About Me

Josh in Santa Barbara I am a GIScientist, cartographer, and senior visualizer for NASA’s Earth Observatory. I’m also a PhD candidate at Penn State and former NSF IGERT fellow in Big Data Social Science.

Prior to my work at Penn State, I received a B.S in GIScience and a master’s in Geography with Dr. Kirk Goldsberry at Michigan State University. My master’s thesis focused on traffic map design and methods for improving travel time visualization.

For my doctoral work I am exploring cartography and geovisual analytics with an emphasis on human-computer interaction, interactive affordances, and big data. My dissertation focuses on new forms of map interaction that are made possible by well constructed visual cues. Dr. Alan MacEachren is the chair of my committee.

Before starting work at NASA, I held joint research assistantships in Penn State’s GeoVISTA Center and Media Effects Lab. Within the GeoVISTA Center, I researched and designed map symbology for mobile devices. I’ve also helped develop and design the Symbol Store, an online repository for finding and downloading map symbols. My research in the Media Effects Lab made use of social media and visual analytics to reveal the connections between user interaction and emotion.

You can also find me on Reddit. I help run things on DataIsBeautiful and volunteer as a panelist for AskScience - mostly answering scientific questions related to cartography, spatial reasoning, and geography.

Aside from geography and maps, I love photography, fishing local streams, geocaching, and anything that gets me outdoors. I currently live in Maryland with my wife Nicole and our son Jonah.

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