Publications

Akhil Kumar, Yogya Kalra, Weihe Wendy Guan, Vansh Tibrewal, Rupali Batta, and Andrew Chen. 9/29/2021. “COVID-19 impact on excess deaths of various causes in the United States.” Annals of GIS. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Media regarding COVID-19 fatality counts is crucial, affecting policy and health measures nationwide. However, misinformation regarding other causes of death has led to dubious claims about the seriousness of the coronavirus. This research aims to identify the changes in a dozen causes of death during the pandemic using CDC data from 1999 to 2020. Using the Exponential Triple Smoothing (ETS) algorithm, this project estimated the mortality of eleven causes of death for 2020 under the assumption of no COVID-19 pandemic. Using Power BI and Tableau, this data was visualized together with 2020 actual death counts to determine which causes of death were significantly impacted by the coronavirus. The dashboard revealed an increase in several causes of death including Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes, a decrease in Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease deaths, and a slight increase in Influenza deaths. These findings, while at odds with much of the media surrounding COVID-19 mortality, are corroborated by adjacent scientific research.
Wendy Guan and Liz Hess. 7/6/2020. “Understanding the Ecosystem of Geospatial Research and Service in Universities.” Journal of Map & Geography Libraries . Publisher's VersionAbstract
The study of location and location-based phenomena is a flourishing field. Many universities have grown their research and/or services in this field (often called GIS), established centers that are primarily engaged in the research of GIS, or applying GIS technologies to support researches of other fields. Some straddle “research of” and “research with” GIS in the same center, engaging in both GIScience research, often by researchers in a department or school, and geospatial technology services, often for users across the university. We conducted an online survey to scour the landscape of such centers in universities worldwide, to understand how they are structured, managed, financed, and sustained. The survey also included units as part of a library, department, or lab. Eighty-one valid responses were analyzed, revealing these organizations’ administrative, financial, staffing, and operational status; their history, visions, responsibilities, resources, constrains, challenges, and opportunities. The result showed differences between universities with and without a geography department.
Yongming Xu, Benjamin Lewis, and Weihe Wendy Guan. 2019. “Developing the Chinese Academic Map Publishing Platform.” ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf., 2019, 8, Pp. 567-. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The discipline of the humanities has long been inseparable from the exploration of space and time. With the rapid advancement of digitization, databases, and data science, humanities research is making greater use of quantitative spatiotemporal analysis and visualization. In response to this trend, our team developed the Chinese academic map publishing platform (AMAP) with the aim of supporting the digital humanities from a Chinese perspective. In compiling materials mined from China’s historical records, AMAP attempts to reconstruct the geographical distribution of entities including people, activities, and events, using places to connect these historical objects through time. This project marks the beginning of the development of a comprehensive database and visualization system to support humanities scholarship in China, and aims to facilitate the accumulation of spatiotemporal datasets, support multi-faceted queries, and provide integrated visualization tools. The software itself is built on Harvard’s WorldMap codebase, with enhancements which include improved support for Asian projections, support for Chinese encodings, the ability to handle long text attributes, feature level search, and mobile application support. The goal of AMAP is to make Chinese historical data more accessible, while cultivating collaborative opensource software development.
Emily Hammer and Jason Ur. 3/12/2019. “Near Eastern Landscapes and Declassified U2 Aerial Imagery.” Advances in Archaeological Practice, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pp. 07-126. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Recently declassified photographs taken by U2 spy planes in the 1950s and 1960s provide an important new source of historical aerial imagery useful for Eurasian archaeology. Like other sources of historical imagery, U2 photos provide a window into the past, before modern agriculture and development destroyed many archaeological sites. U2 imagery is older and in many cases higher resolution than CORONA spy satellite imagery, the other major source of historical imagery for Eurasia, and thus can expand the range of archaeological sites and features that can be studied from an aerial perspective. However, there are significant barriers to finding and retrieving U2 imagery of particular locales, and archaeologists have thus not yet widely used it. In this article, we aim to reduce these barriers by describing the U2 photo dataset and how to access it. We also provide the first spatial index of U2 photos for the Middle East. A brief discussion of archaeological case studies drawn from U2 imagery illustrates its merits and limitations. These case studies include investigations of prehistoric mass-kill hunting traps in eastern Jordan, irrigation systems of the first millennium BC Neo-Assyrian Empire in northern Iraq, and twentieth-century marsh communities in southern Iraq.
Weihe Wendy Guan, Matthew W. Wilson, and Anne Kelly Knowles. 5/12/2019. “Evaluating the Geographic in GIS.” Geographical Review, 109, 3, Pp. 297-307. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Despite several decades of discussion and debate around the role of GIS in the discipline of Geography, it would be a stretch to argue that GIS has not irreversibly altered the discipline, both in the scope of research and teaching as well as in the wider imagination of a general public. However, it remains a challenge to incorporate the range of geographic knowledge, born of a diversity of modalities, into operational insights and analytical pre-conditions in a GIS. To be certain, some irreconcilability between GIS and geographical inquiry is to be expected, epistemologically speaking. In what follows, we consider what might be meant by a shift to geographic analysis as scholars from disciplines in the humanities and social sciences turn to GIS as a method of observation, interpretation, analysis, and representation. In this context, we engage in a thought experiment and offer some commentary, fixing the notion of information system, while opening the geographic in GIS to more variable understanding. The point is to pursue greater development of GIS theory and method, encompassing, while not reducing, scientific, social scientific, and humanities research.

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