Category Archives: News

Opportunities for PhD Students at CUNY


The Ph.D. program in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the City University of New York has the following opportunities for Ph.D. students entering the Fall Semester of 2016:

  • Up to four Graduate Center Fellowships for qualified candidates. This fellowship provides students with tuition and $25,000 each year for the first five years of study. The fellowship consists of a $23,000 stipend in the Fall and Spring semesters, a $2,000 summer research stipend, a graduate assistantship, a tuition award, and eligibility for low-cost individual or family NYSHIP health insurance.
  • One or more five-year Presidential MAGNET Fellowships for qualified candidates. This fellowship is awarded to incoming students from underrepresented groups who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It comprises an annual stipend of $24,000, a graduate assistantship, tuition and fees, and eligibility for low cost health care insurance. The fellowship covers full in-state tuition for five years; for the first year, out-of-state students receive an additional tuition supplement covering up to 12 credits per semester. Fellows also receive a $1,000 start up stipend in the first year to help with the costs of beginning doctoral studies; during the third year Fellows receive a $1,500 research/travel stipend to help lay the ground work for the dissertation project.
  • Up to two Science Fellowships which provide $24,000 per year for two years, and in-state tuition to students in the first ten semesters they are registered. In many instances, in years three through five, faculty grants supplement Science Fellowships.

These fellowships are competitive and will be given to the most qualified students.

Deadline for applications is December 15, 2015.

For more information go to the program web site at:

Students interested in GIScience research topics should contact Sean C. Ahearn, Jochen Albrecht, or myself.

New publications

I’ve got some new papers coming up:

  • Carsten Keßler (forthcoming) OpenStreetMap. In Shashi Shekhar and Hui Xiong, Encyclopedia of GIS, 2nd edition. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany (accepted).
  • Carsten Keßler (2015) Using the Web as a Data Source: Challenges for Linked Science. In: 5th Workshop on Linked Science 2015— Best Practices and the Road Ahead (LISC2015). October 12, 2015, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. Collocated with the 14th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2015).
  • Carsten Keßler, Ling Ren, and Simon Ayzman (2015) Privacy-Preserving Contagious Disease Tracking. In: Spatial Information for Human Health. University of California, Santa Barbara, December 9–12, 2015.

1 week Free and Open Source GIS Training Course at Hunter College, Summer 2015 Edition

This time, the course will be running from June 22–26, 2015:

This five day course will span the entire range of GIS data capturing, management, analysis, and visualization of geographic information using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). These different elements of the GIS workflow will be discussed over the first four days and will then be applied in a final project completed on Friday. The course will combine lectures with hands-on sessions where participants will work with different free and open source GIS packages. Computers and server space to run the exercises will be provided. Participants will be issued a certificate of participation upon successful completion of their final projects. Since we expect participants from different organizations in the tri-state area, this training course also presents an excellent networking opportunity.

Head over to the Hunter College Continuing Education website for the details and registration.

André Skupin presenting at CUNY Graduate Center

Knowledge Visualization: From Abstract Space to Real Impact

When: Friday, May 1, 2015, 12:30‐13:30
Where: Rm C415A, Concourse Level, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York

Abstract: In recent years, visualization has solidly established itself within the mainstream of contemporary society. From social media platforms to news outlets and academic publication channels, information is now routinely presented in highly engaging visual forms, often interactive and driven by live data. Whereas this has traditionally been applied to geographically referenced data and statistical, tabular data, displayed as cartographic maps and in various types of graphs, one now increasingly encounters so‐called knowledge visualizations. These are derived from either the content of knowledge artifacts, such as books and newspapers, or the explicit and implicit structures encountered among artifacts and those that produce or consume them, such as when the connections among social media users or co‐citations among academic articles are being mapped. The presentation will highlight how centuries‐old geographic thinking and cartographic principles and even GIS technology remain relevant today in the pursuit of novel visual expressions of abstract data. This will include numerous visual examples for a wide range of domains and data, from thousands of hospital records to millions of biomedical research articles, tagged music items, climate change records, or the history of Ebola coverage in scientific versus news publications. The presentation will also reflect on efforts to leverage knowledge visualization into generating societal impact, with strategies that include academic and commercial efforts and the building of a network of strategic partnerships in academia, government, and industry.

Bio: Dr. André Skupin is the Founder and Co‐Director of the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS) at San Diego State University. He combines a classic cartographic education and 20+ years of experience with the GIS market in the U.S., Europe, and South Africa with long‐standing interests in geovisualization, visual data mining and spatio‐temporal modeling. He has developed methods for analyzing human mobility, demographic change, and environmental sensor data in attribute space. Dr. Skupin is also known for his novel approaches to knowledge visualization, where much of his research has addressed how knowledge artifacts can be analyzed by combining traditionally disparate approaches from natural language processing, artificial neural networks and cartography. As Associate Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the University of Dubai and Co‐Founder of a knowledge management start‐up, Dr. Skupin has a strong interest in accelerated transition of technological innovation into diverse application areas, from biomedical knowledge management to financial analytics, demography, crime analysis, and environmental monitoring.

