Who we are

Lab directors

Jerry Shannon

Asst. Professor in Geography/Financial Planning, Housing, and Consumer Economics

Dr. Shannon studies food access and food security, with a specific focus on urban and urbanizing communities in the United States. Using both spatial analysis and qualitative methods, his research asks how food provisioning practices are influenced by food environments and by the larger economic and social landscape of urban neighborhoods. He has a specific interest in community engaged research that works with members of impacted communities to develop more sustainable and equitable food systems and neighborhoods. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and he has publications in journals including Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Social Science and Medicine, and Cityscape.

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Ian Rossiter

M.S. Student in Geography

As a graduate student, I am interested in the environmental and social geographies of coastal and island communities. Particularly, I am fascinated by coastal community and marine spatial planning efforts and the role community-engaged research and public participatory processes can and should play in these processes. My current research uses participatory mapping techniques to elucidate contentious spatialities between existing fisheries and proposed industrial developments on the coast of Georgia.

Xuan Zhang

Ph.D. student in Geography

Xuan studies GIScience (Geographic Information Science) applications in health, with a current focus on walking environment evaluation and improvement. Her research desires to consider people's preferences in walkability measurement and find how the walking environment can promote walking activities. Her current research is funded by the Office of Sustainability at the University of Georgia. She is from Wuhan, China, and she received her B.S. in GIS from Wuhan University and Master's in Geography from the University of Georgia.


Current Undergraduate Assistants

Julia Connell

B.A. student in Geography

Julia is a human geography undergraduate pursing a minor in history and a certificate in GIScience. Her academic interests include urban geography, political ecology, food studies, colonial history, gender, and social science applications of GIS.



Graduate Students

Mariana Alfonso

Ph.D. student in Integrative Conservation (ICON) and Geography

With an architectural and urban design background, I am interested in understanding how to bridge the gap between urban planning and urban climatology, seeking to address the effects of urban form on climate and, more importantly its impacts to human quality of life in cities. I have particular interests in GIS, Geodesign, remote sensing and participatory mapping as forms of communicating climate vulnerability and opening channels for transdisciplinary discussions of how to better plan urban environments.

Chenxiao (Atlas) Guo

M.S. Student in Geography

I am interested in geographical researches related to location-based social media and emotional geographies. I have experiences in integrated studies in urban planning, historical GIS, ecological policy and transportation geography. I have mobile and web GIS developing experiences and work as GRA at Information Technology Outreach Services (ITOS). I got my B.S. Degree in GIS from Sun Yat-sen University.

David M. Hecht

Ph.D. student in the Integrative Conservation (ICON) program

As a graduate student, I am interested in community-based models of conservation that support inclusive partnership initiatives, and engage with the agency of local communities to manage natural resources in socially, culturally, and economically valuable ways. With a background in biology and anthropology, and multiple years of involvement in avian research projects, I am particularly energized by community-led strategies for avian conservation in the Himalayas. My involvement in the community mapping lab at UGA stems from my view that critical geography and participatory mapping methodologies can empower communities to find unique ways to visualize and create beneficial relationships with place and their local ecology.

Kait Morano

Ph.D. student in Geography

Kait studies urban climatology. Specifically, she uses remote sensing, spatial analysis, and quantitative methods to better understand how climate change will affect cities and their residents. Kait also has interests in open source mapping technologies and GIS education. Her background is in geography, city planning, and GIS.

Dorris Scott

Ph.D. student in Geography

I am interested in GIS applications to public health, particularly on veterans' access to health. I also focus on community engagement in creating healthy and sustainable communities.

Mingshu Wang

Ph.D. student in Geography

Mingshu incorporates remote sensing and social sensing to understand urban system dynamics. He applied methods in GIScience, statistics and machine learning to address issues in cityscape. He is also interested in the interface between GIScience and marketing. He received a B.S. Degree from Nanjing University (2012) with foci on natural resource management and regional planning, and a M.S. Degree from the University of Georgia (2014) with foci on geography and GIScience.

Past students

Caledonia Orsini (undergraduate research asst.): LinkedIn Profile