Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 2/21/17

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

FEB 17
Coffee Hour with Charles Twardy | Summer internships | Health benefits of parks



A 360-degree VR image of the renovated GeoVISTA center in Walker Building. Place your cursor over the image, hold down the mouse button, and move around to see the perspective change.


Karen Cox is the February recipient of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences “Rock In Role” Award.
Congratulations to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Student Council Benefiting THON, who raised $71,061.62 and ranked 3rd out of all general organizations at THON.

Coffee Hour with Charles Twardy: Data Science for Search and Rescue
Lost-person search is a mystery with a deadline. After 24 hours lost in the wilderness, your survivability drops by 20%. Searches happen one at a time, but nationally they consume thousands of hours and millions of dollars per year. Most of the expense is borne by ~5% the searches. These massive, extended searches would benefit from proper application of Bayesian search theory, developed in WW2 and used successfully by the Navy and Coast Guard for the past 70 years. I will discuss the unique challenges in wilderness search, and the progress made since 2000 due to the worldwide collection of lost-person data. I’ll discuss spatial probability maps for lost-person behavior, survival curves lost persons, and empirical and theoretical detection profiles, and the prospects for Bayesian search management.

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 time: March 17 with Roger Downs
Measuring and improving the impact of parks on health
Geographer Brian King  is a member of the working group
A team of Penn State researchers is helping the National Park Service measure and improve its impact on people’s health. According to Derrick Taff, assistant professor of recreation, park, and tourism management (RPTM) in the College of Health and Human Development, although many people think parks provide health benefits, there is very little empirical evidence to support that notion.

Summer Internships Announced
• Capital Resource Conservation and Development Area Council (Capital RC&D), a regional non-profit organization seeks three or more GPS assistants to accompany county survey teams and enter and manage data for the 2017 Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Roadside Crop Residue/Cover Crop Transect Survey. More information PDF

• The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission is the official Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the ten-county region including the City of Pittsburgh and the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland. SPC is seeking interns (May-August) for various transportation planning projects including traffic counting, transport modeling, traffic operations studies, freight planning, safety studies, pedestrian and bicycle planning, data collection and related activities. The work environment will vary for different projects. Most positions will include both indoor and outdoor assignments. More information PDF


Microclimate and Local Climate
By Andrew M. Carleton
In Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research: February 2017, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 187-188.
Microclimate and Local Climate represents a unique approach to the study of climate at its most fundamental level: it considers the physical processes of radiation and energy, moisture, and momentum exchanges at and near Earth’s surface to be common to—and to interact across—both the microscale (“centimeters to meters”) and the local, or topographic, scale (from ∼10 m to 1 km). The spatial-scale context is fundamentally geographic, as befits the academic heritage of the authors, and Earth’s physical and living environments are treated as a closely coupled system throughout the book. The subject matter draws upon concepts not just from physical geography and climatology, but also from a wide range of cognate disciplines: meteorology, biology and ecology, hydrology, environmental physics, biogeochemistry, soil science, and statistics. Moreover, this book has direct application and relevance to those same disciplines and to others, such as agriculture, forestry, landscape architecture and urban design, environmental history, and, I would argue, even the history and philosophy of science. The authors synthesize a large number of published studies, both recent and historical (i.e., pre-2000!), to comprehensively provide detail on the physical processes of micro- and local-scale climates, the associated spatial patterns, the implications for humans, and recent and anticipated future changes.