GIS News

Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac 'taste of place' studied

February 25, 2015
By Anne Schamberg (used with permission)
Original article

Mark Hoffman
UW-Milwaukee Associate Professor Barry Cameron and doctoral
student Snejana Karakis are studying the terroir of Wisconsin wine.

Most people go to Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac to sample the wine, but if you are a geologist researching terroir, then you might be offered a little taste of the soil.

Yes, mes amis, terroir is being studied right here in Wisconsin.

The term terroir — terre is the French word for land — refers to the concept that the microenvironment of a vineyard influences the taste and quality of the grapes grown there.

It's the underpinning for the appellation systems used in various forms around the world. In France, for instance, it's the appellation d'origine controlee label that indicates when a wine — or other agricultural product — is from a legally defined area and is made in a prescribed manner.

Snejana Karakis, a doctoral student in the department of geosciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is doing her dissertation on the "taste of place" as she describes it, with a focus on Wollersheim's vineyards and their particular patch of earth.

She and her academic adviser, Barry Cameron, chair of the geosciences department, first visited the winery in 2013. And it was then that winemaker Philippe Coquard mixed vineyard soil with water and had them give it a try.

"Tasting the soil in which wine grows, that's the true taste of terroir," Karakis said with a big smile. "Philippe — whose palate is more refined than mine — tasted chalk. I just tasted dirt."

It certainly brought up what professor Cameron said is the underlying question in this controversial topic: "How can soil directly impact the flavor profile of wine?"

The answer remains as clear as mud.

"It might be the soil — some special aspect of the soil. But biologists say it might be the microbes in the soil," he said. "We geologists are hoping it's the soil. And we'll find out."

Cameron's main fields of research are igneous petrology, volcanology and terroir.

And one of the classes he teaches is "Terroir: Geology in a Glass," where students learn about the bedrock and soils of the world's greatest wine regions.

The interplay between geology and wine caught his attention in Italy in 2011 when he came across terroir-influenced wines such as those from vines grown on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna.

"For hundreds of years, people have talked about terroir, but there was little hard science to back it up. I saw that this was an open field of research," he said.

So he was pleased when Karakis, who majored in geosciences as an undergraduate at UWM, decided to delve into the terroir of Wollersheim, analyzing factors such as soil composition, drainage, aspect, elevation and slope.

Karakis, who hopes to graduate in December 2016, also works part time as a geologist for Environ, an environmental consulting firm in Brookfield.

Part of her dissertation is to characterize the terroir of the Wisconsin Lake AVA — or American Viticultural Area — that claims Wollersheim as its only winery. AVAs are part of the appellation system in the United States.

Geographic Information System mapping is one of the tools she uses to analyze the area's physical terroir factors.

She's also assessing vineyard variability by comparing two Wollersheim vineyards, Domaine Reserve and Lot 19, both planted with Marechal Foch grapes.

"Domaine Reserve is producing Philippe's best grapes," she said. "What's driving this quality difference?"

Lot 19 has younger vines, is less steeply sloped and has more "homogeneous soil," but Karakas is digging deeper to see if factors such as soil chemistry and mineral content also make a difference.

Her mentor frames it this way: "The Wollersheim Domaine Reserve wine is pretty darn good. Is it because Philippe is a great winemaker — which I think he is — or is it something special about the plot of land?"

Water comes into the picture, as well.

With Lot 19, Karakis is using hydrogen isotopes to determine where the water is from, "if it's groundwater, rain or irrigation."

The data collected over time could help vineyard managers or farmers determine the "efficacy of vineyard irrigation practices," she said.

Visiting assistant professor Erik Gulbranson is collaborating on the analysis, which uses a cryogenic vacuum line.

He calls the research "highly transferable" to water sources for other crops in Wisconsin such as corn and alfalfa.

In out-of-state research, Karakis is taking on phenolic compounds in Syrah grapes from Walla Walla, Wash. Phenolic compounds, she said, contribute color, flavor and aroma to wine.

"There may be a correlation between some aspect of soil's physical and chemical properties and the phenolics," she said.

Cameron said another member of the UWM geosciences department has "caught the terroir bug."

Brett Ketter, a senior information processing consultant, is doing GIS mapping of the Wisconsin Ledge AVA, which is in the northeastern part of the state and includes the Door Peninsula.

