Brent Sams

Education: Ph.D. in Horticulture (University of Adelaide), Master of Geography (Virginia Tech), B.S. in Geography (University of North Alabama)  

The following profile was compiled by Brendan Vander Weil (Texas State University) for the Encoding Geography initiative. To learn more, visit: http://www.ncrge.org/encoding-geography/ 


Describe your job, employer, and the primary tasks you perform in your position.  

My current role as a Viticulture Research Scientist at E&J Gallo Winery is to design and execute research projects focused on understanding how fruit chemistry/quality change over time and space. I am interested in these changes from the within-vineyard scale to the regional scale. To accomplish this, I (with a lot of help from others) use a wide variety of field measurements (fruit zone light exposure, vine canopy temperature, soil cores, and many others), proximal sensing (electric conductivity, elevation mapping), and remote sensing (satellite, UAV, commercial aircraft). I spend a good deal of time analyzing how these measurements are connected.  

How has your education/background in geography prepared you for this position? 

The interaction of geography and computer science is essential for my role, along with many others in my department. At the project level, I work with different types of datasets that must be organized so that they can be analyzed and interpreted together. I rarely start any of this in GIS, but in a statistics package/program. I don’t have a background in computer science or coding/programming, but these have been very useful skills to develop. Once I have a product/model/application, it needs to be available for use by our stakeholders. This can be a dashboard, a database, or other digestible format which usually implies additional knowledge of other programs or applications. Probably the most specific use of geo-computation in my role is in the geostatistical analyses of grape samples collected from different densities and locations.  

What is an example of applying geography concepts and skills in order to analyze and solve problems in your work? 

Recently, we’ve been working on a project to combine data from multiple vineyards to add statistical robustness to the spatial analysis of low-density grape samples. To validate the method, we divided up the vineyards into fishnet grids to create a Monte Carlo simulation that would iterate through many different combinations of field samples based on their locations.  

What types of geographic questions did you ask and think about in your project? 

We were interested in how wine grape chemistry changed over time and space, and at specific locations from the within-vineyard scale to the regional or statewide scale; how farm management and the environment are connected; and how we could use all of these variables to make predictions about where to find the best fruit. All this information needed to be synthesized and made into something that could be analyzed by a computer. Sometimes in the quantitative analysis world we are faced with qualitative variables and how to incorporate things like, “How does this vineyard manager decide when and how much water to irrigate?.” These then need to be summarized into something we can include in a mathematical model.   

What types of data did you acquire to support your project?  

For this project, we were mostly interested in the chemistry of grapes processed in a lab after the sample location was tagged with a GPS unit. In a related project and at the same locations, we measured soil texture, the fraction of useful light into the fruit zone of the canopy, and yield.  

What types of content knowledge and skills (both geographic and more general) did you use to evaluate, process, and analyze the data you gathered for your project? 

Everything starts with the synthesis of what’s been done, where, and how. Experimental design and sampling strategies are also necessary. There are a lot of measurements specific to grapevines that we used, but general statistical knowledge was also necessary for writing reports, publications, etc. I use R and R Studio quite a bit, as well as several GIS applications with a bunch of different spatial analyses. One specific example is the use of k-means classification with raster datasets to assess patterns that exist between different layers such as interpolated chemistry maps with soil maps or imagery.   

How did you communicate the results of your project (e.g., writing technical reports, making maps and geo-visualizations, creating graphics, data tables, etc.)? Do you have a recent product or publication to share with us as an example?  

There will be a few publications from this data set, as well as reports to internal stakeholders. You can find those publications below:   

  • Sams, B., Bramley, R.G.V., Sanchez, L., Dokoozlian, N.K., Ford, C.M., and Pagay, V. (2022) Remote sensing, yield, physical characteristics, and fruit composition variability in Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 73, 93-105. 
  • Sams, B., Bramley, R., Sanchez, L., Dokoozlian, N., Ford, C. and Pagay, V. (2022) Characterising spatio-temporal variation in fruit composition for improved winegrowing management in California Cabernet Sauvignon. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajgw.12542 
  • Sams, B., Bramley, R., Aboutalebi, M., Sanchez, L., Dokoozlian, N.K., Ford, C.M. and Pagay, V. (2022) Facilitating mapping and understanding of within-vineyard variation in fruit composition using data pooled from multiple vineyards. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajgw.12556 

What are the criteria that you use to assess the quality of your results?  

