GIS Workshop Follow Up: Successes Developing Mapping Tools for Health

vaxvizIn Spring 2013 geography undergraduate students Devin Hacket, Zak Lee, and Isaiah Berg worked on a project called VaxViz in the department’s GIS Workshop, GEOG 469, taught by Professor Nyerges. The client for this project was WithinReach. According to Isaiah Berg, their project works to help health practitioners make better use of Washington’s Immunization Information System (WAIIS), a robust but underused database in the state. VaxViz itself is a tool-suite, comprised of Python scripts and a standard operating procedure to help local health practitioners map immunization data locally. With help from the Department of Health’s Office of Immunization and Child Profile the project evaluated the accuracy, validity, and completeness of the WAIIAS. The students then developed a set of Python scripts and instructions to seamlessly transfer HTML ‘Pocket of Need’ data into a Geodatabase with ready-to-use layers. They believed that the research and theory-of-concept has the potential to empower local health jurisdictions with new analytics for immunization surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation.

Since completing the project, the team has had the opportunity to present their findings to the Washington State Secretary of Health, and their research and theory-of-concept have been presented to the Washington Immunization Action Coalition WIAC. Next month they have the opportunity to present their findings at the 11th National Conference on Immunization and Health Coalitions. Chris Halsell, the Immunization Assessment Coordinator at the State Department of Health, will be co-presenting these results.

UW opens new online BA featuring four geography courses

ISS2Integrated Social Sciences, UW’s new online BA  is designed to provide an affordable way for students with jobs and family commitments to complete their degrees as Huskies.  The BA includes over 30 online courses, and amongst these there are 4 from geography professors Jonathan Mayer, Katharyne Mitchell, Kam Wing Chan and Matt Sparke.  For more details, check out the program webpages at:

Announcing the Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum: 7 May 2014, 8am – 4pm

Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum:
Geodesign for a Sustainable World
University of Washington, Seattle Campus
Husky Union Building (HUB) Lyceum
May 7, 2014
8:00AM – 4:00PM

The Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum brings together faculty, staff, students, and community partners using geospatial information technologies to create, evaluate, and monitor sustainable solutions to complex problems. Many complex problems involve a mix of social, economic, and ecological considerations that require collaborative efforts to address the challenges at hand. Methods for arriving at sustainable solutions to problems are emerging in the form of geodesign frameworks and concepts implemented using geospatial information tools. The goal of the Forum is to provide participants with a level of understanding about geodesign frameworks and concepts plus geospatial information tools that can implement them for addressing sustainable solutions to complex human-natural-built community problems at varying spatial-temporal scales. Geodesign enables us to change our world through design. Forum discussions include Community-University partnering opportunities for exploring solutions to complex problems.


7:45 AM – 8:15 AM Registration and Light Refreshments
8:15 AM – 8:20 AM Welcome, Introductions, Program Overview
8:20 AM – 8:30 AM Who is in attendance? Sectors-Areas-Attendees Participating
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM Why Geodesign? Its Character and Benefits with Q & A
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Challenges for Geodesign
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Break
10:15 AM – 10:45 AM A Tour of Geodesign Tools with Q&A
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM Quick Cases Using Geodesign Tools
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM Buffet Lunch with Discussions
12:45 PM – 1:45 PM Discussion Groups: PNW Geodesign Community of Practice (CoP)
1:45 PM – 3:00 PM Report out from CoP discussion groups (3-5 minutes each)
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Next Steps Synthesis for PNW Geodesign Forum
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Informal networking as we vacate the Lyceum venue – out by 4PM

UW Hosting Units

College of Engineering, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Environment, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
College of Arts & Sciences, Dept of Geography and MGIS: Sustainability Management
College of Built Environments, Dept of Landscape Architecture; Dept of Urban Design and Planning

Planning Committee

• Tim Nyerges, Prof, Geography, Dir, MGIS: Sustainability Management (
• Michael Goodchild, Affiliate Prof, Geography (
• Bob Mugerauer, Prof, Urban Design and Planning (
• Chris Overdorf, elm environments (
• Bryant Ralston, GIS Geodesign Consultant (
• Dorothy Reed, Prof, Civil and Environmental Engineering (
• Nancy Rottle, Assoc Prof, Landscape Arch, Dir, Green Futures Lab (
• Suzanne Withers, Assoc Prof, Geog, Assoc Dir, MGIS: Sustainability Mgt (
• Kathleen Wolf, Research Prof, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, (

For more information:

Dr. Ben Gardner Wins 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Ben Gardner, recipient of the 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Ben Gardner, recipient of the 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award



Congratulations to Ben Gardner for his 2014 UW Distinguished Teaching Award!  Ben is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Geography and Assistant Professor of Cultural, Global & Environmental Studies at UW Bothell.  Ben’s book, Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism in Tanzania is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press, as part of their Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation Series. He is currently working on a collaborative research project, “Pedagogies of Reciprocity” examining the tensions inherent in study abroad programs and global university partnerships, to better understand the political economic and cultural effects of such projects.