Quite a few of the state's best-known wineries are in this area, including Door Peninsula, Parallel 44, Von Stiehl and Trout Springs.

Topography, climate, land use codes and soil analysis are some of the factors that show up in Ketter's digital overlay maps.

His goal is to help people figure out which sites would be most suitable for vineyards. "If you want to plant a new vineyard, where would you put it in this AVA? And which would be the best grapes to grow?"

So far, the study points to the southwest side of the Ledge AVA as being the best in that area for grape growing.

"There are no wineries there — not as yet," he said.

Veteran turns arborist turns student

February, 2015
By Sarah Mann, College of Letters & Science (used with permission)

John Sanborn
John Sanborn takes a while to introduce himself. He’s a former Marine turned arborist and small business owner, as well as a non-traditional UWM student with a Conservation and Environmental Science major and minors in Geography and Geographic Information Systems. He’s a tree-mapper, storm-chaser, landscape-restorer and dog-owning dad.

Sanborn took a circuitous route to UWM even though he started in the same city. He grew up on the northwest side and attended Milwaukee Vincent’s magnet school. In 1983, the economy was sluggish so he enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent the next nine years in the Armed Forces. It was in the Marines that he discovered his civilian career.

“While I was in (the Marines), I started taking down trees for people because I had access to all of the equipment. When I got out, I just sort of fell into it,” Sanborn said. After a back injury cut his military career short, Sanborn ended up working for a lawn-care company, running a crew for tree care and removal. He didn’t stay long.

“Once their idea of what the science is and what I was learning were parting ways, I decided I had to leave, so I started my own business,” Sanborn said. “That was in ’99, 2000, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Sanborn’s Services, LLC.”

Sanborn’s Services does a bit of everything – tree pruning and removal are bread-and-butter operations, but Sanborn also does consulting work along with woodlot preservation and restoration. For several years before he married, he contracted with local companies across the country to clean up trees damaged by hurricanes and blizzards. His most memorable job took him to northern California where he was on a crew that trimmed a 200-foot giant redwood.

Eventually, Sanborn’s interest in woodlot restoration led him to UWM and the Conservation and Environmental Science program. He especially wanted to explore the ecology of woods, rivers and the fl oodplains between them. Those areas often see damage from invasive species like garlic mustard or buckthorn.

“It’s several years of just controlling invasive species until you can introduce new material,” Sanborn explained. “A problem with the buckthorn is that it binds all of the nitrogen up into the canopy, so there’s nothing growing underneath. You walk into some of the places and it looks like something out of ‘The Hobbit.’ You’re expecting a giant spider to come after you.”

When he’s not working, Sanborn is in the classroom or the GIS lab. He’s completed his Geography and GIS minors and is thinking of adding a math minor as well. He’s hoping to graduate in the fall of 2016, but enjoys his time on campus for the moment. He credits the dedication of the UWM professors.

“There are a lot of really good teachers here,” he said. “And being prior military, I was expecting some sort of (pushback) – I didn’t see any of that. As long as somebody’s willing to learn, I haven’t seeing anyone who’s not willing to give their time.”

Mapping the trees

John Sanborn is an arborist, so it made sense to tap his knowledge when it came to mapping UWM’s trees. Sanborn’s advisor, Associate Professor of Geography and director of the Conservation and Environmental Sciences program Glen Fredlund, asked him to take on the project as an independent study after the two shared a conversation about the damage to campus trees from the emerald ash borer.

For several hours a week last semester, Sanborn traversed campus marking the locations of trees with a pencil and paper and adding them to a digital map. With the records in GIS, Sanborn can sort the trees by species, locations, or relationships between each plant. The inventory replaces a 25-year-old inventory hand-marked on an old-fashioned, alphanumeric map.

Conservation and Environmental Science major John Sanborn created a map of the UWM campus’ trees. Each colored dot represents the location of a different variety of tree.
Conservation and Environmental Science major John Sanborn
created a map of the UWM campus’ trees. Each colored dot
represents the location of a different variety of tree.

The inventory is helpful because it shows what species are on campus and where they are, as well as where campus plants could be in danger.

