Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory

Department of Geography ◆ Institute for CyberScience

Pennsylvania State University



Guido Cervone, Ph.D.

I am Associate Professor of Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Science and Associate Director of the Institute for CyberScience at the Pennsylvania State University. I am also Affiliate Scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Adjunct Professor at the Lamonth-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University. 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 DARPA, NSF, ONR, DOT, NCAR, NASA, Italian Ministry of Research and Education, Draper Labs, Stormcenter Communication.

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.

Please visit my website for the access to my CV.

Email: cervone AT psu DOT edu

Martina Calovi, Ph.D.

I am a Postdoctoral Researcher since February 2018 at the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory (GEOlab) in the Department of Geography and the Institute of CyberScience. I collaborate at the Pennsylvania State University with the Grozinger Laboratory in the Department of Entomology and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

I obtained my Ph.D. in Change and Complexity Management, in December 2017, at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy. The 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. A third part focused on the use of atmospheric models and private weather stations to generate forecasts in urban areas. The innovative methodology used allowed for the downscaling of the Global Forecast System (GFS) deterministic forecast model, and the generation of deterministic forecasts with higher spatial and temporal resolutions then the input forecast. 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 involves the application of Geographical Information Science to natural disasters and emergencies, climate change, the forecasting of extreme weather events, data fusion, the interactions and coexistence of human and physical environments, and the managerial implications of geographical analyses within the decision-making process.

E-mail: mcalovi AT psu DOT edu

Jian Sun, Ph.D.

I am a Postdoctoral research scholar since January 2019 at the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory (GEOlab) in the Department of Geography. I’m also collaborating with InSAR Geodesy & Geohazards Laboratory (IGG) in the Department of Geosciences and Dr. Melissa Gervais in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science in College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and Institute of CyberScience at the Pennsylvania State University.

I obtained my Ph.D. in Exploration Seismology, in May 2018, at University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. My dissertation focuses on computational and practical developments and implementations of internal multiple prediction (IMP) based on inverse scattering series. The computational burden and challenges of performing IMP in practice drives and inspires me of attempting deep learning (DL) / machine learning (ML) techniques in Earth Science tasks. Particular attention was paid to solve the inverse problems in Exploration Geophysics both in a conventional DL way and in a new paradigm of theory-guided data science. The later approach is to combine conventional DL/ML methods and physics-based characteristics approaches, and to benefit from each other, which allows DL/ML architectures learning from deterministic physics to reduce tremendous amounts of training sets requirement and to resolve other challenges to some extent in Earth Science, in opposite, taking advantages of DL/ML architecture extremely reduces computational cost of physics-deterministic methods by transferring amounts of iterative processes into a direct application.

My current interests includes but not limited to bridge the Earth Science with spatio-temporal DL/ML techniques, for instance, to advance beyond static pattern identification and understand the entire spatio-temporal evolution of Arctic air masses and the resulting cold air outbreaks in a changing climate, to ‘track’ and ‘isolate’ the different deformation signals using DL/ML techniques which would lead to breakthroughs in volcanology with obvious implications in hazards assessment and risks mitigation, to quantify the photovoltaic (PV) energy potential in selected regions of the USA based on future possible climate scenarios.

E-mail: jbs6371 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

Carolynne Hultquist, M.S.

My Ph.D. is in Geography and Social Data Analytics specializing in fusing sources of geographic information to better understand complex environments. I joined the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Laboratory (GEOlab) in 2014 to pursue research using computational methods for spatio-temporal analysis and modeling of environmental hazards in relation to human impacts during disasters. My research has involved the use of machine learning to predict spatial behaviors, the application of geospatial technologies during hazards, and the utilization of crowdsourced environmental monitoring data. My master’s thesis was on the validation of citizen science radiation measurements around Fukushima by developing a methodology to compare the Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) to government data and dispersion models over space and time. My Ph.D. research continued on this theme by assessing the validity, resolution, and usefulness of citizen-contributed environmental hazard data. I believe it is critical to recognize the benefits and limitations of environmental and social data from various geospatially enabled technologies. My research interests include geoinformatics, spatio-temporal analysis, data mining, remote sensing, citizen science, social media analytics, environmental hazards, and emergency management.

