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GISS Specialty Group Activities at AAG2021

As we are nearing the Annual meeting of AAG, we wanted to highlight the sessions that the Geographic Information Systems and Science Specialty Group (GISSG) is sponsoring this year. Despite the virtual format of the conference, the GISSG will host and co-host 45 sessions. Highlights include the following:

Tobler Lecture Series – This is the GISSG’s signature lecture series. This year we will host Dr. Elizabeth Delmelle and Dr. Robert Roth in a back-to-back plenary, who will showcase the significant contributions of geographers to the GIScience discipline.

Best Student Paper Competition – Every year, GISSG hosts best student paper competition. These papers highlight the advancements in the GIScience discipline from a methodological and application perspective. Please join us in getting a glimpse into the future of GIScience discipline through the lens of upcoming researchers.

Geospatial Health Symposium – There are six sessions organized as part of this symposium that focus on spatiotemporal modeling of COVID-19 and other public health issues including substance use that has increased during the pandemic. The sessions also highlight the role of GIScience fundamentals in understanding, modeling and visualizing public health related research.

Symposium of Human Dynamics Research – This symposium will also host six sessions that focus on the role of spatiotemporal analytics, static and dynamic big data and geo-visualization in exploring, modeling and visualizing the interaction between human and natural systems across space and time.

Spaces of Education – The COVID_19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of our current educational system. These sessions reflect on the use and impact of geospatial technologies and techniques in education that can be used to build a GIScience education resilient to changing conditions.

Towards Computational Praxis for Social Justice – Like many issues, the COVID_19 pandemic has brought forth to our attention the issue of social justice, which is though not new, has fallen off the radar. These sessions are highlighting the role of computation and GIS in exploring social justice issues while exposing the nuances of using different techniques and technologies to study social justice.

The complete information of sessions sponsored by the GISS Specialty Group is listed below:

273474/708:00-09:15Virtual 38Challenges and opportunities presented to battle pandemics in urban spacesPaperTilottama Ghosh
282444/708:00-09:15Virtual 1Career Mentoring (Opportunity 1 of 6)NetworkMark Revell
276434/709:35-10:50Virtual 32Towards Computational Praxis for Social Justice IIPaperAlbina Gibadullina
270884/711:10-12:25Virtual 46Geospatial Knowledge Graphs and OntologyPaperAlexandre Sorokine
276454/713:30-14:45Virtual 32Towards Computational Praxis for Social Justice IVPaperCorrine Armistead
282454/708:00-09:15Virtual 1Career Mentoring (Opportunity 2 of 6)NetworkMark Revell
269624/715:05-16:20Virtual 32Towards Computational Praxis for Social Justice PanelPanelMollie Holmberg
270284/715:05-16:20Virtual 7GIScience and Hazards in the Era of Big DataPaperBandana Kar
273704/716:40-17:55Virtual 7Social Media and Big Data for DisastersPaperBandana Kar
282464/808:00-09:15Virtual 1Career Mentoring (Opportunity 3 of 6)NetworkMark Revell
273134/808:00-09:15Virtual 33Urban Data Science: Theories, Methods, Models, and Applications for Our Changing Cities IPaperQunshan Zhao
274964/809:35-10:50Virtual 33Urban Data Science: Theories, Methods, Models, and Applications for Our Changing Cities IIPaperQunshan Zhao
282474/813:30-14:45Virtual 1Career Mentoring (Opportunity 4 of 6)NetworkMark Revell
271944/813:30-14:45Virtual 40Map Up 1: Relational and Radical MappingsPanelEric Huntley
279264/815:05-16:20Virtual 40Map Up 2: Auditing and AccountabilityPanelTaylor Shelton
272184/816:40-17:55Virtual 48Tobler Lecture and Transactions in GIS Plenary Presentations (Sponsored by Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group)Paper (Tobler Lecture)John Wilson
282484/908:00-09:15Virtual 1Career Mentoring (Opportunity 5 of 6)NetworkMark Revell
280414/908:00-09:15Virtual 22Open Source Data for Assessing Vulnerabilities, Risk & ResiliencePaperNagendra Singh
270134/908:00-09:15Virtual 8Geospatial Health Symposium 5: Mapping and Analyzing the Impacts of COVID-19 Outbreak in Neighborhoods IPaperMing-Hsiang Tsou
276054/909:35-10:50Virtual 16Holocaust & Genocide Geographies 1: MethodsPaperAlberto Giordano
277364/909:35-10:50Virtual 36Spaces of Education IPaperMichael Minn
276044/909:35-10:50Virtual 8Geospatial Health Symposium 5: Mapping and Analyzing the Impacts of COVID-19 Outbreak in Neighborhoods IIPaperAtsushi Nara
282824/909:35-10:50Virtual 63Meet the Cities’ COVID Mitigation Mapping (C2M2) InitiativePanelMelinda Laituri
277514/911:10-12:25Virtual 36Spaces of Education IIPaperMichael Minn
274264/911:10-12:25Virtual 47Critical GeoAIPaperRenee Sieber
270604/913:30-14:45Virtual 9Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: Modeling Human Dynamics in Coupled Natural-Human Systems IPaperHeng Cai
270704/915:05-16:20Virtual 14Geographic Information Science and Systems Best Student Paper CompetitionPaperSong Gao
271134/915:05-16:20Virtual 8Geospatial Health Symposium 8: Geography and Substance Use 1PaperKathleen Stewart
274274/915:05-16:20Virtual 9Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: Modeling Human Dynamics in Coupled Natural-Human Systems IIPaperHeng Cai
281344/916:40-17:55Virtual 14Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group Business MeetingMeeting
271144/916:40-17:55Virtual 8Geospatial Health Symposium 9: Geography and Substance Use 2PaperJeremy Mennis
282494/1008:00-09:15Virtual 1Career Mentoring (Opportunity 6 of 6)NetworkMark Revell
274044/1008:00-09:15Virtual 9Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: Emerging Themes in a Post-pandemic EraPaperShih-Lung Shaw
272594/1009:35-10:50Virtual 16Cognition and Visualization 1PaperAlexander Savelyev
271224/1009:35-10:50Virtual 9Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: Mining Human Dynamics with Big Data & Spatio-Temporal AnalysisPaperXining Yang
278694/1011:10-12:25Virtual 4Meet the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI)PanelMichael Scott
274844/1011:10-12:25Virtual 8Geospatial Health Symposium 12 and Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: Advances in Dynamic Environmental Exposure, Mobility Patterns, and Health OutcomesPaperMarta Jankowska
273524/1013:30-14:45Virtual 22Earth Observation data in sustainable urban science researchPaperPranab Roy Chowdhury
278714/1015:05-16:20Virtual 1Meet certified GIS Professionals (aka GISPs)PanelClancy Wilmott
274154/1015:05-16:20Virtual 21GIS methods to analyze land changePaperThomas Bilintoh
271524/1016:40-17:55Virtual 9Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: University Consortium for Geographic Information Science – Cyberinfrastructure and Decision Support Systems Research InitiativePaperZhe Zhang
278834/1108:00-09:15Virtual 48Urban Data Science: Theories, Methods, Models, and Applications for Our Changing CitiesPanelQunshan Zhao
274284/1109:35-10:50Virtual 44The Future of Atlases: Practice, Reflection, PotentialPaperAileen Buckley
271464/1109:35-10:50Virtual 8Geospatial Health Symposium 17 and Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: Advances in Dynamic Environmental Exposure, Mobility Patterns, and Health OutcomesPaperMarta Jankowska
268894/1111:10-12:25Virtual 9Symposium on Human Dynamics Research: Mapping, Modeling and Prediction with VGIPaperGuiming Zhang

Thank you very much for your support to the AAG-GISS community. We look forward to ‘seeing’ you at AAG2021!

The AAG-GISS Specialty Group

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Enhancing diversity, promoting inclusion, and broadening participation in the discipline of geography and GIScience are goals that are central to the AAG-GISS Speciality Group and its mission. The AAG-GISS Group will actively engage in outreach and research activities to promote diversity and inclusion within the geography and GIScience communities. We will include data from a variety of sources about our membership and department composition so that our activities will consider the needs and conditions of all our members. If there is anything that we can do to help enhance diversity, promote inclusion, and broaden participation, please feel free to reach out to us anytime (Chair: Bandana Kar [karb at], Communication Director: Lei Zou [lzou at]).

More details about AAG-related Diversity and Inclusion Programs and Activities could be found in

2021 AAG Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group Annual Student Paper Competition

The Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group (GISS-SG) of the Association of American Geographers is pleased to announce the 2021 Honors Competition for Student Papers on Geographic Information Science topics to be presented at the annual meeting. The purpose of this competition is to promote scholarship and written and oral presentations by students in the field of GIS. Papers are invited from current graduate and undergraduate students on any topic in geographical information systems and geographic information science.

