“Light Our Minds On Fire!” A Spatial Lightning Talks 2019 Recap

Audience from SLT 2019

New space, same (but never old!) event, 2019’s Spatial Lightning Talks were one to remember. As they munched on sandwiches and pizza, our listeners from across campus were regaled with three-minute talks that ran the gamut, and that captured our attention for over an hour. Speakers had the challenge to present a new topic to the audience in only three minutes, after a which a loud (electronic) bell would stop their thought in its tracks – because it was question time!

Now it was the audience’s turn; two minutes to grill the speaker. Our favorite comment (in response to a talk about searching for nowhere — Point Nemo? Gurbantünggüt Desert? Or Nowhere, Oklahoma?): “Nowhere or Now here?”)

Image result for nowhere oklahoma gnis

We had students discussing their research: 

Aaron Bagnell: Clustering Water Masses to Overcome Local Sampling Biases

Others discussed their histories in terms of geographic units:

Thomas Hervey: Travel Spaces and their Stories

Professors from a diversity of departments (History; Religious Studies; Geography) spoke on topics of personal interest – race on college campuses, Buddhist symbols (maps) of the universe, the U.S./Canada border.

We had the opportunity to hear from visitors from the community as well: Skona Brittain, co-founder of SB Family School, about Space-Filling Curves, and Ken Dunkley, retired, on food labeling of country of origin, and its impacts on quality of food and on trade. 

Here is the full list of presenters:


It was a treat to hear all of these wonderful presenters. Join us again for next year’s event!

If you are interested in presenting a 3-minute lightning talk at next year’s event, get in touch with Anagha anytime. Videos of this year’s talks will be posted on the Spatial Center website once they become available.

Thank you to Spatial Lightning Talk 2018 presenters

The UCSB Center for Spatial Studies hosted another great round of Spatial Lightning Talks this year, with a whole new batch of spatially-relevant topics. Eight speakers took the challenge to “enlighten us, but make it quick!”

Many new and returning faces in the crowd had the opportunity to hear a lively group of speakers and make new connections across campus. This year, there was a 2-minute question and answer period after each 3-minute presentation, allowing the audience to participate more in the program.

Spatial Lightning Talks 2018

Two speakers, Paul Wilson (formerly of GE / MapFrame) and James Caesar (UCSB Campus Emergency Manager) spoke about the recent Thomas Fire and mudslides. Paul called for map-minded people in the local community to band together and improve the state of emergency mapping; James shared some of his real, on-the-ground experience responding to the recent fire and mudslide events.

Geography Professor Keith Clarke taught us about a local piece of history just around the bend at Honda Point. Thomas Crimmel continued the geographers and history theme with his (very!) abridged history of the digital desktop.

Joshua Kuntzman, graduate student at the Gervitz School of Education, pushed us to think more about what it takes to facilitate true interdisciplinary work through the UCSB Crossroads program. Jeremy Douglass, Assistant Professor of English, gave us a run-through of his project Panelcode.

Spatial Lightning Talks 2018

Graduate student Lily Cheng made everyone stop and think about their well-developed
‘paw preferences’, and aviation consultant William Yim gave everyone a new perspective on focus in photography.

This event was organized by Crystal Bae, bidding adieu to Kitty Currier who has done a great job organizing in years past. If you are interested in presenting a 3-minute lightning talk at next year’s event, get in touch with Crystal anytime. Videos of this year’s talks will be posted on the Spatial Center website once they become available.

Spatial Lightning Talks 2018

spatial@ucsb Retreat

mealStudents, interns, ​and the center director of spatial@​ucsb enjoyed a weekend ​retreat with great weather, beautiful nature, and spatial thinking at La Casa de Maria in Montecito. The group​ built camaraderie over meals​, hikes,​ and ​other activities. Several work sessions were spent discussing how to improve specifications for core computations of spatial information. Students enjoyed learning more about the functional language​,​ Haskell​,​ and were eager to implement core computations using other languages like Python. A particular highlight ​of the retreat ​was a beautiful afternoon hike on the San Ysidro trail,​ which was lined with running creeks and wildflowers, and ended with a humble waterfall.

working hike