Faculty and Staff

Marguerite Madden Marguerite Madden, Ph.D.
Director / Professor

Dr. Marguerite Madden is the Director of the Center for Geospatial Research (CGR) and Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia (UGA). She received her B.A. (1979) and M.A. (1984) degrees in Biology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and her Ph.D. (1990) in Ecology from The University of Georgia. Her research over the past 27 years at UGA has focused on geographic information science (GIScience) and landscape analysis of vegetation, landscape-level human impacts on natural environments, and more recently, collaborative research in animal behavior, wildlife disease, human geography and environmental design. Dr. Madden is a Past President and Fellow of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), Editor of the 2009 ASPRS Manual of GIS and current International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Technical Commission President of Commission IV “Geodatabases and Digital Mapping”. She has three grown children and lives in Athens, Georgia with four dogs, three cats and numerous bicycles.

Tommy Jordan Thomas R. Jordan, Ph.D.
Associate Director

Tommy Jordan has been working with photogrammetry, remote sensing, GIS and GPS for 30 years. He is an ASPRS Certified Photogrammetrist and Mapping Scientist-GIS/LIS and currently serves on the ASPRS Certification Review Board. He is also Secretary of ISPRS Commission IV. At UGA, he teaches intro and advanced remote sensing and photogrammetry and is responsible for systems administration and project management at CRMS. In his real life, Tommy plays banjo and guitar with the old-time band, String Theory. He also loves to go fly fishing but doesn’t get to do it as often as he would like to. http://www.tommyjordan.com

Adrian Thomas Adrian Thomas, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor and Engineering/Agricultural Consultant

Geography BS, MS, Ph.D. Agricultural/Civil Engineering Clemson and Colorado State Universities, Conducted research for 33 years with the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA. Served as Laboratory Director for the Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory, Tifton, GA for the last 9 years of career. Personal research interest included: hydrologic and watershed modeling, soil and water conservation practices, soil erosion technologies. Active on family farm in Edgefield, SC.

Deepak Mishra Deepak Mishra, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Mishra specializes in the application of geospatial science including remote sensing, GIS, and GPS to coastal environments. His broad research interests are: Remote Sensing of Wetlands, Estuaries, Coastal and Open Ocean Waters Remote Sensing in Monitoring Global Climate Change Ocean Optics and Satellite Oceanography.

Lan Mu Lan Mu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Dr. Mu’s interests involve GIScience, spatial analysis and modeling, GIS for health and the environment, computational geometry, cartography and geovisualization.

Angela Yao Xiaobai Angela Yao, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Dr. Yao’s interests include GIScience; Urban Growth and Transportation; Public Health; Data Analysis and Modeling; Qualitative GIS.

Roy Welch Roy Welch, Ph.D.
Emeritus Director

Associated Scientists

 Ahmed Wahid Ahmed Wahid, Ph.D.

Ahmed Wahid received his PhD from Suez Canal University, Egypt, after conducting his PhD research at the Center for Geospatial Research as an exchange student (2005-2008). He has a BS and an MSc in Geology from ZagaZig University, Egypt. His research interests involve applying geospatial modelling in geo-environmental assessment and land use planning. Ahmed used geospatial modelling and GIS programming to estimate sand accumulation along sandy beaches, in support of environmental impact assessments. He also used remotely sensed data and GIS to evaluate the sensitivity of coastal zones to oil spills pollution. For land use planning, Ahmed used satellite Images and field data for land suitability site selection using GIS modelling. He is currently interested in using temporal NASA Night Lights imagery to digitally estimate electric power consumption associated with land use change.

Allison Howard Allison Howard, Ph.D.

My research interests lie in the spatial cognition and navigation of nonhuman primates. I am implementing a combination of laboratory and field techniques in order to investigate the spatial orientation mechanisms of capuchin monkeys. My dissertation research used GIS modeling techniques and remote sensing to analyze the routes and habitat choices of bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil.

Brandon Adams, M.S.

I completed a dual Bachelor’s degree in History and Geography from the University of Georgia and a Master’s in GIS from Florida State University. I am working on the National Park vegetation mapping project as well as analyzing data received from the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Outside of work, I enjoy landscaping, restoring antique American trucks, and drinking Co’Cola with Georgia peanuts.

Byungyun Yang Byungyun Yang, Ph.D.

