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Geospatial Analysis Center

The Geospatial Analysis Center (GAC) serves as the hub of geospatial research and activities in support of education, research, and outreach activities at Miami University. Housed in the Department of Geography, the GAC supports individual students, faculty, and staff with geospatial data and analysis needs. It is the access point for licensed geospatial software and geographic information systems (GIS) data. The GAC provides consulting services in the areas of geospatial data and analyses.



Supported Courses

The GAC supports the Department of Geography's Certificate in GIScience Program (undergraduate and graduate) & GIS courses.

These courses include:

  • GEO 242 - Mapping a Changing World (3)
  • GEO 441/GEO 541 - Geographic Information Systems (3)
  • GEO 442/GEO 542 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems (3)
  • GEO 443/GEO 543 - Python Programming for ArcGIS (3)
  • GEO 444/GEO 544 - GIScience Techniques in Landscape Ecology (3)
  • GEO 445/545 - Geographic Information Systems for Criminal Justice (3)
  • GEO 448/GEO 548 - Techniques and Applications of Remote Sensing (3)


The GAC can offer workshops tailored to particular departments or groups of individuals. For example, GAC recently offered the following:

  • OhioView Workshops
    • Using Web-Based Survey123 to Collect Field Data, OhioView Workshop 2022 
    • Using ESRI’s Field Maps App to Collect Field Data, OhioView Workshop 2023
  • Geospatial Online Training
    • ICCI and Miami University's Training for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition: Geospatial Applications for Open Burning Monitoring in Nigeria (February 2021)
    • GAHP and Miami University's Training of Trainers: Geospatial Applications for Pollution Monitoring in Indonesia (November 2020)
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Training for Faculty and Staff (February 2017)
  • GIS for Digital Humanities Workshop (January 2016)



Project Room

The GAC project room contains 2 high-end computers dedicated to GAC research, contracts, and projects. This project room is capable of being secured and of storing sensitive data.

This room is can be used for on-site or remote meetings

pahtways sketch

Computer Labs

The GAC also has access to the Department of Geography's two 26-seat computer labs. All machines have the latest GIS and Remote Sensing software installed.


Equipment in Computer Labs

  • High-end desktop PCs
  • Garmin GPSMap units
  • Trimble GEO 7 GPS unit
  • Trimble R1 GNSS Receivers
  • Phantom 3 Drone
  • Android Tablets
  • Color Printer
  • High-resolution Scanner
computer mouse


  • ERDAS Imagine
  • ENVI
  • QGIS
  • R
  • Google Earth Pro
  • Microsoft Office Products

Research Projects and Publications

Jessica L.McCarty, Ph. D.

Land-Cover/Land-Use Change in Southern Vietnam

NASA Land-Cover/Land Use Change (LCLUC) — funded project that focuses on understanding the cultural, policy, and economic drivers of landscape change in one of the oldest and most productive rice growing regions of the world. Local partnerships with the Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Recent publication from this project:

Thomas, N., Neigh, C.S., Carroll, M.L., McCarty, J.L. and Bunting, P., 2020. Fusion Approach for Remotely-Sensed Mapping of Agriculture (FARMA): A Scalable Open Source Method for Land Cover Monitoring Using Data Fusion. Remote Sensing, 12(20), p.3459.


The Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ), a joint venture led by NOAA and NASA, investigates the impact on air quality and climate from wildfires, rangeland, and agricultural fires across the continental United States. We contribute to the NASA-funded Fuels2Fire team, which assisted with mission planning, identification of human-caused fires to sample, and new fuel loading datasets. Lead institution was the National Institute of Aerospace and NASA LaRC, with collaboration from the U.S. Forest Service and Tall Timbers.

Improving Crop Residue and Management Recommendations in the Arkansas Delta Region

This USDA NIFA-funded is a collaborative effort to understand the impact of current rice stubble burning in Arkansas on air quality, public health, and the economics of using fire in mechanized agriculture. The GAC team is focused on producing high resolution burned area mapping combined with R-based HYSPLIT smoke transport modeling. This work is led by Arkansas State University and University of Arkansas, with collaboration from the University of Delaware.

Black Carbon and Arctic Fire Regimes

Wildland and human-caused fires are a leading source of black carbon pollution and deposition in the Arctic. GAC researchers McCarty and Fain contribute to the Short-Lived Climate Forcers Expert Group of the Arctic Council's Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. This has led to collaboration with European Union scientists under the EU-funded Action on Black Carbon in the Arctic (EUA BCA).

