Geographic Information Science: Human-Environmental Systems

Coupled human-environmental systems are fundamentally complex systems that span spatial and temporal scales. Geographic information systems (GIS) have become frequently employed in organizing information within collaborative social processes among stakeholders of various levels of technical expertise.

My research aims to characterize and find solutions to wicked problems within complex human-environmental systems. Focusing on agricultural innovation, this work seeks to consider new uses of decision support technologies (i.e. "geodesign") to empower the co-creation of new forms of understanding in nature-society relations, and help communities envision future realities. These approaches are stakeholder driven, and rest on the assumption that theoretical knowledge is more powerful when meshed with the collective knowledge from experience.



Francis et al. define agroecology as the study of the "whole food system" with an emphasis on integrating "human behavior as an important driving force in the system" (2003).

My research aims to utilize decision support tools to enable stakeholders to consider 1)  the potential opportunities associated with the adoption of new crop species, 2) how new crop species could increase productivity and profit as complements to existing production systems, and 3) consider the tradeoffs associated with using biotechnology to develop new crops. Such decision support tools need to function at the boundaries of multiple onto-epistemic frameworks. 

Data Source Collection

A collection of open databases - specifically related to agriculture, landscape and environment.


Educational Resources and Media

Online GIS Developed for University of Minnesota course Agroecosystems of the World  offered in the Fall of 2012. Tools: Google Javascript API. Developed with Sean Dennis.