Byungyun’s research interests include Tourism Geography and Sustainable Development and Preservation by means of geospatial science such as geo-visualization, geographic Information Science, and remote sensing, spatial analysis. Recently, he focuses on analyzing LULC by Geographic Object Based Image Analysis, applications of LiDAR point cloud, and developing Semantic Classes by ArcGIS Server. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in a field of Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing, and a certified Mapping Scientist, certified by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

Chiao-Ying (Jill) Chiao-Ying Chou (Jill), Ph.D.

I’m working with CGR as a Research Associate on proposal preparation about developing photorealistic landscape visualizations of pine plantations and hemlock forests in the Southeastern United States to assess options in planting arrangement, thinning, and harvesting. I received my Ph.D. in August 2010 from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) at Clemson University. My dissertation,” Simulating and Assessing the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Spot Growth on Management Scenarios Using GIS‐Based and 3‐D Landscape Visualization”, focuses on simulating the SPB spot growth in spatial and temporal dimensions by 2‐D, and 3‐D GIS-based models. The GIS‐based model was developed by using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) within the ESRI ArcGIS software package. In addition, the related landscape visualization software, such as Visual Natural Studio (VNS, 3D Nature), and 3‐D plant image simulators, such as Greenwork’s Xfrog and OnyxGarden Professional, were used to simulate the photorealistic 3‐D landscape visualizations. During my Ph.D. study, not only emphasized on the GIS‐based modeling approach, but also used forest stand databases and remote sensing images as the basis for data sources to analyze and visualize the spatial patterns of disturbances, recovery, and treatments from alternative silvicultural operations (i.e., thinning, stand restoration, stand species mixture, and prescribed burning).

David Cotten David L. Cotten, Ph.D.

David graduated from UGA in 2011 with his doctorate in Physics. He spent roughly two years at UGA’s satellite campus in Griffin as a Research assistant/Post doc, where his work focused on surface-atmosphere exchange from pine forests, peanuts, turfgrass, and wetlands. He is interested in using his physics and biometeorology background in conjunction with remote sensing to improve knowledge of regional scale processes, specifically focusing on carbon storage and using unmanned aerial vehicles to further expand imaging capabilities

Sergio Bernardes Sergio Bernardes, Ph.D.
NASA Fellow
ASPRS Climate Change Committee Assistant Chair

Sergio Bernardes received a BS in Agricultural Engineering, an MSc in Remote Sensing from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Georgia. Sergio’s primary research involves innovative analyses of large datasets, including time series of remotely sensed images, ground-based climate data and derived metrics to assess vegetation responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental changes. Sergio is currently investigating responses of vegetation to extreme climatic events, including changes in photosynthetic potential and primary productivity following the 2006-2009 drought in the Southeastern United States. In addition to his focus on academics, he has dedicated time to outreach and has been active within the geospatial community.

Helen Peng Helen Peng

Helen Peng has been working in geo-visualizations and GIS Analysis for over 10 years. Her research interests include 3D visualizations, geospatial modeling (viewsheds, terrain, suitability, and network analysis), land use environmental planning, and the concept of GeoDesign. She applied Arc CityEngine and Python scripts to create 3D visualizations for a California Transportation Planning model, as well published a conference proceeding at CUMPUS 2011. Her work was presented at GeoDesign Summit Lightning Talks 2012. In her Master thesis study, she employed GIS tools and technologies in research of green space and environmental planning. She received a master degree of Landscape Architecture at Washington State University and a bachelor degree of City Planning at University of Wuhan.

Paula Smit Paula F. Smit, CMS-ASPRS

I have been involved in the geospatial sciences and industry for over 20 years now. I started out by developing geospatial applications in support of research projects in the natural sciences, and gradually I worked my way upstream, to designing and operating remote sensing data collection and processing systems (I blame my sense of curiosity, which has only gotten worse over time). I am currently a Principle Systems Engineer for Raytheon Company’s Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS) in Denver, Colorado, supporting the S-NPP and JPSS satellite missions. I received my MA in Geography from UGA-CRMS in 1994, and my BSc in Marine Biology from Eckerd College in 1989. I am an ASPRS Certified Mapping Scientist in Remote Sensing (CMS #RS143), and I served as the Director of the GIS Division of ASPRS from 2007-2009. I live in Castle Rock, CO, with my husband, Lee, who serves as the Sustainability Manager for our School District. We both like to get out into nature and enjoy Colorado to the max!

Roberta Salmi, Ph.D

Roberta is a biological anthropologist who specializes in primate behavioral ecology. After receiving her PhD from Stony Brook University with a dissertation focused on the vocal behavior of wild western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), Roberta spent one year as a lecturer for the Department of Anthropology at UGA. In August 2014, she joined the CGR as a Research Associate focusing on spatial ecology, foraging cognition, and group coordination of western gorillas using GIS modeling techniques and remote sensing.

