News & Events
Kontgis receives NASA Fellowship
May 21, 2013
Caitlin Kontgis (Ph.D. candidate) was recently awarded the prestigious NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship for her proposal "Urbanization, climate change, and rice crop sustainability".
This highly competitive fellowship will fund Caitlin's research at the Center for Sustainablility and the Global Environment (SAGE) for the next 3 years, where she will integrate findings on agricultural land lost to urbanization, future land cover and climate scenarios, and simulations from a crop systems model, to determine the sustainability of rice systems in Vietnam in coming decades. Caitlin's advisor is Prof. Annemarie Schneider.
Naughton receives course development grant for environmental conservation education game
May 16, 2013
Professor Lisa Naughton was recently awarded a College of Agricultural & Life Sciences International Programs (CALS IP) Science Internationalization Course Development Award for her project, "Who Owns Paradise? Competing Claims to Tambopata, Peru, a Last Wilderness Frontier". The award supports the redesign and renovation of a role-playing exercise designed to ‘bring to life’ environmental science and public policy issues in tropical countries. It is an educational tool Naughton has used for over 10 years in Environmental Conservation (Geog/Env St 339), a class she co-teaches with Professor Matt Turner.
Tambopata, a region of the Peruvian Amazon, is one of the most biologically diverse and least disturbed areas on the planet. Ecologists want to conserve its species-rich, carbon-heavy forests as do local indigenous people. But most other residents see Tambopata as a poor, isolated region with untapped reserves of timber, gold and farmland. To balance biodiversity protection with economic development, Peruvian officials invited local stakeholders (miners, indigenous people, loggers, ecotourism operators, etc.) to propose land use zoning maps to guide the region’s future.
In this role-playing exercise, students assume a real-life character role and participate in a public roundtable based on real events from Tambopata. By 'putting themselves into someone else’s shoes', students learn how environmental priorities and ‘environmentalisms’ vary for people coping with poverty and accustomed to ‘frontier’ norms of resource use.
Naughton estimates around 4,000 UW-Madison students have played the educational game in her class over the years. Many geography graduate students have helped strengthen the exercise as teaching assistants, most recently Andy Davey (MS'11, Geography) and Garrett Nelson, both doctoral candidates in Geography. But a lot has changed since the exercise was first designed. A new highway now bisects the area. Soaring gold prices have spurred a mining boom in local rivers. Forest carbon investors and biofuel industrialists are now in the area. A new round of participatory zoning is underway.
The CALS grant will allow Naughton, alumna Nora Alvarez (MS'01, Geography), and incoming graduate student Mikaela Weisse (BS'13, Environmental Sciences, MS'15, Geography), to update the exercise to reflect the new dynamics of conservation at Tambopata. As part of that effort, they will travel to the Peruvian amazon this summer to interview local leaders and assess recent zoning and conservation initiatives.
And thanks to Professor Rob Roth and a team of geography students in his Interactive Cartography & Geovisualization class (Geog 575), the exercise will now have a companion interactive map. The map, created by Grace White (BA'13, Geography and Cartography & GIS), Masrudy Omri (BS'14, Cartography & GIS) and Mikaela Weisse, will help students better understand their assigned characters from the Peruvian Amazon and give more insights into the place and public negotiations about forest conservation.
Science Internationalization Course Development Awards are funded through the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates (MIU) and support the enhancement of undergraduate student learning by expanding best practices and innovation in teaching and learning, curricular design, and student services.
Kitchell, Noterman receive NSF Fellowships
May 8, 2013
Two of our exceptional master's students were recently awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. Erin Kitchell (People-Environment Geography) and Elsa Noterman (Human Geography) are two of only nine geography students nationwide to receive this prestigious award in 2013.
Both plan to continue on to our PhD program this year.
Erin Kitchell's research takes a look at human adaptive strategies to climate change in the Sahel region of Africa. Her advisor is Matt Turner.
Elsa Noterman's research explores how, in this time of declining economic opportunity and diminishing public assistance, people are increasingly acting and owning in common. Her advisor is Keith Woodward.
NSF Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a cost of education allowance.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees.
Poelking receives undergraduate award for academic excellence
April 30, 2013
Geography undergrad Claire Poelking was selected by the Office of the Provost to receive a 2012-13 University Book Store Academic Excellence Award. This award is given to undergraduate students who best exemplify the principle that excellence can be achieved through independent study.
Claire’s independent study research took place in Kimana, Kenya outside of Amboseli National Park. The research looked at whether community-run wildlife sanctuaries outside of formerly protected areas served their purpose as wildlife corridors and touched on social attitudes towards these reserves. Claire's faculty advisor is Prof. Lisa Naughton.
Claire is studying Geography (People-Environment), Environmental Studies, and African Studies while working towards a Comprehensive Letters & Science Honors degree. Not only has Claire excelled in the Honors Program, she has worked for this program as a peer advisor for over two years, where she shares her rich experience to help others plan for and achieve their academic goals.
Award recipients will be honored at the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 9, 2013 in Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The ceremony begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a reception for students, faculty advisors, and parents.
History of Cartography Project awarded NEH grant
April 29, 2013
The History of Cartography Project has been offered a new grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The two-year award from agency’s Division of Preservation and Access provides $220,000 in outright funding and another $100,000 in matching, should the Project raise an equivalent amount of private gifts. The grant supports ongoing preparation of the final three volumes of The History of Cartography.
Especially in this time of limited resources, editors and staff of the Project are grateful to receive such generous funding. About the work supported in this round of grants, NEH chairman Jim Leach said “the projects receiving funding today will expand the boundaries of human knowledge and deepen our connection to our past.” The History of Cartography Project has corresponding goals and will use this funding to promote more expansive ways of understanding maps as cultural documents and encourage a wider study of the history of cartography.
The History of Cartography Project is a research, editorial, and publishing venture drawing international attention to the history of maps and mapping. The Project's major work is the multi-volume History of Cartography series. Its inter-disciplinary approach brings together scholars in the arts, sciences, and humanities. By considering previously ignored aspects of cartographic history, the Project encourages a broader view of maps that has significantly influenced other fields of study.
Help the Project receive an additional 100K in matching funds by donating today!
Support the History of Cartography Project
State Cartographer's Office creates online Wisconsin pronunciation gazetteer
April 18, 2013
Can you pronounce Nanaweyah Ominihekan (an unincorporated town in Shawano Co, WI)? Are you pronouncing Shawano correctly for that matter? Our WI State Cartographer's Office (SCO) has created a tool to help!
Pronounce Wisconsin is an online mapping application that includes pronunciations for more than 1,700 cities, counties, villages and unincorporated communities.
State Cartographer, Howard Veregin, sees the application as part of the SCO’s outreach mission, as well as a means to preserve the identity of the unincorporated communities. He’s also hopeful it could develop into a useful tool for tourism, particularly for non-English-speaking visitors to the state.
The map interface was built by SCO intern John Czaplewski as his GIS Certificate capstone project.
Yi-Fu Tuan awarded the AAG Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography
April 15, 2013
In recognition of his "immensely creative and significant intellectual contributions to Geography", the Association of American Geographers honored Yi-Fu Tuan with its inaugural AAG Stanley Brunn Creativity Award this past weekend at the AAG meeting in Las Angeles.
Statement by the AAG:
[Yi-Fu Tuan's] erudite, personal and philosophical scholarship has transformed how geographers conceptualize place, in ways that have not only reoriented the discipline but also drawn considerable attention from non-geographers. In the 1970s, Tuan changed human geography by challenging the behavioral geographic research that sought to explain spatial behavior using ‘rational men’. Instead he called attention to the ways peoples’ affect, practice and positionality shape their attitudes toward and perceptions of place (‘topophilia’ thus became indelibly linked with Professor Tuan’s scholarship). Today his scholarly writings, creative essays, and texts for artistic exhibitions continue to question empiricist accounts that treat places as mere sites or locations and demonstrate instead that the places we inhabit have as many personalities as those whose lives have intersected with them. Through such arguments, Professor Tuan established a phenomenological and experiential philosophical foundation for scholarship on place, catalyzing the emergence of humanistic geography, with its emphasis on subjectivity, hermeneutics and understanding. Humanistic geography, in turn, created an intellectual place in which subsequent generations of cultural geographers flourished. Their interpretive, ethnographic and philosophical scholarship has culminated in cultural geographers’ current considerable influence in most subfields of human and nature-society geography. Professor Tuan’s creativity made this intellectual journey possible, even as subsequent cultural geographers departed in a variety of ways from his own scholarly and philosophical inclinations.
