Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 1/19/16

 January 19, 2016


Mapping the location of the 49,000 students who take a MOOC called “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution,” revealed some interesting patterns. See related story below.



  • The Population Association of America (PAA) has just announced that Stephen A. Matthews and two Penn State colleagues will be the next co-editors of its flagship journal, Demography.
  • Russ Hedberg received funding from the National Science Foundation for a doctoral dissertation research improvement grant.
  • Sterling Quinn accepted a job as assistant professor of Geography at Central Washington University, beginning September 2016.
  • Cynthia A. Brewer’s new edition of Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users, has been published by Esri.
  • Professor Emeritus Lucky Yapa’s son Sunil was interviewed on Late Night with Seth Myers about his novel, “Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist.”
  • Alumnus Vaclav Smil (Ph.D. ’69) was mentioned in Bill Gates book blog:


Coffee Hour with Alton C. Byers
Impacts of the April 27, 2015 Nepal earthquake on four potentially dangerous glacial lakes in Nepal
On April 25, 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck central Nepal, causing more than 8,000 deaths throughout the country. Two weeks later, a magnitude 7.3 aftershock caused further damage and uncertainty. Massive landslides wiped out entire villages, rivers were dammed by landslides, and the geologic and geomorphic integrity of high altitude mountains and glaciers was destabilized. Scientists throughout the world began to worry that the seismic activity could also result in new glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) through the weakening of terminal moraines and destabilization of potential triggers, such as overhanging ice and landslides.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.
  • The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast
  • Next week: Qunying Huang “Social media: an emerging data source for human mobility studies”

Department of Geography announces spring 2016 Coffee Hour speakers
Coffee Hour has been presented weekly by the Department of Geography for 48 years to promote collegiality and discussion around entertaining and thought-provoking topics. 


Rapid version of assessment tool provides easier way to monitor
wetland quality

A modified or “rapid” version of an existing wetland assessment tool can accurately assess the quality of wetlands, according to Penn State researchers. Using the rapid version of the tool, known as the Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQI), can save time and improve upon wetland monitoring strategies.


Mapping internships teach geography student importance of field work
Ryan Gallagher has certainly mapped his way to a foundation for entering the field in geography. Over the last two summers, Gallagher, a Schreyer Scholar majoring in geography at Penn State, completed two internships that did something positive — first, mapping stormwater drainage systems for College Township, in State College, Pennsylvania; then mapping data for Riparia, a wetlands research center housed in Penn State’s Department of Geography on the University Park campus.



Mapping a MOOC Reveals Global Patterns in Student Engagement
By Anthony C. Robinson in The Chronicle of Higher Education


Towards contextualized models of spatial relations
By Jan Oliver Wallgrün, Alexander Klippel, Morteza Karimzadeh in Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Geographic Information Retrieval
DOI: 10.1145/2837689.2837692


Fine-grain spatial patterning and dynamics of land use and agrobiodiversity amid global changes in the Bolivian Andes
By Karl S. Zimmerer and Hector Luis Rojas Vaca in Regional Environmental Change

DOI: 10.1007/s10113-015-0897-8



We received a few incorrect guesses, but last week’s dog was Galway, a beagle mix and companion to Lorraine Dowler. Keep the dog pictures coming!

This email is an abridged version, view the complete post and previous posts at:
DoG enews is published weekly on Tuesdays by the Department of Geography at Penn State during the fall and spring semesters.
Submit your news by Monday morning (or sooner) to for inclusion in that week's post.