benefit from all the cross-pollination of ideas and subject matter, and generally learn a considerable amount, not only about GISc and its applications, but also background information on many other topics that are being explored by the other students in the class, and which are often applicable to their own work. Projects are meant to be substantive and comprehensive, including thoroughly researched background information, a critical analysis of the relevant body of literature, a well-designed hypothesis and methodology, GISc analysis and interpretation of the results. Students are expected to make a professional-quality presentation, prepare a final report, and create a poster summarizing their work.
A sample of the project titles from recent classes demonstrates the wide range of research topics:
- Radioactive Colonialism: Environmental Racism and the Exposure of Native Americans to Uranium Mines;
- Using GIS to Assess the Loss of Cultural and Historical Sites and Resources Resulting from Hurricane Katrina;
- Location, Location, Location: Understanding the Environment of Outdoor Drug Markets;
- Graffiti in Community Board #2, Queens: (Individual Expression in the Public Realm);
- Geographical Disparities in Infant Mortality: Using GIS to Aid in Determining Community Characteristics that May Impact Infant Deaths in Brooklyn, New York;
- Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant: Get to Know Your Neighbors;
- Modeling Air Emissions from Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Facilities and Estimating Potentially Affected Minority Population in Westchester County;
- Democracy Cracked, Packed, and Bushwhacked: The Impact of GIS on Redistricting for the U.S. House of Representatives;
- Childhood Lead Poisoning in the Bronx: Using GIS to Locate High Risk Neighborhoods for Targeted Public Health Interventions;
- Ridges, Rivets, and Ruralization: Effects of the Industrial Revolution and Topography on Population Trends in 19th and 20th Century Massachusetts;
- The Identity Crisis of New York City’s 21st Century Waterfront: Rezoning, Redevelopment, and Climate Change;
- Medicinal Plant Use in the Dominican Republic (The Use of GIS to Display Traditional and Non-Traditional Health Care in a Rural Community in the Dominican Republic;
- Rooftops - the Fifth Façade as Urban Frontier;
- Harvesting the Wind: Using GIS for Optimal Offshore Wind Farm Location;
- Re-Mapping FEMA: A Study of the 2006 Flood Plain Rezoning and the Potential Impact on Economic Development Project Sites;
Last modified: Oct 13, 2011