“Genetically, (clonal trees) are all basically the same plant. If an insect or disease really likes it, they can explode throughout. We look and see that we’ve got a lot of Little Leaf Lindens planted in this area. We probably shouldn’t plant more there,” Sanborn explained. “Or if we see that trees are always dying in one spot, maybe there’s some abiotic reason in the soil.”

Eventually, Sanborn’s inventory will be available to the general campus community, possibly even through a cell phone app.

“This tree data can be used in various ways by the campus community,” Donna Genzmer, Director of the Cartography and GIS Center, said in an email. “Academic programs will be able to use it and it will be incorporated in the UWM Campus Enterprise GIS for infrastructure management.”

I-Hui Lin Attends Esri EdUC and EsriUC

July, 2014

I was fortunate to use UWM’s site license registration to attend ESRI’s 2014 Education GIS Conference and International Users Conference at San Diego.

IHui Lin
I-Hui Lin and Dr. Joseph Kerski

In the first two days, I attended the Education GIS Conference hold in the Marriott hotel. The attendees include K-12 educators as well as college and university faculties. There were many sessions and workshops to choose. The topics ranged from teaching challenges and opportunities on GIS at different education levels to teaching different GIS concepts and technology in class. In the education conference, you can find how much the teachers want to bring spatial thinking and GIS into their K-12 education, and you can see many K-12 educators attended discussing and sharing their experiences and expectation to teach GIS and to create an informative and fun learning environment for students to learn GIS. Beyond the traditional classroom teaching, in the plenary session, Dr. Anthony Robinson from Penn State talked about online geospatial education to demonstrate that GIS can be taught to people from different places in the world with different learning expectation. During the conference, I also had conversations with ESRI’s education manager, Dr. Joseph Kerski, on teaching GIS, especially on using ArcGIS online for teaching. Being a teacher in GIS, I am very excited and appreciated to have such great opportunity to attend this GIS Education Conference. If you are interested in GIS education, you will very enjoy this conference, sharing experiences with other GIS educators and learning teaching ideas from all the sessions and workshops.

Right after the Education GIS Conference is the International Users conference at the convention center having attendees from different fields. Many of the attendees are from industry, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The opening plenary session was held in the room pretty much like a football field with three presentation counters on a huge stage and 9 large projector screens to show the presentations, so that everyone can see who is presenting what. With thousands of attendees, you can image how many sessions and workshops provided in each day. You surely want to check on the conference schedule and find out what sessions and workshops to attend before you are there! You can also learn Esri’s products by visiting the exhibit hall. There are many staff to answer your questions. There are also many 30-minutes demonstration sessions to introduce you applications using GIS technology. If you are using GIS, no matter what your focus is in what field, you won’t be bored, and you will find many sessions to attend and many ideas to learn.

For me, both of them are great opportunities to see how others use GIS in teaching and in real world jobs. I definitely would love to go again in the future!

Huxhold Awarded 2014 WLIA Allen H. Miller Sustained Service Award

February 14, 2014

Huxhold WLIA 2014
Prof. Bill Huxhold

Given to an individual or organization that demonstrates sustained service to WLIA and the WLIP, through continued exemplary contributions. The Allen H. Miller Sustained Service Award is named after our first President and continuing friend and supporter.

"William Huxhold – Bill has been a longstanding member of WLIA (Wisconsin Land Information Association), serving in several capacities over the years, as a presenter, a trainer, an educator, an innovator, a board member, a colleague, a friend and a professional. He has been an advocate, not only for our organization, but for our profession. I would add, Bill has also been a friend and/or mentor to many of the GIS professionals in our state."

Dickerson Awarded Esri Assistantship

June 5, 2013

Chris Dickerson

Congratulations to Chris Dickerson, Urban Planning Masters and GIS Emphasis student, recipient of this year’s ESRI Student Assistantship. The Student Assistantship Program sponsors up to 60 students every year to attend the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego. Chris is a GIS Certificate student at UWM.

The annual ESRI International User Conference was held in San Diego July 8-12, 2011. “Each year, ESRI hosts an international conference in San Diego, California, where 12,000 software users gather to learn more about GIS technology and share their ideas and knowledge.” The assistantship includes full registration for the conference, hotel accommodations and a small stipend for meals.

