Research & Teaching In Action

Check out the UMass Geography highlights on pages 5 to 8 of the 2019 Geosciences Newsletter here.

ISSR Current Scholars 2020-2021


 A New Era for Computing and GIS: Hour of Cyber Infrastructure

Forrest Bowlick, Director of the MS-Geography program in Geospatial Information Science and Technology (GIST) and Lecturer in GIST, says one of the new projects he is currently most excited about Hour of Cyber Infrastructure. Hour of Cyber Infrastructure is an educational project geared towards developing new methods for people to learn about cyber infrastructure. What is cyber infrastructure? Cyber Infrastructure are the tools, technologies, and physical hardware that make up digital communications. Hour of Cyber Infrastructure merges computer programming and GIS to build on interconnecting ideas. Forrest and his colleagues are working on putting together strategic learning materials. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). While they have a number of draft lessons, they are about to pilot their first lesson. Within these lessons, there are lots of questions and central ideas squeezed into 1-hour time slots. This project is specifically designed for people who are interested in GIS and/or computation, and acts as a bridge to connect and intertwine the two. Not only is this information useful to any data-intensive job, it is also covers a variety of different fields such as agriculture and homeland security. Cyber Infrastructure is becoming increasingly present in all fields, and will become more of a necessity in the coming years. Forrest specifically finds this exciting because it is about the intersection of different domains and ideas for educational materials. Eric Shook, a geographer and computational scientist at the University of Minnesota, is the Principal Investigator for this project. Karen Kemp of USC Dornsife, Anand Padmanabhan of the University of Illinois, and Forrest, are all Co-Principal Investigators. Fritz Vandover and Coleman Shepard also contribute to this project, making a team of six. Forrest Bowlick, along with six others, are working on their website HourofCI.org. This idea originated from a paper the creators published years ago about GIS and computing. Check out their website, HourofCI.org, for lessons and additional materials to help you learn more about cyber infrastructure. Forrest is a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Forrest also leads the graduate program for a Master’s in GIST. Before becoming a lecturer at UMass, he studied GIS at the University of Northern Colorado, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography. He continued his education at the University of Idaho (M.S., Geography), and Texas A&M University (PhD, Geography).  Kelsie Butler, 11/09/19, based on interview with Forrest on 10/09/2019.