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Research

Research Projects in Progress

GIScience and Health: Air Pollution-Exposure-Health Effects Indicators: Mining Massive Geographically Referenced Environmental Health Data to Identify Risk Factors for Birth Defects

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan (PI)

Funding Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (USEPA-STAR) program, (2011-2015)

 

GIScience and Land Change Science: Texas Trends: Towards Developing An Interdisciplinary, Sustained Research Network In Land Change Science At Texas State University

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Jennifer Jensen (PI), Dr. Larry Price (Co-PI)

Funding SourcesTexas State University, AVP-Research and Federal Relations, Multidisciplinary Internal Research Grant, (2013-2014)

 

GIScience and Anthrpology: Towards the Development of a Spatial Analytical Model and Taphonomic Reference for Use in Animal-Scavenged Death Scenes

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Alberto Giordano (Co-PI)

Funding SourcesTexas State University, Research Enhancement Program (REP) Grant, (2012-2013)

 

Historical GIS: Collaborative Research: Holocaust Historical GIS

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Alberto Giordano (PI)

Funding Sources: National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Geography and Regional Science Program, (2008-2010)

 

GIScience and Health: GIS-Augmented Environmental Health Research in Texas: Maternal Residential Proximity to Superfund Sites and Low Birth Weight in Offspring

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan (PI)

Funding Sources: Texas Department of State Health Services–Epidemiology Program, (2008-2009)

 

GIScience and Health: Visual Geospatial Analytics and its Applications in Human-Environment Relation Studies

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan (PI)

Funding Sources: China Ministry of Education, the Li Ka Shing Foundation (Hong Kong), and Wuhan University, (2008-2011)

 

GIScience and Health: GIS for Environmental Health Data Analysis in Texas

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan

Funding Sources: Texas Department of State Health Services – Epidemiology Program

 

GIScience and Health: GIS-Based Analysis for Linking Environmental and Birth Data

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan

Funding Sources: Texas Department of State Health Services – Epidemiology Program

 

GIScience and Transportation: Texas Department of Transportation Research Technical Assistance Panels

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan (PI)

Funding Sources: Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), (2009-2010)

 

GIScience and Transportation: Regional Public Transportation Solutions for Intercity Commuting Problems

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan

Funding Sources: Texas Department of Transportation–Research and Technology Implementation Office

 

GIScience and Agriculture: Sustainable Agricultural Water Conservation in the Rio Grande Basin—GIS and Climate Modeling Component

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. F Benjamin Zhan

Funding Sources: U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (part of the grant – USDA/CSREES Award No: 2004-38899-02181). [sub-contract through Texas State River Systems Institute at Texas State]

 

GIScience and History: Holocaust Historical GIS (Collaborative Research)

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Alberto Giordano

Funding Sources: National Sciences Foundation-Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences-Geography and Regional Sciences Program

 

GIScience and Geomorphology: Global Spatial River Database Construction in Support of the NASA Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) Mission

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Mark Fonstad

Funding Sources: National Aeronautics and Space Administration via Ohio State University, (2009-2011)

 

GIScience and Geomorphology: Fluvial Wood Presence and Dynamics over a Thirty-Year Interval in Forested Watersheds

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Mark Fonstad (PI); Ms. Jane Atha (Co-PI)

Funding Sources: National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Geography and Regional Science Program, (2010-2011)

 

GIScience and Geomorphology: Complexity in Geomorphology

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Mark Fonstad

Funding Sources: funded by several Geoscience-related NSF programs (lead program: GLD) with co-PI Brad Murray of Duke University

 

GIScience and Homeland Security: A Randomized Experiment of License Plate Recognition Technology in Mesa, AZ

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Yongmei Lu

Funding Sources: United State Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Sub-award from the Police Executive Research Forum (2008-10)

 

GIScience and Health: Residential Proximity to Environmental Hazards and Congenital Malformations in Offspring