Through a series of engaging, accessible, self-effacing and quietly passionate, even humorous, monographs, Professor Tuan has pioneered new themes in cultural geography that continue to resonate. These include exploring: what makes landscapes fearful; our segmented worlds and their relation to self; human-animal relationships; morality and landscape; art and place; cosmos and hearth; religion; and the goodness of life. Cutting across these themes has been a persistent concern with the concept of home. He defines Geography as the study of how humans transform the world into a home, while consistently reminding us that placing worlds, making homes, and moving between constructed centers and places beyond, are necessarily contradictory processes. One aspect of our segmented worlds is the unequal ability and power that differently situated individuals have to leave home and enjoy the world. He also has taken the significant risk of reflexively turning his penetrating lens inwards, exemplifying the personal dimension that is so central to phenomenological scholarship.
Ian Baird - Presenting a Sensitive History: Different representations of Hmong involvement in the Communist Party of Thailand
April 10, 2013
Assistant Professor of Geography, Ian Baird, will present at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies Friday Forum on April 12th. The talk will take place at Noon in 206 Ingraham Hall.
Between the late 1960s and the 1980s, large numbers of Hmong joined the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and fought against the Royal Thai Army. Despite the importance of Hmong involvement in the CPT in northern Thailand, surprisingly little has been written about their crucial role in the CPT. In the early years after the CPT disintegrated as a result of battlefield defeats, internal conflicts, discontinuation of support from China, and the general amnesty in 1981, a lack of reporting about the role of the Hmong in the CPT might be explained by continued political sensitivities. Recently, however, the Hmong people become more interested in telling their story, and to advocate for land rights based on past CPT involvement.
Here, I compare information collected from former Hmong CPT members in Thailand in 2012 with two filmic representations of Hmong involvement with the CPT. The first is a 2010 Hmong language documentary, Hmoob Thaib Keeb Kwm: Kob Rog 1968-1987. The second is a 2012 full-length historical fiction movie in Thai and Hmong (with Thai sub-titles) called Blood for Freedom. Through considering different representations of Hmong involvement in the CPT, one can see how history is much more than simply clarifying and presenting facts. Rather, I argue that Hmong involvement in the CPT is being represented in quite different ways depending on the presenters, the political context, and the intended audience. Indeed, history is never neutral or apolitical.
UW-Madison cartography students receive awards at 2013 WLIA conference
March 7, 2013
UW-Madison Cartography students fared well in the last month's Wisconsin Land Information Assocation (WLIA) Poster Contest, held during the 2013 Annual Meeting.
Chris Cantey won 1st Place in the Small Format Map category for his map titled @NewYears #Resolutions
Carl Sack won 1st Place in the Thematic Map category for his map titled Passenger Rail in the United States: A Romantic Past... A High-Speed Future
Caroline Rose won 1st Place in the Map Book category, as well as Best Student Map and People's Choice, for her map book Crater Lake.
Prof. Kris Olds to offer MOOC
February 25, 2013
The University of Wisconsin-Madison will offer four pilot courses as part of a new delivery system in higher education known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Pilot courses include Globalizing Higher Education and Research for the 'Knowledge Economy', taught by Kris Olds, professor in the Department of Geography, and University of Bristol (United Kingdom) professor Susan L. Robertson. The course examines an array of issues related to the globalization of higher education and research. The main objective is to enable students to better understand how and why universities are engaged in globalization, as well as identify the key implications of this development process.
More information about UW–Madison’s MOOCs, including course descriptions, biographies of the faculty, and frequently asked questions, can be found on the university’s Educational Innovation website.
Welcome new faculty member, Morgan Robertson!
January 23, 2013
We are pleased to welcome our newest faculty member, Morgan Robertson. A 2004 alumni of the Department, Morgan comes to us from the University of Kentucky where he was an Assistant Professor of Geography since 2007.
Morgan specializes in the study of wetland policy and market-based environmental policy. He has written extensively on wetland banking, ecosystem services, economic theories of value, and compensation under the Clean Water Act.
Morgan developed a new advanced course on U.S. environmental regulation and landscape change which he is teaching this semester: GEOG 475: US Environmental Issues, Policy and Politics
Collaboration, crowd-funding and conservation for Leatherback sea turtles
November 12, 2012
Samantha Greene (Geography, PhD student) has embarked on a collaborative biogeography research project with a graduate student in the UW-Madison Zoology Department. And they are using a unique funding approach; raising their support via social media and crowd-funding.
Crowd-funding is a fundraising method that gets the public involved in research. Think "Kickstarter" for science. People donate to the project in exchange for "rewards," mostly related to the research (i.e., field pictures, computer simulations, or fun things like research-related magnets or water bottles).
Greene's research takes a look at how erosion and species invasion along beach fronts affect leatherback sea turtle nesting. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a climate-ecosystem model to predict future nesting locations for these endangered turtles.
"Leatherback sea turtles are one of the largest and oldest creatures on Earth, existing 150 million years ago. A combination of beach front development and climate change is affecting the leatherback's ability to successfully nest. By predicting which nesting locations will be threatened in the the future and which beaches will become new nesting locations, we can target beach front management to protect the leatherback sea turtle populations," says Greene.
To learn more about this project or to donate, go to their project page.
This crowd-funding campaign is hosted by the group SciFund Challenge, led by two ecologists doing research on the effectiveness of crowd-funding. Join the SciFund Challenge!
Ian Baird: Buddhist Monks and Militant Violence in Laos
November 7, 2012
Prof. Ian Baird writes on Buddhist monks and militant violence in Laos in the University of British Columbia's Asia Pacific Memo.
"Many, especially outside Asia, are under the mistaken impression that Buddhists are inherently non-violent, especially in comparison with other world religions such as Christianity and Islam. Despite this impression, violence is often linked with Buddhism and perpetrated by Buddhists. Monks in Theravada lineages are not allowed to directly engage in violence, but some have become involved with militancy. Although I am unaware of any Lao monks who have directly participated in violent acts, a few have been shot in Thailand by those opposed to them for providing support to insurgents. This indicates that their support is perceived as substantial and significant."
For a more in-depth research paper on the topic, see his recent publication in the Journal of Asian Studies: Lao Buddhist Monks’ Involvement in Political and Military Resistance to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Government since 1975, 2012. Full text here.
UW students win 2012 NACIS Dynamic Map Competition!
October 22, 2012
Former UW-Madison students Madeline Emde, Danielle Lee, and Chris Long were named the 1st place winners of the 2012 NACIS Student Dynamic Map Competition.
The award winning interactive map—The Wetlands Gem Viewer—was developed in partnership with the Wisconsin Wetland's Association with the goal of providing an online and engaging spatial catalog of information about critical wetlands areas in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.
The interactive map was completed as a final project for the Geography 575 course under the instruction of Prof. Robert Roth and Richard Donohue. Both a video tutorial and live demo of the award winning interactive map can be viewed on the Geography 575 Spring 2012 course page.
Congratulations to Madeline, Danielle, and Chris!
Explore their map here!
Gao Awarded NASA Fellowship
October 17, 2012
PhD candidate, Jing Gao, was awarded a highly competitive NASA Fellowship for dissertation support for 2012-2013.
Jing's research interests are error analysis for land cover/land use change modeling and environmental remote sensing; quantitative methods in GIScience, remote sensing, spatial analysis and modeling; coupled social and natural processes and systems, land change dynamics; global environmental change, coastal vulnerability and resilience to climate change.
Jing's dissertation topic is "bias-variance error decomposition for data-driven geospatial modeling". Her advisor is Prof. Jim Burt.
Yi-Fu Tuan receives Vautrin-Lud International Geography Prize
October 15, 2012
Emeritus professor Yi-Fu Tuan was presented with the Vautrin-Lud International Geography Prize over the weekend at the International Festival of Geography in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France. The Vautrin-Lud International Geography Prize, considered the Nobel Prize for geography, is the highest honor in the field of geography.
Pictured: "A prize for Yi-Fu Tuan, geographer of the mind" - Yi-Fu Tuan featured in the culture section of Libération (a major French daily newspaper) on 10/12/2012.
2012 Atlas of Design released
October 11, 2012
Daniel Huffman (Cart/GIS M.S. '10) and Tim Wallace (PhD candidate), are co-editors of the soon to be released Atlas of Design. The Atlas of Design is a biennial publication by the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) honoring the world's best cartography.
It was featured today on the Huffington Post Book Blog.
The Atlas will be officially unveiled at the NACIS 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland next week.