All graduate and 4th year undergraduate students who use GIS software are invited to apply for future assistantships. For further details go to:

Xu Receives RGI Grant

May 3, 2013

Zengwang Xu
Dr. Zengwang Xu

Dr. Zengwang Xu, Geography, has been awarded 2013-14 Research Growth Initiative funding for "Modeling the Diffusion and Intervention of H5N1 in a Realistically Connected Population in Milwaukee City: A Social Spatial Network Approach". RGI is "an internal seed-funding competition aimed at enhancing the university's research and scholarly work, and supporting the state's economic development through innovation."

This project studies the diffusion and intervention of the influenza flu virus (H5N1) in a socially and spatially connected population in the city of Milwaukee. We connect the diverse population in the city of Milwaukee as a dynamic social and spatial network through transportation modeling, and investigate how the H5N1 would diffuse in the city that is composed of population of different social, economic, and demographic statuses, and how the different cohorts affect and are affected by the epidemic diffusion and the effective spatially heterogeneous intervention strategies. It aims to study the epidemic diffusion and intervention in an intracity population modeled with high realism and investigate: (1) social and demographic effects on diffusion of directly transmitted infectious diseases; (2) effective spatially heterogeneous intervention strategies; and (3) simpler household demographic model for intercity epidemic diffusion.

Alum Ramasubramanian Named ACE Fellow

Laxmi Ramasubramanian
Dr. Laxmi Ramasubramanian

April 1, 2013
Original press release

Dr. Laxmi Ramasubramanian, Hunter College, is one of 50 college and university senior faculty and administrators selected by the American Council on Education (ACE) for the 2013-14 class of the ACE Fellows Program. Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program—the longest running leadership development program in the United States—focuses on identifying and preparing senior leadership for the nation's colleges and universities.


Analyst Officer Takes a Byte Out of Crime

February 5, 2013
By Dan Holtz, Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire (reprinted with permission)

Chris Jaeger
Chris Jaeger (photo courtesy of Shane Opatz)

Chris Jaeger doesn’t wear a badge or carry a gun. He is also not a sworn officer, meaning he cannot make arrests. But if you ask Jaeger’s supervisors at the Eau Claire Police Department, his work is crucial for patrol officers and detectives to do their jobs more effectively.

Jaeger is the Police Department’s crime analyst. His tool of the trade is primarily a computer.

His position “is part of our overall strategy to provide research- and evidence-based policing on the street,” Eau Claire Police Chief Jerry Matysik said. Jaeger provides objective data the department’s officers can rely upon to make decisions. He puts the city’s crime data into easily understandable maps and charts, “which helps us understand what’s driving crime and where it’s located,” Matysik said.

“If we’re going to have limited resources, then having a crime analyst in place helps us allocate those resources in the right spots,” he said.

Lt. Matt Rokus, a supervisor in the detective division, said Jaeger’s work as a crime analyst is very valuable. Detectives focus not only on solving crimes, but also on addressing and preventing crime trends. The crime analyst helps identify trends and links between individuals, Rokus said.

“In the past investigators had to do more research and report reading to accurately identify a trend or a pattern,” he said. “Now they can use the time they normally would have spent poring through reports doing investigative work.”

Deputy Chief Chad Hoyord, who oversees the department’s patrol division, explained patrol officers are divided into three districts throughout the city and each district has six beats. With 18 beat areas in the city, Jaeger identifies areas with potential crime, quality of life or traffic issues. “He just gives us a better opportunity to evaluate what’s going on,” Hoyord said.

For example, Jaeger’s data analysis helps officers determine whether certain traffic crashes are related to specific intersections and if more traffic enforcement is needed in certain areas of the city, he said.

“(Jaeger) allows us to take a wider look at things,” Hoyord said. “He has saved us a ton of time. His work allows us to do our job more accurately and quicker.”

Eau Claire police hired its first crime analyst in 2008. Jaeger joined the department in April 2011.

Jaeger, 25, earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology and law studies from Marquette University and received a graduate certificate from UW-Milwaukee in geographic information systems.

