Project SP15h: Geographic information retrieval

Project SP15h: Geographic information retrieval 
Researcher: Morteza Karimzadeh muk229@psu.edu    
Position type: GIS, information retrieval, data coding

Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 1, 2014

Application URL: http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc-apply


Position description

I am looking for two motivated undergraduate students, preferably in the Department of Geography, to assist with part of my dissertation project, which is also related to some ongoing projects at the GeoVISTA Center. As discussed below, the number of credits will depend on the assistant’s level of skills and mutual agreement between me and the assistants. The project’s goal is to improve Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR) methods for textual documents. These documents are academic papers or proposals in our case study. Research assistants’ tasks will include reading National Science Foundation (NSF) award abstracts and academic papers related to a place, and coding the documents according to a coding scheme that we will collectively build. The goal is to identify types of relations a document may have with a place, and to identify elements in the document that will help in relating that document to a place. Such elements may include, but are certainly not restricted to, the place names mentioned in the title of the document, or the places that are mentioned in the first line of the abstract. The coding will involve the document as a whole and also annotating relevant elements within the document.  To code these documents, assistants will use a simple software platform that will be built by me or with the help of assistants if they possess programming skills. This position enables the assistants to be directly involved in the research process, and also it exposes them to a variety of academic papers and NSF publications, and therefore makes them familiar with various research projects.      


Desired qualifications

The project requirements and number of credits will vary according to the applicant’s qualifications. The applicant must be well-organized and have strong analytical and critical skills. Although this project will contribute to research in GIScience, applicants from other subfields will be considered. Demonstrated course-work in GIS courses such as GEOG 160 or GEOG 363 is an advantage. The applicant should be familiar with basic Office software such as MS World and Excel, and also be familiar with GIS concepts. While this project will most likely not involve the use of ArcGIS, having an understanding of geospatial data and spatial relationships is important. Programming knowledge is not required, but is considered a major advantage. Of particular interest, are those applicants with knowledge on geographical gazetteers, ontologies and geocoding packages.

Candidates must be willing to contribute 40–120 total hours of work toward the project over the semester, resulting in 1–3 credit hours applied to the transcript. There is no monetary stipend attached to this assistantship, although the experiences gained in this work will be immediately valuable when applying for graduate school or full-time employment.


To apply

Prospective candidates should submit application to http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc-apply by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 1, 2014.
A complete application must include:
1. All required fields of online form: http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc-apply

2. A one-page cover letter identifying the position for which you're applying and stating your interest in conducting research, your academic preparation, the skills you hope to gain from this experience, and contact information of two references.

  • Upload a PDF document named as follows: FirstinitialLastname_letterMMYY.pdf (e.g. jvender_letter1114.pdf)

3. A resume

  • Upload a PDF document named as follows: FirstinitialLastname_resumeMMYY.pdf (e.g. jvender_resume1114.pdf)