Our Senior Profile for UF Geography today features GeoGator Sara Shir

Future Plans:
In the next year I am looking to find a GIS job before attending medical school. I plan to start medical school in Fall 2021.

What is your favorite thing from your time at UF?
Getting Krishna lunch with friends in the Plaza of the Americas

What was your favorite Geography class?
GIS Disease Ecology

What is your favorite Geography memory?
Going to Belize with a doctoral candidate and a few other students to help with his project.

In what ways has Geography prepared you for your next steps?
It has to think outside the box and to explore viewpoints outside my own when trying to understand global issues and trying to find a solution to a problem.

What would your ideal job be?
My goal is to be an Infectious Disease doctor. It was something I already had in mind but the pandemic definitely highlighted the value of the field.

What will you miss most about Gainesville/UF?
Gator Salsa (club that teaches latin dancing)

What will you miss least about Gainesville/UF?
The weather!

What well wishes or words of wisdom would you like to share with your classmates and fellow students?
I wish you all the best in everything you do!

UF Geography wishes Sara and all our graduating seniors all the best as they embark on their next journey. Congratulations from all our GeoGator family and please be sure to stay in touch! #Geogators#UFGEOG#CLASGrads2020

Image courtesy Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology

HUAutomated delineation of cancer service areas in northeast region of the United States: A network optimization approach

Fahui Wang, Changzhen Wang, Yujie Hu, Julie Weiss, Jennifer Alford-Teaster, and Tracy Onega

Article first published online: 06 MAR 2020 Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology

DOI: 10.1016/j.sste.2020.100338


Derivation of service areas is an important methodology for evaluating healthcare variation, which can be refined to more robust, condition-specific, and empirically-based automated regions, using cancer service areas as an exemplar.

Data sources/study setting
Medicare claims (2014–2015) for the nine-state Northeast region were used to develop a ZIP-code-level origin-destination matrix for cancer services (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation). This population-based study followed a utilization-based approach to delineate cancer service areas (CSAs) to develop and test an improved methodology for small area analyses.

Data collection/extraction methods
Using the cancer service origin-destination matrix, we estimated travel time between all ZIP-code pairs, and applied a community detection method to delineate CSAs, which were tested for localization, modularity, and compactness, and compared to existing service areas.

Principal findings
Delineating 17 CSAs in the Northeast yielded optimal parameters, with a mean localization index (LI) of 0.88 (min: 0.60, max: 0.98), compared to the 43 Hospital Referral Regions (HRR) in the region (mean LI: 0.68; min: 0.18, max: 0.97). Modularity and compactness were similarly improved for CSAs vs. HRRs.

Deriving cancer-specific service areas with an automated algorithm that uses empirical and network methods showed improved performance on geographic measures compared to more general, hospital-based service areas.

Read the full publication at Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology.





Image courtesy Journal of Infrastructure Systems

HUImpact of Coastal Hazards on Residents’ Spatial Accessibility to Health Services

Georgios P. Balomenos, Yujie Hu, Jamie E. Padgett, and Kyle Shelton

Article first published online: 1 DEC 2019 Journal of Infrastructure Systems

DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)IS.1943-555X.0000509

ABSTRACT: The mobility of residents and their access to essential services can be highly affected by transportation network closures that occur during and after coastal hazard events. Few studies have used geographic information systems coupled with infrastructure vulnerability models to explore how spatial accessibility to goods and services shifts after a hurricane. Models that explore spatial accessibility to health services are particularly lacking. This study provides a framework to examine how the disruption of transportation networks during and after a hurricane can impact a resident’s ability to access health services over time. Two different bridge-closure conditions—inundation and structural failure—along with roadway inundation are used to quantify posthurricane accessibility at short- and long-term temporal scales. Inundation may close a bridge for hours or days, but a structural failure may close a route for weeks or months. Both forms of closure are incorporated using probabilistic vulnerability models coupled with GIS-based models to assess spatial accessibility in the aftermath of a coastal hazard. Harris County, an area in southeastern Texas prone to coastal hazards, is used as a case study. The results indicate changes in the accessibility scores of specific areas depending on the temporal scale of interest and intensity of the hazard scenario. Sociodemographic indicators are also examined for the study region, revealing the populations most likely to suffer from lack of accessibility. Overall, the presented framework helps to understand how both short-term functionality loss and long-term damage affect access to critical services such as healthcare after a hazard. This information, in turn, can shape decisions about future mitigation and planning efforts, and the presented framework can be expanded to other hazard-prone areas.