He provides frequent reports to officers and takes raw data and turns it into charts and maps. He frequently puts out bulletins to officers if he spots a trend. Last year Jaeger discovered a series of open and unlocked garages in Eau Claire that were entered into, and that there wasn’t a certain type of tool or equipment that was targeted. But he also discovered that graffiti was a common factor in these cases and the crimes were centered in a small geographic area of the city. He also tracked the specific times of the day the crimes occurred. “I am more geared to find out that information. I put out a twopage bulletin. It was a snapshot of what was going on so officers could recognize that activity,” Jaeger said.

His analytical mind gears itself perfectly to his job, he said. “I get to do research projects every day. It’s engaging. You’re scanning for issues,” he said. “I think of it as a puzzle. It’s fun having an opportunity to work on changing issues. I get to work with all members of the department, and being able to interact department-wide is enjoyable as well.”

Jaeger also prepares reports that police forward to the Eau Claire County district attorney’s office for prosecution. “I get to be part of all these working parts,” he said.

The crime analyst position also changed how officers are scheduled, said Kyle Roder, the Police Department’s community relations officer. In the past, the department divided officers into three separate eight-hour day, evening and overnight shifts to cover each 24-hour period. With the aid of the crime analyst to determine when the most activity occurred, the department developed overlapping shifts to better address the workload at various times of the day, Roder said. “At six o’clock in the morning we don’t need as many officers as we do at five o’clock at night,” he said.

Having a crime analyst helps the Police Department rely on data “instead of anecdotes and what we feel is happening,” Matysik said. “We want to be proactive instead of reactive and implement solutions. We try to get to the underlying issue and what’s driving that,” he said. “We can identify the problem and get to the heart of the issue to interrupt the crime trend rather than let it run its course and create more victims.”

With the exception of 1999, total crimes committed in Eau Claire in seven out of the past eight years are the lowest they’ve been since 1979. The FBI’s uniform crime reporting standards recognize eight categories of offenses that reflect the most serious crimes: homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

The fact that most of those reduced-crime years have come since the Police Department gained a crime analyst is not a coincidence, Matysik said. “That’s not just happenstance. There are several factors involved, but I am a firm believer police can play a significant role in reducing crime in a community,” he said. “The crime analyst is part of the department’s move toward research-based strategies. I believe the success of those efforts are reflected in the annual numbers.”

Jaeger also can update officers as to the individuals who generate the most police contact in the city for both criminal and noncriminal issues, Matysik said. “A fairly small number of people generate a lot of our activity,” he said. “Without having a crime analyst to look at the data, it’s really hard to intervene.”

Dr. Robert Schneider

Welcoming Dr. Schneider

March 27, 2013

The GIS Council welcomes new Urban Planning faculty member, Robert Schneider. Dr. Schneider earned his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley in May 2011 and conducted post-doctoral research at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and the UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research & Education Center. His research focuses on sustainable transportation, travel behavior and the built environment, and transportation analysis methods. Dr. Schneider is a great addition to our faculty!

GIS in Service Learning: Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition

December 12, 2012

Angie Jackson (Teaching Assistant and project manager, UWM), Ben Everson (UWM), Alyssa Biersack (UWM), Chris Cooksey (UWM), Ann Brummitt (Director, Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition), David Rossiter (UWM) and Mary-Martha Kipcak (UWM).

Service learning, through the UWM Institute for Service Learning, connects students with the real world side of their coursework, bringing social and cultural issues into focus and providing significant benefits to the more than 200 local nonprofit organizations which host our students.

With the support of a Community/University Partnership (CUP) Grant for the purchase of a Portable Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, service learners will be able to contribute significantly to the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition's management of the Greenway, enabling students to gather accurate data on the location of invasive species, watershed boundaries, soft trails, and critical species habitat in the Greenway.

During the Fall 2012 semester, students from Geography 125 used a GPS to obtain reference points to map a number of trails along the Milwaukee River. They combined a number of sources of information into a series of maps.

Hyden Reports from His Alaskan Internship

October 1, 2012

John Hyden, UW-Milwaukee GIS Certificate recipient
and proud parent of a UW-Whitewater student!

As my time here at the MatSu Borough draws to an end, I must take a moment or two to reflect and internalize all the little things that has given me a deeper understanding of what I learned in my academics as well as new skills acquired during my tenure.