I’m an applied researcher in the private sector, so while the publications are nice, I really want to know if something works. Does it help us do something, save us money, or even make us more money?


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. 2031418, 2031407, and 2031380 (Collaborative Research: Encoding Geography – Scaling up an RPP to achieve inclusive geocomputational education). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation 

 

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Member Profile: Tim Fullman

Map showing Arctic Refuge Birds-Eye-View program area created by Marty Schnure

The twice-annual migration of Alaska’s caribou is one of the world’s great journeys. Yet the number of caribou making that trek has been declining for decades due to a variety of factors, including habitat disruption from human activities and a changing environment.

Photo of Tim FullmanGeographer Tim Fullman, senior ecologist with The Wilderness Society, is one of the people working to understand how to conserve the critical habitat on which caribou rely. Using analyses drawn from spatial and interdisciplinary sources, Fullman tracks and predicts herd patterns as they move over Alaska’s public lands. Much of his research focuses on the Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH), among the biggest of the state’s 32 caribou herds.

Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain: A Narrow Margin The geography of the Brooks Range creates a natural bottleneck in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the coastal plain and foothills are much narrower than in the central and western Arctic. Oil development in the already-constrained coastal plain and foothills of the Arctic Refuge would leave little or no room for the Porcupine Caribou Herd and other species to shift.
Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain: A Narrow Margin: The geography of the Brooks Range creates a natural bottleneck in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the coastal plain and foothills are much narrower than in the central and western Arctic. Oil development in the already-constrained coastal plain and foothills of the Arctic Refuge would leave little or no room for the Porcupine Caribou Herd and other species to shift. Map created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman works alongside many partners, from Indigenous community leaders to hunters to tour guides to local, state, and federal wildlife and land professionals. All share a common cause: to preserve the future of Alaska’s caribou in the face of potential impacts from construction projects, energy investments, and climate change. The stakes are high. Alaska’s caribou, once totaling over a million, number 750,000 altogether today. The WACH, alone, has declined by as much as 50 percent since 2004.

In his work, Fullman spends a lot of his time using predictive models, forecasting potential impacts and scenarios that he says are also intimately connected to what we know about now and the past. “To do effective conservation means understanding the past so that we know why things are the way they are now,” he says, “and then using that information now to change the course of the future.”

Geography: The Critical Lens

Starting his career as a wildlife biologist, Fullman discovered that his fieldwork would benefit from an advanced understanding of terrain, place, and migrations. After completing a PhD in geography at the University of Florida, he returned to his work studying large herbivores, this time in Alaska. (Previous research had taken him to southern Africa, where he studied elephants).

Now, he says, his geography expertise takes people by surprise. “In my professional role, I don’t think many people know that I am a geographer, because my title is senior ecologist, and people think of me doing wildlife work,” he says. “Yet I’ve been fascinated as I’ve interacted with more people to come across a number of people with geography backgrounds who are doing work in landscape, ecology, environmental policy, and similar work.”

Why are so many geographers drawn to conservation—or rather, why are many conservationists drawn to geography? “This training seems like it has prepared a number of us to be able to make connections and share, and especially to use maps and other representations to talk about and communicate things in ways that connect with people.”

Geography’s interdisciplinary nature is also a plus: “One of the things that has helped me is that my geography department did not focus a lot on wildlife, but I had colleagues doing human dynamics, economic geography, all sorts of things that fall under the umbrella of geography. I think that prepared me to understand how social science is done, to understand how economics is done, and yet to see the connections where spatial processes and things that happen at space and scale and time influence across all these areas. I think of that as being at the core of geography and what we do.”

Birds-eye view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, known as the 1002 Area, outlined in yellow. This area, which is a critical calving and post-calving habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, was leased by the Bureau of Land Management for its oil and gas program during the Trump Administration. Map created by Marty Schnure
Birds-eye view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, known as the 1002 Area, outlined in yellow. This area, which is a critical calving and post-calving habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, was leased by the Bureau of Land Management for its oil and gas program during the Trump Administration. Map created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman applies ideas and methods from other disciplines to aid in his modeling work. One of these is circuit theory, adapted by ecologists from the world of electronics, which recently helped Fullman and his colleagues model the impacts of road construction on caribou and other species’ habitat. Another tool is the Monte Carlo simulation, used by Fullman and other researchers to test development restriction scenarios for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A): four from the Bureau of Land Management’s current Integrated Activity Plan, and one put forward by the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group, to which Fullman belongs.