Other UW-Madison Geography Department alumni contributers include: Ben Sheesley, David Heyman, Andy Woodruff, Matt Forrest and Tanya M. A. Buckingham (UW Cartography Lab Associate Director).
Find out more and pre-order your copy today on the Atlas of Design website!
Pictured: Daniel Huffman edits final book proof on the floor of the UW Cartography Lab.
Department Mourns Loss of Prof. Jim Knox
October 9, 2012
Jim Knox, geomorphologist and professor emeritus at the Department of Geography, died suddenly at his Madison home on Saturday, Oct. 6. He retired from teaching in 2011, but continued his research in Science Hall. Students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Department were shocked and saddened by the news of this unexpected loss of our colleague, mentor, and friend.
“Jim always went above and beyond as an adviser and a friend, said graduate student, Samantha Greene. “He had an open door policy and always was elated to have someone stop by, whether to talk about the weekend amusements or latest research discoveries. He was an incredible geomorphologist and geographer who vastly improved our understanding and conceptualization of fluvial systems.”
“As his colleagues, we knew him as a model citizen of his department, university and profession. He was always willing to dedicate his time, good nature and common sense to work for the greater good,” said fellow physical geography professor, Joe Mason.
During his 43 years as a faculty member at UW-Madison, Knox’s research transformed the field of fluvial geomorphology (studying streams and the landforms they produce), opening new avenues that linked his field to broader contemporary environmental issues. To tens of thousands of students, he was a much-loved teacher, explaining not only how streams and soils work, but why we should care about them.
A memorial service will take place on Friday, Oct. 12 at noon, with a visitation beginning at 10 a.m., at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road. Remembrances can be posted on Jim’s online obituary page.
New book by Yi-Fu Tuan
September 24, 2012
Yi-Fu Tuan has recently published a new book entitled, "Humanist Geography: An Individual's Search for Meaning".
"For more than fifty years, Yi-Fu Tuan has carried the study of humanistic geography—what John K. Wright early in the twentieth century called geosophy, a blending of geography and philosophy―to new heights, offering with each new book a fresh and often unique intellectual introspection into the human condition. Humanist Geography: An Individual's Search for Meaning, his latest and last book, is a final testament of all that he has learned and encountered as a geographer.
In returning to and reappraising his entire career, from his time as a student to his life's work as an esteemed writer and university professor, Tuan emphasizes how humanistic geography can offer a younger generation of teachers, students, and scholars a path toward self-discovery, personal fulfillment, and even enlightenment. He argues that in the creative study of geography and of place can be found the wonders of the human mind and imagination, especially as they are understood by the senses."
The book is published by George F. Thompson Publishing and distributed by the University of Wisconsin Press.
The publisher has also created web essay from friends and colleagues of Yi-Fu Tuan on humanistic geography.
Wisconsin Ecology 18th Annual Fall Symposium
September 17, 2012
The 18th Annual Wisconsin Ecology Fall Symposium will take place this Thursday and Friday in the Genetics-Biotechnology Bldg Auditorium (Room 1111), 425 Henry Mall.
The symposium will feature special guest, Dr. David Schimel, Chief Science Officer and Principal Investigator, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Dr. Schimel will give two talks - Thursday at 4pm: Observing global biodiversity in a time of change and Friday at 3pm: Observational constraints on the climate sensitivity of ecosystem carbon storage.
Wisconsin Ecology is the umbrella organization for all ecologists at UW-Madison. Their goal is to facilitate the work of ecologists at the university, and to represent their interests. We promote interaction among ecologists at UW- Madison in order to: Foster research, instruction and outreach; Build connections and networks across the large and diverse community of UW-Madison ecologists; Advance the initiatives and broad interests of the community of UW- Madison ecologists; Provide a gateway to information about UW-Madison ecology.
Carl Sack Wins WLIA Scholarship
September 4, 2012
Carl Sack, a graduate student in the Cartography/GIS masters program, recently was recognized by the Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) with the 2012 Damon Anderson Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship provides $1000 in grant money to student recipients, plus complimentary registration and lodging at the 2013 WLIA Conference. The scholarship funds will be used towards Carl's MS thesis project, which seeks to provide web mapping tools for residents of the Bad River Watershed in Northern Wisconsin in order to identify landscape values that exist in their watershed. The ultimate goal of the project is to open a doorway to greater public participation in land use decision-making within the watershed. Carl writes that the $1,000 in WLIA grant money will help with travel, public outreach, and start-up costs related to the project. Carl will be presenting his research at the 2013 WLIA Conference, to which he encourages all UW-Madison Cartography and GIS students to attend. Congratulations Carl!
Read more about Carl Sack's thesis project
Founded in 1987, the WLIA is a grassroots non-profit advocacy organization representing land information and GIS professionals statewide. The WLIA supports the the profession through continuing education, sharing of best practices, professional networking, student support and advocacy initiatives on issues affecting the statewide community.
Undergraduate Spotlight: Zoé Schroeder
August 1, 2012
Summer news from our undergraduate students
I'm Zoé Schroeder and I graduated this past spring with degrees in Geography, Spanish and European Studies. I am proud to say I was selected to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho this coming fall. Some people might know it as "the kingdom in the sky". There, I will be teaching English to elementary school students along with a 'to be determined' side project. Maybe I will start a geography club. I look forward to living the next 27 months in one of the snowiest and chilliest countries in Africa!
Students form GIS Collective to learn from each other
July 26, 2012
This summer, GIS Certificate and Cart/GIS graduate students, along with recent alumni have been busy developing their technical understanding via the "GIS Collective" - a group they formed to share knowledge and teach themselves new skills as a group. All summer they have held workshops twice a week in the Department's computer lab for anyone interested and are documenting materials they use and create on their website as a reference for future students.
Read their story here!
Pictured from left to right: John Czaplewski, Scott Moucka, Chandler Sterling, Carl Sack and Sam Matthews.
Holly Gibbs discusses relationship between land-use change and bioenergy on WPR
July 25, 2012
This morning on Wisconsin Public Radio's Larry Meiller show:
Dr. Holly Gibbs, Assistant Professor of Geography and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) talks about the relationship between land-use change and bioenergy with John Greenler of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
Social media helps doctoral candidate reach out on research
July 17, 2012
For researchers, describing complex science to folks outside their discipline can be a tricky or even unpleasant experience. But it’s not an experience everyone avoids.
Jacquelyn Gill, a doctoral candidate in geography, has embraced talking about her work. Her research on changing climate and the extinction of big animals -- think wooly mammoths) -- during the last tens of thousands of years was published in the journal Science and has landed Gill in the New York Times and on platforms such as National Public Radio and the BBC.
Gill defend[ed] her Ph.D. thesis Thursday, July 5, and on Aug. 1 starts a post doctoral fellowship at Brown University. Before she leaves town, we talked to Gill about what makes her so successful connecting with people — she’s got thousands of Twitter followers (twitter.com/jacquelyngill) and a popular blog (contemplativemammoth.wordpress.com) — especially with tools many scientists seem loathe to use.
Read (and tweet!) the full story and interview here. By Chris Barncard, University Communications
Graduate students receive national recognition by integrating geography and journalism
June 27, 2012
A trio of UW-Madison graduate students - Emily Eggleston, Amy Karon, and Kate Prengaman—recently were awarded the 2012 Tableau Student Data Challenge for their project Family Economics in Lesotho. The 2012 competition required students to make use of the Tableau analysis and visualization software to present a clear and convincing visual story about the people of Lesotho, Africa. The project team will take home a combined $1250 as First Place recipients and plan on using the prize money towards upgrading their computing and visualization technology.
The project team drew heavily from their combined interests and experience in Geography and Journalism to create the award winning visualization:
Emily Eggleston recently completed an M.S. in Geography (May '12) under the supervision of Professor Erika Marin-Spiotta and will complete an M.A. in Journalism next year with a focus in science writing. She feels her writing will be strengthened by the opportunity to understand and participate in the scientific process while a Geography graduate student. In addition to the Tableau-sponsored award, Emily also recently was awarded a $20,000 AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship in support of a project to catalog Madison-area datasets and increase their accessibility to journalists and the general public.
Amy Karon is a recent recipient of an M.A. in Journalism (May '12) and now covers the Wisconsin statehouse for The Daily Reporter and the Wisconsin Law Journal. Amy specializes in health and computer-assisted reporting and previously worked as an infectious disease epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin State Health Department. As a student, Amy interned as a watchdog reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
Kate Prengaman, a former botanist, currently is pursuing an M.A. in Journalism with a focus on science writing. She was excited to discover that her previous experience working with geospatial data and designing maps has helped her as a journalist to tell compelling visual stories. Kate recently had an article published to the Scientific American Guest Blog describing how learning Cartography in Professor Robert Roth's Geography 370 course has improved her overall writing.
