Opening Remarks and Morning Panel
Penn GIS Day highlights the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the University, in the Philadelphia community at large, and provides a venue for professional and academic collaboration. In celebration of National GIS Day, the event focused on real-world applications and innovations stemming from uses of GIS technology. The program featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Kumar Navulur, Director of Next Generation Products at DigitalGlobe; current research findings and multidisciplinary applications presented by leading university faculty; and a panel discussion on innovative applications of civic data in Philadelphia. PennDesign’s Dana Tomlin, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Amy Hillier, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning, and John Landis, Crossways Professor of City and Regional Planning co-hosted the event.
In his address, Navular described the transformative potential made by the availability of higher-resolution satellite imaging and other remote sensing data. Advancing technology, he noted, makes access to satellite images nearly real-time. Navulur called upon the new generation of audience to realize the incredible possibilities inherent in such technological advances.
Keynote Address “The New Spatial World: A Vision for the Future”
A panel session, entitled City of Data–Civic Innovation in Philadelphia, explored the development and future direction of “open data” and geospatial data applications in the city. Presenters included Mark Headd, Chief Data Officer with the City of Philadelphia; Brian Ivey, GIS Manager at the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology; Lauren Gilchrist, Manager of Research and Analysis at Philadelphia’s Center City District (CCD); Sarah Low, Philadelphia Urban Field Station Coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service; and Grant Ervin, Public Safety GIS Program Manager from Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor’s Office of Public Safety.
Lightening Session “Knowledge and Technology: GIS Resources at Penn”
“Lightning Talks” highlighted GIS resources at Penn. Panelists, including Tara Jackson, Executive Director of Penn’s Cartographic Modeling Lab, Paul Amos, Managing Director of the Wharton GIS Lab, and Christine Murray, Social Sciences Data Librarian at Van Pelt/Penn Libraries, presented overviews of their programs’ capacities.
Afternoon Panel: “GIS-Based Studies: Applications in Urban Research”
The afternoon panel explored findings in GIS-based urban research. Charles Branas, Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, discussed the results of his ongoing research showing the association between vacant properties and crime, highlighting potential place-based interventions (“cleaning and greening”) as strategies for improving public health and revitalizing neighborhoods. Ken Steif, Doctoral Fellow in the City and Regional Planning Department at the School of Design, presented geo-statistical models estimating the real estate value of shuttered public school properties in Philadelphia. Eugene Brusilovskiy, Statistician and Director of GIS Analytics in the Rehabilitation Research Lab at Temple University, presented his evaluation of associations between psychiatric disability and the availability of neighborhood amenities.More than 100 GIS experts, practitioners, students, and academics, and other members of the Penn GIS community took part in Penn IUR’s celebration of GIS Day.