Read the full publication at Journal of Infrastructure Systems


University of Florida Department of Geography
The Navi-Gator

So many new and exciting things have happened…
Check out our amazing new grad lab in 1215!
Come visit us in the geography office– lounge around in reclining chairs and grab some new GeoGator merch. We have T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale, along with other complementary goodies.

Now Accepting Applications for 2019 Graduate Student Awards!
* Top Published Student Research Article
* Little Family Student Fellowship Award
* John & Fawn Dunkle Award for Graduate Student Travel
* Evan Coe Award in Medical Geography
* David L. Niddrie Excellence Fund
* Anderson Award for International Travel
Submissions are due by 5 pm on November 15th via email to Crystal: cwilmoth@ufl.edu with award name in the subject header [required

UF Researchers Lead future GIS Project in Ghana on Deforestation and City Growth
Funded by SERVIR!
A team from the University of Florida – including Geography’s Dr. Olivier Walther – has received funding from SERVIR, a joint venture between NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development for their Linking Deforestation, Urbanization, and Agricultural Expansion for Land-Use Decisions in Ghana project. The team will use Geospatial Information System (GIS) tools to assess deforestation, urbanization, and agricultural expansion to improve land use planning in Ghana.

Upcoming: (Dates TBA)
Dr. Robert McCleery
Dr. Roberta Mendonça De Carvalho
Dr. Robert Walker
Ryan Good
Dr. Kim Valenta (October 3rd): The Mad Dog Initiative – Identifying and Mitigating Invasive Species Threats in Madagascar
Dr. Bo Yang (October 10th): Drone Mapping for Coastal Seagrass Monitoring and Citizen Science
Dr. Danielle Jake-Schoffman (October 16th): Technology-Based Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating
Dr. Michael Gavin (October 24th): The Geography and Conservation of Biocultural Diversity
Dr. Seth Cavello (October 31st): Rust Belt Renaissance? The Experience of Refugees from Burma in Buffalo, NY

Kim Valenta (October 3rd): The Mad Dog Initiative – Identifying and Mitigating Invasive Species Threats in Madagascar
Dr. Bo Yang (October 10th): Drone Mapping for Coastal Seagrass Monitoring and Citizen Science
Dr. Danielle Jake-Schoffman (October 16th): Technology-Based Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating
Dr. Michael Gavin (October 24th): The Geography and Conservation of Biocultural Diversity
Dr. Seth Cavello (October 31st): Rust Belt Renaissance? The Experience of Refugees from Burma in Buffalo, NY

Where Are they now?
Our recent grads have found themselves in some interesting places!
Chia Yu (Charles) Wu, class of 2019, graduated with his Doctorate in Geography. He is currently researching River-Coastal Science and Engineering as a postdoctoral fellow at Tulane University.

Image courtesy Dr. Bo Yang

Drone Mapping for Coastal Seagrass Monitoring and Citizen Science

Speaker: Dr. Bo Yang

Citizen Science GIS, University of Central Florida

Thursday, October 10, 2019

2:50-3:50 PM (Period 8)

Turlington Hall Room 3018

University of Florida

All are welcome to attend.

High quality multi-spectral observations with fine spatial resolution and frequent temporal coverage are indispensable in seagrass monitoring and analyses. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), equipped with a multispectral sensor, affords an opportunity to improve upon satellite imagery for coastal management because of the very high spatial resolution, multispectral capability, and opportunity to collect real-time observations.

This talk will present results of our NSF seagrass drone mapping project. We performed multispectral UAV mapping fieldworks along the west coast of US. The UAV multi-spectral mapping method provided advanced information of the physical, an improved land feature delineation, and a significantly better mapping product than satellite imagery with coarser resolution (figure below). We also incorporated drone training and community outreach into the project with citizen science.

Image courtesy Mr. Abolfazl Mollalo

GIS-Based Data-Driven Techniques for Spatial Analysis of Infectious Diseases at the State, Regional, and National Levels

Speaker: Mr. Abolfazl Mollalo

PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Florida

Thursday, February 14, 2018

2:50-3:50 PM (Period 8)

Turlington Hall Room 3012

University of Florida

All are welcome to attend.