Map showing caribou seasonal ranges and proposed development projects created by Marty Schnure
Map showing caribou seasonal ranges and proposed development projects, created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman’s training as a geographer has helped him embrace the many perspectives and complex realities of Alaskan habitats. In studying the ancient presence and fragile present of the caribou, he recognizes the long lineage and millennia-old knowledge held by the Indigenous communities within and around the NPR-A. As he brings new tools to the study of the herds, he embraces opportunities to learn and follow traditional ecological knowledge. “I am very classically trained as a scientist but yet through my time in Alaska, it has stretched my view,” he says. “What does it look like to meaningfully combine and blend all the ways of seeing the caribou?”

“Caribou Tell Us a Little Bit About Ourselves”

Fullman’s work contributes to understanding the pressure on caribou, which is part of a much larger and concerning trend of long-range and major migrations of all species—and humans.

“Caribou tell us a little bit about ourselves. They face some of the same challenges we do: warming climate, increasing development, and changing habitat – but with arctic temperatures increasing at double the rate of the rest of the planet, they’re feeling these challenges first,” says Fullman.

“Are we willing in any place to curb our desire to develop?” he asks “There are some places that are too important and too special.”

Find out more about AAG’s work to address climate change
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Member Profile: Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux

Map showing Arctic Refuge Birds-Eye-View program area created by Marty Schnure

The twice-annual migration of Alaska’s caribou is one of the world’s great journeys. Yet the number of caribou making that trek has been declining for decades due to a variety of factors, including habitat disruption from human activities and a changing environment.

Photo of Tim FullmanGeographer Tim Fullman, senior ecologist with The Wilderness Society, is one of the people working to understand how to conserve the critical habitat on which caribou rely. Using analyses drawn from spatial and interdisciplinary sources, Fullman tracks and predicts herd patterns as they move over Alaska’s public lands. Much of his research focuses on the Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH), among the biggest of the state’s 32 caribou herds.

Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain: A Narrow Margin The geography of the Brooks Range creates a natural bottleneck in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the coastal plain and foothills are much narrower than in the central and western Arctic. Oil development in the already-constrained coastal plain and foothills of the Arctic Refuge would leave little or no room for the Porcupine Caribou Herd and other species to shift.
Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain: A Narrow Margin: The geography of the Brooks Range creates a natural bottleneck in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the coastal plain and foothills are much narrower than in the central and western Arctic. Oil development in the already-constrained coastal plain and foothills of the Arctic Refuge would leave little or no room for the Porcupine Caribou Herd and other species to shift. Map created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman works alongside many partners, from Indigenous community leaders to hunters to tour guides to local, state, and federal wildlife and land professionals. All share a common cause: to preserve the future of Alaska’s caribou in the face of potential impacts from construction projects, energy investments, and climate change. The stakes are high. Alaska’s caribou, once totaling over a million, number 750,000 altogether today. The WACH, alone, has declined by as much as 50 percent since 2004.

In his work, Fullman spends a lot of his time using predictive models, forecasting potential impacts and scenarios that he says are also intimately connected to what we know about now and the past. “To do effective conservation means understanding the past so that we know why things are the way they are now,” he says, “and then using that information now to change the course of the future.”

Geography: The Critical Lens

Starting his career as a wildlife biologist, Fullman discovered that his fieldwork would benefit from an advanced understanding of terrain, place, and migrations. After completing a PhD in geography at the University of Florida, he returned to his work studying large herbivores, this time in Alaska. (Previous research had taken him to southern Africa, where he studied elephants).

Now, he says, his geography expertise takes people by surprise. “In my professional role, I don’t think many people know that I am a geographer, because my title is senior ecologist, and people think of me doing wildlife work,” he says. “Yet I’ve been fascinated as I’ve interacted with more people to come across a number of people with geography backgrounds who are doing work in landscape, ecology, environmental policy, and similar work.”

