Exemplary Projects

What do our online students achieve? Amazing things!

Here we have highlighted just a few of the many exemplary student capstone projects completd by our MGIS students, some of which have won awards and/or been published in peer-reviewed journals or industry magazines.

Examples of exemplary student capstone projects for the Penn State MGIS program
Student Title Powerpoint/Peer Review Presentation/Final Presentation Awards and Publications
Roger Bannister Improving Interpolation Tools for Groundwater Dat Bannister.ppt

See Publications

Scott Byron Risk-Based Pipeline Route Optimization for the Persian Gulf Region


See Publications

Allen Cousins Integrating Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) with GIS to Predict Electrical Outages



Chris Goranson Cluster Detection Comparison in Syndromic Surveillance


See Publications

Sara Holm Coal Bed Methane Development Impact Assessment and Landcover Analysis



Andrew Parker Open Source Web Mapping
a non-developers perspective



Jill Kern Down in the Trenches: Automating Label Placement in Dense Utility Maps Kern.ppt

See Publications

Justin Klos Determining Spatial Correlations Between Voting Behavior and Selected Demographic Variables in a Changing Electorate



Sterling Quinn A Predictive Model for Frequently Viewed Tiles in a Web Map Quinn.ppt

See Publications

Kurt Reed Ecologic Niche Modeling of Blastomyces dermatitidis in Wisconsin


See Publications

Mike Team Demographic and Spatial Analysis of
North Carolina's Nuclear Plants




2nd Place for the Professional Map - Analytical: J. Shively and F Kessler. Spatial Analysis of Veteran Healthcare Access in Ohio at the 2018 Ohio GIS conference, Columbus, Ohio, 24-26 September

A. Muratore. The Role of Geomatics in Oil Spill Response. Goal Zero Champion - 2015 Global Development Award from Shell

2nd Place: K Struthers and J Blanford. Conservation Strategy: Where it matters most. Integrating demographics, socioeconomic lifestyles and biodiversity. Presented at GIS in the Rockies, Denver Colorado, 23-24 September, 2015.


Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence:

2019 - Captain Katherine Meckler (’14), USAF

2018 - D. Steiner

2016 - T. J. Quink

2014 - A. Chang


Esri Developer Center Student of the Year Award winners:

2018 - Curran Mcbride, Determining rooftop solar potential and mapping net energy consumption

2017 - Tim Naegeli, Backprojecting Secondary Martian Craters Using a Cone of Uncertainty
2016 - Ruthann Ligon, Geo-Enabling Mountain Bike Trail Maintenance with VGI: GIS Applications for the Fountainhead Mountain Bike Trail
2015 - Heather Widlund, Automating Regional GIS Data Integration for Emergency Services in Southwest Colorado
2014 - Meredith Moore, Sanitary Sewer Exfiltration & Infiltration Risk Assessment



