Faculty Research

Explore just a few topics of research from our Geography and GIS faculty.  

  • Jessica Salo 

    Open Street Map

    Humanitarian effort to create maps of areas in need, generally in less developed nations. I (Jessica Salo) organize a few mapathons a year with the help of others in northern Colorado.

    What’s the study about/what’s the goal?

    The process of mapping in OpenStreetMap is easy, interesting, a good way to connect with other humanitarians, and a great way to help the most vulnerable populations on Earth. Participants will add roads and buildings into OpenStreetMap using satellite imagery procured by the US State Department from Westminster-based DigitalGlobe. The resulting map data will be used by the international and local NGOs and individuals to better respond to crises affecting the area. No experience is necessary to participate in the mapathon, but participants should bring a laptop computer (Windows, Mac or Linux).

    Is research ongoing/coming up/just finished?

    This is an ongoing project, organized by Missing Maps, a group made possible by the American Red Cross, British Red Corss, Humanitarian OpenStreetMaps, and Doctors without Borders. Our events are open to the public and others can map any time from their personal computers.

    Tamarisk Identification

    Who is doing the research? (including, college/department): 

    Jessica Salo, Geography & GIS Department, Humanities and Social Sciences

    What’s the study about/what’s the goal?

    The study is designed to determine what satellite imagery detection methods are the most cost effective and accurate in identifying areas where there is rapid regrowth of an invasive species (tamarisk) in Western Colorado Rivers. The goal is to provide land management agencies with methods to determine where tamarisk is regrowing following defoilation.

    Is research ongoing/coming up/just finished?

    The research is ongoing, field work occurred in August 2016 and is being used to test the accuracy of several satellite imagery methods in detecting areas of refoliation.

  • Karen Barton

    Current research:

    1. Understanding youth and soundscape methodologies in natural parks and protected spaces.
    2. The role of farmers and ranchers in oil and gas development in eastern Colorado and Chihuahua, Mexico (ongoing).
    3. Farmers' roles in building the Great Green Wall of the Sahel (Fulbright Hays fellowship to Senegal).

    Upcoming research:

    1. Farmers' attitudes toward climate change in the  '51st" state (Spring 2017).
    2. Farmers and oil and gas development in Burma/Myanmar (Fulbright Scholarship Summer 2017).
  • James Doerner 

    Current Research:

    I am working on a 5-year research program in North Park, Colorado which is funded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This is a collaborative effort with Professor Bob Brunswig (UNC Archaeology) that examines environmental and cultural changes in North Park during the Holocene. There are two primary goals of this research: 1) identify and record cultural resources to further our understanding of how those resources have impacted traditional cultural and archaeological landscapes; and 2) provide insights into the natural processes that have shaped the present-day landscape and to expand the spatial coverage of regional environmental change in northern Colorado.

  • James Dunn

    Current Research:  

    Framing a new book to be used in world geography classes. This will be a set of activities that are inspired from an earlier publication that focuses on geographic inquiry. The activities will work in large classrooms, but will also incorporate web mapping or other online mapping tools.

    Summer 2017:

    Dunn will lead an expedition to the Arctic Ocean with several UNC undergraduate students and other river experts. The expedition will take place in mid-June 2017, and will descend the Coppermine River to its mouth at Coronation Gulf and the Inuit community of Kugluktuk.

  • Phil Klein 

    New projects:

    As a co-director of the AAG Center for Global Geography Education (CGGE) international collaboration project (since 2007), I’ve been recently involved with a related project called Geo-Capabilities. This is a collaborative effort between the Association of American Geographers and European Geography Association to promote professional development among school geography teachers in different countries through a series of online modules. Currently I am exploring ways to get Colorado teachers involved with this international opportunity.

    Ongoing projects:

    Continuing consultation work with Pearson Education, participating in design discussions for upgrades to its interactive mapping ancillary product for their introductory world and human geography texts. Working also with Dr. Diggs in the department to update and modify a set of online GIS activities on the historical geography of Colorado, aimed for use in upper elementary grades.

  • Katherine Johnson

    Current Research: 

    Finalizing a book manuscript on the role of highways in American political development to be published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.  The book develops a new theory of how and why the US built the Interstate Highway system.

    Current Research:

    Developing a comprehensive statistical portrait of the City of Greeley and surrounding areas of Weld County in preparation for the city’s upcoming comprehensive plan, an exercise that will project economic and quality of life concerns out to 2040.    

  • Charles Collins

    Current Research:

    Continuing with the book on Colorado tentatively titled Colorado:  It's Not What It Seems, and initial work on what I hope will be an article manuscript on Cuban doctors working abroad. 

  • David Diggs

    Current Research:

    Online mapping educational activities examining the Historical Geography of Colorado.

    Geographic Information System Modeling of Native American archeological sites and features in Western North America.