Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory

Department of Geography ◆ Institute for CyberScience

Pennsylvania State University



Guido Cervone, Ph.D.

I am Associate professor of GeoInformatics in the Department of Geography and Institute for CyberScience at the Pennsylvania State University. I serve as Associate Director of the Institute for CyberScience. My research sits at the intersection of geospatial science, atmospheric science and computer science. My research focuses on the development and application of computational algorithms for the analysis of spatio-temporal remote sensing, numerical modeling and social media Big Data related to environmental hazards and renewable energy. I received research funding from NSF, ONR, DOT, NCAR, NASA, Italian Ministry of Research and Education, Draper Labs, Stormcenter Communication.

I am affiliated scientist with the Research Application Laboratory (RAL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and adjunct professor at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. In 2013 I received the ``Medaglia di Rappresentanza'' from the President of the Italian Republic for my work related to the Fukushima crisis. I authored two edited books, over forty fully refereed articles relative to data mining, remote sensing and environmental hazards. I co-chaired several workshops on remote sensing, data mining and GeoInformatics. In 2010, I was awarded a US patent for an anomaly detection algorithm. My research was featured on TV news, newspapers, and general interest magazines. I sailed over 4000 offshore miles and I do not own a cell phone.

Please visit my website at for more information about me and my research. Email: cervone AT psu DOT edu

Liping Yang, Ph.D.

Since Fall 2016, I am a Postdoctoral Scholar with the GeoVISTA Center and with the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory in the Department of Geography at Penn State. I received my Ph.D. in Spatial Information Science and Engineering from the University of Maine in 2015. Before joining Penn State, I was a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Computing and Information Science at University of Maine, and my research focused on computer vision and point cloud processing for indoor scenes.

My research interests include Geographic Information Science (GIS) , knowledge discovery and representation, algorithms, as well as indoor spaces and indoor navigation. My research focuses are VR in GIS, visual analytics with a focus on integrating and reasoning with heterogeneous information, and high performance computing for earth/environmental science problems (e.g., environmental hazards and renewable energy) using machine learning and big data techniques.

Please visit my website at for more information. Email: liping DOT yang AT psu DOT edu

Martina Calovi

I’m a Postdoctoral Scholar since January 2018. I first visited GEOLab during fall semester 2016 to complete my Ph.D. dissertation on the use of GIS tools for emergency management. I obtained my Ph.D. in Change and Complexity Management, in December 2017, at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy. My dissertation focuses on bridging geography with healthcare and disaster management. Particular attention was addressed to the use of GIS to support the spatial reorganization of outpatient care services delivery and to understand how much the proximity affects the patient’s choice of specialized cardiological visit in Italy. The third part focused on the development of, a dynamic downscaling of Global Forecast System (GFS) forecasts using Personal Weather Stations, during extreme heat events. The methodology has been developed and tested over the Manhattan borough. The overall main goal was to analyze the accessibility to health care services and first aid facilities, in regular conditions and during emergency situations, focusing to the needs of the most vulnerable population.

My research interests cover Geographical Information Science applied to natural disaster and emergencies, climate change, extreme weather events forecast, data fusion, interactions and coexistence between human and physical environment, and the managerial implications of geographical analyses into the decision-making process.

E-mail: mxc895 AT psu DOT edu

Ph.D. Graduate Students

Laura Clemente-Harding, M.S.

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography. I completed my Bachelors degree in Meteorology with an Environmental Inquiries minor in 2007 at Penn State. In 2009, I graduated from George Mason University with my Masters in Earth Systems Science. Since graduate school I have been working for the Engineering Research and Development Center's Geospatial Research Laboratory. This experience, along with an insatiable curiosity, sparked my interest in returning to school to pursue my PhD. My research interest include renewable energies, terrain reasoning, the application of land atmosphere interactions to the decision making process. Outside of school and work, I am also interested in coastal ecosystems and enjoy taking any opportunity to see or travel to marine areas. In my free time, I like to be outdoors. A few of my favorite things are skiing, hiking, camping, and gardening. Email: lec170 AT psu DOT edu

Elena Sava, M.S.