CFP: Workshop on Semantics and Analytics for Emergency Response (SAFE2015)

When: May 24, 2015
Where: Kristiansand, Norway
Collocated with the The 12th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM2015)
Workshop URI:
Submission Deadline: February 9, 2015. 23:59pm Hawaii Time
Submissions via:
Notifications: March 2nd, 2015

Emergencies require massive coordinated efforts from various departments, government organizations and public bodies to help and assist affected communities. Responders must rapidly gather information, determine where to deploy resources and make prioritization decisions regarding how best to deal with an evolving situation. Sharing accurate, real time and contextual information between different agencies, organizations and individuals is therefore crucial to developing good situation awareness for emergency responders. However, with the involvement of multiple organizations and agencies, each with their own response protocols, knowledge practices and knowledge representations, sharing critical information is considerably more difficult. Applying semantic technologies to represent information can provide excellent means for effectively sharing and using data within different organizations. Using highly structured, self-descriptive pieces of information, interlinked with multiple data resources can help develop a unified and accurate understanding of an evolving scenario. This provides an excellent framework for developing applications and technologies that are highly generic, reproducible and extendible to different regions, conditions, and scenarios. In addition, the semantic descriptions of data can enable new forms of analyses on this data, such as checking for inconsistencies, verifying developments according to planned scenarios, or trying to discover interesting semantically meaningful patterns in data. Such analytics can be performed either in real-time as the scenario unfolds, e.g., through semantic stream processing and event detection techniques, or as an after-action analysis to learn from past events.

SAFE2015 targets the intersection between Semantic Web and Linked Data, and the field of information systems for Emergency Response. The focus is on the use of semantic technologies to gather, share and integrate knowledge, as well as for supporting novel methods for analyzing such information, in order to provide better situation awareness, decision support, and potential for after-action reviews. This full-day workshop will be highly interactive, including presentations, demos, poster discussions, group work sessions, and road-mapping activities. We invite submissions in the form of research papers, demonstrations and poster papers, related to the workshop topics listed below.

Workshop topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Semantic Annotation and Mining, for understanding the content and context of both static sources and streaming data, such as social media streams.
  • Integration of unstructured or semi-structured data with Linked Data.
  • Interactive Interfaces and visual analytics methodologies for managing multiple large-scale, dynamic, evolving datasets, while exploiting their underlying semantics.
  • Vocabularies, ontologies and ontology design patterns for modelling, managing, sharing and analysing information in the Security and Emergency Response domains.
  • Stream reasoning and event detection over RDF streams.
  • Collaborative tools and services for citizens, organisations, communities, which exploit semantic technologies, and/or produce semantically well-specified information, such as Linked Data.
  • Privacy, ethics, trustworthiness and legal issues in the social Semantic Web and the use of semantic technologies, such as Linked Data.
  • Use case analysis, with specific interest for use cases that involve the application of semantic technologies and Linked Data methodologies in real-life scenarios.


The workshop welcomes submissions describing novel research, both verified results as well as work in progress and system demonstrations.

Submission categories:

  • Full research papers, up to 10 pages.
  • Position papers, up to 5 pages.
  • Demos & Posters, up to 4 pages.

Paper submissions will have to be formatted in the Springer LNCS style. Submissions are made using EasyChair
( Papers will be published as online proceedings, e.g. in CEUR-WS.

Workshop organizers

Eva Blomqvist, Linköping University, Sweden
Tomi Kauppinen, Aalto University, Finland
Vita Lanfranchi, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Carsten Kessler, Hunter College–CUNY, USA
Suvodeep Mazumdar, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

1-week professional training course on Open Source GIS at Hunter College, NYC

After our first course in August, we received lots of positive feedback and inquiries about future iterations of the course, so here we go:

January 19–23, 2015, 9 AM to 5 PM

The Department of Geography at Hunter College of the City University of New York and Hunter Continuing Education are offering a five day professional course in Open Source GIS. This five day course will span the entire range of GIS data capture, management, analysis, and visualization of geographic information using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). These different elements of the GIS workflow will be discussed over the first four days and will then be applied in a final project completed on Friday. The course will combine lectures with hands-on sessions where participants will work with different free and open source GIS packages. Since we expect participants from many different organizations in the tri-state area, this training course also presents an excellent networking opportunity.

The course is designed for experienced GIS users who want to broaden their skill set with expertise in the ever-growing world of free and open source GIS. Participants are expected to have a technical background and an interest in developing comprehensive workflows using multiple software components. While we do not require any programming experience, we will be working on the command line and developing some small scripts. Participants should be eager to master these valuable skills.

Carson Farmer and Carsten Kessler are Associate Directors of the Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information (CARSI Lab) and Assistant Professors for Geographic Information Science in the Department of Geography at Hunter College ‐ CUNY.

Carson has been working with open source GIS projects, including as core developer for QGIS, since 2007. His research interests revolve around movements and flows of individuals, information, and commodities within urban environments, and the development and implementation of novel spatial analysis methods and software aimed at characterizing these flows.

Carsten has extensive experience in projects around open data and the exchange of geographic information, both in international research projects and as a consultant. His research interests are in the areas of information integration, volunteered geographic information, emergency management, and collaborative and participatoryGIS.

Both instructors will be present for the duration of the course to support the participants in the hands-on exercises.

Location, registration and fees
The course will be held at the Department of Geography’s computer lab in the Hunter North building at Lexington and 68th Street, Manhattan. Registration fee for this course is $1800 and includes access to computers and server space to run the exercises.

For more detailed information or to register, visit or contact the Hunter Continuing Education office at 212-650-3850 or .

GeoPrivacy’14 Proceedings

The proceedings of our 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Privacy in Geographic Information Collection and Analysis have been published online:

We had a great workshop last week, with interesting discussions that showed how pressing the issue of privacy in geographic information is, and that there is still a lot to do. We are already planning some follow-up activities, so stay posted.