  1. Green, B. and Blanford, J.I. (accepted) Estimating populations in refugee camps: a toolkit using remotely sensed data. HICSS Conference Paper: Disaster Information, Technology, and Resilience Track
  2. Kochenour, C. (2019) Mount Mansfield: Mapping the Alpine Tundra: Using Object-Based Image Analysis to Extract Alpine Tundra Features on Vermont’s Highest Mountain. Medium.
  3. Naegeli, T. J. and Laura, J. (2018) Back-projecting secondary craters using a cone of uncertainty. Computers & Geosciences.
  4. Turner, S.B., Turner D.P., Gray, A.N. & Fellers, W. (2018) An approach to estimating forest biomass change over a coniferous forest landscape based on tree-level analysis from repeated lidar surveys. International Journal of Remote Sensing
  5. Myers, R. M. and A. Griffin (2018) The geography of gender inequality in international higher education. Journal of Studies in International Education
  6. Broussard, W. (2018) Marshland mapping uses drone and data. Point of Beginnings. September: 14-19. Written by M. J. Wagner.
  7. Covington, J. H. and P. Kennelly. (2018) Influences of paleo-topography of the Cretaceous/Tertiary angular unconformity on uranium mineralization in the Shirley Basin, Wyoming. The Journal of Maps.14 (2):​ 589-596
  8. Tari, G., L. Jessen, P. Kennelly, A. Salman, T. Rainer and P. Hagedorn. (2018) Surface mapping of the Milh Kharwah salt diapir to better understand the subsurface petroleum system in the Sab’atayn Basin, onshore Yemen. Arabian Journal of Geosciences 11: 428 (23 pp).
  9. Kamptner, E. and Kessler, F. (2018) Small-scale crisis response mapping: comparing user contributions to events in OpenStreetMap. Geojournal. 1-21
  10. Pfau, L. and Blanford J.I. (2018) Enhancing wilderness search and rescue through the use of geospatial data and technology. The Professional Geographer.
  11. Al-Dogom, D., Schuckman, K., and Al-Ruzouq, R. (2018) Geostatistical seismic analysis and hazard assessment; United Arab Emirates. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XLII-3/W4, 2018. GeoInformation For Disaster Management (Gi4DM), 18–21 March 2018, Istanbul, Turkey. pp 29-36
  12. Wanner, N. (2018) Background Concentrations of Arsenic in Ohio Soils: Sources and Influencing Factors. The Ohio Journal of Science. 118 (2)
  13. Holmes, J., Groce, A., Pinto, J., Mittal, P., Azimi, P., Kellar, K., and O’Brien, J. (2016) TSTL: the template scripting testing language. Int J Softw Tools Technol Transfer. 1-22
  14. Bannister, R. and P. Kennelly. (2016) Incorporating Stream Features into Groundwater Contouring Tools with GIS. Groundwater 54(2):  286-290. 
  15. Shaffer, M. J. and Bishop, J. A. (2016) Predicting and preventing elephant poaching incidents through statistical analysis, GIS-based risk analysis, and aerial surveillance flight path modeling. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 9 (1): 525-548.
  16. Logan, J.J., Jolly, A.M., Blanford, J.I. (2016) The Sociospatial Network: Risk and the role of place in the transmission of infectious diseases. PlosOne 11(2): e0146915.
  17. Cirucci, J.F., Miller, D.A. Blanford, J.I. (2015) Retrospective GIS-Based Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis: A Case Study of California Waste Transfer Station Siting Decisions. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technologies. May 18-20.
  18. Robinson AC, Pezanowski S, Troedson S, Bianchetti RA, Blanford JI, Stevens J, Guidero E, Roth RE, MacEachren AM. (2013) SymbolStore.org: A Web-based Platform for Sharing Map Symbols. Cartography & Geographic Information Science.
  19. Foster, L.M. & Blanford, J.I. (2013) Improving Cadastre: Development of a workflow protoype utilizing ESRI's Parcel Fabric. URISA Journal 25(2): 63-74
  20. Aurit, M., Peterson, R.O., Blanford J.I. (2013) A GIS analysis of the relationship between sinkholes, dry-well complaints and groundwater pumping for frost-freeze protection of winter strawberry production in Florida. PLoSOne  8(1): e53832.
  21. Nierth, L. (2013) Inundation Analysis of Houston. Directions Magazine
  22. Thomas, M. L. (2012) Mapping Evil: A GIS Analysis of the Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda. GEOWORLD, OCTOBER 2012 Issue.
  23. Thomas, M. L. (2011) Beyond GPS. Geospatial Intelligence Forum 2011. 9(5) (July/August).
  24. Thomas, M. L. (2011) Evolution of GPS Systems Architecture and Its Impacts. Communications of the IIMA 2010. 10(4).
  25. Byron, S. (2010) Risk-based pipeline routing improves success probability. Oil & Gas Journal 108(24): 58-64.
  26. Quinn, S., and Gahegan, M. (2010) A predictive model for frequently viewed tiles in a web map. Transactions in GIS, 14(2): 193–216.
  27. C. Goranson, Takahashi K., Tango T., A. Cajigal1, M. Paladini1, E. L. Murray, T. Nguyen, K. Konty, and F. Hardisty. (2008) Cluster Detection Comparison in Syndromic Surveillance. Advances in Disease Surveillance. 5:33
  28. Kern, J.P. and Brewer, C.A. (2008) Automation and the Map Label Placement Problem: A Comparison of Two GIS Implementations of Label Placement. Cartographic Perspectives. 60:22-89
  29. K. D. Reed, J. K. Meece, J. R. Archer, A. T. Peterson. (2008) Ecologic Niche Modeling of Blastomyces dermatitidis in Wisconsin. PlosOne. 3(4): e2034

Page Editor: Beth King