Call for Papers: Public Participation and Digital Geographies

American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2017
Boston, MA, April 5-9

Organizers: Jerry Shannon, Ian Rossiter, and Dorris Scott, Community Mapping Lab, University of Georgia

Work in Public Participatory GIS (PPGIS) and Participatory GIS (PGIS) has for many years emphasized the need for deep community engagement as an aspect of quantitative spatial analysis. The increasing ubiquity of big data, volunteered geographic information (VGI), open data and software and mobile and web based GIS systems has significantly shaped these efforts, allowing for new forms of collaboration and community based data collection. With increased use of VGI data from social media and similar sources, however, non-academics may also become increasingly marginalized within the research process.
For this call, we envision a session or series of sessions about the future of participatory spatial analysis, one that creatively makes use of new and emerging forms of data collection, analysis, and distribution or finds new uses for traditional methods. Presenters should be engaged in work that substantively engages with groups outside the academy–local/regional governments, non-profits, neighborhood organizations, or other similar actors. We welcome presentations about work at all stages of the research process and from a variety of geographic contexts. 

Possible topics include:
Open source/low cost software for mobile data collection and analysis
Tools for hosting and visualizing open datasets
Processes and software allowing for collaborative planning
Mixed methods research/qualitative GIS
Participatory research using crowdsourced data
Roadblocks and pitfalls of using mobile data collection and VGI in community engagement
Reworking/augmenting/hybridizing “traditional” PPGIS techniques
Best practices for community engagement with mobile data collection

To apply for this session, email a presentation abstract (250 word limit) by October 15, 2016 to Ian Rossiter or Dorris Scott All accepted participants will be required to register for the conference and submit the pin number for your abstract to the organizers by October 27, 2016.

Call for Papers Aging, Health, and Health Care

Call for Papers: 2017 AAG Annual Meeting, Boston (April 5-9, 2017)

Mark Rosenberg, Queen’s University
Kyle Plumb, Queen’s University
Jessica Finlay, University of Minnesota

Due to the widespread aging of populations coupled with social policy directives such as aging in place, there is a growing need to address the relationship(s) between the dynamic environments where healthcare is provided and the changing face of the people who occupy them. Geographers are well suited to address this need due to the inherent sensitivity to the ways that people and their health outcomes are shaped by the physical, social and psychological aspects of places and vice versa. This session is intended to provide a forum for perspectives of the complex transactions between people, place and health as well how these are further augmented as we age. To this end, emergent concepts and themes in health geography and aging as well as their application to the environments where health care takes place including the home, the hospital and long-term care facilities will be the focus of this session. 

Call for Papers Uncertainty and Context in Geography and GIScience

For updates and modifications for this call.

Uncertainty and Context in Geography and GIScience

AAG Annual Meeting, Boston, April 5-9, 2017

Uncertainty and context pose fundamental challenges in geographic research and GIScience. Geospatial data are imbued with error (e.g., measurement and sampling error), and understanding of the effects of contextual influences on human behavior and experience are often obfuscated by various types of uncertainty (e.g., contextual uncertainties, algorithmic uncertainties, and uncertainty arising from different spatial scales and zonal schemes). Identifying the “true causally relevant” spatial and temporal contexts that influence people’s behavior and experience is thus also challenging, since people move around in their daily lives and over their life courses and experience the influences of many different contexts. To generate reliable geographic knowledge, these uncertainties and contextual issues need to be addressed.

This theme within the 2017 AAG Annual Meeting will explore research frontiers and advances in theory, method, and research practice that address the challenges of uncertainty and context in geography and GIScience. We welcome papers from all disciplines, subfields and perspectives (e.g., geography, public health, sociology, transportation, urban studies, etc.). Topics may include but are not limited to:

– uncertainty and context: advances in theory and methods

– uncertainty and error assessment

– error propagation and modeling

– quality of geospatial data

– big data, algorithmic uncertainties, and algorithmic geographies

– the uncertain geographic context problem (UGCoP)

– the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP)

– advances in the conceptualization and assessment of the neighborhood effect

– improving assessments of exposures to physical and social environments and health

– exposure monitoring utilizing real-time interactive GPS/GIS methods

– relational understanding of context and uncertainty

– human mobility and contextual uncertainties

– cumulative contextual influences over the life course

– social networks as individual and social context

– uncertainty in spatial pattern detection

– incorporating uncertainty in spatial modeling

To participate in this theme, please submit your abstract at When you receive confirmation of a successful abstract submission, please then forward this confirmation to: GeoContext [at] aag [dot] org. The abstract deadline is October 27, 2016.

