Coffee Hour: Locally Contextualizing Global Shocks

Friday, November 30, 2012 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Refreshments are offered at 3:30 in the E. Willard Miller seminar room, 319 Walker Building. The lecture begins at 4:00 p.m. in the John J. Cahir Auditorium, 112 Walker Building.

 Locally Contextualizing Global Shocks


Global shocks like the economic crisis have varying local, context-sensitive effects on populations already vulnerable to multiple stressors such as famine and natural hazards. For example, a cotton farmer in Africa whose livelihood is impacted by a flood may have difficulty recovering due to downturn in global cotton markets.


Identifying the impacts of global shocks on local populations is a challenging analytical task. The challenge stems from the complexity and scale of evidence that must be assembled and reasoned with to develop contextual understanding. Visual analytics has recently emerged as a new paradigm to:

(1) inform how investigation into complex, multi-scale problems is addressed, and

(2) develop information technologies that enable investigation, and is thus well suited to address issues such as locally contextualizing global shocks.


In this talk, Tomaszewski will discuss his visual analytics research with various United Nations groups and other efforts from the international disaster management community aimed at locally contextualizing global shocks.


tomaszewskiBrian Tomaszewski

Tomaszewski (Ph.D. '09) is a geographic information scientist whose research interests in the domains of geovisual analytics, geographic information retrieval, context modeling and representation, geocollaboration, and disaster management—all targeted at developing visual analytic tools for contextualizing disaster situations through diverse information.


His relevant experience includes past work with the United Nations Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) ReliefWeb group, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response group (UN-SPIDER), United Nations Global Pulse, and the United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). Tomaszewski is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technologies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from Penn State.