Susan Crow Susan Crow

Susan has applied GIS and other technologies to help communities better understand growth implications and envision alternative futures. Susan was the Principal Investigator for a three-year Coastal Incentive Grant Program project, Visualizing Land Cover and Land Use Changes on the Georgia Coast. As a Senior Program Specialist Susan participated on ESRI’s spatial modeling team from 1999 to 2001. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island and an invited speaker at various universities and professional meetings. Her research interests include assessing the influence of various technologies on community and regional planning and decision making processes; citizen participation in environmental planning and policy development, and; effectiveness of incentive-based programs in achieving public policy initiatives for land conservation. She has been peer reviewer for professional journals and conference submissions, and for three years served as an Associate Editor of Wetlands, the Journal of the Society of Wetland Scientists. Susan obtained a Master of Landscape Architecture with Distinction from The University of Georgia and an A.B. in Psychology with High Honors from Smith College. Currently she serves on the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for AgrowKnowledge: The National Center for Agriscience & Technology Education at Kirkwood Community College (Ohio).

International Visitors

Ricardo Santos Ricardo Rodrigues dos Santos, Ph.D.

Ricardo is Associate Professor of Zoology at Federal University of Maranhão, Brazil, and he is a member of the Brazilian Science without Borders Program. He researches primate behavior in Mangrove swamp, Amazonia and Cerrado of Brazil and is using geospatial analysis techniques to diagnose changes in the landscape that may affect the species in their natural habitat.

Graduate Students

Alessandro Pasqua Alessandro Pasqua
Ph.D. Geography

My research interests involve the use of non-invasive techniques to locate archaeological evidence. More and more archaeological sites are in fact destroyed or seriously damaged due to the rapid urbanization that characterizes archaeologically sensitive landscapes. For my PhD research, I will use Lidar and other remote sensing techniques to investigate archaeological landscapes in Georgia, and provide methodologies and data required by cultural resource managers to preserve and protect vulnerable historic sites.

Andrea Presotto Andrea Presotto, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Geography

My research interests involve spatial and visual cognition in mammals. For the past eight years I have been using geospatial technologies to study and elucidate the spatial cognition mechanisms of orientation of Capuchin monkeys (Sapajus nigritus and Sapajus libidinosus) in diverse Brazilian landscape: rain forest and savanna. My current research involves comparative spatial and visual cognition, and the application of geovisualization models to virtual environments for primates and African elephants (Loxodonta africana), at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Caren Remillard, M.S.
MSc. Geography

Caren Remillard received a BA in Anthropology from Emory University in 2011. Currently, Caren serves as Center Lead of the NASA DEVELOP National Program for the UGA node. Her graduate research is focused on integrating geospatial techniques to assess capuchin monkey habitat in Brazil and Costa Rica, with the goal of assisting communities in developing habitat conservation plans.

Chris Strother Chris W. Strother
Ph.D. Geography

I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1992 with a BA in History. Afterwards, I became a Chef’s Apprentice and went on to work over 20 years in the Restaurant/Hospitality Industry in a variety of positions ranging from busboy to Director of Operations. I returned to school in 2009 in search of intellectual fulfillment and earned a BS in Applied Environmental Spatial Analysis from Gainesville State College. I received my MSc. in Geography in 2013 and am currently a Ph.D. student at UGA. My research interests involve the application of LiDAR and other remote sensing tools to examine spatial patterns in the natural world around us.

Jiaying He Jiaying He
MSc. Geography

Interests: Remote Sensing, LiDAR, environmental and urban applications.

Mingshu Wang Mingshu Wang
MSc. Geography
Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education (ORISE) Fellow
ASPRS Student Advisory Council (SAC) Deputy Chair

Mingshu Wang graduated from Nanjing University in China with a BS in Resources, Environment, Regional Planning and Management in 2012. His research interests span a broad spectrum of geospatial technologies (remote sensing, spatial-temporal analysis, GIS, LiDAR) for environmental services. He is currently extending his intern work at the World Wildlife Fund this summer to characterize physical environments of the Sunda Banda Seascape, Indonesia with remote sensing for marine spatial planning and marine protective areas (MPAs) establishment. He is also taking a one-year appointment at the National Exposure Research Laboratory at the U.S. EPA as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education (ORISE) Fellow to create cloud-based environments to integrate and improve EPA models for estimating and geo-visualizing chemical exposures in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. As the deputy chair of the ASPRS Student Advisory Council (SAC), he will chair the 2014 Annual Geoleague Challenge during the 2014 Annual meeting of ASPRS.