Why are so many geographers drawn to conservation—or rather, why are many conservationists drawn to geography? “This training seems like it has prepared a number of us to be able to make connections and share, and especially to use maps and other representations to talk about and communicate things in ways that connect with people.”

Geography’s interdisciplinary nature is also a plus: “One of the things that has helped me is that my geography department did not focus a lot on wildlife, but I had colleagues doing human dynamics, economic geography, all sorts of things that fall under the umbrella of geography. I think that prepared me to understand how social science is done, to understand how economics is done, and yet to see the connections where spatial processes and things that happen at space and scale and time influence across all these areas. I think of that as being at the core of geography and what we do.”

Birds-eye view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, known as the 1002 Area, outlined in yellow. This area, which is a critical calving and post-calving habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, was leased by the Bureau of Land Management for its oil and gas program during the Trump Administration. Map created by Marty Schnure
Birds-eye view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, known as the 1002 Area, outlined in yellow. This area, which is a critical calving and post-calving habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, was leased by the Bureau of Land Management for its oil and gas program during the Trump Administration. Map created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman applies ideas and methods from other disciplines to aid in his modeling work. One of these is circuit theory, adapted by ecologists from the world of electronics, which recently helped Fullman and his colleagues model the impacts of road construction on caribou and other species’ habitat. Another tool is the Monte Carlo simulation, used by Fullman and other researchers to test development restriction scenarios for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A): four from the Bureau of Land Management’s current Integrated Activity Plan, and one put forward by the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group, to which Fullman belongs.

Map showing caribou seasonal ranges and proposed development projects created by Marty Schnure
Map showing caribou seasonal ranges and proposed development projects, created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman’s training as a geographer has helped him embrace the many perspectives and complex realities of Alaskan habitats. In studying the ancient presence and fragile present of the caribou, he recognizes the long lineage and millennia-old knowledge held by the Indigenous communities within and around the NPR-A. As he brings new tools to the study of the herds, he embraces opportunities to learn and follow traditional ecological knowledge. “I am very classically trained as a scientist but yet through my time in Alaska, it has stretched my view,” he says. “What does it look like to meaningfully combine and blend all the ways of seeing the caribou?”

“Caribou Tell Us a Little Bit About Ourselves”

Fullman’s work contributes to understanding the pressure on caribou, which is part of a much larger and concerning trend of long-range and major migrations of all species—and humans.

“Caribou tell us a little bit about ourselves. They face some of the same challenges we do: warming climate, increasing development, and changing habitat – but with arctic temperatures increasing at double the rate of the rest of the planet, they’re feeling these challenges first,” says Fullman.

“Are we willing in any place to curb our desire to develop?” he asks “There are some places that are too important and too special.”

Find out more about AAG’s work to address climate change
    Share

How Can We Reduce Geography’s Carbon Footprint? The AAG’s Climate Forward Initiative

Translating Geography Degrees into Environmental, Conservation, and Sustainability Work

Wayfinding: Young Geographers Unearth Clue to Climate Change in the Andes

Map showing Arctic Refuge Birds-Eye-View program area created by Marty Schnure

The twice-annual migration of Alaska’s caribou is one of the world’s great journeys. Yet the number of caribou making that trek has been declining for decades due to a variety of factors, including habitat disruption from human activities and a changing environment.

Photo of Tim FullmanGeographer Tim Fullman, senior ecologist with The Wilderness Society, is one of the people working to understand how to conserve the critical habitat on which caribou rely. Using analyses drawn from spatial and interdisciplinary sources, Fullman tracks and predicts herd patterns as they move over Alaska’s public lands. Much of his research focuses on the Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH), among the biggest of the state’s 32 caribou herds.

Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain: A Narrow Margin The geography of the Brooks Range creates a natural bottleneck in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the coastal plain and foothills are much narrower than in the central and western Arctic. Oil development in the already-constrained coastal plain and foothills of the Arctic Refuge would leave little or no room for the Porcupine Caribou Herd and other species to shift.
Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain: A Narrow Margin: The geography of the Brooks Range creates a natural bottleneck in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the coastal plain and foothills are much narrower than in the central and western Arctic. Oil development in the already-constrained coastal plain and foothills of the Arctic Refuge would leave little or no room for the Porcupine Caribou Herd and other species to shift. Map created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman works alongside many partners, from Indigenous community leaders to hunters to tour guides to local, state, and federal wildlife and land professionals. All share a common cause: to preserve the future of Alaska’s caribou in the face of potential impacts from construction projects, energy investments, and climate change. The stakes are high. Alaska’s caribou, once totaling over a million, number 750,000 altogether today. The WACH, alone, has declined by as much as 50 percent since 2004.

