Convergent GIScience priorities workshop

 28-29 October 2019


Background: Conveyance of GIScience and geospatial technologies is increasingly valued for critical questions of where in real world data and applications that influence individual and community health, vibrancy, and resilience. Complex problem solving in these domains involves prioritization in such areas as machine learning and expert knowledge, replicability and reproducibility (R&R), cloud and local infrastructure, commercial and open software, multiuser and individual workflows, and data quality versus privacy. Furthermore, as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other unstaffed technologies disrupt traditional modes, scales, and sources of heterogeneous geospatial data collection activities, the GIScience (or emerging geospatial data science) community bears an increased responsibility to ethically pursue a range of research activities that in harmony best support human quality of life. Motivation for a University of Arkansas-hosted workshop that addresses the above is one of the outcomes of the “Replicability and Reproducibility in Geospatial Research: A SPARC Workshop” ( held 11-12 Feb 2019 in Tempe, AZ. Recommendations from "Fostering the Culture of Convergence in Research" (, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop held 23-24 Oct 2018 in Washington, D.C., provide motivational context beyond GIScience. 

Objective: A focused workshop will bring together approximately ten key researchers and leaders in GIScience, geospatial data science, UAS, health and medical geography, biogeography, etc. in late 2019 to address convergent GIScience (or geospatial data science) priorities. These individuals will be in addition to key University of Arkansas participants who are working in relevant areas of inquiry. For some participants the workshop will be held in conjunction with the Fall 2019 Arkansas GIS Users Forum. 


Dates and overall agenda: 

  • Sunday, 27 Oct: workshop guests travel to Fayetteville, stay in Carnall Hall; informal welcome and dinner 
  • Monday, 28 Oct: GIScience workshop on campus; will include tour of CAST, Reception at TheatreSquared 
  • Tuesday, 29 Oct: Wrap up workshop discussion and future plans in the morning, then transition to a hike and (for some) travel to Eureka Springs for Arkansas GIS Users Forum 
  • Wednesday, 30 Oct: Opening plenary talk by Mike Goodchild at Arkansas GIS Users forum 


University of Arkansas organizers: 

  • Daniel Sui, Distinguished Professor of Geography and Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation 
  • Jackson Cothren, Professor of Geography and Director of Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) 
  • Jason A. Tullis, Professor of Geography, CAST 


Visiting Experts: 

  • Mike Goodchild | University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Emily Adams | NASA SERVIR
  • Bandana Kar | Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Peter Kedron | Arizona State University
  • Siyuan Lu | IBM TJ Watson Research Center
  • Douglas Mettenburg | JB Hunt
  • Raphael Rose | Walmart
  • Shih-Lung Shaw | University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Zaria Tatalovich | National Institute of Health
  • Devin White | Sandia National Laboratory
  • Sean Young | University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


Campus Participants: 

  • Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation
  • Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST)
  • Geosciences
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • College of Engineering
  • Computer Science and Computer Engineering
  • Anthropology
  • Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Economics
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Walton College of Business
  • University of Arkansas Libraries


Agenda 28 Oct 2019: 


Meet workshop organizers

Inn at Carnall Hall

8:15 – 9:00am

Breakfast (catered) 

H.L. Hembree III

203 Willard J. Walker Hall

9:00 – 10:15am

Introduction and Goodchild keynote

Daniel Sui, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, University of Arkansas (U of A), Welcome

Jackson Cothren, Director of Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST), U of A, Overview of the Workshop Agenda/Goals

Keynote by Mike Goodchild, University of California-Santa Barbara

10:15 – 10:30am


10:30 – 11:30am

Morning presentations

Zaria Tatalovich, National Institute of Health, “Convergent GIS priority areas:  spatial context of cancer”

Shih-Lung Shaw, Geography, Univ of Tennessee Knoxville, “GIScience beyond absolute space: a human-centered GIScience framework”

Emily Adams, NASA SERVIR, “The evolution of GIScience priorities during SERVIR’s 14 years of connecting space to village"

11:30 – 12:05pm

Lightning talks

Bandana Kar, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Sean Young, College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Grant Drawve, Sociology and Criminology, U of A

Jason Tullis (co-organizer), Geosciences/CAST, U of A

12:05 – 12:30pm


12:30 – 1:30pm

Lunch (catered)

1:30 – 2:30pm

Afternoon presentations

Peter Kedron, Geography and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, “Which priorities will help convert the synthesis of GIScience to convergent GIScience?”

Siyuan Lu, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, “IBM PAIRS - big geospatio-temporal data and analytics as-a-service”

Devin White, Sandia National Laboratory, “Role of GIScience in data-driven machine intelligence”

2:30 – 3:00pm


3:00 – 3:15pm


3:15 – 4:20pm

Lightning talks

Vincent Chevrier, Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, U of A

Brent Williams, Walton College of Business, U of A

Douglas Mettenburg, JB Hunt

Raphael Rose, Walmart

Chase Rainwater, Industrial Engineering, U of A

Greg Thoma, Chemical Engineering, U of A

Xiao Liu, Industrial Engineering, U of A

Rich Ham, Industrial Engineering, U of A

4:20 – 5:00pm

Discussion & closing remarks by organizing committee


Convergent GIScience priorities videos