Graduate students use crowdfunding to support research
May 7, 2012
Geography graduate students Carl Sack and Cathy Day are among 75 scientists participating in "crowdfunding" their upcoming research projects. Science crowdfunding is intended to be a method of increasing public engagement in science, as well as making smaller projects possible. Funding for smaller projects is often difficult to find, the engagement of non-scientists with the work can help them move forward.
Project participants blog about their research and provide "rewards" that keep funders updated on project progress.
GIS Certificate Student Sarah Graves wins 2012 National Geographic Mapping Award
April 16, 2012
Sarah Graves, a student in the UW-Madison GIS Certificate Program, was announced as the 1st Place recipient of the 2012 National Geographic Mapping Award at the AAG Meeting in New York. The prize was awarded to Sarah for her map 'The Value of America's Forests', a dasymetric map depicting the amount of North and South American forest production in relation to a biomass index describing the density of carbon within those forests. Sarah created the map as her final project for Professor Robert Roth's Geography 370 course (Introduction to Cartography). The map makes use of a carbon density dataset assembled in part by Professor Holly Gibbs while conducting research at the Oakridge National Laboratory. Upon completion of her GIS Certificate, Sarah hopes to continue her graduate studies in a Forestry Ecology program.
Cartography students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison historically have fared well in the National Geographic competition. Past winners include Daniel Huffman (2008), Zach Johnson (2007), and Sam Keehan (2007). Congratulations Sarah!
Geography to Take Part in UW Science Expeditions!
April 12, 2012
The Geography Department is pleased to announce its participation in this year's UW Science Expeditions. On Saturday, April 14th, we will be holding a day of activities in Science Hall.
Alumni Spotlight: Matt Forrest (Class of 2010)
February 24, 2012
Matt Forrest (Geography '10) is the co-founder of a Minnesota-based company Carticulate LLC. He co-founded the company with a fellow UW grad Kate Chanba (Journalism, 10). Matt and Kate met in Geography 575 - Interactive Webmapping, where they created a The Chernobyl Disaster Map for FOCCUS, a non-profit support organization. The map won the 2010 NACIS Web Mapping Competition.
Matt's map Re-envisioning Election Mapping took Third Place in the 2010 National Geographic Mapping Competition and was featured on several prominent political blogs.
His company recently moved its operations to New York City. You can find them there or follow them on Twitter at @carticulate.
Kris Olds to Chair International Studies Assessment Committee
February 15, 2012
Department faculty member, Kris Olds, was selected to chair a campus-wide interdisciplinary committee to evaluate the way international studies are governed and organized at the UW-Madison.
"The work of the ad hoc committee, appointed by Interim Chancellor David Ward and University Committee Chair Brad Barham, comes at a time when UW-Madison is asserting itself as a worldwide leader in globalization, offering more educational and research opportunities in areas of international studies than ever before."
"The group is expected to make recommendations to ensure that faculty and staff participation in governance is reflective of the institution's values, as well as to improve the effectiveness of the Division of International Studies and the university's overall international activities." (UW Communications) Full story here.
Chris Muellerleile Awarded NSF Grant
February 13, 2012
Chris Muellerleile, Ph.D. Candidate in Geography, was recently awarded a dissertation research improvement grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will fund two extended field visits to New York City and Washington, D.C., logistical support for interviews as well as production of a number of maps for future publications. Muellerleile's dissertation research considers the invention of financial derivatives instruments in the city of Chicago between 1972 and 1987.
Jake Fleming Awarded NSF Grant
February 6, 2012
PhD candidate, Jake Fleming, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for his dissertation research.
Research Summary: Property is central to the interactions of humans and nonhumans, but scholarship on property tends to be strongly anthropocentric: property is a relationship among people about a thing. Most property work represents nonhumans as passive and subordinate, to be shuffled among human owners for better or worse. But people are not so clearly in control of property regimes, nor are people and things so easily separated as this schema suggests. The objective of this project is a posthumanist analysis of property in the world's largest walnut-fruit forest, which grows in southern Kyrgyzstan. The trees of this forest - walnut, apple, plum, cherry, pear - grow in untended profusion in some places, but, through the horticultural practice of grafting, can be transformed into the dependable inhabitants we find in gardens and orchards around the temperate world. Human labor since the 1930s has scattered thousands of grafted trees throughout the forest, where they bear bigger, tastier, more valuable fruit than their ungrafted neighbors.
The project addresses the role of these trees in property regimes through three key questions: 1) How are things owned and accessed by human and nonhuman actors in the forested and cultivated spaces of southern Kyrgyzstan? 2) How does grafting work in and around southern Kyrgyzstan's walnut-fruit forests? 3) How does the horticultural potential of the forest affect the politics of access to its resources? A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods will be used, including participant observation, interviews, oral histories, document review, and mapping of the distribution of grafted trees in and around the forest. The investigators expect to demonstrate the ways in which grafted and ungrafted trees act differently, and with what consequences for how the forest is owned and accessed.
This project seeks the reframing of property institutions not as ways for humans to dole out the fruits of a passive material terrain but instead as accomplishments of people and things, only achievable through their collective efforts. It does so through analysis of property relationships in and around Kyrgyzstan's walnut-fruit forest, an ecosystem of international conservation and horticultural importance in a relatively understudied part of the world. By focusing on grafting, a horticultural practice that shapes the forested landscape and people's use of it, this work draws attention to an intimate interaction between human and plant with material effects on local livelihoods and the genetic identity of the forest. In considering the place of the grafted tree on the shifting terrain of post-Soviet property, this project has potential implications for political ecology, science and technology studies, social theory and theoretical work on human-environment interactions, and research on the post-Soviet world. As a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement award, this award also will provide support to enable a promising student to establish a strong independent research career.
UW Geographers address potential Social Impacts of REDD/Climate Change Policy
January 30, 2012
Tropical deforestation is a source of roughly 15% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) is a prominent international policy mechanism through which developed, high-emitting countries pay developing nations to sustain their forests in order to store carbon. REDD is controversial, particularly with regard to whom should be paid and whether REDD could cause local communities to lose access to forests.
In collaboration with the Land Tenure Center (Nelson Institute) and with support from the USAID TransLinks program, Geography faculty and graduate students are addressing these issues and informing policy makers through various activities, e.g.:
Hosting an international workshop in Oct. 2011 on Land Tenure and Forest Governance that brought experts on REDD from around the globe. Leading this workshop were Lisa Naughton, Ian Baird, Cathy Day, Holly Gibbs and Matt Turner (all Geography) plus Jennifer Alix-Garcia (AAE, UW Madison) and Kelly Wendland (Univ of Idaho). Also attending and assisting were Geography grad students Erin Kitchell, Peter Swift and Will Shattuc. Presentations from this workshop were circulated in REDD-related events and at the Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa in Dec 2011. [These are available online at www. rmportal.net/landtenureforestsworkshop. ]
Building on the workshop, Prof Lisa Naughton and PhD student Cathy Day co-edited a publication (Jan 2012) entitled Lessons about Land Tenure, Forest Governance and REDD . This volume includes case studies of pilot programs from across the tropics revealing the promise and risks of REDD in terms of local land security. [available http://nelson.wisc.edu/ltc/publications.php]
Preparing a special issue of the academic journal World Development that will feature selected papers from the workshop.
From beginning to end, the project has involved the efforts of diverse talents from Geography and The Nelson Institute. GIS certificate student Sam Matthews (and Geography alum), working with Tanya Buckingham, Assistant Director of the UW Cartography lab, has been key in creating a series of maps and in designing the final publication. Drew Sellers (Nelson Institute) provided invaluable administrative oversight thoughtout.
Department Seeks Tenure-Track Assistant Professor
January 6, 2012
The Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is accepting applications for an Assistant Professor, tenure-track position, beginning August 2012. We seek a nature-society geographer whose research shows substantive engagement with contemporary biophysical and social processes in North America. Of particular interest are applicants who conduct policy-relevant research on water, energy, food, or health that contributes to the fields of environmental justice and/or environmental governance, broadly defined.
For more information on Geography at UW-Madison, see www.geography.wisc.edu. To apply for this position, please send a letter describing research and teaching interests, a CV, and names and contact information (including email address) of three referees to: Professor Matthew Turner, Recruitment Committee Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries may be sent to the same email address. To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by March 1, 2012. Review of applications will begin upon receipt and will continue until the position is filled.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, information regarding the applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality. Employment may require a criminal background check prior to appointment
Jack Williams Featured in The Atlantic
December 21, 2011
A Conversation With Jack Williams, Director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research
Check out this interview with our own Jack Williams in The Atlantic. Dr. Williams is the Department's Bryson Professor of Climate, People, and the Environment and the Director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research. Jack studies the impact of global climate change at the end of the last ice age, 15,000 years ago.
