Image courtesy of Wookieepedia, under fair use provision of US copyright law
This panel is part of the AAG Symposium on Human Dynamics Research and will discuss an apparent
disconnect in academia where skills in research computing and programming are still not properly
In geography as in other disciplines, our ability to collect, process, visualize, and interpret
datasets of unprecedented size and detail is helping to push the boundaries of our knowledge. This
stands to affect just about every aspect of geography. Other disciplines are now discussing how best
to promote a (new) culture where achievements in computational or “data science” are rewarded. This
includes the emerging fields of computational social science and digital humanities. But where does
geography fall within this “landscape?”
Should we not seek to train and reward a new breed of geographer,
broadly skilled in computing and coding, as well as in the careful management and analysis of very
large datasets? What of the reward structure for the geography faculty member or postdoc who brings these
skills to the classroom, while also releasing his/her own scientific code, workflows and datasets? In
many geography departments these activities do not fall within the traditional modes of writing,
publishing, or even grantsmanship. Hence they may not translate to academic career advancement.
By not properly rewarding these activities, are we unwittingly driving a host of promising researchers away from the academic community?
Main Sponsors: AAG GIScience & Systems, Cyberinfrastructure, and Remote Sensing Speciality Groups
Related Sponsor: AAG Public/Private Affinity Group
For background reading, please see these two blog posts by Jake VanderPlas of the University of Washington, plus an old Annals paper:
Session Twitter Stream (via Storify)
Intro Slides from Session
Notes from Session (a journal article based on these is forthcoming, so please do not distribute without permission)
Who's in Charge: An interview with Jerome Dobson, Ph.D. with relevant articles therein, including "Through the Macroscope: Geography's View of the World"
GeoCapabilities, a new program of the European Union (and involving the AAG) to foster leadership skills in teachers (profs) forging new curricular areas. AAG workshop slides
Confronting Institutional Barriers in Science Communication and Policy, a talk delivered at AAAS 2013 by Leah Gerber (ASU) and Elena Bennett (McGill) - replace "science communication" with "data-centric geography" and discussion is essentially the same
2009 Rey, S.J. Show me the code: Open source and spatial analysis. Journal of Geographical Systems, 11(2): 191-207.
Dawn J. Wright
Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) and
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State U.
Back to Top