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How Can Geospatial “Big Data” Help Disaster Response and Track Disease Outbreaks? Transform Innovative Geospatial Technology to Solve Real World Problems

National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EDT)

How Can Geospatial “Big Data” Help Disaster Response...

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Educators Ended Free  
Government Ended Free  

Event Details

Presented By: Ming-Hsiang (Ming) Tsou, San Diego State University

Affiliation: San Diego State University, Geography Department


Geospatial Big Data (GBD) provide untapped potential for discovering and analyzing dynamic human problems, including disease outbreaks, traffic jams, urban dynamics, and environmental changes.  Such data offer golden opportunities for GIS scientists and professionals to develop new tools, new methods, and new theories. We can utilize Geospatial Big Data to transform innovative geospatial technology into practical software solutions or computational models for solving real world problems (such as epidemics, disaster response and recovery, health disparities in cancer and obesity, drug abuse, urban crime rates, etc.). We, as GIS professionals, should integrate spatial science (GIS and GPS technologies), mobile technologies (smart phone and mobile apps), and big data (social media, mobile phone records, and web pages) and build a new transformative research agenda for future geospatial education and trainings.
The term ‘big data’ usually refers to large stores of information accessible to secondary analyses. Such data have the potential to translate into big ideas, big impacts, and big value for our society. GIS and spatiotemporal analysis methods are essential tools for processing, filtering, analyzing, and visualizing big data.

This webinar will discuss the impacts of big data and social media from a geospatial technology perspective and introduce a few software solutions and examples for disease outbreak surveillance and disaster response/assistance. Two web applications developed by the Center of Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA) ( at San Diego State University will be introduced to demonstrate the value of geospatial big data. The web-based Social Media Analytics and Research Testbed (SMART) dashboard can provide real-time surveillance and trend analysis for various topics. SMART dashboard can be used to track multiple themes with various keywords, including disease outbreaks, drug abuse, regional wildfires in Southern California (URL: The Geo-targeted Event Observation (GEO) Viewer is a Web-based mapping application which enable users to track real-time messages, pictures, and locations from GPS-tagged social media messages (Twitter) for disaster response and assistance efforts (

In addition to the technology development of geospatial big data, we also need to identify the risk and research challenges associated with big data in terms of privacy, data security, and unequal access. The education scope of geospatial big data should include the trainings to educate researchers about these risks in geospatial big data and potential problems during the collection and analysis of big data from social media, electronic health records, or mobile sensor devices.

The direct URL for accessing this webinar is All of the webinars are recorded and are usually posted within 48 hours after the webinar is completed. The recordings are located on the GeoTech Center website’s Home page under the “Professional Development Activities” icon and the direct URL is

 If you have any additional questions please contact Rich Schultz at

Have questions about How Can Geospatial “Big Data” Help Disaster Response and Track Disease Outbreaks? Transform Innovative Geospatial Technology to Solve Real World Problems? Contact National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence


Wednesday, August 19, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EDT)

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National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence

The National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (“GeoTech Center”) is a collaborative effort between 2-year colleges, universities, and industry to assist in the expansion of a well-qualified geospatial technology workforce. Center partners work together to provide professional development opportunities, curriculum resources (for both educators and students), document career pathways, and research core competencies for the new and incumbent geospatial technology workforce. The Center has served as the national, unifying voice and support system for 2-year colleges, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a leader in supporting geospatial technology education.



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