In his work, Fullman spends a lot of his time using predictive models, forecasting potential impacts and scenarios that he says are also intimately connected to what we know about now and the past. “To do effective conservation means understanding the past so that we know why things are the way they are now,” he says, “and then using that information now to change the course of the future.”

Geography: The Critical Lens

Starting his career as a wildlife biologist, Fullman discovered that his fieldwork would benefit from an advanced understanding of terrain, place, and migrations. After completing a PhD in geography at the University of Florida, he returned to his work studying large herbivores, this time in Alaska. (Previous research had taken him to southern Africa, where he studied elephants).

Now, he says, his geography expertise takes people by surprise. “In my professional role, I don’t think many people know that I am a geographer, because my title is senior ecologist, and people think of me doing wildlife work,” he says. “Yet I’ve been fascinated as I’ve interacted with more people to come across a number of people with geography backgrounds who are doing work in landscape, ecology, environmental policy, and similar work.”

Why are so many geographers drawn to conservation—or rather, why are many conservationists drawn to geography? “This training seems like it has prepared a number of us to be able to make connections and share, and especially to use maps and other representations to talk about and communicate things in ways that connect with people.”

Geography’s interdisciplinary nature is also a plus: “One of the things that has helped me is that my geography department did not focus a lot on wildlife, but I had colleagues doing human dynamics, economic geography, all sorts of things that fall under the umbrella of geography. I think that prepared me to understand how social science is done, to understand how economics is done, and yet to see the connections where spatial processes and things that happen at space and scale and time influence across all these areas. I think of that as being at the core of geography and what we do.”

Birds-eye view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, known as the 1002 Area, outlined in yellow. This area, which is a critical calving and post-calving habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, was leased by the Bureau of Land Management for its oil and gas program during the Trump Administration. Map created by Marty Schnure
Birds-eye view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, known as the 1002 Area, outlined in yellow. This area, which is a critical calving and post-calving habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, was leased by the Bureau of Land Management for its oil and gas program during the Trump Administration. Map created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman applies ideas and methods from other disciplines to aid in his modeling work. One of these is circuit theory, adapted by ecologists from the world of electronics, which recently helped Fullman and his colleagues model the impacts of road construction on caribou and other species’ habitat. Another tool is the Monte Carlo simulation, used by Fullman and other researchers to test development restriction scenarios for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A): four from the Bureau of Land Management’s current Integrated Activity Plan, and one put forward by the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group, to which Fullman belongs.

Map showing caribou seasonal ranges and proposed development projects created by Marty Schnure
Map showing caribou seasonal ranges and proposed development projects, created by Marty Schnure

 

Fullman’s training as a geographer has helped him embrace the many perspectives and complex realities of Alaskan habitats. In studying the ancient presence and fragile present of the caribou, he recognizes the long lineage and millennia-old knowledge held by the Indigenous communities within and around the NPR-A. As he brings new tools to the study of the herds, he embraces opportunities to learn and follow traditional ecological knowledge. “I am very classically trained as a scientist but yet through my time in Alaska, it has stretched my view,” he says. “What does it look like to meaningfully combine and blend all the ways of seeing the caribou?”

“Caribou Tell Us a Little Bit About Ourselves”

Fullman’s work contributes to understanding the pressure on caribou, which is part of a much larger and concerning trend of long-range and major migrations of all species—and humans.

“Caribou tell us a little bit about ourselves. They face some of the same challenges we do: warming climate, increasing development, and changing habitat – but with arctic temperatures increasing at double the rate of the rest of the planet, they’re feeling these challenges first,” says Fullman.

“Are we willing in any place to curb our desire to develop?” he asks “There are some places that are too important and too special.”

