A living, learning laboratory: Inside the Geo4Dev symposium
Led by Ran Goldblatt and featuring GPS faculty, this international development symposium seeks to address our world’s greatest challenges, at scale, with the UC San Diego Big Pixel Initiative
By Rachel Hommel | GPS News
From our smart phone’s global positioning system to emergency vehicle response and urban planning, geographic information systems, or GIS, is the future of everything spatial. On Sept. 6-7 at UC Berkeley, almost two hundred leading researchers and students from 24 organizations came together to focus on the application of remote sensing and geospatial analysis to address issues of poverty, sustainable development, urbanization, climate change and economic growth in developing countries.
“Everything in our world has a spatial dimension,” said Ran Goldblatt, postdoctoral
With more than 100 people on the waiting list, the symposium attracted participants from all over the country and outside the US, organized by the Big Pixel Initiative at UC San Diego, the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) and the Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) at UC Berkeley.
“We wanted to bring together data scientists, geographers, social
The collaborative gathering launched with a symposium showcasing scientific presentations and posters from more than 36 leading researchers including GPS’s professor Gordon Hanson, assistant professor Jennifer
Professor Hanson’s presentation demonstrated the power of remote sensing for the analysis of economic development. By exploiting
Assistant professor Burney’s talk took the discussion from urbanization to agriculture. Remote sensing can be used to monitor the encroachment of semi-arid conditions into once-fertile
Speaking alongside his GPS colleagues, Goldblatt presented on mapping urbanization processes in Vietnam, one of the densest countries in the world. Looking at the added value of Sentinel satellites for urban research, the study used Google Earth Engine to look at
“The remote sensing scientist, together with the data scientist, has the skills to map and interpret the data. The economist knows how to use this data to understand economic relations, and the social scientist can relate the physical dimension to social networks and patterns. This is what is exciting about science, and this is why I think this conference was a success,” said Goldblatt.
During the second day, a geospatial-data workshop was held, providing introductory training from academics and tech-sector partners in the use of new tools,
"We plan to make Geo4Dev an annual event that will attract, every year, more and more leading researchers who will come together, learn from each other, be exposed to new tools and data sources, and expand the reach of remote sensing analysis across a multitude of disciplines,” said Goldblatt
Visit Storify to see a recap of the conference.
Big Pixel Initiative
Led by Hanson and Albert Yu-Min Lin of the Qualcomm Institute, the Big Pixel Initiative’s mission is to develop