AAG to Honor Jim Knox for Lifetime Achievment in 2012
December 19, 2011
We are pleased to announce that Jim Knox will receive the Lifetime Achievement Honors of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) for 2012.
The AAG will confer its Honors and Awards at athe Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, February 28 at the 2012 conference in New York City.
AAG Award Citation
AAG Honors are the highest awards offered by the Association of American Geographers. They are offered annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments by members in research and scholarship, teaching, education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe and for lifetime achievement.
Jim recently retired from the UW-Madison Geography Department after 43 years of service. He can still be found within the halls of Science Hall enjoying the additional time for research.
Kaiser to Receive Leon Epstein Fellowship
December 14, 2011
Congratulations to faculty member and Department Chair, Bob Kaiser, for receiving the Leon Epstein Fellowship beginning July 1, 2012. This relatively new award was made in recognition of Bob's outstanding contributions to teaching, research and service.
Bob teaches Intro to Human Geography (101), Geography, Politics and Territoriality (318), Geographies of Transition in Post-Socialist Space (353), Eastern Europe and the FSU: Problems in Human Geography (553) and The Geography of Nationalism (Seminar).
Current research: Rescaling and Reterritorializing Place and Identity in the Post-Socialist Borderlands and Cultural Politics of Memory: Re-imagining the Past, Reclaiming the Future in the Estonian-Russian Borderlands.
Bob is also co-author of the forthcoming book, "Borders in Post-Socialist Europe", with Tassilo Herschel and Dmitry Zimin.
Leon Epstein was a well-known professor of Political Science at the UW-Madison. He was a member of the faculty from 1944 to 1988. During his tenure here he taught political science courses at all levels and also served as the Dean of the College of Letters and Science from 1965 to 1969. Professor Epstein was an influential figure in his department and very involved in developing collegiate relationships. This fellowship is in his memory.
2011 Undergraduate Student Colloquium - Tues Evening
December 9, 2011
Join us Tuesday evening (Dec 13th) for the 2011 Undergraduate Student Colloquium. The Colloquium is a forum for our seniors to present their capstone project work.
Presentations will be held in the Rm 180 Lecture Hall beginning at 5:45pm and will run until approximately 10:15pm. See link for presentation topics.
Everyone is welcome to attend!
Geography Tees Make Great Holiday Gifts
December 7, 2011
What do you get the Geographer in your life who has everything? Well, Geography Cow t-shirts, of course. A new shipment of these classic shirts have just arrived. Email Becky for a list of the latest colors and to order yours today! Proceeds benefit the undergraduate Geography Club.
For more information about the shirts and club, visit the Geography Club webpage.
Environmental Conservation Class Blog on Media and the Environment
November 21, 2011
Geography graduate student and teaching assistant, Kevin Gibbons, has created a blog called Environment and Media to use as a teaching tool for the class, New Media for Environmental Communication, a special section of GEOG/ENV ST 339: Environmental Conservation.
The blog allows students to share examples of how people are using new media to portray the environment.
Knox Retirement Reception & Special Yi-Fu Talk Friday
November 7, 2011
After 43 years with the Department of Geography, Prof. Jim Knox has retired! Please join us for a reception and special Yi-Fu Tuan talk as we celebrate the dedicated service and distinguished university career of our favorite fluvial geomorphologist.
Reception and presentation will take place at University Club, UW-Madison Library Mall, at 3pm this Friday, November 11th. Talk begins at 4pm. Drinks and appetizers will be served.
The Yi-Fu talk will be given by alumnus, David S. Leigh, of the University of Georgia and is entitled: The Universal Model of the Driftless Area, Geomorphic Benchmarks, and Tribute to the Career of James C. Knox.
The reception and talk are open to everyone
Department Collaborators Honored for WHAI Project
October 5, 2011
A partnership between the Department's Arthur Robinson Map Libary and State Cartographer's Office and the UW Digital Collections Center (UWDCC) is the winner of the 2011 Governor's Award for Archival Innovation for their work on the Changing Landscapes of Wisconsin Project. There will be a public award cememony on Friday, October 7th from 2-3pm in the Robinson Map Library.
The Changing Landscapes of Wisconsin project, enabled by a UW Baldwin WI Idea grant, was designed to preserve and expand access to a rare collection of historic aerial photographs of Wisconsin's landscapes from 1937-1941. The photographs were digitized and indexed by the UWDCC and Map Library and made available to the public through the Wisconsin Historic Aerial Image Finder created by the State Cartographer's Office.
We invite Geography staff, students, alumni and friends to attend the award ceremony. Refreshments will be served.
Jing Gao Wins Ruth Dickie Research Scholarship
October 3, 2011
Congratulations to PhD student, Jing Gao, who won the Ruth Dickie Research Scholarship from Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) this summer. GWIS offers this scholarship to graduate women at the UW-Madison, who demonstrate outstanding ability and promise in research.
Jing's geospatial science reserach focuses on decomposing errors in land cover / land use change models and investigating what insights the decomposition reveals and how they help improve model performance.
The History of Cartography - Now Online!
September 28, 2011
In July 2011, the University of Chicago Press made all four
books of Volumes One and Two of The History of Cartography
freely available online. These books cover cartography in the
ancient and classical world and medieval Europe (Vol. 1, ed.
Harley and Woodward, 1987); the traditional Asian societies
(Vols. 2.1 and Vol. 2.2, ed. Harley and Woodward, 1992 and 1994); and indigenous societies across the rest of the world (Vol. 2.3, ed. Woodward and Lewis, 1998).
The books brought sustained attention to societies and cultures other than those on which map historians had generally focused. They demonstrated the validity of a socio-cultural approach to map history and encouraged much new scholarship. While many thousands of copies of these groundbreaking books have been sold, they are still not readily available to all map historians because of their cost. Online publication now makes this scholarship available to a wider audience.
The Press has converted all parts of each book - not only the chapters but also the prefaces, indexes, illustrations, captions, and cumulative bibliographies - into PDF files that can be read online or downloaded. At the same time, a search function allows the user to search individual files or across all files at once for specified keywords. Access to this site is available at www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/.
The Department of Geography's History of Cartography Project is a research, editorial, and publishing venture drawing international attention to the history of maps and mapping. The Project's major work is the multi-volume History of Cartography series. Its inter-disciplinary approach brings together scholars in the arts, sciences, and humanities. By considering previously ignored aspects of cartographic history, the Project encourages a broader view of maps that has significantly influenced other fields of study.
For information about current Project activities, read their most recently-published newsletter at archive of Project newsletters.
Parks & Poverty: Do protected areas keep people poor?
September 25, 2011
Lisa Naughton's recent publication on Parks and Poverty in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is getting a lot of attention. See this article in a recent issue of Conservation on her research.
Naughton-Treves, L., Alix-Garcia, J., and Chapman, C. (2011). Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Traps Special Feature: Lessons about parks and poverty from a decade of forest loss and economic growth around Kibale National Park, Uganda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108 (34), 13919-13924 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1013332108
Geography Featured at UW's “Wed Nite @ The Lab”
September 9, 2011
Tanya Buckingham (Assistant Director of the UW Cartography lab) and Jim Lacy (Associate State Cartographer) both spoke this summer during a weekly series at UW-Madison called "Wednesday Nite @ the Lab" (WN@TL). The event typically draws in 45-50 retirees from the community who are interested in learning about the many science activities happening on the UW-Madison campus.
Tanya discussed the many recent changes to the world of production cartography, and how it affects her work with the UW Cartography lab. She introduced ideas and variables that cartographers must consider when making maps, and about recent efforts to use maps in new ways, such as crisis mapping and location-aware technologies in response to disasters. She also discussed efforts to map areas that were invisible to the majority of the world, in a project called "Map Kibera." A recording of Tanya's June 8th presentation, "Hasn't Everything Been Mapped Already?!" is available on the UW Biotech video site.
Jim's talk on August 31st, "The Geospatial Revolution: Transforming How we Map Our World" touched on the ways in which the mapping industry has evolved in recent years, and what these changes mean for the general public. He showed a brief excerpt of "The Geospatial Revolution," a video series produced by Penn State Public Broadcasting, followed by a short explanation (and demonstration) of what professional "mappers" mean when they refer to geospatial information technologies. He also walked the audience through some very practical examples of how they can utilize geospatial technologies in their daily lives.
