All News

Geography student's VR app offers glimpse into Peru study-abroad experience
12/04/2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After growing up in a military family and serving in the armed forces as a young adult, Colin Kelly has lived all over the world — 16 different locations in fact — and has seen many amazing places. But when he visited Peru for the first time, he found himself fascinated with the landscape, people and the connection between them.

Now he’s hoping to share that experience with the rest of the world.

Kelly, a senior majoring in geography, is creating a virtual reality (VR) application that incorporates both the scientific and social aspects of his visits to Peru. He first traveled to Peru as part of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Center for Advanced Undergraduate Studies and Experience (CAUSE) 2017 program.


Geographers create unique wayfinding tool for game day safety
11/27/2018

When fans are tailgating before a Penn State home football game, they are standing on an invisible safety grid that helps first responders to pinpoint any location within more than 1,900 acres of pastures and paved lots.

Thanks to a new coordinate grid system developed by Penn State geographers, Penn State University Police and Public Safety and State College police, any 12.5-yard square location can be efficiently communicated to first responders by use of a simple alphanumeric code. The grid overlays a series of maps of the parking lots that surround Beaver Stadium and were compiled into a booklet.


GIS Day 2018: 'Visualize the World' to be held Nov. 13 at University Libraries
11/06/2018

Penn State University Libraries will celebrate GIS Day on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at an event aimed at the broader Penn State community — students, staff, faculty and community members — who are interested in learning about how geospatial information is being used on campus and beyond.

This year’s program, “Visualizing the World: Connecting the disciplines through geospatial technologies and virtual reality,” explores GIS, geospatial technologies, remote sensing, maps, and location-based applications to foster greater geospatial awareness on campus, within the community, and beyond.


Sifting through 50 million phone calls for patterns to aid refugees
10/31/2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When refugees use their mobile phones they leave clues about how well they are integrating (or not) into their host country. Clio Andris, assistant professor of geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, is analyzing a year’s worth of phone calls to find the clues to help address the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey.

“We responded to the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge which provides researchers with call data records (CDR) collected during the 2017 calendar year. Researchers tend to get excited about CDR data because they show human calling, texting and mobility patterns at a very fine grain level. The data challenge is a great opportunity,” Andris said. “And equally compelling is a real opportunity to help refugees.”


National Research Traineeship Program Coordinator
10/31/2018

A full-time, non-tenure track, fixed-term faculty position is available at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, to join its National Science Foundation(NSF)-funded National Research Traineeship (NRT) program as a Program Coordinator. This new, transdisciplinary, training program, called Landscape-U, creates partnerships between graduate students and managers, policy-makers, and/or entrepreneurs to co-create solutions to solve contemporary food-energy-water challenges at landscape scales. The Program Coordinator will be responsible for overseeing the planning, communication, implementation, and evaluation of the training program in close collaboration with the faculty team. Landscape-U unites graduate students and faculty from multiple colleges, including cross-college graduate degree and dual-title programs in ecology, human dimensions of natural resources, and international agriculture and development.


Schreyer Scholar alumnus maps out dream career while seeing the world
10/30/2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Many of Patrick Stephens’ early interests — traveling, hiking, mountain biking — necessitated the use of maps.

Not surprisingly, then, maps themselves became one of those interests, and served as a constant reminder of how much of the world he has left to explore.

“I always liked traveling,” the Penn State and Schreyer Honors College alumnus said. “I never wanted to be tied down to one place. I told myself that if I could make maps, you can make them anywhere in the world. That was always kind of the goal.”


Assistant Professor of Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis
10/22/2018

The Departments of Geography and Statistics in partnership with the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) at The Pennsylvania State University, located in University Park, PA, invite applications for a new faculty member in Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis at the Assistant Professor level. This tenure track faculty position is part of the cluster hire initiative of the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) to enhance big-data and big-simulation in support of the ‘Driving Digital Innovation’ thematic area of the Penn State strategic plan. ICS is a University-wide, interdisciplinary research institute with more than 20 ICS tenure-track co-hired faculty and nearly 300 associates in interdisciplinary research enabled by high performance computing (HPC).


New course puts Penn State students in control of transformational technology
10/22/2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In his decade of teaching at Penn State, Professor of Geography Alex Klippel has seen immersive technologies disrupt everything at the University from education to research to outreach. His belief in the power of this machinery to improve the learning process guided his creation of GEOG 197: Immersive Technologies – Transforming Society through Digital Innovation.

“I created one of the first upper-level courses on [virtual reality] and 3D modeling, and I want to share my fascination for immersive technologies with students at all levels,” Klippel said of the brand-new general education course he created alongside instructional designer Amy Kuntz. “Thanks to generous support and marvelous collaboration [with the Teaching and Learning with Technology department] we are able to advance immersive learning at Penn State and share it with a wider audience.”


Geography student models future fires to restore past forests
10/16/2018

The forests we walk through today are not the same as the ones that existed hundreds of years ago.  Human activities such as agriculture, development, and logging have changed them.  Fire, or really the lack of it, also changed forests, to the detriment of some species like Oaks and Pines. 

Can we use fire to turn back time, bring forests closer to their original state, and maintain these ecosystems over the long term?

Previous studies show mixed results depending upon when, how often, how severe and in what season a prescribed burn was conducted. Anthony Zhao, a master’s degree student in geography, in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, is using computer model simulations to try to get a clearer answer to this question with his master’s research project, “Modeling Prescribed Fire Effects on Vegetation Dynamics in Pitch Pine and Mixed-Oak Forests.”


Tenure-Track Faculty Position in GIScience (Assistant Professor)
10/09/2018

The Department of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor specializing in geographic information science (GIScience). We are interested in candidates who will strengthen the department’s research and teaching program and help build strong connections to other relevant science communities. Candidates with an emphasis in any area associated with GIScience will be considered.