Find out more about AAG’s work to address climate change
    Share

Video: A World of Possibilities

Have you ever wondered where things happen? Why do they happen there? How do we find patterns and change them?

That’s where geography comes in—by connecting the where, why, who, and how. These insights are critical keys to healthier communities, a livable climate, and charting a stronger, more equitable future.

With skills in geography, you’ll have tools to work for respected companies, for universities, for nonprofits, and in public service for local, state, or national governments.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor shows the demand for these skills is expanding rapidly to meet new technological, environmental, and social needs.

There’s a world of possibilities waiting for you. You belong here.


AAG would like to thank AAG members Dr. Debarchana Ghosh, Dr. Deborah Thomas, Dr. Jacqueline Housel, Dr. Jason Post, Dr. Justin Stoler, and Dr. Wan Yu for their roles in helping shape this video and the AAG COVID-19 Response Subcommittee for proposing this project. 

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AAG Climate Emergency Statement: April 2021

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Roger Kasperson

Former Clark Graduate School of Geography faculty member Roger Kasperson, passed away on Saturday, April 10. A major scholar in the fields of risk and environmental sustainability, Professor Kasperson had a nearly lifelong relationship with Clark and the GSG: he earned his B.A. in Geography from Clark in 1959, and returned to Clark as a faculty member in Geography and Government in 1968 after earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Chicago and teaching elsewhere for several years. He spent the majority of his career at Clark, in a variety of roles: in addition to being an assistant, associate, and full professor in our department, he headed a number of major centers and initiatives at Clark and served at various points as Acting Director of the GSG, Dean of the College, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and University Professor. He retained an appointment as a Research Faculty member in our department up until the time of his death.

Professor Kasperson was a major figure in the fields of risk analysis and communication, global environmental change, and vulnerability, sustainability, and resilience. As such, he worked closely with a variety of government agencies and NGOs, including the National Research Council, the International Geographical Union, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change. Perhaps most notably, he was the Executive Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute from 2000-2004. He was also an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of honors from both the AAG and the Society for Risk Analysis.

Thank you to the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University for permission to publish this obituary. Original found here.

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Participatory Forum on New Requirements for Ethical Geographic Science in Rapid Research

COVID-19 calls upon researchers to navigate a fast-paced scientific inquiry process under enormous public scrutiny. The rapid funding mechanisms, abundance of geographic data from emerging technologies, and the “real-time” expectations and needs of governments have posed new challenges to traditionally accepted research methods and timelines, collaborative relationships, parameters for data sharing, and public expectations of research outcomes.

All of these challenges carry ethical questions and human rights-related dilemmas. The American Association of Geographers (AAG) as a member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition is coordinating a “Participatory Forum” on October 1, 2020 at 1:00 PM (ET) that engages both memberships across disciplinary practice to ask, “At what cost are we advancing science when the stakes are high and the pressure on normal timelines is intense?”

What is a Participatory Forum?
It is not always easy to have a true “conversation” when the set-up is a panel of experts accessible through a Q&A chatbox. So instead, the AAG identified three areas of inquiry deserving of focused discussion. With help from moderators for each question, forum participants will be able to contribute their critical thoughts with other participants directly and connect with them on these topics. This forum will explore new virtual spaces for academics to collaborate and participate in the process of scientific inquiry given the “virtual” normal.

Forum participants may choose to join a discussion of questions such as:

  1. Who is considered a human subject in research in a time of automated location tracking and facial recognition, and how do they consent to participate in research? How should scholars safeguard confidentiality of human subjects in research when re-identification of anonymized data becomes possible and when geographic representation (or interpretation) is flawed?
  2. Collective Rights of “places” during fast-paced and global research: How do we foster genuine research and other partnerships so that people impacted by decisions in certain places are part of the conversation and search for solutions?
  3. Who is carrying the burden of rapid COVID-19 science (who are the human subjects or places in research), and who is benefitting from rapid COVID-19 findings? What burdens are added to Human Subjects in Research and to Places when science is not taken into account for important decision making?

Registration for the workshop is required. Please click here to register.

 

The AAG would like to thank the volunteer moderators: Libby Lunstrum (Boise State University), Junghwan Kim (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Ranu Basu (York University), Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach (University of Texas – Austin), Emily Fekete (AAG), Coline Dony (AAG)

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