Spatial University Symposium

"Revealing Hidden Patterns with GIS"

Wednesday, April 3, 2024 - 5:00 to 8:15 pm

On Wednesday, April 3, 2024, the University of Redlands celebrates spatial learning, research, and community service conducted by students, faculty, administrators, and campus programs. Join us in the Casa Loma Room on the University of Redlands campus or via LIVESTREAM for the following events! 

Livestream Zoom Link 

2024 Agenda (All Times PDT)

5:00-5:30 PM: Reception and Poster and Story Map Showcase

5:30 – 5:40 PM: Welcome: Adrienne McCormick, Provost

5:40-6:30 PM: Keynote: Rebecca Lyons,  University of Redlands Professor of Chemistry

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"Our Place in the World"

As an environmental scientist, I cannot ask a question without “where” being a part of it. When I moved to Southern California in 2011, I set out to explore this new landscape. I discovered troubling amounts of the endocrine disruptor 4-nonylphenol (4NP) in almost every body of water I tested. This led to a decade-long investigation into the origin, movement, and accumulation of 4NP across the state of California. Using GIS was a critical piece of this exploration. Trends could only be seen with a bird’s-eye view and larger, more connected patterns emerged. I have come to understand where 4NP collects, what ecosystems are affected, and which organisms are at risk. Understanding a problem of this size is both empowering and frustrating. The data I generate is useful for environmental advocates and policy makers, but change is slow, and I feel a certain urgency behind these issues. This quandary brings up the question: what is my responsibility as an individual and a scientist to our environment and the planet? And on a larger scale, as humans, what is our place in the world?

About Rebecca

Rebecca Lyons grew up a free-range child near Shelley, Idaho. Exploring places was always a part of her existence. The next frontier for her was inner space when she studied biochemistry at the University of Washington. A brief stint in Big Pharma convinced her that was not the path for her, and she went back to school for a Master’s and PhD in environmental chemistry at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her focus of study was finding trace organic contamination in situ, the proverbial needle in a haystack. But she knew she wanted to apply this technology to finding contaminant distribution in the broader environment and map location. She said as much when she interviewed with Jim Appleton at the University of Redlands in 2010, just two months after she graduated. And the rest, as they say, is history, which will be covered in this talk.

6:30-7:30 PM: Lightning Talks by Students, Faculty, Administrators, and Alumni

Inland Empire Site Selection for EV Charging Stations

As the state of California continues to pursue aggressive goals related to low- and zero-emissions vehicles through 2035, Fernando Frias, James Mullen, and Grant Gardner saw the need to incentivize the adoption of Electrical Vehicles (EVs) within the Inland Empire. To combat the notion that EVs are inconvenient to power, we utilized ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Business Analyst to locate areas where necessary electrical utility infrastructure and convenient proximity to a freeway existed, as well as where a high number of EV drivers lived who had thus far not been provided with a convenient EV charging station locally. We then identified census blocks that met the desired utilitarian and customer metrics and presented our findings framed as a hypothetical proposal for an EV charging station pilot program for Southern California Edison (SEC). By doing so, we provided a project advancing a net positive for state environmental sustainability goals, corporate expansion, and EV customer service. 

Fernando Frias, James Mullen, and Grant Gardner, School of  Business & Society

Going to the Sun Via Thomas Vint's Approach: A Case Study in Design with Nature

In August of 1924, a party of four National Park Service officials—Director Stephen Mather, Chief Engineer George Goodwin, Park Superintendent Charles Kraebel, and Landscape Architect Thomas Vint—rode horses to a vantage point in Montana's Glacier National Park to review plans for routing the park's proposed Transmountain Highway over Logan Pass. Two of the officials—Goodwin and Vint—got into an argument about the best routing of the road, leading Director Mather to storm off in a huff. This showdown, legendary in National Park Service history, changed forever the way the agency approached and executed road and infrastructure development in the nation's parks. This Esri StoryMap retells young Thomas Vint's challenge to Goodwin's authority and how it solidified a philosophy of developing national parks in harmony with nature. 

Dr. Steven Moore, Director, Center for Spatial Studies

Do it for the PLOT: How Farm Life Can Grow on You

Ever want to start your own garden? Or begin your compost journey? This presentation will focus on the SURF farm to showcase the reality of being a farmer and show some daily struggles. It will highlight new practices implemented and some of the challenges faced. This case study will illustrate how to manage and operate a 2-acre farm for a university.

Rosario Cardenas, Michelle Suarez, Community Service Learning

Preliminary Damage Detection in Gaza Using Sentinel-2

The Israel-Hamas war started in October of 2023 and is ongoing today in and around the Gaza strip territory. The Israeli military is carrying out a large-scale ground invasion and aerial bombing campaign and it has been reported that the war resulted in extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure in Gaza. This project aims at detecting potential changes from war damage using satellite imagery data before and after the war started. In this study, Sentinel-2 imagery from March of 2023 and of 2024 were compared to detect changes between the two datasets.  The results can help assess the ability of medium resolution satellite data to effectively detect areas of damage caused in a war.

Tyler Medina, 2024, Environmental Science, Spatial Studies & Public Policy Minors

Local Climate Change Trend Analysis

Climate change represents one of the most significant challenges facing the world today, characterized by alterations in weather patterns, rising global temperatures, and increasing occurrences of extreme weather events. At the heart of this issue is the undeniable impact of human activity, particularly the global population increase, which intensifies the demand for resources, energy, and land. Through this project, we will conduct an analysis using Python of temperature data for one of the cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and compare climate changes at the national level and the global level. We attempt to understand the pattern of local climate change and hope to expand the study to a national level in Saudi Arabia Using Python scripting, we perform an analysis of local climate change trends using approximately 100 years of temperature data for a local city, aiming to provide insight into long-term climate trends.