The Department of Geography at the University of Florida, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the UF Informatics Institute (UFII), invite applications for a full-time, nine-month, tenure-accruing position, at the level of Assistant Professor to begin August 16, 2019. The department seeks an outstanding candidate in Spatial Networks with expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geospatial Analysis, who will complement existing strengths in the department and across campus. The department seeks dynamic, highly innovative candidates and possible areas of focus include, but are not limited to, transmission and disease spread, transportation and mobility networks, social networks, complex networks, or big data. Specific interest would be in applying complex networks to real world problems and data. The candidate will make a substantial contribution to a research program in their own area of expertise within the field of networks. This program should link with the Informatics Institute, and the department’s long-term strategic goal in growing the field of Geographical Information Science (GISc). The candidate should also strengthen one or more of the department’s other focus areas: Medical Geography in Global Health, Earth System Science, and Global Environmental and Social Change.

Primary responsibilities include high-quality research in Spatial Networks, and a 2-2 teaching assignment in the Department of Geography, particularly developing introductory and advanced courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, the candidate will be a member of UFII, whose mission is to develop and nurture integrative informatics research and education studies at the University of Florida. This institute brings together preeminent researchers that explore contemporary application areas across the university (e.g., those arising in science and medicine, the humanities, social sciences, and engineering), with UF experts developing the tools and technologies that support and complement these studies. Collaborative efforts nurtured by the UFII will yield insights into complex physical, natural, social, and engineered systems, aid decision-makers in diagnosing and treating diseases, and power the next generation of technologies that will position UF to meet emerging challenges in the coming decades. Applicants should have a strong record of research and scholarly activities within the area of Spatial Networks; experience and demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching; and a proven ability to communicate effectively with students, professionals, and the general public. Additionally, potential to engage with the University of Florida’s ‘Beyond 120’ and ‘Quest’ Programs would be considered an advantage and should be addressed in the application materials, as well as links with existing units on campus – such as International Studies, Sustainability Studies, African-American Studies etc. if applicable.

The Department of Geography has 17 active faculty members, who conduct teaching and research in a broad spectrum across our four focus areas, which are Geospatial Analysis & Techniques, Medical Geography in Global Health, Earth System Science, and Global Environmental & Social Change. It offers BS/BA, MS/MA, and PhD degree tracks, including online and distance learning options for coursework. The department has two computer-lab classrooms and provides a high-speed on-line computing environment via UFAPPs, where any student and faculty can access software applications, such as ArcGIS, GeoDa, ENVI, ERDAS, MATLAB, and SPSS, from any computing device, from any location, at any time. High Performance Computing facilities are available on campus. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website to learn more about the Department of Geography. The vision of the UFII is to provide support for UF Faculty to collaborate toward the creation and application of information processing and decision-making systems, which are driven by the greatest challenges facing society today, leverage next-generation computing technology and analytical methods, and provide insights that position UF as a leader in ongoing research endeavors.

The Department particularly welcomes applicants who can contribute to a diverse and inclusive environment through their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and professional service. The university and greater Gainesville communities enjoy a diversity of cultural events, restaurants, year-round outdoor recreational activities, and social opportunities. The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution.


The successful candidate should possess a doctoral degree in Geography, Computer Science, Information Science or a related field prior to August 15, 2019. Candidates must use geospatial techniques in their research – such as GIS, RS and/or spatial modeling – with a substantive focus on networks.

Application Instructions

For full consideration, applications must be submitted online at: http://apply.interfolio.com/56504 and must include: (1) a letter summarizing the applicant’s qualifications, ongoing research directions, and interests; (2) a complete curriculum vitae; (3) teaching/

research statement that discusses qualifications to teach courses in the stated area of expertise, and a discussion of what these courses might be; (4) a diversity statement that addresses past and/or potential contributions to diversity through teaching, research, and service; and (5) three confidential letters of recommendation. Review of applications will begin October 30, 2018 and will continue until the position is filled.

Inquiries about the position should be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. Liang Mao, at liangmao@ufl.edu.

All candidates for employment are subject to a pre-employment screening which includes a review of criminal records, reference checks, and verification of education.

The selected candidate will be required to provide an official transcript to the hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not be considered “official” if a designation of “Issued to Student” is visible. Degrees earned from an educational institution outside of the United States require evaluation by a professional credentialing service provider approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES), which can be found at http://www.naces.org/.

The University of Florida is an equal opportunity institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff. The University of Florida invites all qualified applicants, including minorities, women, veterans and individual with disabilities to apply. The University of Florida is a public institution and subject to all requirements under Florida Sunshine and Public Records laws. Searches are conducted in accordance with Florida’s Sunshine Law. If an accommodation due to disability is needed to apply for this position, please call (352) 392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at (800) 955-8771 (TDD)

It’s GIS Day! Come join us at the North Entrance to Reitz Union between Noon and 4 PM!