For more information, please visit, or contact members of the theme’s organizing committee at GeoContext [at] aag [dot] org.

Scientific Committee


Mei-Po Kwan (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Daniel Griffith (University of Texas at Dallas), Michael Goodchild (University of California, Santa Barbara), Tim Schwanen (University of Oxford)

Committee members:

Ling Bian (University of Buffalo)

Xiang Chen (Arkansas Tech University)

Yongwan Chun (University of Texas at Dallas)

Eric Delmelle (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

Michael Emch (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Nina Lam (University of Louisiana)

Jing Ma (Beijing Normal University)

Jeremy Mennis (Temple University)

Douglas Richardson (American Association of Geographers)

John Shi (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

Xun Shi (Dartmouth University)

Kathleen Stewart (University of Maryland)

Yonette Thomas (American Association of Geographers)

Paul Torrens (New York University)

Shaowen Wang (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Michael Widener (University of Cincinnati)

David Wong (George Mason University)

Chaowei Yang (George Mason University)

Eun-Hye Enki Yoo (University at Buffalo, State University of New York)

Postdoctoral Fellowship at FSU

Climate change is exacerbating existing health problems and disparities.  Older adults, young children, people with disabilities, poor households, communities of color, and people working in specific occupations may face disproportionate risks. Public health departments are at the front lines of responding and adapting to climate change.  Unfortunately, there is limited evidence evaluating the efficacy of interventions such as public education campaigns, early warning systems, or personal protective measures.  

The Postdoctoral Fellow will work with county health departments and at-risk populations to carry out and evaluate climate change interventions.  The resulting work will be developed into  a climate change adaptation plan for the health sector.  The work will evaluate both the process of developing the plan and the project’s outcomes such as improvements to public health.   A PhD is required.  Preference will be given to applicants whose work focuses on Evaluation and/or Epidemiology.  The fellow will work with an interdisciplinary team of investigators trained in Geography, Public Health, Urban Planning, and the Atmospheric Sciences.  

The position begins ~January 2017. The position term is for one year but is renewable for up to four years, contingent on satisfactory progress.  Salary and benefits are competitive.  FSU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants, including women and minorities, are encouraged to apply.  Consideration of applications will begin on November 1st, 2016 and continue until the position is filled.  To apply, please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae to:  The position will be co-supervised by Profs. Tisha Holmes and Christopher Uejio.  For more information about their research activities please visit .  

HMGSG 2016 Award Winners

Congratulations to all the recipients of the competition and scholarship awards!

The Melinda S. Meade Distinguished Scholarship Award in Health and Medical Geography
Dr. Mei-Po Kwan
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC)

The Emerging Scholar Award in Health and Medical Geography
Dr. Kirsten Beyer
Division of Epidemiology, Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Dr. Paul Mkandawire
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Jacques May Thesis Prize
Doctoral level
Dr. Peng Jia
Louisiana State University

Master level
Lea Ravensbergen-Hodgins
University of Toronto

Peter Gould Paper Competition
Undergraduate level
Claire Hofius,

Graduate level
Sandy Wong
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC)

Melinda S. Meade Graduate Student Travel Award:
Yanjia Cao
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland

Emily Rugel
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia

2016 AAG HMGSG Related Sessions


1124 Health Geography, Medical Humanities, and Narrative Medicine I: 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Imperial A, Hilton Hotel, Ballroom Level

1224 Health Geography, Medical Humanities, and Narrative Medicine II: 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Imperial A, Hilton Hotel, Ballroom Level

1521 HMGSG Peter Gould Student Paper Competition: 2:40 PM – 4:20 PM in Franciscan B, Hilton Hotel, Ballroom Level

1621 HMGSG Award Special Session: 4:40 PM – 6:20 PM in Franciscan B, Hilton Hotel, Ballroom Level


2177 Modeling exposure to pollutants and associated health effects: 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Athens North, Marker Hotel, Lower Level