Please see detailed information under the menu Awards –> Student Paper Competition link.

We have successfully invited six students to participate in the 2021 AAG-GISS group Student Paper Competition. Congratulations! More details about the student paper competition could be found in

GISS Board of Directors 2020 Election Results

Dear GISS specialty group members,
Hope you are doing well! It is with great pleasure that we announce the winners of this year’s GISS election!

  • Bandana Kar (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) will be succeeding to Chair, following her 2-year term as Vice-Chair 

Please welcome our new officers: 

  • Ran Wei as Vice-Chair (University of California, Riverside)
  • Song Gao as Academic Director (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • Lei Zou as Communications Director (Texas A & M, College Station)
  • Jordan Burnes as Commercial Director (NiyamIT)
  • Emily Zvolanek as Government Director (Argonne National Laboratory)
  • Avipsa Roy as student director  (Arizona State University)

Congratulations to these new officers and we look forward to the service they will provide our community! Thanks to all those  who expressed their willingness to serve the GISS community in this election.  We are also deeply thankful for the outgoing officers for their service and dedication to the specialty group. It has truly been a pleasure working with all of you.

This is also marks the end of my term as Chair of GISS. It has been a pleasure serving this community and I feel we accomplished many important things including modernizing the constitution (which was last modified in 1988). I want to extend a special thanks to Zachary Christman for his dedication both as a chair but particularly as the chair emeritus who worked along side me through the last 2 years. His contributions, guidance, and encouragement were indispensable. I look forward to working alongside Dr. Kar in her term as Chair as she moves GISS forward over the coming years.

Thanks for your service and collaboration, and I am always glad to continue to offer guidance and support in the years ahead. 


Robert Stewart

Chair, AAG Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group

2020 AAG Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group Annual Best Student Paper Competition Winners

Please join us to congratulate the following students who won the 2020 AAG-GISS Best Student Paper Competition:

1st place:  Yuhao Kang, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Advisor: Song Gao.

Paper Title: Human settlement value assessment from a place perspective considering human mobility and perception in house price modeling

2nd place: Seonga Cho, University of California at Santa Barbara; Advisor: Gunhak Lee.

Paper Title: Spatio-temporal optimization applying competitive location model and greedy algorithm

Final list honor mention: 

Dong Liu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Advisor: Mei-Po Kwan.

Paper Title: Identification of Vehicles’ Refueling Activities Using Space-Time GIS

2020 AAG Session Sponsorships

In order to facilitate the AAG sessions organization,  the current GISS board of directors decided to sponsor all the session requests that are related to our mission statement. Please feel free to add our specialty group “Geographic Information Science and Systems” into your CFP. The default answer to the AAG session sponsorship would be “Yes”!

Mission statement
1. Promote the exchange of ideas and information relating to GIS.
2. Promote GIS research.
3. Improve the understanding of the proper application of GIS procedures.
4. Develop materials and promote activities needed to improve the teaching of GIS concepts.
5. Promote and coordinate activities and directions with other professional organizations involved with GIS.
6. Pursue charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

If you have any other questions, please contact our BOD Chair Dr. Robert Stewart ( or the Communications Director: Dr. Song Gao (

new GISS Board of Directors for 2018-2020

Greetings, It is my pleasure to announce the new GISS Specialty Group Board, began their service at the close of the 2018 Annual Meeting:

Serving 2018-2020:

Chair: Robert Stewart, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Vice Chair: Bandana Kar, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Academic Director: Ran Wei, University of California, Riverside

Secretary/Communications Director: Song Gao, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Commercial Director: Wendy Dorman, Radiant Solutions

Past-Chair: Zachary Christman, Rowan University

Serving 2018-2019:

Student Director: Rui Zhu, University of California, Santa Barbara

All 3 constitutional amendments were passed with >95% approval (60% required), and the board will work to update the language of the constitution and post on the webpage at Thank you to all those who stepped forward to run for the GISS Specialty Group Board of Directors, and thanks also to the members who voted in the election. Thank you also to the self-/nominees for Government Director. The board will reach out privately to discuss next steps.

Thank you also to to the outgoing board for your service to the GISS Specialty Group:

Thomas Crawford (Virginia Tech), Academic Director

Min Chen (Nanjing Normal University) Secretary/Treasurer

Yingjie Hu (University of Tennessee) Student Director

Diansheng Guo (University of South Carolina), Past-Chair