Category Archives: News

Open Source GIS Training Course at Hunter College, January 2016 Edition

I’ll be offering the one-week professional training course on Open Source GIS again through Hunter College Continuing Education. It will be running from January 25–29, 2016. We have changed the content of the course a bit, so that each day is a self-contained unit, and participants can book individual days if they are only interested in specific topics – or book the full week to get the full FOSS GIS treatment. This is the schedule:

  • Monday: QGIS. Hands-on introduction to the most popular FOSS desktop GIS, covering setup, data management, spatial analysis, map design, digitizing, the plugin ecosystem, and integration with other FOSS GIS software.
  • Tuesday: PostGIS. Introduction to the spatial extension to the popular PostgreSQL database. Participants will learn how to set up and use PostGIS as the central data storage in their GIS software stack, how to connect it to other software, and how to query the database using SQL.
  • Wednesday: Geospatial Python. General introduction to the Python programming language with a specific focus on its capabilities for processing and analyzing geographic information, including automating GIS workflows, raster and vector data processing, and geocoding.
  • Thursday: Web Mapping. Introduction to the development of interactive web maps using online services such as·CartoDB·and·MapBox, as well as JavaScript libraries such as Leaflet and OpenLayers.
  • Friday: Web Services. Introduction to Geospatial web services including OGC services such as the Web Map Service and the Web Feature Service, as well as tile services that deliver base maps for interactive web maps. Participants will learn how these different kinds of web services work and practice how to set up and configure different kinds of web services.

Head over to the Hunter Continuing Education website for information on prerequisites, pricing, and signup.

SublimeText and LaTeXTools on El Capitan

I find myself using Atom for most of my text editing these days, but for LaTeX editing I still rely on SublimeText. This is mostly because of the excellent LaTeXTools plugin that makes LaTeX editing really convenient in Sublime. Unfortunately, updating OS X to El Capitan broke this setup. It took me a while to figure out how to fix this, so here’s the short story:

  1. Download and install MacTex 2015.
  2. In Sublime, go to Tools > Command Palette, look for LateXTools: Reconfigure and migrate settings, and hit enter to execute the command.

That’s it. This will update LaTeXTools with the new path of the LaTeX executables, which had to be moved around due to new restrictions on the /usr directory introduced in El Capitan. Just be aware that this will overwrite any customizations that you may have added to your LaTeXTools setup.

Tenure Track Faculty Positions at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center

The Environmental CrossRoads Initiative at The City University of New York’s Advanced Science Research Center invites applications for full-time, tenure-track faculty members at any rank.

We seek outstanding scientists who have a demonstrated capacity to engage in interdisciplinary field, laboratory, and synthesis research on human-ecosystem interactions, with an emphasis on urban and human-dominated regional systems. Applications are welcome in the areas of: state-of-the-art environmental sensing including novel instrumentation development and deployment, coupled with integrative, synthesis-oriented environmental research. The position seeks to catalyze innovation in urban systems research and applications within the CUNY Environmental CrossRoads Initiative.

Individuals filling these positions are expected to serve major roles in the research and education programs of the ASRC, along with the teaching missions of one of the colleges within the CUNY system.


Candidates are expected to have advanced degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent) in environmental sciences or engineering: ecology, biogeochemistry, energy analysis, urban systems, systems analysis.

Expertise in one or more of the following areas is sought: urban and regional metabolism (materials, water and energy – stocks, flows, processes); environmental biogeochemistry across land-atmosphere-water media; energy systems analysis; large scale observatory design using sensor networks and in situ instrumentation; remote sensing over local, regional, and larger domains; data integration, simulation, and/or geospatial modeling; interdisciplinary thinking and synthesis.

Also required are the ability to teach successfully, demonstrated scholarship or achievement, and ability to cooperate with others for the good of the institution. Successful candidates will have academic appointments at one of the senior CUNY colleges.

Final faculty ranks will be determined by the qualifications and experience of successful candidates, with our primary criteria being a demonstrated commitment to research and teaching.

How to apply

Applicants should electronically submit 1) a curriculum vitae, 2) a 1-2 page cover letter summarizing research accomplishments, future directions and views on interdisciplinary research, and 3) a brief (3 page max) description of proposed research. Applicants should also arrange to have at least three letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf to the Environmental CrossRoads Search Committee c/o Charles Vörösmarty. Please submit all materials at, Job# 6239. All application materials must be received by November 30, 2015.

For more information, please see our website at or contact Dr. Charles Vörösmarty ( or Dr. Anthony Cak (

The City University of New York (CUNY) is committed to enhancing our diverse academic community by actively encouraging people with disabilities, minorities, veterans, and women to apply. We take pride in our pluralistic community and continue to seek excellence through diversity and inclusion. EO/AA Employer.

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.