University of Wisconsin–Madison

Research Labs

The Geospatial Data Science Lab – Geospatial Big Data is an extension to the concept of Big Data with emphasis on the geospatial component and under the context of geography or geosciences. It is used to describe the phenomenon that large volumes of georeferenced data (including structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data) about various aspects of the Earth environment and society are captured by millions of environmental and human sensors in a variety of formats such as remote sensing images, crowdsourced maps, geotagged videos and photos, transportation smart card transactions, mobile phone data, location-based social media content, and GPS trajectories. In the GeoDS Lab@UW, we develop geospatial data science methods and tools as well as utilizing machine learning approaches to researches during the life cycle of large-scale georeferenced data collection, access, storage, management, analysis, modeling, and visualization. Application areas range from human dynamics, urban studies, transportation, natural disasters, to location business intelligence, and so on.


ThGibbs_labe Gibbs Land Use & Environment Lab (GLUE) studies human environment interactions and aim to reconcile forest conservation, climate change, and food security by informing policy and market-based strategies. We use GIS, remote sensing imagery, data-driven modeling approaches, and commodity supply-chain analysis combined with stakeholder interviews in the field to understand how and why humans use land around the world. We also quantify what these land-use changes mean for ecosystem services, particularly carbon storage and emissions. Our work bridges disciplines, scales and perspectives by linking the top-down global view with the detailed place-based view provided by case studies and field work.


erika_labThe Marín-Spiotta Biogeography & Biogeochemistry (BiogeoLab) Research Group investigates how landscape disturbances due to changes in climate and land use alter the accumulation and loss of biomass and biologically active elements within and across ecosystem boundaries. Our research draws from biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology, soil science and biogeography. We combine field and laboratory measurements and geochemical techniques to identify elemental sources and sinks and quantify pools and process rates. Our research cuts across different spatial scales: from microscopic interactions between organic matter and mineral surfaces in soils, to stand-level forest dynamics, to regional soil carbon inventories; as well as temporal scales: from annual to millennial time-scales.


Williams_labThe Williams Lab studies vegetation change and its drivers, across diverse spatial and temporal scales, with an emphasis on the environmental changes of the last 20,000 years as a model system for global change research. Key research areas include no-analog climates and communities, the drivers of abrupt ecological change, and the interactions among vegetation, climate, disturbance regime, megafauna, and humans. We employ a diverse mix of tools (primary collection of paleoenvironmental data, data synthesis, and ecological and climate modeling) and seek to foster strong and productive collaborations, within and outside our research group. We share a strong commitment to advancing scientific communications, education, diversity, and mentorship from the undergraduate to postgraduate levels.