Ali Alahmari , Ibrahim Alsadhan , GEOSA 2024

Integrating ArcGIS Indoors into Facility Management

This presentation delves into the unique challenges that facility managers encounter, including space optimization, asset management, emergency response planning, and navigation assistance. It highlights a case study on Albuquerque Public Schools to demonstrate the effective implementation of GIS in managing one of the United States' largest school districts, focusing on enhancing space utilization and security in an educational environment. The talk explores the basics of the Indoors model and use of CAD floor plans for generating detailed indoor maps, developing interactive navigation tools, and capabilities of Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) for efficient resource management. Furthermore, the presentation will tackle the challenges and considerations involved in the data conversion process, offering an industry-based perspective of implementation. Through an in-depth review of ArcGIS Indoors, this talk aims to educate facility managers, stakeholders, and students about the advantages of spatial analysis in bolstering decision-making capabilities, operational efficiency, and the experience of users within indoor spaces.

Yvonne  Morales, 2024, GIS Cohort 44

Preliminary Loss Assessment Caused by Wildfires in Guizhou

This study aims to analyze the temporal variation in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) within Guiyang city, focusing specifically on the comparison of NDVI values before and after wildfires in 2024. Utilizing remote sensing data and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques, we quantitatively assess the impact of wildfires on the vegetation health and cover in the area. Using imagery from the Sentinel-2 mission, we calculated the vegetation indices. Preliminary findings suggest significant changes in NDVI values post-wildfire events, indicating alterations in vegetation health and coverage. This study not only contributes to understanding the environmental consequences of wildfires on vegetation but also aids in the development of strategies for environmental management and restoration in post-disaster scenarios. Through this comparative study, we aim to help mitigate wildfire disturbances, offering insights into sustainable urban planning and disaster mitigation.

Jianchao Gao , 2024, GIS Cohort 44; Weeraphong "Jack" Sudathip, 2024, GIS Cohort 44

The Spatiotemporal Distribution of Water Quality at Bluff Lake

The ever-looming threat of anthropogenic interference threatens reservoirs around the world. Bluff Lake, located in the Transverse Ranges of Southern California, is particularly susceptible to these dangers. This study assesses the water quality of Bluff Lake and investigates whether it displays a spatiotemporal pattern. Over a six-month period, DO, conductivity, temperature, pH, nitrate, phosphate, alkalinity, and location were collected at eight points around the lake. During multiple months, positive correlations between location (distance from inflow) and nitrate, phosphate, and pH were found. Throughout the months, both nutrients and pH fluctuated. Thus, there appears to be both a spatial and temporal influence on the studied variables. This indicates that while the lake can buffer its waters and protect the meadow system around it, it is vulnerable to anthropogenic inputs. Understanding these dynamics is essential to preserving small lake ecosystems and the meadows they support.

Sarah Szafranski, 2024, Math and Environmental Science, Spatial Studies Minor

Mapping Metal: Applying GIS to a Global History of a Musical Genre

Using the entries contained in The Metal Archives at Encyclopaedia Metallum, an online encyclopedia, with the help of the Center for Spatial Studies at the University of Redlands, I built a geodatabase of over 150,000 metal bands spread across 150 countries and six continents from the 1960s to 2022. The geodatabase allows the user to study and map the following variables: band name, country, hometown, status, year founded, sub-genre(s), lyrical themes, record label, years active, gender, and number of members.  This geodatabase is at the heart of a class HIST 275 "Mapping Metal: A Historical Geography" in which students are using GIS to study the historical development of the genre.  For the symposium, students have created Esri Dashboards for the history of metal in particular countries.

Dr. John Glover, Professor, History, Chair, Spatial Minor

GIS and Information Systems: Getting Together in Research?

The GIS and IS fields in academia have had problems inhibiting collaborative and cross-functional research. Why this is a problem and how it is beginning to be resolved are emphasized, including examples highlighting research that unites concepts from both fields.  (1) In studies of large-scale network disruptions, mapping and GIS are essential and can incorporate network theory from the IS field to evaluate possible disruptions of the Abilene physical research network. (2) The large-scale models of global climate change have GIS as a de facto modeling tool, which is combined with green approaches to simulation modeling from the IS field.  (3) Dashboards which are widely utilized by industry and in decision analytics in the IS field can be strengthened by incorporation GIS.  This was highlighted in Johns Hopkins Covid-19 dashboard. (4), the convergence of GIS and IS concepts of privacy is seen in new research streams on location privacy.

Dr. James Pick, Professor, School of Business & Society, Director, Center for Spatial Business (CSB)


View the 2024 posters and StoryMaps

7:30 – 8:00 PM: Presentation of Awards and Honors

Presentation of the Center for Spatial Business Student Excellence Awards -James Pick, School of Business & Society, Professor and Director, Center for Spatial Business (CSB), University of Redlands, Redlands, CA
  • Restrictive Covenants in Marin County - Michelle Jennings (MBA Business Analytics, 2024), Susanne Ma, (MBA Business Analytics, 2024)
  • Inland Empire Site Selection for EV Charging Stations - Fernando Frias (Business & Society, 2025), James Mullen, (Business & Society, 2025), Grant Gardner (Business & Society, 2025)
Presentation of the Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS
CAS Undergraduate Award - John Glover, Professor, Department of History, Spatial Minor Chair, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA
  • Kayla Edmonds (BS Environmental Science/Spatial Studies Minor, 2024)

GIS Graduate Award - Mark Kumler, Professor, Geographic Information Science, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA

  • Yvonne Morales (MSGIS, '24)
Presentation of the Poster & StoryMap Awards
  • Steve Moore, Director of the Center for Spatial Studies, Director of Sponsored Programs, IRB Administrative Coordinator, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA