About Josh

JoshI am a GIScientist, cartographer, and PhD candidate in Geography at The Pennsylvania State University. I am also an NSF IGERT fellow in Big Data Social Science within the department of Political Science.

Before moving out to State College I studied at Michigan State University where I received a B.S in GIScience and a master’s in Geography with Dr. Kirk Goldsberry. 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. I am also interested in skeuomorphism and believe the typical aesthetic uses of skeuomorphism undervalue its true potential. Dr. Alan MacEachren is the chair of my committee.

I hold a joint research assistantship in Penn State’s GeoVISTA Center and Media Effects Lab. Within the GeoVISTA Center, I am researching and designing 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 makes use of social media and visual analytics to reveal the connections between user interaction and emotion.

Less notably, I serve as a panelist for Ask Science on Reddit where I help others answer scientific questions related to cartography, spatial reasoning, and geography. I’ve also been involved with the Drupal project for advertising and theme development.

Aside from geography and maps I love photography, fishing local streams, and geocaching. I ride motocross and play guitar less proficiently than I’d like. When it comes to reading outside of scientific domains I enjoy a good fantasy or two, if you know what I’m Tolkien about!

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