Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 1/24/17

Department of Geography (DoG) News and Events Where it's at!

JAN 17
Coffee Hour is the Miller Lecture with Lynn Staeheli | Alumni news | Research publications

James McCrory visits Cindy's class

Alumnus James McCrory (’73), a helicopter pilot for Aspen Helicopters (a US Forest Service contractor), visits Cynthia Brewer’s GEOG 467 Applied Cartographic Design class to show how maps are used in fighting fires.


Erica Smithwick is profiled as part of WiScifiles, a WPSU series about women in science at Penn State launching on Friday, January 27. You can like and follow the Facebook page:

Alumnus Mario Machado’s (’16g) article, “President Obama’s Human Goodness Will Be Sorely Missed,” appears in the January 20 edition of the The Huffington Post.

Alumnae Amy Trauger (’01g, ’05g) and Jennifer Fluri (’01g, ’05g) are launching a new Feminism, Gender and Geography book series at the West Virginia University Press. Authors interested in submitting proposals for consideration should contact Authors interested in submitting proposals for consideration should contact Jennifer L. Fluri at, Amy Trauger at, or Derek Krissoff at


Coffee Hour on January 27
The Miller Lecture with Lynn Staeheli “Cosmopolitan Habits and the Making of Citizenship in Bosnia-Herzegovina”
Since the Dayton Agreement brought an end to formal hostilities in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), international organizations and intergovernmental agencies have expended considerable effort and funds to promoted new ways of being as citizens. Young people have been the focus of many of these efforts, reflecting concerns that youth are particularly susceptible to the negative influence of ethno-nationalism, but also beliefs that this generation offers the best chance for change. In striving to provide alternative frames of belonging outwith ethno-nationalism, youth citizenship projects aim to instill habits of cosmopolitanism in everyday practices. Drawing on John Dewey’s ideas regarding the habits of citizenship, the paper traces the complex geography of citizenship that international organizations attempt to construct and that young people navigate.

Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:00 p.m.
The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
Coffee Hour To Go Webcast
Next time: February 3 with Jonathan Rush
Climate change effects, solutions to be discussed on WPSU’s ‘Conversations LIVE’
The effects of human-caused climate change both locally and throughout the world will be discussed by University experts during the next episode of WPSU Penn State’s “Conversations LIVE.” The live broadcast, which encourages community input and interaction between viewers and guests, will air at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, on WPSU-TV, WPSU-FM and online at


Civil Rights as Geospatial Work (book chapter)
By H Derek, J Inwood
In Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America, 2016
This book examines major Hispanic, African, and Asian diasporas in the continental United States and Puerto Rico from the nineteenth century to the present, with particular attention on the diverse ways in which these immigrant groups have shaped and reshaped American places and landscapes. Through both historical and contemporary case studies, the contributors examine how race and ethnicity affect the places we live, work, and visit, illustrating along the way the behaviors and concepts that comprise the modern ethnic and racial geography of immigrant and minority groups. While primarily addressed to students and scholars in the fields of racial and ethnic geography, these case studies will be accessible to anyone interested in race-place connections, race-ethnicity boundaries, the development of racialization, and the complexity of human settlement patterns and landscapes that make up the United States and Puerto Rico. Taken together, they show how individuals and culture groups, through their ideologies, social organization, and social institutions, reflect both local and regional processes of place-making and place-remaking that occur within and beyond the continental United States.

Citizen monitoring during hazards: validation of Fukushima radiation measurements
By Carolynne Hultquist and Guido Cervone
In GeoJournal
Access DOI: 10.1007/s10708-017-9767-x
Citizen-led movements producing scientific hazard data during disasters are increasingly common. After the Japanese earthquake-triggered tsunami in 2011, and the resulting radioactive releases at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants, citizens monitored on-ground levels of radiation with innovative mobile devices built from off-the-shelf components. To date, the citizen-led Safecast project has recorded 50 million radiation measurements worldwide, with the majority of these measurements from Japan. The analysis of data which are multi-dimensional, not vetted, and provided from multiple devices presents big data challenges due to their volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. While the Safecast project produced massive open-source radiation measurements at specific coordinates and times, the reliability and validity of the overall data have not yet been assessed. The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant provides a case for assessing the Safecast data with official aerial remote sensing radiation data jointly collected by the governments of the United States and Japan. This study spatially analyzes and statistically compares the citizen-volunteered and government-generated radiation data.

Between exposure, access and use: Reconsidering foodscape influences on dietary behaviours
By Christelle Clary, Stephen Augustus Matthews, Yan Kestens
In Health and Place
Good accessibility to both healthy and unhealthy food outlets is a greater reality than food deserts. Yet, there is a lack of conceptual insights on the contextual factors that push individuals to opt for healthy or unhealthy food outlets when both options are accessible. Our comprehension of foodscape influences on dietary behaviours would benefit from a better understanding of the decision-making process for food outlet choices. In this paper, we build on the fundamental position that outlet choices are conditioned by how much outlets’ attributes accommodate individuals’ constraints and preferences. We further argue that food outlets continuously experienced within individuals’ daily-path help people re-evaluate food acquisition possibilities, push them to form intentions, and shape their preferences for the choices they will subsequently make. Doing so, we suggest differentiating access, defined as the potential for the foodscape to be used at the time when individuals decide to do so, from exposure, which acts as a constant catalyst for knowledge, intention, preferences and routine tendency. We conclude with implications for future research, and discuss consequences for public policy.

Predicting root zone soil moisture with soil properties and satellite near-surface moisture data across the conterminous United States
By D. Baldwin, S. Manfreda, K. Keller, E.A.H. Smithwick
In Journal of Hydrology
Satellite-based near-surface (0-2cm) soil moisture estimates have global coverage, but do not capture variations of soil moisture in the root zone (up to 100 cm depth) and may be biased with respect to ground-based soil moisture measurements. Here, we present an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) hydrologic data assimilation system that predicts bias in satellite soil moisture data to support the physically based Soil Moisture Analytical Relationship (SMAR) infiltration model, which estimates root zone soil moisture with satellite soil moisture data. The SMAR-EnKF model adds a regional-scale estimated bias parameter, which is estimated using available in situ data. The regional bias parameter is added to satellite soil moisture retrievals before their use in the SMAR model, and the bias parameter is updated continuously over time with the EnKF algorithm. The SMAR-EnKF is used to assimilate in situ soil moisture at 43 Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) monitoring locations across the conterminous U.S. Multivariate regression models are developed to estimate SMAR parameters using soil physical properties and the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) evapotranspiration data product as covariates.

Supervised classification of civil air patrol (CAP)
By Elena Sava, Laura Clemente-Harding, Guido Cervone
In Natural Hazards
Access DOI: 10.1007/s11069-016-2704-3
The mitigation and response to floods rely on accurate and timely flood assessment. Remote sensing technologies have become the de facto approach for observing the Earth and its environment. However, satellite remote sensing data are not always available, and it is crucial to develop new techniques to complement them with additional sources. This research proposes a new methodology based on machine learning algorithms to automatically identify water pixels in Civil Air Patrol (CAP) aerial imagery. Specifically, a wavelet transformation is paired with multiple classifiers to build models that discriminate water and non-water pixels. The learned classification models are first tested against a set of control cases and then used to automatically classify each image separately. Lastly, for each pixel in an image, a measure of uncertainty is computed as a proportion of the number of models that classify the pixel as water. The proposed methodology is tested on imagery collected during the 2013 Colorado flood.