Crossing Divides: Collaborations to advance geospatial research and improve our world

At its core, geography is the study of how humans use and interact with the Earth. But as a discipline, geography has evolved over the last several decades with the advent of geospatial science, an outgrowth of traditional cartography.

And geography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences has transformed as well. Five new faculty hires with unique strengths and an eye for creative collaborations are developing innovative tools and techniques, increasing our understanding of the interplay between natural resource use and management and identifying solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges — from armed conflict to illegal fishing.

“Since computers entered the scene, cartography has become geovisualization,” says Julia Jones, professor of geography and program head.

The arrival of geovisualization expanded our ability to interactively explore spatial data by zooming, panning, toggling across layers, adjusting color ramps and more. Combined with spatial models, the methods that enable data manipulation produced a wave of new insights in the geography discipline.

Read the full story in Elements.


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