ThinkSpatial: Lucia Jacobs

Dec 1, 2015 • Categories: Event | ThinkSpatial

The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents The Evolution and Ecology of Olfactory Navigation Lucia Jacobs, Dept. of Psychology & Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | Phelps Hall 3512 (map) Abstract. A paradox of vertebrate brain evolution is the unexplained variability in the size of the olfactory bulb, in contrast to other brain regions, which scale predictably with brain size. Such variability appears to be the result of selection for olfactory function, yet no obvious selective pressure has been identified to explain how olfactory system structure is related to behavior. I will argue that this is because we have assumed the primary function of this sensory system to identify odors. Instead, I propose that to understand the olfactory system we must understand its role in spatial navigation and as an integral part of a limbic navigational system, integrated with hippocampal and amygdalar function. This hypothesis also suggests new ways of thinking about olfactory systems in invertebrate taxa. I will conclude with new data on olfactory spatial orientation in humans. The PROUST hypothesis (perceiving and representing odor utility in space and time) casts new light on an old problem, may solve long-standing paradoxes of olfactory system structure and function and offers a novel framework to understand the function of olfaction and the evolution of spatial navigation. Lucia Jacobs is a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at Berkeley. The focus of her research is the evolution of cognition, in particular spatial cognition, where her lab studies patterns of differences across animal species, including humans, in captive and wild, free-ranging rodents, in particlar tree squirrels. Her theoretical work reframes questions about the evolution of cognition and the brain, focusing on the function of the mammalian hippocampus and olfaction. After training in animal behavior (1978 B.S., Cornell), ecology (1987 Ph.D., Princeton) and neuroscience (postdoctoral positions at the Universities of Toronto, Pittsburgh and Utah),  she joined the Berkeley faculty in 1993. She has published scientific articles in the fields of animal behavior, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, and her work has been recognized with the 1995 Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford, 1999 Berkeley Prytanean Prize, a 2004 Santa Fe Public Lecture and the 2013 Michigan State Distinguished Lecturer in Cognitive Science.  A recent recipient of a NSF Ideas Lab collaborative grant on olfactory navigation, she is currently studying how diverse species – from insects to humans  – use their sense of smell to orient in space. — The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing...

ACM video: Andrea Ballatore on map personalization

Nov 30, 2015 • Categories: News | Research

Andrea Ballatore (UCSB) and Michela Bertolotto (University College Dublin) published an article entitled “Personalizing Maps” in the December issue of Communications of the ACM. To accompany it, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has produced a video documentary featuring the Center for Spatial Studies and Andrea Ballatore: Article in Communications of the ACM  –  Open Access author copy Abstract: Geographic maps constitute a ubiquitous medium through which we understand, construct, and navigate our natural and built surroundings. At the intersection of the explosion of geographic information online, data-mining techniques, and the increasing popularity of Web maps, a novel possibility has emerged: Instead of generating one map for large numbers of users, user profiling and implicit feedback analysis can support creation of a different map for each person. The automated personalization of the map-making process is still in its infancy but has the potential to provide more relevant maps to millions of users worldwide....

ThinkSpatial: Martin Raubal

Nov 24, 2015 • Categories: Event | ThinkSpatial

The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents Investigating human behavior in urban environments   Martin Raubal, Professor of Geoinformation Engineering, ETH Zurich 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 24, 2015 | Phelps Hall 3512 (map) Abstract. In recent decades a majority of our civilization has become a mobile (information) society. People’s increased mobility has impacted many areas, resulting in the overcrowding of urban spaces, increased energy consumption, and complex mobile decision-making for the individual. In this talk I will demonstrate how novel data sources, methods, and technologies provide ample opportunities for GIScientists to investigate human mobility and behavior in urban environments. Such investigations help to identify individual- and urban-oriented problems, and provide ways of addressing them. Examples will cover human mobility analysis from georeferenced mobile phone data and the analysis of personal mobile decision-making through mobile eye tracking. Martin Raubal is Professor of Geoinformation Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. He was previously Associate Professor and Vice-Chair at the Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Junior Professor at the University of Münster. Martin received his Ph.D. in Geoinformation from Vienna University of Technology in 2001 with honors. He holds a M.S. in Spatial Information Science and Engineering from the University of Maine and a Dipl.-Ing. in Surveying Engineering from Vienna University of Technology. Martin’s research interests lie in the areas of Mobility & Energy, more specifically in mobile GIS & LBS, spatial cognitive engineering, mobile eye-tracking, and GIS for renewable energy analysis. His teaching includes courses on GIS, cartography, geovisualization, location-based services, temporal aspects of GIS, spatial cognition and wayfinding, and research methods. Martin is currently Co-Chair of AGILE (Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe) and was a board member of UCGIS (University Consortium for Geographic Information Science) from 2008-11. He serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Location Based Services, and on the editorial boards of Transactions in GIS, Journal of Spatial Information Science, Spatial Cognition and Computation, and Geography Compass. He has authored and co-authored more than 100 books and research papers published in refereed journals and conference proceedings. — The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts. Please contact Andrea Ballatore (893-5267, aballatore@spatial.ucsb.edu) to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking. Follow spatial@ucsb on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Google...

GIS Day@UCSB Geography

Nov 18, 2015 • Categories: Event | GIS Day | Related Initiatives

GIS day is the third Wednesday of November in each year, during the Geography Awareness Week. As a global event, GIS day provides a great opportunity for GIS users and researchers to exchange ideas and present works to a wide audience. To celebrate this special day for spatial studies, we will hold a lightning talk on Wednesday November 18 at 12pm at the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies. Pizza and drinks will be served. RSVP...