Written by on November 18, 2014

GIS on campus: Faculty and student examples

Today, as part of Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day, the Data Studio presented its first of three events taking place this week.

Dr. Billy Riggs (pictured) from City and Regional Planning, works with lots of transportation variables and opened his talk with a walkability map of San Francisco. He explained how the data is used to study neighborhood walkability and how that relates to social equity, in terms of what services residents can access by foot depending on where in the city they live.

After a few other map examples, Riggs did a demo of GeoCanvas, a free lightweight software for fast geospatial visualizations, and showed us real-time mapping of data that could be used to answer the question: Are one-way or two-way streets safer? He loaded a shape file of census blocks onto a map of Louisville, Kentucky, his hometown, as an example.

Next, Jordan Horrillo, an economics student, talked about the effects of climate and geography on economic development. He has been working with Dr. Stephen Haber at Stanford University. Their work uses climate and geographical factors to explain wealth across the world. His talk, Geography and Wealth of Nations, focused on three factors: 1) transportation costs, 2) crop sustainability, and 3) aggregate weather shocks, and how those factors impact economic and democratic development.

As one example, whether or not a country can grow cereal crops, which are storable and can be traded more extensively than non-cereal crops, shows to have a significant economic influence.

See our calendar for more related events this week.