Nancy O'Hare Nancy O’Hare
Ph.D. Geography
Wormsloe Fellow

I am interested in the geographic distribution of species. Current distribution patterns result from the interaction of life history traits, chance events (fires, disease outbreaks, climatic extremes), past land-use legacies, and the larger geographic context (past and present). To understand the distribution of a particular species, you need to see the world from their vantage point and understand a particular spot on the map in terms of its relative location to other places (scaled from the species perspective). In my real life, I enjoy good eats which led to a cooking hobby, craft beers, Irish music, and the luxury of afternoon naps in the sunshine (learned from my dogs). Click here for my Department of Geography page.

R. Ryan Lash
Ph.D. Geography
Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education (ORISE) Fellow

I am interested in the ways in which geography can contribute to our understanding of human health. Most of my research thus far has focused on the utilization of geospatial tools and techniques for the study of zoonotic disease ecology. I have a strong interest in understanding the geographic information component inherent in our knowledge about public health and disease. I also have expertise in cartographic visualization and production for print and electronic reproduction. Please see my CV for a comprehensive list of my professional qualifications and accomplishments.

Shuvankar Ghosh
Ph.D. Geography

Shuvo is currently a PhD student at the Department of Geography, University of Georgia. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology (advanced) from University of Calcutta and a Master’s degree in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute (Deemed University), Dehradun, India. He served as a research associate at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, India, where he was involved in the development of the India Biodiversity Portal. His broader research interests include wetland ecology, remote sensing of vegetation, land-atmosphere interactions, carbon cycling, ecological niche modeling, and land-use land-cover dynamics. His current research focuses on the productivity mapping of salt marsh ecosystems with a biophysical approach using a combination proximal and remote sensing and in-situ flux estimation techniques.​

steve-padgett-vasquez Steve Padgett-Vasquez
Ph.D. Geography

In Fall of 2012 I started pursuing my PhD in Integrative Conservation and Geography at the University of Georgia. As I move to the next step of my academic and professional career, I continue to have a strong interest in how changes in landscape (in particular deforestation) affect different facets of the environment and how to quantify these changes through the use of satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales. More importantly, as result of my previous graduate studies and my work with NASA DEVELOP, I want to further explore how these results and methodologies can be incorporated into natural resource management and environmental policy to ensure the long-term functioning of ecosystems. For my dissertation research I will be working in the Bellbird Biological Corridor in Costa Rica, which will help bridge diverse habitats between the cloud forests of Monteverde and the mangrove forests of Gulf of Nicoya.

Wenjing Xu

Wenjing Xu graduated from China University of Geosciences with a Bachelor’s degree in Resources, Environment, Regional Planning and Management. Her interests involve the way in which GIScience helps our understanding of landscape ecology and human-environment interaction.  She used high-resolution and hyperspectral data to improve Object-Based Image Analysis in her bachelor thesis. Now she is seeking to strengthen her knowledge of ecology and biology to better use her technical background. Traveling is another way for her to learn the real world. Hitch-hiking to Tibetan region in 2014 summer is one of her most unforgettable experiences.

Support Staff

Leigh Anna Leigh Anna Young

I am a recent graduate of University of Georgia (B.S. in psychology). I am interested in the group dispersion and cohesiveness of wild bearded capuchin monkeys. As a CURO fellow, I collected field data under the supervision of Dr. Marguerite Madden and Dr. Dorothy Fragaszy and have worked to analyze the swath and group spread of wild capuchins living in northeastern Brazil. I’m currently using ArcGIS to assist Allison Howard in analyzing the route choice and space use of wild capuchin monkeys. I’ve also spent time studying tool use in wild capuchins and wild chimpanzees.

Nikos Kavoori

I am a recent graduate of the Georgia Tech Architecture and City planning program and current volunteer at CGR. My interests include using GIS for urban mapping and analysis as well as exploring how remote sensing can integrated into the architectural design process.

Peter Hawman

Peter Hawman is a graduate from the University of Georgia (UGA) with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture (2009) and a certificate in GIS (2014). Peter joined NASA DEVELOP in the summer of 2014 at the UGA node working on the Colombia Ecological Forecasting team.  He is interested in using GIS and remote sensing for habitat conservation and vegetation mapping.  Peter is also working on a project studying the spatial ecology of western lowland gorillas at the Center for Geospatial Research at UGA. Peter will be joining the 2014-2015 NASA DEVELOP Young Professional Class as a Project Coordinator at the University of Georgia.