2264 AAG – ISUH Opening Session: Global health and the environment I: Research: 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Nikko Ballroom I, Hotel Nikko, 3rd Floor

2269 GIS for Health and the Environment Using Social Media and Crowdsourcing Data:
10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Carmel I, Hotel Nikko, 3rd Floor

2233 Population Health: 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Union Square 6, Hilton Hotel, 4th Floor

2464 AAG – ISUH Opening Session: Global health and the environment II: Research Funding & Policy Outreach: 1:20 PM – 3:00 PM in Nikko Ballroom I, Hotel Nikko, 3rd Floor

2539 Understanding and preventing non-communicable diseases: 3:20 PM – 5:00 PM in Union Square 12, Hilton Hotel, 4th Floor

2562 Spatial and eco-epidemiological modeling: 3:20 PM – 5:00 PM in Mendocino I, Hotel Nikko, 2nd Floor

2605 Modeling and preventing infectious diseases: 5:20 PM – 7:00 PM in Golden Gate 5, Hilton Hotel, Lobby Level


3129 Historical Spatial Epidemiology Panel: 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Union Square 2, Hilton Hotel, 4th Floor

3270 Healthcare services: access and participation: 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Carmel II, Hotel Nikko, 3rd Floor

3349 Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group Business Meeting: 11:50 AM – 1:10 PM in Union Square 22, Hilton Hotel, 4th Floor


4163 Health and transportation: 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Mendocino II, Hotel Nikko, 2nd Floor

4562 GIScience and disease mapping: 3:20 PM – 5:00 PM in Mendocino I, Hotel Nikko, 2nd Floor


5169 Spatial statistics and disease mapping: 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Carmel I, Hotel Nikko, 3rd Floor

5224 Spatializing Health: Geography, GIScience and Urban Health: 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Imperial A, Hilton Hotel, Ballroom Level

5269 Spatial distribution of disease: 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Carmel I, Hotel Nikko, 3rd Floor

HMGSG Leadership Nomination

Voting will take place at our Group Business Meeting on 3/31/2016, from 11:50 AM – 1:10 PM in Union Square 22, Hilton Hotel, 4th Floor.


Dr. Michael J. Widener for the Vice Chair (Dr. Widener is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto – St. George.

I am pleased to run for the vice-chair position of the Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group (HMGSG) of the AAG. I began my current position as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto – St. George in 2015, after spending three years as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Cincinnati. I graduated with my PhD in 2012 from SUNY-Buffalo, my MS in 2009 from Florida State University, and my BA in 2007 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My current research is focused largely on how transportation and urban structure affect the health and well-being of city residents. In particular, I have published numerous papers on how spatiotemporal context and time pressure affect access to food retailers, and am currently investigating how these accessibility landscapes are related to food purchasing behaviors and nutrition. Other papers and projects involve older adults’ oral health, helicopter emergency medical services transport, and the relationship between peer-density and health outcomes. I am an active member in both the Health and Transportation Subcommittee and the Social and Economic Factors Committee in the National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board, and also frequent reviewer of papers for academic journals related to health, geography, and transportation. I have also been a board member of the AAG’s HMGSG since 2014 (term ending 2016). If elected vice-chair for the HMGSG I would be excited to continue serving the specialty group. Having served on the board, I have an excellent understanding of the specialty group’s mission and goals. One of these goals is to refresh the group’s web presence, establishing a space for health and medical geographers, from across the world, to learn more about each other’s work, as well as to promote the specialty group’s various activities and awards. I would work with the two newly appointed webmasters to make this happen. Additionally, I would like to work toward increasing the number of nominations we receive for our awards. Currently, the number of theses, dissertations, and other nominations is relatively low. With the chair of the HMGSG, I hope to make these awards more competitive through various methods of outreach and advertisement.