This project examines the risk of congenital malformations in offspring and maternal residence near hazardous waste sites, Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) facilities with reported emissions of solvents or metals, companies producing chemicals, petroleum refineries, and metals industries. Specific aims of this research include: (1) An examination of the association between maternal residence near NPL sites, state superfund sites, or other hazardous waste sites and risk of congenital malformations in offspring (neural tube defects, conotruncal heart defects, oral cleft defects, Down syndrome, all chromosomal congenital anomalies, all non-chromosomal anomalies); (2) An examination of the association between maternal residence near TRI sites with industrial emissions of solvents, metals, and other potential teratogens and risk of congenital anomalies in offspring; (3) An examination of the association between maternal residence near petroleum refineries, chemical industries, or primary metal industries and risk of congenital malformations in offspring.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Benjamin Zhan (co-PI); Ms. Ionara De Lima (PhD student)

Collaborative Researchers:
Dr. Jean Brender (PI), Texas State Department of Health Services Research
Dr. Lucina Suarez (co-PI), Texas Department of Health
Dr. Peter Langlois (co-PI) Texas Department of Health

Funding Sources: US Center for Disease Control and Prevention through the Texas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

 

GIScience and Health: Border Health and Environmental Threats Initiative

The overall goal of this project is to "identify and assess threats to national health and environmental security that result from the movement of disease back and forth across the Texas-Mexico border, development and spread of drug resistant disease, and proliferation of carriers of disease" (Rosen 2003). In order to accomplish this overall goal, tasks for the Texas State University-San Marcos team will include: (1) develop GIS databases and software packages that can be used to map the spatial and temporal movement of disease, disease vectors, and drug resistant disease, and provide a picture of overall threats to the U.S., Mexico and beyond; (2) develop mathematical and spatial analysis methods that can be used to monitor and predict disease movement/spread based on spatio-temporal distribution of certain disease vectors and movement of people; (3) develop mathematical and spatial analysis methods that can be used to monitor and predict the spread of drug resistance disease based on the movement of people in geographic space and time; (4) build an integrated system for GIS-based disease mapping, monitoring, modeling, and mitigation for Texas, Mexico and beyond.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Benjamin Zhan (co-PI); Dr. Alberto Giordano (co-Investigator); Dr. Yongmei Lu (co-Investigator)

Collaborative Researchers:
Dr. Jean Brender (co-Investigator), Texas State Department of Health Services Research

Funding Sources: US Department of Defense through Brooks City-Base

 

GIScience and Health: Geospatial Data Mining for Environmental Exposure Assessment

It is well known that the development of many diseases is due to the interaction of an individual's personal susceptibility with environmental contaminants over time. But the identification of the association between some diseases and environmental contaminants contributing to the development of the diseases remains a big challenge for scientists in environment and human health research. Major obstacles include the development of effective methods for environmental exposure assessment and techniques that can be used to automatically analyze a large amount of geospatially-referenced data, detect hidden patterns in the data, and understand the relationships between these hidden patterns and a particular disease. This proposed project introduces a completely new set of methods for environment exposure assessment. In the methods, environmental contaminants in a specific location are measured by an image-called LocationEnviMarker (LEM)-showing the composition of environmental contaminants in a given location where a person may have lived or worked for a period of time. The hypothesis is that a person may have been exposed to a series of environmental and/or occupational contaminants represented by these LEMs over a period of time and a particular sequence (called LifeEnviCode (LEC)) of the contaminants in the series of LEMs is the environment-agent that causes a specific disease. This project develops a geospatial data mining and exploration system that can be used to automatically mine a vast amount of environmental, occupational, and health data and discover the segment in a LEC that is most likely responsible for the development of a particular disease.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Benjamin Zhan (PI)

 

GIScience and Sustainability Science: An Agent-Based Simulated Human-Environment Science Laboratory for the Rio Grande River Basin