Both presentations will also be broadcast along with other WN@TL presentations during the University Place feature on Wisconsin Public Television's "Wisconsin Channel" (WPT Digital Channel 2).
WN@TL runs every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, and the topics cover the full range of science, engineering and technology research at UW-Madison, from astronomy to zoology, and from bioethics to biomedical engineering. The weekly program is organized by the Wisconsin Alumni Association, Science Alliance @ UW-Madison and by BioTrek, the outreach program of the Biotechnology Center at UW-Madison/Extension.
Mapping Sciences Outreach at Wisconsin State Fair
August 29, 2011
Staff members Tanya Buckingham (Cartography Lab), Jaime Stoltenberg (Map Library), and Paddy Rourke (Geography Library) represented the Geography Department at UW-Madison Day at the Wisconsin State Fair earlier this month.
The Geography booth housed interactive activities that taught kids and adults alike about maps and the mapping sciences. One of the more popular activities for children was the "Where Did You Find Big Red and Buttercup?" participatory map. Upon finding one of our wandering "cows" around the fairgrounds, a child could bring it back for a prize and map where they found it.
When kids learn to read maps they are able to see the world in a new light, giving them a sense of perspective and sparking a desire to learn more about places represented by maps. Click here for more details!
WHAIFinder Receives Governor's Award for Innovation
August 10, 2011
"Changing Landscapes of Wisconsin" is a three-year collaboration between the Geography Department's Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office, and Robinson Map Library, and the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center. The project was funded by a grant from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The main outcome of the project is the Wisconsin Historic Aerial Image Finder (WHAIFinder), which provides access to a rare collection of 1937-41 aerial photographs covering the state of Wisconsin, the first such systematic aerial survey of the state and a baseline dataset for understanding important changes to Wisconsin's landscape over time.
Mapping Sciences to Hold Outreach Events in August
July 25, 2011
Next month, Department staff will host two mapping science outreach activities.
On Monday, August 8th, Karen Tuerk, GIS Certificate Program Manager will teach GIS workshops to area 9th and 10th grade students in Science Hall as part of the UW-Madison Information Technology Academy summer camp.
On Wednesday, August 10th, Tanya Buckingham (Cartography Lab), Jaime Stoltenberg (Map Library), Karen Tuerk (GIS Cert Program) and Paddy Rourke (Geography Library) will host an Exploration Station at the UW-Madison Day at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Prof. Jim Knox Retires
June 1, 2011
After 43 years of continuous and distinguished service to the Department of Geography, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and the discipline of Geography overall, Jim Knox announced his retirement to become effective at the end of the Spring 2011 semester.
Jim began his career at UW-Madison in the Fall of 1968, a very momentous semester filled with protests, demonstrations, and student and faculty activism. He leaves at the end of a semester that was similarly filled with protests, demonstrations, and activism. The cycle is completed!
During his long tenure in Science Hall, Jim has been a stellar member of the program. Jim has authored or co-authored approximately 90 research publications that have appeared in a variety of outlets ranging from mainline journals such as Science and Nature to book chapters and reports. His 2006 paper on rates of natural versus anthropogenic rates of floodplain sedimentation was honored at the 2011 European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna as one of the top-50 most cited articles published in Geomorphology during the past 5 years. He is internationally recognized for his pioneering research assessing responses of river systems to human impacts and for his research linking floods and climate change across time scales from modern to geologic. He also is widely recognized for his research on the Quaternary history of the unglaciated Driftless Area of the Upper Mississippi Valley.
He has supervised 55 MS theses and 30 PhD dissertations, and Jim's former graduate students hold many of the most prominent positions in the field of physical geography. At the same time, Jim carried a full teaching load, and regularly taught our introductory physical geography courses throughout his 43 years of service. He also served the department and the campus in a wide variety of administrative positions.
Jim has held an Evjue-Bascom Professor-at-Large appointment at UW-Madison since July 1997. Professional Honors given to Jim Knox include election to Fellowship in the Geological Society of America, 1988 and election to Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1988. He received a research Honors Award from the Association of American Geographers, 1990; and from the association's geomorphology section he received the G. K. Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphological Research, 1996; and the M. G. Marcus Distinguished Career Award, 2001. The Association of American Geographers in 2007 awarded him their Presidential Achievement Award for Long-Standing and Distinguished Contributions to the Discipline. The Geological Society of America's Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division presented Jim in 2006 with their D. J. Easterbrook Distinguished Scientist Award for Unusual Excellence in Published Research.
Jim's service to professional societies and Federal agencies has been extensive. At the National Science Foundation he was Geography and Regional Science panel member 1988-90; Continental Hydrologic Processes and Hydrologic Science panel member, 1991-1993; Advisory Committee for Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Geologic Sciences, 1996-98; and Earth System History Steering Committee 1998-2000. His editorial board service includes: Association of American Geographers Annals, Associate Editor, 1978-81 and 1993-96, and editorial board, 1982-84 and 1996-1999; Geological Society of America Bulletin, Associate Editor 1991-99; Quaternary Research, Associate Editor, 2006-present; Quaternary Science Reviews, editorial board, 2001-present; Geographical Analysis, editorial board, 1990-95; The Holocene, editorial board, 1996-2005; Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences, consulting editor, 2004-present.
Jim Knox also has an extensive record of administrative service for professional societies. His service to the Association of American Geographers includes: National Councilor, 1984-86; Long-Range Planning Committee, 1984-85; Honors Committee, 1990-92; and Nominating Committee, Chair, 1992. He served the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America, first as Vice-Chair, 1986-87, and then Chair, 1988. He was a member, 1982-91, then Secretary, 1988-91, of the U.S. National Committee of the International Union for Quaternary Research. He was National Councilor of the American Quaternary Association, 1976-80. At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Jim served Section E (Geology and Geography), on the Nominating Committee, 1994-96, and committee Chair, 2008; Member Officer-at-Large, 1998-2000; and Chair Elect, Chair, and Retiring Chair of the Section, 2006-09.
Jim's accomplishments are by no means at an end. He plans to continue a productive research life as an emeritus member of the department.
Wallace Receives 2011 CaGIS Scholarship -- Doctoral level award
May 6, 2011
The CaGIS scholarship committee selected Tim to receive the award because his "scholarship shows great societal relevance and innovation in cartography". CaGIS also cited Wallace's service to the community through NACIS as a board member and ICA as a member on a proposed commission on map design."
Each year, the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) sponsors two scholarships to students whose research and accomplishments support the mission of CaGIS. The scholarships recognize academic achievement and encourage the continuing success of outstanding cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), and geographic information science (GIScience) students. The scholarships also recognize achievement or potential for achievement in original research advancing the specific disciplines of cartography or GIScience. Winners are selected based on academic achievement, particularly in the calendar year prior to the award. Applications are reviewed by the CaGIS Scholarship Committee, and awards are announced in February or March.
Geog 140 -- World Regions: Problems & Concepts
April 5, 2011
Geography 140 -- World Regions: Concepts and Problems is a new distance education course that takes advantage of innovations in technology to help:
- Enhance the acquisition of multiple forms of knowledge about world regions (e.g., Africa, Southeast Asia), as well as;
- Directly shed light on how key public, private and non-governmental actors with 'global reach' (e.g., the Gates Foundation, Google, the European Commission, ASEAN, Medecins Sans Frontieres) frame, develop, and implement regionally-specific strategies (e.g., the EU's Asia or African strategy).
Geography 140 will be launched in the summer session (13 June to 10 July) of 2011, and is set to run every term from Fall 2011 on.
Seeking Geography Lecturers
April 5, 2011
We are currently seeking applications for lecturers to teach Geography 101 and Geography 524 for the Fall 2011 semester. You can find details of these positions here:
- Geog 101 (PVL # 66967) http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/pvl/pv_066967.html
- Geog 524 (PVL #66968) http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/pvl/pv_066968.html
To insure consideration, applications must be received by April 25, 2011.
Mapping Life After Graduation: From Dirt to Floods
April 5, 2011
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)is the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. The diversity of the agency allows for flexibility and I have worked on a variety programs over past nine years and will discuss WiM and FIMI, my latest endeavors.
WiM (Wisconsin Internet Mapping) develops, implements, and maintains cutting edge web based mappers and mobile applications utilizing ESRI based software technologies and Flash. Our primary focus is information dissemination to the public and cooperators, using the interactive map as a portal to spatial information. Several current projects will be discussed, including: Predicted Methyl Mercury in the National Parks; Water Quantity and Quality in the Cedar River, Iowa; Program Information in the Great Lakes; The National Wetlands Inventory from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and an interpretive display of the Great Lakes SPARROW model.