I’m a Ph.D. student studying under Guido Cervone. My background is in Global and Environmental Change, which uses remote sensing and related geoinfomation technologies in detecting changes of the Earth’s systems — specifically, the interaction of the geosphere, atmosphere, ecosphere, and sociosphere within local, regional, and global scales. My interests include geographical information science (GIS), remote sensing, environmental hazards, human and physical geography, climate change, and environmental policy. My previous research involved a quantitative analysis of Chlorophyll blooming associated with the Japanese 2011 tsunami using remote sensing satellite data. Currently, my focus is on the fusion of remote sensing and social media data during emergency events such as flooding. For decades remote sensing has been used to make a substantial contribution in emergency situations and damage assessment. However, despite the immense quality of data available, geo-temporal gaps are often present due to limitation of the platform such as revisiting time, atmospheric conditions or other obstruction. The goal is to use social media data and other non-authoritative sources and fill in the gaps in remote sensing observations. Email: esava AT psu DOT edu

Carolynne Hultquist, M.S.

I am a Ph.D. student specializing in fusing remote sensing and geographic information to better understand complex environments. My research has involved machine learning techniques, the use of geospatial technologies during hazards, energy, and complexity theory. I joined the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory to pursue research using computational methods for spatio-temporal analysis of natural disasters. I received my M.S. Geography degree at Penn State for my thesis involving validating radiation measurements around Fukushima by comparing citizen science, government data, and models over space and time. I believe it is critical to recognize the informational benefits and limitations of environmental and social data from various geospatially enabled technologies. My research interests include remote sensing, VGI, data mining, geovisual analytics, spatial cognition, emergency management, and public policy. Email: cgh138 AT psu DOT edu

Weiming Hu, B.S.

I am a Ph. D student in the five-year track graduate program in the department of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University. I completed my bachelor degree in the School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering at Wuhan University. And now I’m under the advising of Dr. Guido Cervone. My main interest lies in applying remote sensing techniques to monitoring natural disasters and emergencies. Some related topics are 1) image processing and 2) social network data mining. Last year, I participated into a course on fixed-wing UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and found that I have great a passion to learn more. Especially to learn about the multi-motor type of UAVs in order to incorporate new techniques into my future projects. Although satellites are getting higher spatial and spectral resolution and we are obtaining more data than ever with remote sensing, the real-world problems are even more complex and inter-related. Thus with the help of GIS technology, I’m able to touch and recognize the inner beauty of this world in which we live. Email: wuh20 AT psu DOT edu

Courtney Jackson, M.S.

I am a Ph.D. student working with Dr. Cervone in the Department of Geography at Penn State. I graduated from Penn State in 2015 with my undergraduate in Geography-GIS. My senior year of undergrad I worked with Dr. Cervone on testing the effectiveness and efficiency of using UAVs for emergency response to hazards. After this, I went on to pursue my M.S. in Geography at the University of North Dakota, My master's research pertained to differentiating climate and land cover change variables in a sub-basin of the Devils Lake Basin in order to determine the cause for the prolonged flooding the Devils Lake, ND area has been experiencing for the last 30 years. Now back at PSU, Dr. Cervone and I plan to continue research with using UAVs for emergency response to hazards. My main research interests are flooding/natural hazards, remote sensing, UAVs, GIS, and scientific communication. Email: coj5074 AT psu DOT edu

Undergraduate Students

Yu Zhong

My name is Yu Zhong. I’m a undergrad student majoring in GIS. I started taking Guido’s class in 2017 and became interested in image analysis ever since. Currently, I mainly use R to study satellite image on Zimbabwe. Hopefully I’ll acknowledge more R skills and gain more insights of GIS application. Besides using R, I am now learning drones and VR as well. I wish I’ll never stop learning no matter in undergraduate or in the future.

Members who Moved to Greater Endeavours

Post Doctoral Researchers

Mark Coletti, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Researcher. Member during Spring 2014 - Spring 2015.