Recent publications from this ongoing work:

McCarty, J.L., Aalto, J., Paunu, V.V., Arnold, S.R., Eckhardt, S., Klimont, Z., Fain, J.J., Evangeliou, N., Venäläinen, A., Tchebakova, N.M. and Parfenova, E.I., 2021. Reviews & Syntheses: Arctic Fire Regimes and Emissions in the 21st Century. Biogeosciences Discussions, pp.1-59. Pre-print, in revision.

Elements in the policy landscape for action on black carbon.

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program Expert Group on Short-Lived Climate Forcer Report to be released by the end of 2021.

The Impact of Urban Expansion on Peri-urban Agriculture, Hydrometeorology, Food Security and Human Health

This NASA Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science (IDS) will predict the impact of near term climate change on human health and ability to maintain peri-urban agriculture in four sub-Saharan African cities including Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Kigali, Rwanda; Nairobi, Kenya; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The project team spans climate modeling, public health, food security, remote sensing, and political ecology. The GAC team is enriched by the expertise of Dr. Naaborle Sackeyfio in Miami's Department of Global & Intercultural Studies. This project is led by NASA MSFC, with collaboration with the University of Minnesota and University of Maryland.

Understanding the Indicators of Food Sovereignty and Food Security for Rice Growers and Rural Organizations in Mazandaran Province, Iran

This study will present the indicators of food security and food sovereignty based on the rice growers perspectives in Northern Iran. It aimed small-scale households with less than 2 hectare rice fields as well as the role of Rice Research Institute of Iran (RRII) as a linkage between public and private sector.

Other GAC Publications

GAC researchers are listed in bold text and available upon request if not open access.

Liu, T., Mickley, L.J. and McCarty, J.L., 2021. Global search for temporal shifts in fire activity: potential human influence on southwest Russia and north Australia fire seasons. Environmental Research Letters, 16(4), p.044023.

Flett, L., McLeod, C.L., McCarty, J.L., Shaulis, B.J., Fain, J.J. and Krekeler, M.P., 2021. Monitoring uranium mine pollution on Native American lands: Insights from tree bark particulate matter on the Spokane Reservation, Washington, USA. Environmental Research, 194, p.110619.

McCarty, J.L., Smith, T.E. and Turetsky, M.R., 2020. Arctic fires re-emerging. Nature Geoscience, 13(10), pp.658-660.

Robbyn Abbitt

Service Learning Projects

Virtual Map of Miami Natural Areas & Trails (Spring & Fall 2023)
Updated Map of Miami Natural Areas & Trails (Spring & Fall 2023)

Mapping Matters - Miami University Advanced GIS Course Service Learning Partner Projects, Spring 2021

Virtual Mapathon Resources - Miami University Advanced GIS Course Service Learning with Humanitarian OpenStreetmap Team, Fall 2020

Recent Invited Talks

Mapping Myaamia Landholdings Over Time:  Using GIS to Help Tell a Story, Miami University Digital Humanities Series, April 2022

Invited Keynote Speaker, Ohio GIS Conference, Fall 2020

Invited GIS Day Presenter, SW Ohio GIS User Group, Fall 2020 (video)

Professional Service

Representative for Institutions of Higher Education on Ohio's OGRIP Council - "The Ohio Geographically Referenced Information Program (OGRIP) is an organization whose goals are to encourage the creation of digital geographic data of value to multiple users, foster the ability to easily determine what geographic data exists and foster the ability to easily access and use this data."

"Consisting of a 15-member Governor appointed Council, OGRIP is the GIS coordinating body for state and local government."

Student Projects

Validating China's Alleged Fire Emission Reduction: Fire Counts and Land Cover in China 2003-2020

Miami Institutional Relations Mapping Project

Miami University Sustainability Report Project


The GAC offers geospatial contract services. Faculty and staff have a wide-range of expertise in geospatial analysis, data collection, sustainability, urban and regional planning, and natural resource management.

Featured Services

  • Geo-locating of customer, client, participant data
  • Landscape Modeling
  • Land Cover Mapping
  • Location Analyses
  • Cartography and Map-based products
  • Mobile Data Collection
  • GIS Data Production
  • Web-mapping
students and faculty member operating a drone

The advanced GIS course (GEO 442/GEO 542 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems) is considered a service learning/experiential learning course at Miami. Each semester students work for real-world clients with needs that can be addressed using geospatial tools and techniques. Past clients include:

  • Butler County MetroParks
  • City of Oxford
  • Hueston Woods State Park
  • Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA)
  • Miami University Institutional Relations
  • Miami University Natural Areas
  • Miami University Physical Facilities Department
  • Miami University Police Department
  • Globe Insurance Agency
  • Promospark promotional company
The GAC also participates in the annual Talawanda Science Week where science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) departments on campus host students from Talawanda's three elementary schools. Students participate in activities using (global positioning system (GPS) units, tablets for mobile data collection, and Google Earth for a look at extreme places on Earth.