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Geospatial Forum

The Geospatial Forum brings together researchers, educators, practitioners and students of the geospatial data sciences in a series of lectures, studios and panels focused on important topics and cutting-edge techniques in geospatial analytics.

Ways to join the Forum:

Join us in person in 1216 Jordan Hall Addition (JHA) on select Fridays from 3-4pm ET. Refreshments will be served in 1214 JHA at 2:30pm.

Watch live online by visiting

Based on current NC State community standards as well as forum guest arrangements, we expect the Fall 2022 Geospatial Forum to be a mix of in-person and virtual delivery. We continue to monitor the situation with Covid-19 and will move to fully virtual if needed. Whether in person or virtual, all forums will be livestreamed during the semester.

Fall 2022 Events

Expand each event for more details.


Speaker: Dr. Eric Edwards (NC State)

Summary: Restoring natural resource access for Indigenous groups has become a recent policy focus. We combine satellite data and robust difference-in-difference methods to estimate the causal effect of water right settlements on Native American reservations in the western United States over 1974-2012. Settlements increase agricultural land use by 8% and have no effect on developed land use. Our estimates of tribal water use indicate that many tribes are utilizing only a fraction of their entitlements, forgoing as much as $938M-$1.8B in revenue. We provide evidence that this gap is driven by land tenure constraints and a lack of irrigation infrastructure.

About the speaker: Eric Edwards is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at NC State. His work on the economics of natural resource management has been funded by USDA, NOAA, and NSF. He runs North Carolina’s extension program in water economics, focusing on improving water quality and conservation in the state through economic incentives and markets. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics and Environmental Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Speakers: Profs. Sara Queen and Tania Allen (NC State)

Summary: This Forum presentation features research produced in DIY Cartography, a graduate-level research seminar at NC State’s College of Design from Spring 2022 led by Professors Tania Allen and Sara Queen, which examines the history of inequity in our built environment. The featured maps highlight the structural disparities of today overlaid with patterns of confederate memorial erection to expose a palimpsest of institutionalized and systemic racism.

The 2015 Charleston murder of 9 African American church members by a white supremacict initiated a public reckoning with the legacy of infrastructures that perpetuate racism across America. As the violence continued, most notably with the death of George Floyd, many asked fundamental questions about their own complicity in systems of oppression that fed Floyd’s murder and too many before. As part of this reckoning, there were loud calls for dismantling symbols of violence fundamental in the 2,474 confederate memorials scattered across the landscape. For us as designers purporting to create spaces “for all”, the memorials were an entry point to ask questions about how public spaces can be both inviting and hostile. Using data compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we began mapping attributes of the memorials, then broadened the study to include socio-economic, political, and environmental structures that support systemic racism through GIS, RAWGraphs, Tableau, and Adobe softwares. While confederate memorials are one of the most overt symbols, structures of oppression built into the fabric of this country run much deeper. The maps in this presentation overlay systemic disparities of today with patterns of memorial erection to expose a palimpsest of institutionalized racism beginning in structures of slavery, reformulated through the segregationalist policies of the Jim Crow Era, and reinforced by the reactionary legislation and social practices spanning the Civil Rights Era to today. With these insights, this collection of maps overlays memorial data with diverse measures of physical, societal, political, and economic structures that manifest and support systemic racism and ongoing oppression with aims to spark discussion and initiate change.

About the speakers: Sara Queen is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture teaching a range of undergraduate and graduate studios as well as advanced graduate research seminars. Sara was recently honored as the 2017 Emerging Professional by the North Carolina AIA Chapter for her extraordinary accomplishments in architectural design, design discourse, architectural education, and mentoring of the next generation of architects. Sara’s ongoing research investigates infrastructural networks through mapping methodologies with the goal of facilitating deeper, more diverse understandings of urban systems and the processes which shape physical place, cultural space and social territory. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences including the Architectural Research Centers Consortium and European Association for Architectural Education International Conference, the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture National Conference, and the East Midlands History and Philosophy Research Network International Conference. Sara received her Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from North Carolina State University and graduated with distinction in earning her Master in Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Tania Allen is an Associate Professor of Art and Design and Director of Graduate Programs in Art and Design. Tania received her BA in History from Washington Univesity in STL, a pre-graduate certificate in Visual Communication at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Graphic Design at NCSU. Her background in history, fine arts and graphic design shape her research and practice through using visualization as a tool by which to question historical and contemporary assumptions and knowledge. Through her practice, Tania has specifically focused on design as a catalyst for community engagement, using it as a participatory and co-creative process that helps community members take ownership of core social issues, and work to make change from the ground up.

Along with Sara Queen, Tania is the co-director of the design research group co-lab, which focuses on critical mapping as a participatory design research tool. Currently, co-lab’s focus is on developing a methodology for critical mapping that simultaneously embraces cartography as a powerful analytic and synthetic research tool, while also challenging the assumptions that the mapping and visualization process embeds within it. Recent publications have included “Beyond the Map: Unpacking Critical Cartography in the Digital Humanities” in Visible Language (Fall 2015), co-authored with Sara Queen. She is also the author of Solving Critical Design Problems: Theory and Practice published by Routledge in 2019.


Speaker: Austin Stone (Planet Labs)

Summary: The space industry is undergoing a rapid transformation, one that allows us to see our world like never before. Planet Labs is a revolutionary satellite image provider, capturing the Earth’s landmass at a near-daily pace. Not only are these images being collected daily but they consist of a 3.5-meter spatial resolution and contain eight channels of multispectral information. This unique dataset offers a variety of opportunities to explore Earth like never before. Come join us to learn more about Planet Labs, satellite imagery, Planet platforms and a demonstration of the Planet Explorer platform! What would you study with daily imagery?

About the speaker: Austin Stone is Customer Success Manager for Education and Research at Planet Labs. In this role he gets the opportunity to engage and work with researchers around the world who are using Planet imagery. He has a BS in Geography and is currently obtaining his MSc in Geography from the University of Georgia, primarily focusing in remote sensing of landscape agricultural and statistical scaling techniques for biophysical parameters. Austin also has experience working with NASA, USDA, and USAID on a variety of remote sensing projects that link satellite imagery and in-situ/social observations in various application areas.


Speaker: Dr. Rachel Levy (NC State)

Summary: Forthcoming.

About the speaker: Dr. Rachel Levy is a Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics at NC State, and she is the inaugural Executive Director of NC State’s Data Science Academy.


Speaker: Dr. Xun Shi (Dartmouth)

Summary: Forthcoming.

About the speaker: Dr. Xun Shi is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography at Dartmouth College.


Speaker: Dr. Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño (Microsoft)

Summary: Forthcoming.

About the speaker: Dr. Bruno Nuño is the Director of Microsoft’s “Planetary Computer” and “AI for Earth” Programs.

Watch Recordings on YouTube

Geospatial Forums are recorded and posted with closed captioning on the Center’s YouTube channel.

Join the Geospatial Forum listserv

Subscribe to receive email announcements about upcoming events; simply send an email to John Vogler ( with the subject line “Add to Geospatial Forum listserv.” You can also add the Geospatial Forum calendar to your Google Calendar.