Currently at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Vincenzo Leone, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Researcher. Member during Fall 2014 - Spring 2015.

Currently a faculty member at the Second University of Naples, Italy

Georege Panteras, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Researcher. Member during Spring 2016 Fall 2016.

Currently working in the industry.

Doctoral Students

Mehdi Shahriari, Affiliated Ph.D. Student

Member during Fall 2016 - Fall 2017.

Currently working in the industry as senior energy analyst.

Yifan Pan, Visiting Ph.D.

Ph.D. Candidate. Member during Oct. 2016 - May 2017.

Continuing his PhD study at Peking University in China.

M.S. Students

Yanni Cao, M.S.

M.S. Geograpy, Summer 2016. Member during Fall 2015-Summer 2016.

Having fun at her dream job in Santa Clara, CA.

Anna De Angelis, M.S.

M.S. Computer Science, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2014-Spring 2015.

Emiliano di Marino, M.S.

M.S. Computer Science, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2014-Spring 2015.

Martina Moccaldi, M.S.

M.S. Computer Science, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2014-Spring 2015.

Pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Salerno, Italy

Alessio Petrozziello

M.S. Computer Science, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2014-Spring 2015.

Pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Southampton UK

Rosa Sicignano

M.S. Computer Science, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2014-Spring 2015.

M.S. GIS Students

Justin Novak, M.S. GIS

M.S. GIS, Spring 2015. Member during Fall 2014.

Elena Galvan, M.S. GIS

M.S. GIS, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2016.

Suzanne Zick, M.S. GIS

M.S. GIS, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2016.

Undergraduate Students

Courtney Jackson, B.S.

B.S. Geography, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2014.

Pursuing a Ph.D. in her dream University.

Dakotah Maguire, B.S.

B.S. Geography, Spring 2015. Member during Spring 2014.

Yuying Ren

B.S. Geography, Spring 2018. Member during 2017-2018.

Pursuing a M.S. at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Luba Hristova

B.S. Geography, Spring 2018. Member during 2017-2018.

Zongjun Li

B.S. Geography, Spring 2018. Member during 2017-2018.

Faculty Associates

Faculty associates are Penn State faculty who are actively involved with projects with the laboratory, either through a joint grant or through student supervision.

Dr. Clio Andris, Department of Geography.

Dr. Francesca Chiaromonte, Department of Statistics.

Dr. Christelle Whautier, Department of Geosciences.

Dr. Melissa Gervais, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science.

Dr. Michael Mann, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science.

Dr. Chaopeng Shen, Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Kate Zipp, Department of Department of Agricultural Economics.

Ryan Baxter, Department of Geography.

Faculty Affiliates

Faculty affiliates work closely on research projects with other members of the laboratory. The appointment to affiliate faculty is for a period of two years, and it can be renewed for additional terms. There can only be five affiliate faculty at any given time.

2015-2018, Dr. Germana Manca, Regione Sardegna, Italy.

2017-2018, Dr. Raffaele Cerulli, Department of Mathematics, University of Salerno, Italy.

2017-2018, Dr. Vincenzo Leone, Department of Earth Science, Second University of Naples, Italy.

2018-2019, Dr. Francesco Carrabs, Department of Mathematics, University of Salerno, Italy.

2018-2019, Marco Rinelli, GeckoWay, Italy.

Steering Committee

The steering committee is composed by 8 members who evaluate and provide guidance for the research of the laboratory

Dr. Nigel Waters, Chair of the committee, Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary, Canada.

Dr. Mark Coletti, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Nashville TN.

Dr. Luca Delle Monache, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO.

Dr. Giovanni Felici, CNR-IASI, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Roma, Italy.

Dr. Qunying Huang, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

Dr. Rich Medina, Department of Geography, University of Utah, Salt Lake, UT.

Dr. Liviu Panait, Google Inc, Santa Monica, CA.

Dr. Emily Schnebele, United States Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory ◇ Department of Geography ◇ Institute for CyberScience
The Pennsylvania State University