This research initiative aims at developing an innovative modeling and analysis system through a combination of agent-based modeling techniques, Geographic Information System (GIS), remote sensing, geocomputation, and geospatial visualization. We plan to develop a system that can provide a platform to facilitate scientific enquiry in Sustainability Science in the context of a river basin. This system can be used to aid decision makers to perform holistic studies and analyses of a river basin. The basic approach is to divide the entire study area into smaller area units. These area units can be a grid cell or a polygon representing an area with some uniform characteristics. Each area unit is assumed to possess a set of properties indicating the physical, demographic, social, economic, and environmental conditions in the area. Local decisions are represented by the actions of the agents located in each area unit. The impact of a decision on a river system is modeled by the interactions among different area units and agents. We currently use the Rio Grande as the case study area.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Benjamin Zhan (PI); Mr. Guangyu Wu (PhD student)

Funding Sources: Texas State Department of Geography; Texas State International Institute of Sustainable Water Resources (IISWR)

 

GIScience and Transportation:Agent-Based Modeling and Microsimulation of Transportation Systems

Transportation systems are typical emergent phenomena in geographic space where system level behavior (emergent behavior) is the result of the interactions among individual drivers or constituent components. The characteristic makes transportation systems ideal candidates for the application of agent-based modeling and simulation. This project seeks to better understand the relationships between the emergent behavior of a transportation system and its constituent components (e.g., individual drivers) through agent-based modeling and microsimulation.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Benjamin Zhan (PI); Ms. Xuwei Chen (PhD student)

Funding Sources: Texas State Department of Geography

 

GIScience and Transportation:Building the Right Roads - A GIS-based Traffic Analysis Method to Evaluate Location Needs for Road Capacity Expansion

This research is funded by the Research Enhancement Grant of Texas State University at San Marcos. Different from traditional traffic analyses that usually separate trip origins from the corresponding destinations when describing traffic generation and attraction, this research analyzes traffic patterns by describing how origins and destinations are connected by traffic flows. The proposed method examines traffic flows as linkages between origins and destinations by developing a method to investigate the spatial autocorrelation of these linkages.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Yongmei Lu (PI)

 

GIScience and Homeland Security:Spatial Statistics and Crime Pattern

Applying techniques of spatial statistics combined with that of GIS to support crime spatial pattern analysis. More specifically, substantial research has been and is being done to describe and predict crime hot spots, journey-to-crime / journey-after-crime, crime hot links, etc. Department of Justice is one potential source of funding.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Yongmei Lu (PI)

 

GIScience and Homeland Security: Inter-Crime Spatial Relationship

Based on criminological theories and models about the relationship between different types of crimes (e.g. property crime is conducted to support drug habit), related research examines the spatial association between these crimes. DOJ and state and local government are potential source of funding.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Yongmei Lu (PI)

 

GIScience and Water Resources: An Experimental Adaptation of the National Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Project to Groundwater Districts in Texas

This is proposed project that we are seeking support from the Department of Agriculture of the United States. Dr. Showalter is the PI, and the co-PIs are Dr. Johnson and Dr. Lu. This project is "designed to test the feasibility of applying NEMO's proven national program methods to facilitate the efforts of local decision makers whose legislative mandate is to protect groundwater resources and those, like county commissioners or city councils and planning commissions, which make land use decisions".

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Pamela Showalter (PI), Dr. Yongmei Lu (co-PI)

 

GIScience and Earth System Science:Mangrove Forest Dynamics Study with Remote Sensing Imagery

Mangroves forests are highly productive ecosystems that typically dominate the intertidal zone of low energy tropical and subtropical coastlines. The constituent species in these forests are often differentially distributed along the intertidal gradient, forming zones of differing species composition with distance from the water's edge. Mangrove habitats and the organisms they support are of significant ecological and economic value. In this project, our objectives are: 1) derive the mangrove species distribution through the classification of satellite remote sensing images as well as high-spatial resolution aerial photographs acquired over a span of twelve years at a study site in the Caribbean coast of Panama. 2) examine the mangrove forest dynamics over the twelve-year span 3) detect the size and spatial distribution of lightening-generated gaps in different years and spatial pattern analysis to understand the functioning of gaps to the mangrove forest dynamics.

TxGISci Researchers: Dr. Le Wang

Collaborative Researchers:
Dr. Wayne P. Sousa (PI), University of California, Berkeley

Funding sources: NSF

 

Research Projects Completed

Coming Soon.