Arif Masrur


I received my B.Sc. degree in Geography and Environment (with minors in Geology and Soil Sciences) at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. My curiosity to investigate multifaceted implications of a rapidly changing Arctic on diverse human-environmental systems (in the high latitudes and elsewhere; "What happens in the Arctic affects us all") brought me to the United States in the Fall of 2014. Between 2014 and 2016 at the ARCTICenter, University of Northern Iowa (UNI), I studied space-time dynamics and climatic associations of the Pan-Arctic tundra wildfires. My research projects at UNI introduced me with big space-time datasets, tools, and techniques in big data analytics, which paved way to my current data-driven PhD research (started in Fall 2016) at the department of Geography at Penn State. 

Currently, being a PhD candidate, at the Penn State GeoVISTA Center I'm focusing on developing and implementing data mining and visualization techniques to discover interesting (i.e., meaningful and actionable) knowledge from space-time bigdata, particularly in biophysical and urban human-environmental interaction contexts (e.g., wildfires, urban human activity and environmental degradation, diseases, and so on).  My interest also intersects with immersive analytics research domain. Over the summer 2017 at ChoroPhronesis, I developed Virtual Reality and Augmneted Reality prototypes that offer interactive immersive learning platform for K-12 and introductory level geoscience students. In these platforms, learning process can be enhanced through seamless navigation between dynamically linked 3D real-world objects, data (both spatial and non-spatial), and multimedia contents (e.g., 360° images). In this way, either the need for fieldtrips to distant outcrops can be made optional once students have access to these immersive platforms (i.e. VR) in the classroom or learning in the outcrop sites can be supplemented through opportunities offered by AR platforms.

Here is a demo: Marker-based AR prototype for the Obelisk -  One of Penn State's oldest landmarks made up of 281 building stones from locations around the state of Pennsylvania: 

Research Interests

  • GIScience
  • GeoVisual and Immersive Analytics
  • Urban-Environmental Systems



  • Masters, Geography (GIS & Remote Sensing) 2016, University of Northern Iowa
  • MSc, Physical Geography & Environment 2014, University of Dhaka
  • BSc, Geography & Environment 2012, University of Dhaka



Masrur, A., Petrov, A., & DeGroote, J. (2017). Circumpolar Spatio-Temporal Patterns and Contributing Climatic Factors of Wildfire Activity in the Arctic Tundra from 2001 to 2015. Environ. Res. Lett.

Wallgrün, J. O. , Huang, J., Zhao, J., Masrur, A., Oprean, D., & Klippel, A. (2017). A frameowrk for low-cost multi-platform VR and AR site experiences. Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XLII-2-W8, 263-270,

Masrur, A., Zhao, J., Wallgrün, J. O., LaFemina, P., & Klippel, A. (2017). Immersive applications for informal and interactive learning for earth sciences. In B. Bach, M. Cordeil, T. Dwyer, B. Lee, B. Saket, A. Endert,. . . S. Carpendale (Eds.), Workshop on Immersive Analytics. Exploring Future Interaction and Visualization Technologies for Data Analytics. In conjunction with IEEE VIS, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, October 1st, 2017


AAG WLDAAG Student Research Award Winner (Eau Claire, 2015)