Dr. Xiang Chen for the at-large Board Membership (Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor at the Arkansas Tech University):

My name is Xiang Chen and I am an Assistant Professor at the Arkansas Tech University. I received my B.S. (2007) and M.S (2009) in resource science from Beijing Normal University, China, and Ph.D. (2014) in geography from The Ohio State University. With a professional training centered on Geographical Information Systems (GIS), I have a keen interest in exploring how GIS could be well utilized to serve a healthy community in areas of environmental health and food security. This thread of research has generated multiple publications in respective health and geography journals (e.g., American Journal of Public Health) as well as the 2015 Jacques May Thesis Prize from the HMGSG. I have been an active HMGSG member since I joined the AAG. During the two-year experience serving as a board member for the AAG Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group, I have had the privilege to network with many leading geographers and community advocators who had a shared interest in addressing food and health issues facing the country. These issues could only be remedied by a collaborative effort between scholars and practitioners. I would like to extend my sense of determination and my professional service to AAG as a HMGSG at-large board member, if elected; and I will strive to bridge the gap between fellow geographers and health practitioners through creative activities, such as field trips and publication opportunities. Additionally, I will continue to advocate for increasing HMGSG membership through my professional networks and years of experience as a web developer.

Mr. Diego Pons for the Student Board Membership (Mr. Pons is a PhD Student/Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Denver):

The reason I want to be part of the Graduate Student Board is because I believe my background (BS Biology, MPH and currently PhD student in Geography studying climate change) can bring together an interdisciplinary approach to the challenges that we face now  regarding global health. If elected  as a Graduate Student Board member, I will promote this approach by trying to bring together different disciplines among other graduate students and professionals so that the synergies created by interdisciplinary research can move forward our knowledge on health and benefit those communities who need it the most. For instance, my expertise on vector-borne diseases has greatly benefited from my current skills on climate variability assessment. Moreover, the availability of fine-resolution satellites imagery, opens a whole new spectrum of potential research related to health, from vector-borne diseases to social patterns of spatial agglomeration, food production  and crime assessment all of which are relevant to health in a fast-pace changing world. Being a Guatemalan, I also stand for underrepresented minorities  in the health field. My research has always taken place in Guatemala where, as a tropical, poor country the challenges on health issues are  seen everywhere, from the new incidence of chronic diseases all the way to vector-borne ones and “traditional” food insecurity issues and infectious diseases. I want to be able to promote what has been called as “the next step” among several disciplines, that is, to bridge the gap between our knowledge and how to apply it to a particular social context. I plan to do this by organizing sessions at our annual meetings that bring together different professionals with different backgrounds,  posting available funding and internships for research (specially in Latinamerica) and by delivering any other responsibility that the Graduate Student Board member should provide.

Mr. Daniel Ervin for the Student Board Membership (Mr. Ervin is a PhD Candidate (ABD) at the Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara):

I received a B.A. in psychology from George Washington University in 2002 after which I worked in non-profit and public health for a number of years before returning to school to earn my M.A. in Geography from the University of Wyoming. I am currently a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My dissertation examines the diet and diet-related health of recent Latino migrants to California, exploring the role of migrants’ current and origin locations and migration histories to determine whether experiencing different places (or types of places) has significant effects on health outcomes. The project integrates three distinct data collection methods: A survey, anthropometric measures of health, and stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) of hair samples, an emerging technique for dietary and geographic research. My research interests can be placed in three themes: the relationship between place, space, migration, and health, Human-Environment Dynamics, especially as they relate to agriculture and health, and improving geographic and health research methods. My geographic areas of interest are the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. Within this subgroup I am interested in advancing the importance of geography in the study of non-communicable diseases. I am running for the position of Student Board Membership in order to increase graduate student involvement in the organization, and to be a voice for student interests. The HMGSG is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic subgroups in the AAG. As we continue to progress it is important to keep graduate students involved in the organization. HMGSG has done an excellent job of this so far and I hope to build upon that work.  I have communicated with David Lamb (outgoing student board member) and I believe I have good understanding of the duties of the student board and can accomplish them. I can apply previous experience to the student awards committee, as I have served on several similar committees at my home institution. Outside of the normal duties, I would like to continue the success of the subgroup by increasing outreach, communication, and promotion to current and potential graduate student members. I believe that my non-profit work experience will play a valuable role in this as I worked in development, and specifically focused on attracting and retaining membership in an NGO for several years. Please feel free to contact me with any question about my qualifications (or anything else) at Thank you for your consideration.