Communicating flood hazards to the public is a complex and difficult endeavor. Translating the vertical stage data from the USGS streamgage network into flood inundation maps for a community communicates the flood hazard much more clearly than stage or discharge data alone.Connecting those maps toNational Weather Service flood forecast data enable officials to make timely operational and public safety decisions during floods. The USGS has developed a flood inundation mapping initiative (FIMI) in an effort to provide consistent hydraulic and hydrologic methods; to provide consistent appearance and functionality of inundation products; and to guide the future development of inundation mapping science.
View the symposium's information poster.
Call for Fall 2011 Geography TA applications
March 21, 2011
If you're interested in applying for Fall 2011 TA positions in the Geography department, please complete the online application form by Friday, April 8. If you have questions, please contact Sharon Kahn.
Profanity Map Garners Widespread Online Recognition
January 27, 2011
UW-Madison Department of Geography Alumnus and current Lecturer of Cartography Daniel Huffman's map Profane Mountains, Polite Plains - displayed on the cover of the recent issue of Cartographic Perspectives, issue 66 (see story below) - gained recognition on a number of social media networking sites on Tuesday.
Among the sites profiling the map of the use of profanity on Twitter are MSNBC's technolog, Tech 24 Hours, Gizmodo (which as of Thursday morn had directed about 7000 user's to Daniel's website), and Andrew Sullivan's blog for The Atlantic.
Read more about the map and ensuing discussion on Daniel's blog Cartastrophe.
Buckingham and Roth Edit Special Digital Issue of Cartographic Perspectives
January 25, 2011
Tanya Buckingham of the UW-Madison Cartography Lab and Rob Roth of the Penn State GeoVISTA Center (and, starting Fall 2011, faculty at the UW-Madison Department of Geography), recently teamed to guest edit the second special issue of Cartographic Perspectives, the flagship journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). The special issue is presented in the context of an exciting transition to modernize CP for primarily digital, online dissemination and to update CP's content to serve more equitably the diverse interests of both researchers and practitioners in the cartographic community. This issue expands upon the new territory explored in the first special digital issue published in 2009, edited by Tanya.
Multiple UW-Madison Geography and UW Cartography Lab members and alumni provided important contributions to the special issue. The opening essay by Michael Goodchild, Professor of Geography at UC-Santa Barbara and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is followed by an excellent series of articles that includes contributions by current PhD Candidate Tim Wallace and UW Geography and Cart Lab alumni Daniel Huffman (MS '10) and Andy Woodruff (MS '07). The issue also features static and interactive maps from Huffman and G575 students A.D. Riddle and David Parker. The special issue was copyedited by UW alumna Laura McCormick. Tanya and Rob extend their gratitude to all contributors to the special issue, which is available openly from CP's website
Tanya is the current President of NACIS while Rob is serving as CP's Assistant Editor. Cartographic Perspectives considers scholarly and practical manuscripts on all topics cartographic and recently announced a student paper competition with a purse of $1350. To contribute to CP, please contact Editor Patrick Kennelly (Patrick.Kennelly@liu.edu) or visit the NACIS website. Tanya and Rob eagerly encourage you to submit your work to Cartographic Perspectives and to attend of the 2011 NACIS Annual Meeting, which will be held at the Concourse Hotel right here in Madison, WI!
Nature-Society Graduate Workshop, February 4 – 5
January 24, 2011
With the help of Prof. Matt Turner, Department of Geography graduate students Abby Neely and Leif Brottem have initiated a nature-society graduate workshop in collaboration with the Universities of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Minnesota, Twin Cities.
The workshop will take place on February 4th and 5th. Between three and six pre-circulated papers will be discussed in turn during a workshop on Saturday, February 5, 2011 in Science Hall.
The focus of the workshop is on providing graduate students from the three schools with valuable feedback from across the nature-society spectrum as well as on offering opportunities for informal collaboration.
Geography Depart. Alumnus Grabs National Geographic Internship
January 20, 2011
Chu Hao Chan, recent graduate of the Department of Geography, has accepted an internship under the department of National Geographic Magazine
MadGeogNews Captures 2009-2010 Highlights
December 24, 2010
The latest issue of MadGeogNews highlights the exciting happenings within the department over this past year. Read about new faculty hires, international partnerships, collaborative research grants, student updates, and cartographic initiatives.
Thank you again to our generous donors who help keep the proud tradition of UW-Madison's Department of Geography strong.
Gibbs Announces Post-M.S. Research Position and Graduate Student Funding
December 8, 2010
Geography's newest faculty member Holly Gibbs (starting Fall 2011) is announcing two funded positions: one for a post-masters research position and another for a graduate research assistant. Read about the positions and how to apply:
- GIS and Land Use Specialist - Global Land Use Change and Sustainable Bioenergy
- Graduate Research Assistant - Tropical Land Use and Sustainable Bioenergy
Holly will join the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2011. Her faculty position is part of the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI) with appointments in the Department of Geography and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. She is currently a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow in the Program on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University.
Geographer Keith Barney to Speak on the "Political Ecology of Cumulative Effects"
December 6, 2010
Geographer Keith Barney, a PhD Candidate of Geography at York University, will deliver a talk at 12pm noon on Friday, December 10, 2010. The talk will take place in 206 Ingraham Hall.
The talk is part of the Center for Southeat Asia's speaker's series, co-coordinated by Department of Geography's Prof Ian Baird.
Title: "The Political Ecology of Cumulative Effects: Remaking Environmental Governance and Livelihoods through Resource Concessions in Lao PDR"
Abstract: Contemporary Laos is a site for major investments in resource sector development in hydropower and mining, and is also a hot-spot in the 'global land grab' phenomenon. On the ground, existing constraints in the regulatory capacities of the Lao state are being compounded by the ways in which the externalities of different resource mega-projects often combine and cascade, and interact with the environmental practices of local communities, producing cumulative and unpredictable outcomes. A chaotic and semi-regulated pattern of resource concession activity in Laos is thus producing complex mosaics of environmental degradation and community (under) development. Drawing on Latour-inspired geographers such as Paul Robbins, my talk will first explore how the environmental classificatory schemes of the state and professional resource managers, which seek to delineate political-administrative jurisdictions over forests, land, water, and communities, are constantly transgressed by local, relational socio-ecological processes. Second, I explain how the establishment of this 'relational resource frontier' in Laos is altering regimes of political authority, and producing novel governmental orders in the countryside. The proliferation of new spatial-territorial configurations in Laos challenges our understanding not only of the multiple scales of resource governance, but also of the nature of state authority and sovereignty in an era of global connection.
Grad Student Van Den Hoek Accepts Visiting Researcher Position in Berlin
December 1, 2010
Graduate student Jamon Van Den Hoek has accepted a Visiting Reseacher position from Dec 1, 2010, through Fall 2011 with the Geomatics Lab in Humboldt University, Berlin. There Van Den Hoek will collaborate with lab researchers on remote sensing analyses of forest cover change in southwest China.
He will also use the time to continue writing his dissertation thesis and plans to defend shortly after.
Grad student Gibbons's Short Film Wins Best Documentary
November 25, 2010
Geography graduate Student Kevin Gibbons' documentary short titled "America's Dairyland" was shown at several film festivals and won Best Documentary Short at the Indie Gathering Film Festival in Cleveland this past summer.
The film was produced through an "Environmental Filmmaking Workshop" facilitated by Gregg Mitman and Judith Helfand in the Fall of 2009.
Watch the film on YouTube, "America's Dairyland".
Bill Cronon Elected President of the American Historical Association
November 12, 2010
Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography and Environmental Studies Bill Cronon has been elected president of the American Historical Association.
His election raises the visibility of UW-Madison's long tradition of scholarship on the environment. Cronon was among the group of scholars who helped found environmental history, which has established itself as an innovative field that studies the human past in relation to the plants, animals, diseases and biophysical environments with which people interact.
Read the press release on UW-Madison news.
Cartography Lab Helps Deliver Interactive Web Map of UW Arboretum
November 1, 2010
A partnership between the UW-Madison Cartographic Laboratory and Axis Maps LLC helped give the 75th anniversary of the UW Arboretum broader public appeal with an engaging online map.
Assitant Director of the Cartography Lab Tanya Buckingham and Department of Geography graduate student Tim Wallace began working on map layers and imagery during the summer of 2009 with GIS data provided by the Arboretum. Axis Maps LLC (a company composed of former Department of Geography graduate students David Heyman, Ben Sheesley, Andy Woodruff, and Zachary Johnson, and former faculty member Mark Harrower) joined Tanya and Tim to help bring the map into a state-of-the-art web mapping application.