The biggest and most important experience was just spending time watching the workflow in a typical GIS department. The team work that I witnessed was phenomenal. There were at least three major projects in progress at the same time as all the other routine daily chores that had to be done, such as addressing for new and existing building lots and maintaining right of way drawings and database.

The three major projects were:

  • The Borough was preparing new voting districts to match the new ten year census and this required a major contribution of time from the GIS department. I was not involved in this effort.
  • Over the years, the GIS database had become spatially out of sync with the associated background imagery. Lot lines and other boundary lines no longer lined up with the aerial photographs used as backgrounds for the map books used by emergency responders. As a result, it was becoming difficult to tell exactly where people lived and where right of ways and easements were located. A “survey team” was tasked with finding the sub-foot locations of section corners and lot corners using a Trimble GHX professional mapping grade GPS. These locations were then used to gently “rubber sheet” or re-align the GIS data in AutoCAD/ARCMap to a more proper alignment. I was allowed to help the survey team for a couple of days and in that time I gained a wealth of knowledge about plat maps and how to use a metal detector properly. Ask me sometime what a Basis of Bearings is, and I will be glad to tell you all I learned from Suzy, Jeremiah and Mason.
  • The last major project involved new LiDAR and orthorectified aerial photographs. In partnership with other government agencies and academic institutions, the Borough was in the process of purchasing new one foot and half foot resolution four band Ortho-photographs and LiDAR maps. This was the project with which I spent most of my time. The photographs had to be visually inspected for such things as excessive building tilt, excessive shadows/cloud cover, missing pixels with no data, edge matching between tiles, smearing, unusual artifacts, and general appearance. Believe me, I have seen enough photos of trees to last me a good long time. But thanks to Jim, Susan, Heather and Phil, I gained a valuable understanding of and how to interpret ground cover from an aerial photographic perspective and how aerial photographic tiles are spliced together.

    The last two projects listed above were basically done to support of the 9-1-1 emergency responder effort in the Borough. Knowing exactly where people live in the Alaskan bush can be a very daunting task and can take up precious time during a life threatening situation.

I found the working atmosphere in the GIS Department to be the most professional in which I have ever worked – and I’ve had the occasion to work in many offices. Interns many times find themselves ignored by other staff members but I found this not to be the case. All staff members were very kind and considerate of me. Even though I am sure I asked way more questions than I should have and I must have seemed like a pest or at least a minor annoyance, everyone treated me with respect. I take with me fond memories of everyone who touched my life at the MatSu Borough Office and I send a big thank you to you all!

Finally, I want to thank Shannon and Jim for giving me the opportunity to work in the Borough office and for the kindness shown me when I had to deal with an unexpected death in my family. This whole wonderful experience would not have been possible if they had not said yes to my request.

Announcing CIPR Senior Research Fellow: Dr. Rina Ghose

September 30, 2012

Original post.

The Center for Information Policy Research welcomes Dr. Rina Ghose as the 2012-2013 Senior Research Fellow.

Dr. Rina Ghose

Dr. Ghose is an associate professor in the UW-Milwaukee Department of Geography, with research interests in Critical GIS/GIS and Society, which aims to critically examine the intertwined relationships between GIS and society through the lens of various social theories. Specifically, Dr. Ghose's research examines ethical and legal issues related to "big geographic data" systems (such as GPS and RFID systems), as well as concerns of equitable access to GIS systems and data for citizen participation and activism.

Some of Dr. Ghose's recent publications and presentations include:    

2012. Ghose, R. “Qualitative GIS in Urban Justice Research”. Paper presentation at the International GIScience Conference, Columbus, Ohio, 18-21 September.
2012 Mukherjee, F. and Ghose, R. “Exploring the Complexities of Community Engaged GIS”, International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research. Vol.3, no. 4, 87-102.
2012 Day, P. and Ghose, R. “E-Planning through the Wisconsin Land Information Program: The Contexts of
Power, Politics and Scale”
. International Journal of E-Planning Research, vol. 1, no. 1, 75-89.

As a Senior Research Fellow at CIPR, Dr. Ghose will collaborate with CIPR Director Dr. Michael Zimmer on research projects projects related to GIS and society, especially focused on the ethical and policy dimensions of "big data" within the GIS context.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ghose at her October 19 lunch presentation on "Bridging the Geospatial Divide through Public Participation GIS". Details here.