Amanda Weber for the Graduate Student Board Member position (Ms. Weber is a PhD Student and Graduate Teaching Associate at Oklahoma State University):

My name is Amanda Weber and I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University. I currently teach Cultural Geography and have taught physical geography in the past. My research interest focuses on spatial epidemiology and medical geography. My dissertation research will examine quarantine, isolation, and hospital preparedness in terms of an infectious disease event in the United States. I am currently the Gamma Theta Upsilon Chi Chapter Vice President. I hold a masters degree in liberal studies from the College of Staten Island (CUNY) and a bachelors in physical anthropology from the University at Buffalo (SUNY). I also hold a certificate of specialization in forensic anthropology. My background and my research are interdisciplinary, which makes me a good candidate for the HMGSG Graduate Student Board Member position. As co-organizer for the historical spatial epidemiology panel at this year’s AAG conference, I, along with my fellow co-organizers, are attempting to bridge the gap of various disciplines of both graduate students and professionals in a space that promotes the exchange of ideas and the potential for future collaborations. If elected as the HMGSG Graduate Student Board Member, I will promote further the interactions and collaborations of graduate students and professionals to advance our understanding of health and disease.  After completing my graduate work, I plan to seek a teaching and research position as I view fieldwork and the opportunity for student research experience as an integral component of the learning process. I am especially interested in teaching courses in medical/health geography, disease ecology, public health policy, and physical or medical anthropology.

Marynia A. Kolak for the Graduate Student Board Member position (Ms. Kolak is a PhD Candidate in Geography at the GeoDa Center at Arizona State University):

Her research interests are spatial analysis and health geography, with a focus on population-level program and policy evaluation. Reducing health and economic inequalities serve as core goals of many proposed place-based policies; incorporating spatial tools and geographic principles are thus essential to the evaluation process. She uses spatial econometrics and statistics to consider how selection bias and treatment heterogeneity can be accounted for in quasi-experimental causal research designs. Her dissertation work proposes a spatial data science framework for evaluation applications, with space serving as the place for integration of research design and methodology, data infrastructure, and decision-making. As an integral aspect of community engagement, she collaborates with the Chicago Department of Public Health and community organizations to develop and improve integrated civic technology systems for data exploration and more effective analysis. Previous work includes a spatiotemporal analysis of food accessibility in Chicago; engaging her students in a Humanitarian Mapathon for outbreak relief efforts, as part of their final projects; serving as the first graduate student association Wellness Director at ASU; and supporting the first HMGSG newsletter.


Mr. Michael R. Desjardins for the Student Board Membership (Mr. Desjardins is a PhD student in Geography at the Center for Applied Geographic Information Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte):

I look forward to the possibility of serving the Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group (HMGSG) as your graduate student board member.  I joined UNC Charlotte as a master’s student in the spring of 2015.  My research interests are in the domain of health geography, spatial analysis and modeling, spatial statistics, and landscape ecology.  My master’s thesis focuses on the development of a nature reserve design model and application of a genetic algorithm heuristic to facilitate conservation planning.  For my PhD, I plan on developing new techniques to understand the processes which are responsible for the spread of infectious diseases and models that can improve healthcare accessibility.  Other current projects include using Twitter data as a potential source for understanding the patterns (e.g. seasonality and intensity) of pollen outbreaks in the United States.  I also received a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Keene State College in New Hampshire (2014).  During my undergraduate career at Keene State, I spent time in the Turks and Caicos Islands to understand how local policy and social perspectives affect coral reef conservation or lack thereof.  If elected, I will strive to promote the participation of both undergraduate and graduate students at the AAG, while sparking further interest in the growing field of health and medical geography.  I have great experience in community outreach stemming from my current position as president of the Geography and Earth Sciences Graduate Organization (GESGO) at UNC Charlotte.  As a PhD student, I understand that what we do as researchers and educators should ultimately have a positive impact on society to make the world a better place to live.  As health and medical geographers, we have an important role in society by developing new and improved approaches to increase healthcare accessibility, mitigate the spread of disease, and facilitate decision-making to improve healthcare policies.  Therefore, this position will allow me to actively communicate health and medical geography’s important role in solving real-world problems.  I was also recently appointed the co-webmaster of HMGSG and will utilize that position to actively reach out to the community through our website and social media pages.  I thank you for your consideration.

HMGSG Business Meeting 2016

The HMGSG Business Meeting for the 2016 AAG Conference will be held on Thursday, 3/31/2016, from 11:50 AM – 1:10 PM in Union Square 22, Hilton Hotel, 4th Floor.

This is a chance to socialize with peers and the community, and vote on future board members.