The interactive map of the UW Arboretum demonstrates new techniques in online mapping that -- beyond giving users an intuitive interface to explore the Arboretum through various data layers and imagery -- allows for continued additions and updates to the map through public participation. The map will utilize volunteered geographic information (VGI) services, drawing from user-driven online data sources such as Flicker.
The process of making the map and an analysis of the implications for mapping in a Web 2.0 context is discussed by Wallace (forthcoming 2010), "The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Map." Cartographic Perspectives, 66.
Read the story as covered by UW-Madison News.
Prof. Ian Baird Featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 28, 2010
The Department of Geography's newest faculty member Ian Baird has been highlighted in a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The story retraces Baird's trajectory from a community worker in various village settings throughout Souteast Asia to Assistant Professor at UW-Madison specializing in Hmong Studies. Baird brings a broad perspective to contextualize contemporary US Hmong experiences within a geographic and historical mosaic.
The Chronicle story also notes Baird's research assistant and Department of Geography graduate student Pao Vue.
Prof Baird will be organizing a conference focusing on "Hmong in Comparative Contexts" for March of 2011.
Read the full story, "Hill Tribes Lead a Wanderer to Become a Geographer".
Call for Spring 2011 Geography TA applications
October 18, 2010
If you're interested in applying for Spring 2011 TA positions in the Geography department, please complete the online application form by Friday, November 12.
Complete the online application for Spring Geography TA positions.
If you have questions, please contact Sharon Kahn
Postdoc Marlon's Research Finds Gaps in Public Understanding of Climate Change
October 15, 2010
A recent report conducted by researchers from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communcation titled "Americans' Knowledge of Climate Change" found 63 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, but many do not understand why.
The report was co-authored by UW-Madison Geography NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow Jenn Marlon.
The study was conducted from June 24 to July 22, 2010 and surveyed 2,030 American adults 18 and older.
Among the reports findings were these highlights:
- 57 percent know what the greenhouse effect is
- 45 percent of Americans understand that carbon dioxide traps heat from the Earth's surface
- 50 percent understand that global warming is caused mostly by human activities
Large majorities incorrectly think that the hole in the ozone layer and aerosol spray cans cause global warming. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Americans have never heard of the related problems of ocean acidification or coral bleaching.
However, many Americans do understand that emissions from cars and trucks and the burning of fossil fuels contribute to global warming, and that a transition to renewable energy sources is an important solution. Americans also recognize their own limited understanding. Only 1 in 10 say that they are "very well-informed" about climate change, and 75 percent say they would like to know more about the issue. Likewise, 75 percent say that schools should teach children about climate change and 68 percent would welcome a national program to teach Americans more about the issue.
Call For Papers -- Principled Engagement: Political ecologists and their interactions outside the academy
September 22, 2010
At the 2010 AAG annual meeting in Washington D.C., Piers Blaikie delivered a keynote address provocatively titled, "Should some political ecology be useful?" Noting the challenges of taking critical social science to people outside the academy "who want answers", Blaikie wondered, "Who are we talking to? Are they listening? How do we know?" In an era of increasingly complex positioning in public debate, growing acknowledgment of the complicated nature of environmental problems, and deepening linkages between universities and the private sector, Blaikie's question regarding how best to engage-long central to political ecology as a field-remains as relevant as ever. This panel wrestles with the question of how to ethically and strategically engage with the environmental challenges of today. Specific questions that have motivated us include:
- Where is an overtly normative perspective more useful, and when is it a hindrance? What sorts of normativity work well outside the academy, and what sorts do not?
- When do specialized discourses-such as those frequently associated with post-development or post-colonial theory-bring something useful (or even essential) to the table? When is terminology simply received as jargon?
- What are the tradeoffs between direct involvement (e.g., via research consultancies, collaboration with NGOs or government agencies, or community-based Participatory Action Research) and the independence afforded by more classically "distanced" scholarship? When is it worth signing away one's intellectual property in order to have the opportunity to influence others, and when does doing so represent too high a price to pay?
Recognizing that these questions do not have definitive answers (and indeed they beg additional questions), this session seeks to explore the practice of principled engagement. We welcome case studies, as well as comparative, thematic, or theoretical efforts to wrestle with these and related questions.
Please forward abstracts no longer than 250 words to Ian Baird (email@example.com) no later than October 31, 2010. Other inquiries are also welcome.
Call For Papers -- Global drylands: facing uncertainty and change in the 21st Century
September 21, 2010
Global drylands encompass 41% of the earth's surface and support the livelihoods of over 2.5 billion people, including many of the world's poorest. Rural and urban inhabitants in drylands face growing challenges from climate change, resource privatization, and other forms of structural change. Concerns about vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience of dryland livelihoods are producing many claims and counter-claims about the nature of human-environment interactions, thus increasing the need for critical research into social and ecological dynamics of drylands. While variability and uncertainty have long been embraced as defining characteristics of drylands, much remains unknown about how dryland inhabitants are adapting to these conditions as well as unforeseen changes occurring in the 21 Century. This panel, therefore, welcomes papers that utilize a variety of methodological and theoretical avenues to critically explore contemporary livelihoods, resource access, and environmental change in drylands. Topics include, but are not limited to:
- Ecological variability
- Climate change
- Resource degradation
- Spatial mobility
- Resource rights and tenure
- Water and land conflict
- Dryland development schemes
- Land use change
Please send a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words via email attachment as a Word or PDF document to Leif Brottem (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Hilary Hungerford (email@example.com) by October 15, 2010. Also, please do not hesitate to contact either organizer with questions or comments.
Call For Papers -- Hmong in Comparative Contexts Conference
September 16, 2010
Recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota have jointly established the "UW-UM Hmong Studies Consortium." The Consortium will be organizing its first conference, titled "Hmong in Comparative Contexts", at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on 4-5 March 2011. Focusing on critical scholarship, the conference will consider the Hmong and their interactions and relations with other ethnic groups, especially those in Asia but also the Hmong diaspora in other parts of the world, including the United States. This concept reflects recent theoretical trends in critical scholarship, including an increasing interest in reconsidering ethnic geographies and associated boundaries in Asia, and examining new ideas put forward by those engaged in advocating and examining new ideas related to "Zomia."
The vision of the conference organizers is to gather a group of scholars interested in critical Hmong studies and related ideas. This includes bringing together well-established scholars as well as those beginning their careers. Graduate students are also encouraged to actively participate in the conference. Participants will not be required to pay any registration fees for attending, but will be expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. Dr. Christian Culas, a prominent French scholar of the Hmong in Asia presently residing in northern Vietnam, will be the keynote speaker.
Scholars within the social sciences and humanities are encouraged to submit individual abstracts not exceeding 250 words, or ideas for panels not exceeding 400 words. Submissions should be sent to Ian Baird at firstname.lastname@example.org and should be received no later than December 1, 2010. Acceptance of abstracts and panel ideas will be confirmed by January 15, 2011.
New Geography Faculty Member Gibbs' Research Profiled in Stanford News
September 9, 2010
A recent Stanford Report profiles the research of Dr. Holly Gibbs, who will begin a professorship at UW-Madison in 2011. The article, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, summarizes findings from a study by Gibbs and several other colleagues of tropical forest and new agricultural land. Through Landsat satellite image analysis they determined 80 percent of new farmland created in the tropics between 1980 and 2000 was cut from tropical forest. This forest clearing has direct implications for the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere.
Dr. Gibbs earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) where a DOE Global Change Environmental Fellowship supported her studies. Her dissertation research quantified shifting pathways of tropical land use and their implications for carbon emissions.
Read more about the study at Stanford News.
Geography Fall Picnic: September 10th
August 30, 2010
Please join us on Friday, September 10th for the department's fall picnic. Current students, faculty, and staff, alumni and emeriti, and friends and family are welcome. This year we'll hold the event at Vilas Park, 702 S. Randall Avenue on the near west side. We'll be gathering in the picnic shelter, starting around 5:00.
Department welcomes new graduate students to program
August 26, 2010
The Department of Geography enthusiastically welcomed the incoming class of 2010-2011 to the program. A traditional welcome lunch on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 provided an opportunity for faculty and students to meet, discuss respective research interests, and share information about living in Madison and the graduate experience.
Jim Leary, Director of UW-Madison's Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, delivered a talk on the jokes, legends, and anecdotes from the oral tradition of diverse people in Wisconsin.