Bidney to Lead American Geographical Society Library

August 14, 2012

Marcy Bidney

Marcy Bidney has been named Curator of the American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. She succeeds Christopher Baruth, who retired in 2011 with emeritus status after working at AGS Library for 31 years, including 16 years as Curator.

Bidney previously was Assistant Professor and Head of the Donald W. Hamer Maps Library, University Libraries, at Pennsylvania State University (2007-2012) and Unit Coordinator, Governmental and Legal Information Unit, and Maps/GIS Librarian, Leslie F. Malpass Library, at Western Illinois University (2003-2007).

She earned her MLIS, magna cum laude, from Drexel University; her MA, magna cum laude, in Geography/Urban Studies, from Temple University; and her BA, summa cum laude, in Geography, from Rowan University.

Bidney has published articles in the Journal of Map and Geography Libraries (“Can Coordinates in Catalog Records Be Useful?”), OCLC Systems and Services (“Creating the Virtual Map Drawer: Bridging the Gap between Spatial Data Infrastructures and Map Libraries”), and other journals, and has delivered numerous presentations at national and international conferences.

She has served on several editorial and advisory boards, including Resources for College Libraries, a cooperative project of the Association of College Libraries, Choice Magazine and Bowker (2009-present).

Bidney’s professional affiliations include the American Library Association (where she has served as Chair of the Map and Geography Roundtable, 2010-11, and Co-chair of the Government Documents Roundtable, 2008-2010); Cartographic Users Advisory Counsel (Co-chair, 2009-11); International Federation of Library Associations (Government Information and Official Publications Committee, Secretary, 2006-11); and Association of American Geographers.

UWM GIS Students Present Poster at Esri User Conference 2012

September 6, 2012

UWM students Michael Kavalar and Jay Feiker with their poster,
"Historic Streams in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Integrated
Regional Stormwater Management Program"
(not pictured, Will Mobley)

This year I was fortunate enough to be one of four UWM students to attend the International Esri User’s Conference in San Diego, CA. Most of the associated costs of attending the conference were funded through a grant the GIS club was awarded by the UWM Student Activities Fund. The group included Jason Glen Tilidetzke, the GIS club president, William Mobley, Michael Kavalar, and myself. Upon arriving at the San Diego Convention Center, it was clear this wasn’t your average convention. The scale itself was amazing; thousands gathered in one room with three movie screen size projections at the opening plenary session. The breadth of topics was equally large ranging from advanced geospatial statistics to proper labeling of maps.

On Monday evening, Michael, William, and I were lucky enough to present a poster we submitted in conjunction with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District at the Map Gallery Opening Reception. It was exciting to be a part of such a large and impressive event and see the reaction people had to our poster analyzing the connection of Historical Streams to current flooding in the Milwaukee Region. Once the sessions began on Tuesday the activity and buzz around the convention center really picked up. At any given time there may be over 30 sessions occurring, while hundreds of vendors and Esri staff are presenting ideas and offering solutions to any GIS issue fathomable. The hardest decision was where to spend your time. It was important to maintain a focus and a plan of where and what topics to explore as the possibilities were endless.

Our last day in San Diego was Wednesday, and we made sure to take advantage of all the opportunities that were made available to us. The pinnacle of these opportunities was an invite to the Team Water/Wastewater Pool Party. This proved to be an excellent networking event; in fact, I even had the chance to meet Jack Dangermond and share stories about our Urban Planning Department Chair, Bill Huxhold. In the end, this was an unforgettable and invaluable experience that I will always cherish.

--Jay Feiker

GIS Club Members attend Esri User Conference 2012

August 24, 2012

Jay Feiker, Jason Tilidetzke and Will Mobley
at the 2012 Esri User Conference

Through a UW-Milwaukee Student Activities Organization (SAO) travel grant, four UW-Milwaukee GIS students, Jay Feiker, Mike Kavalar, Will Mobley and I, were able to travel to San Diego for the 2012 Esri User Conference from Monday, July 23rd to Thursday, July 26th.

