What do you do for ISU Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach?
I work with data that involve the health and well-being of citizens and the communities in which they live. I do this in a variety of ways. First, my research involves developing methods for crowdsourcing local data, enabling user-generated data, and linking these data to their specific geographic location. Second, I am an educator and I provide learning and training experiences involving geospatial technology and data visualization to university students, company employees and the general public. Finally, my outreach includes the dissemination of information to aid and promote informed decision making.
What is the best part of your job?
As a professor and Extension specialist I get to work with students from all parts of Iowa and beyond, and I get to travel the state and meet citizens and learn about their communities.
Name one fun thing about yourself that not many people know.
I enjoy playing board and card games. If you know about “Ore for Sheep?” and a “Small Asteroid,” that a “Smithy” is worth +3 cards, what a “19” means in cribbage, or what to pass me when I take the bid in pinochle in diamonds, then we’d better talk.
What do you do in your spare time?
I spend time outside doing landscape projects, hiking, biking and fishing. I am also involved with our local Boy Scout troop.
What is one thing you would like to accomplish in this position?
To better enable the bidirectional flow of information between academics, professionals, community leaders, and all citizens. By this I am referring to the sharing of local knowledge to better understand the barriers, assets, and needs of a community and the sharing of research, governmental, and other data sets that can be used to create a more informed society.
How do you create a #StrongIowa?
Through my research I am working to develop new methods that allow citizens in rural communities to more easily map the infrastructure of their community and to visualize these data to support improved decision making. The data provided from the Indicators Program are also supporting a #StrongIowa by making data more accessible to everyone.
Finally, the Geospatial Technology Training Program continues to provide workshops introducing participants to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We also publish biweekly task sheets that provide easy-to-read, step-by-step guides to a variety of topics centered around geospatial technology, coding and data.
What have you been up to lately (in your job)?
Most recently, I have been leading a team on a research project that involves the development of crowd sourcing processes to capture community infrastructure data that supports walkable and bikable communities. Once collected, this data will allow for increased visualization of the gaps in transportation networks and allow decision makers to use agent-based modeling to better understand how changes to the infrastructure may lead to improved mobility of citizens. In addition to this work, I am also leading the development of a new interface and other analysis tools within the Indicators Program. These improvements will increase access to Indicator data using mobile devices and add options for visualizing and analyzing the data. Of course, we are also working to expand the variety of dataset available within the Indicator Portal and include these in the Data for Decision Makers publications.