Email: cgh138 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

Fangcao Xu, M.S.

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University. I joined GEOlab under the supervision of Professor Guido Cervone to focus on expanding the dimensionality of image spectroscopy via machine learning supported by DARPA. My research will expand upon the existing radiance algorithms using a spatiotemporal radiance equation by exploiting multiple hyperspectral image scans acquired by aerial platforms and develop a machine learning solution to learn the relationships between specific surface targets and the parameterization of the radiance equation. I am passionate about data-driven and big data analytics in Geographic Information Science, and mathematical algorithm development. I received an M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania in Urban Spatial Analytics and another M.S. from the Pennsylvania State University for my thesis "An Algorithm to Infer Spatiotemporal Diffusion Networks." Please visit my personal website to see my recent research and professional skills!

Email: xfangcao AT psu DOT edu

Weiming Hu, M.S.

My name is Weiming Hu. I am a Ph.D. student enrolled in the Department of Geography. I have a B.S. from Wuhan University majoring in Remote Sensing and GIScience and an M.S. from Penn State majoring in Geography. Now I'm continuing with my research towards my Ph.D. My expertise lies in the fields of high-performance computing, computational algorithms, and spatial analysis. During my M.S., I have been closely involved with Numerical Weather Prediction, and I have been actively developing and maintaining the Parallel Ensemble Forecast package. There are several researchers and students in our lab investigating different aspects of this methodology as it shows promising outcomes. For my Ph.D., I plan to find my own niche between Climate Science and the energy field and explore how we could use powerful computing clusters to address global problems, like the energy crisis.

Email: wuh20 AT psu DOT edu

Gabriele Franch, M.S.

My name is Gabriele Franch, I'm currently a joint PhD Candidate in Computer Science funded by Tim S.p.A at University of Trento / Fondazione Bruno Kessler, researching spatiotemporal deep learning models for weather nowcasting and human mobility prediction. Before my PhD, I got my Computer Science degree while working as a backend developer and data scientist in FBK Research Center and in two different software startups. I experienced developing several applied research projects in collaboration between other research centers, industry partners and public administrations. I have been tutoring high school students during the international scientific summer school WebValley organized by FBK for several years. During my time spent in the industry I worked in integrating geospatial analysis pipelines in Big Data solutions. My research interests include geospatial predictive models, machine and deep learning, spatiotemporal analysis. Expertise: Geospatial Analisis, Spatial databases, Spatiotemporal prediction models, Data Architectures.

Email: franch AT fbk DOT eu


Undergraduate Students

Yu Zhong

My name is Yu Zhong. I’m an undergraduate student majoring in GIS. I took a class with Guido in 2017, and ever since then, have been interested in image analysis. Currently, I program in R to analyze satellite imagery in Zimbabwe. I continue to develop my skills using programming to gain insight into GIS applications. I am also learning to use drones and Virtual Reality (VR) applications for research as well. I never want to stop learning.

Alon Sidel

I am an undergraduate student here at Penn State majoring in Meteorology with minors in GIS, History, and Japanese. I have always been interested in the Earth Sciences and its humanitarian applications. I became involved in a lot of programming courses and realized how much current progress in the field is reliant on computer science applications. I am currently working with Weiming Hsu to test the limitations of an analog in predicting severe weather conditions. I hope to work in disaster mitigation, combining Meteorology and GIS to save lives and property.

Members who moved on to Greater Endeavors

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

George Panteras, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Researcher. Member during Spring 2016 Fall 2016.

Currently working in the industry.

Liping Yang, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Researcher. Member during Fall 2016 - Summer 2018.

Doctoral Students

Elena Sava, Ph.D.

Member during Spring 2014 - Fall 2018.

Currently working in a governmental sector.

Mehdi Shahriari, Affiliated Ph.D.

Member during Fall 2016 - Fall 2017.

Currently working in the industry as a 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.

Laura Santos, M.S. GIS

M.S. GIS, Summer 2018. Member during Spring 2018.

Undergraduate Students

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 ◇ Earth and Environmental Systems Institute
The Pennsylvania State University