For anyone new to the conference, it can be overwhelming (but in a good way). When we arrived, the UC plenary session was in progress. Jack Dangermond was speaking to a max capacity audience. It was neat to see all the speakers; especially the SeaSketch project. There are so many informational and workshop sessions to attend, one must preemptively plan out exactly which sessions they will attend. The exhibit hall is where vendors showed off the latest advances in geo-spatial technologies. Additionally, Esri had stations to test their latest software (e.g., CityEngine, etc.), informational kiosks, and mini-sessions on GIS topics. The exhibit hall was filled with massive crowds; easily the busiest part of the conference. Oh, and let’s not forget the map room: hundreds of maps from GIS users across the world. It would take you hours to look at every map.

Emily Champagne, MMSD, and Jay Feiker chat with Esri founder
 Jack Dangermond.
After the daily conferences, our group would meet up with other GIS Wisconsinites at various places downtown. We had the chance to visit Petco Park (where the San Diego Padres play), Balboa Park and Coronado Island. Our last night there, we had the opportunity to attend a GIS party at the Hilton hotel: free food, drinks and appetizers for all conference attendees. Later that night, Jack Dangermond made an appearance, shaking hands and talking to random attendees. Jay Feiker was able to grab some of his time, explaining to him our group was from UW-Milwaukee. Immediately, Mr. Dangermond said, “do you know Bill Huxhold”? It was great to hear the founder of Esri knows UW-Milwaukee and Bill Huxhold.

Overall, I learned a lot from the conference. The sessions were extremely helpful in keeping us updated with current revelations in GIS. The way companies are utilizing GIS is mind-numbing. To talk with and see 15,000 people, all relating to GIS, was an unforgettable experience I hope to have again one day. I highly recommend anyone interested in GIS to go; it’s that good.

--Jason Tilidetzke

URISA GIS Hall of Fame inductee volunteers for a GSDI project in Russia

August 12, 2012 Original Story

Professor William Huxhold, chair and professor of Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee has been deployed to a GSDI mission in Chelyabinsk, Russia. A 2011 URISA GIS Hall of Fame inductee, Prof. Huxhold will be travelling to Chelyabinsk to present at a seminar at the South Ural State University on November 1-2. His lectures will include several GIS related topics including but not limited to: the history and current status of GIS in the US (at all levels), the role of universities in the GIS industry, an overview of land record management, Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and related standards, uses of remote sensing, and the state of various GIS datasets in the US.

Spring 2013 Update

For a complete recap of Prof. Huxhold's mission, please see:

Xu Receives Junior Faculty Award to UCGIS

May 29, 2012

Zengwang Xu, Assistant Professor of Geography, received an Esri junior faculty travel award to the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science 2012 Symposium, Building GIScience 2.0, in Washington, D.C. May 29 – June 1, 2012. He will present, “A social-spatial network study on academic networking in the AAG annual conferences, 2005-2012.”

Huxhold Awarded 2012 UCGIS Education Award

May 22, 2012
Original story by Laura L. Hunt, UW-Milwaukee Communications & Media Relations

Professor Bill Huxhold
William E. Huxhold, professor of urban planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), will be awarded the 2012 Education Award from the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) at its upcoming annual symposium to be held in Washington DC, May 30th to June 1st, 2012. The award recognizes Huxhold’s professional contributions of both national and international significance to GIS education.

A pioneer in the development of municipal applications, Huxhold helped develop the nation’s first computer graphics-based geographic information system for the City of Milwaukee.

He joined the UWM faculty full time in 1991, and developed one of the first university GIS programs. His book, “An Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems,” published by Oxford University Press in 1991, was the first textbook that focused specifically on the adoption and use of GIS for city management and governance.

Huxhold’s involvement in urban GIS education has helped thousands of GIS and planning students gain employment in city and county governments across the United States.

During his career, he has served the geospatial community, including terms as president of both the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and UCGIS, and on the board of the GIS Certification Institute, which he helped to establish. Last year, URISA inducted Huxhold into its GIS Hall of Fame.

Closer to home, he has worked tirelessly to foster GIS education in the Milwaukee Public Schools, to spread the use of GIS across the UWM campus, and to coordinate professional and university GIS activities in Wisconsin.

His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Dayton.

Established in 1995, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) is a nonprofit association of over 70 universities with multidisciplinary graduate education and research activities in geographic information science. UCGIS is a professional hub for the GIS research and education community and serves as a national voice to advocate for its members’ interests.