Penn State geographers go to New Orleans for American Geophysical Union meeting

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Faculty and students in the Department of Geography are among the many Penn State Earth scientists participating in the 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, which began Dec. 11 and runs through Dec. 15 in New Orleans. The geographers are highlighting applications of new visualization technologies for Earth science topics.

The AGU is an international nonprofit scientific association of earth and space scientists with 60,000 members in 137 countries.

“AGU is the prime conference for earth science, and attracts state-of-the-science contributions related to natural hazards and to earth informatics,” said Guido Cervone, associate professor of geoinformatics, associate director of the Institute for CyberScience, and director of the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Lab.

Cervone is serving as the co-chair for the natural hazards focus group for the AGU fall meeting.

“GIS research is a central research area across many disciplines, and several sessions specifically discuss advanced GIS techniques and high-performance computing associated with large spatio-temporal problems,” he said.

Cervone also is the lead convener for late-breaking research sessions related to the 2017 hurricane season in the Americas (Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria).

When asked about his motivations for organizing the late-breaking sessions, Cervone said, “Those hurricanes are among the most destructive natural hazards that have occurred in the U.S. and in North America. They show that our society is still very vulnerable to these monster storms despite the enormous progress in our forecasting and observational science.”

Additionally, Cervone will give a presentation on “Analysis and calibration of Safecast data relative to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident,” which was the topic for his Coffee Hour talk on Sept. 29.

Students in the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Lab are presenting sessions on the following topics:

  • Mehdi Shahriari, “Using Analog Ensemble to generate spatially downscaled probabilistic wind power forecasts”
  • Weiming Hu, “Short-term Temperature Prediction Using Adaptive Computing on Dynamic Scales”
  • Yanan Xin, “Build Trust Index for Volunteered Geographic Information: A Case Study of Safecast”
  • Carolynne Hultquist, “Bayesian modeling to assess populated areas impacted by radiation from Fukushima”
  • Elena Sava, “Integrating heterogeneous earth observation data for assessment of high-resolution inundation boundaries generated during flood emergencies”
  • Sava is also organizing a session on “Analysis in Remote Sensing, Novel Data Streams, and Social Media for Natural Hazard Monitoring, Research, and Preparedness I”

“Our participation in the fall meeting is important to show that Penn State is on the forefront of the state-of-the-science for the topics we work on. I also hope to build collaborations, identify research opportunities for our students — AGU is well attended by NASA, NSF, NOAA, and other grant funding agencies — and learn about directions in science,” Cervone said.

Members of the ChoroPhronesis Lab also are giving two presentations on immersive technologies and their applications for teaching and research in geosciences.

  • Alexander Klippel, Jiayan Zhao, Arif Masrur, Jan Olliver Walgrun, and Peter La Femina will present a session titled “Two Showcases on how xR Technologies Transform Geoscience Research and Education.” 
  • La Femina, Klippel and Zhao are presenting “Immersive Virtual Reality Field Trips in the Geosciences: Integrating Geodetic Data in Undergraduate Geoscience Courses.”

“Both presentations are part of a larger effort to foster immersive technologies across the University,” Klippel said.

The Earth and Environmental Systems Institute and the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences are hosting an alumni reception during the AGU fall meeting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 14 at The District Bar, located at 711 Tchoupitoulas St. in New Orleans.

Last Updated December 12, 2017