Farewell Message from the Center's Team

A brief farewell message from the current team of the Center for Spatial Studies and best wishes for the future

March 31, 2023
Photo of Krzysztof Janowicz

Since its founding in 2007, the Center for Spatial Studies has embraced a strong tradition of outreach and collaboration to promote spatial thinking and computing across academic disciplines, industry, and society. The questions, methods, and subject matter have evolved, and the community has grown in participation, diversity, and geography to achieve a global reach.

Since 2020, the Center's mission has focused on studying how humans conceptualize the space around them based on their behavior, focusing particularly on regional and cultural differences with the ultimate goal of assisting machines in understanding better the information needs of an increasingly diverse user base.

To fulfill this mission, the Center and its members organized many far-reaching, international events with hundreds of participants, acquired numerous grants, published in leading journals and conferences, received several awards and other recognitions, and, most importantly, built an ever-growing network of collaborators and friends across many academic disciplines. Aside from research contributions to GeoAI and Spatial Data Science, we also strongly focused on research ethics, the responsible use of location data, and other challenges towards making GeoAI systems a positive and empowering technology. 

As a team, we enjoyed every moment of this journey despite most of them coinciding with COVID-19 and the many restrictions and lockdowns. To give it a positive spin, this prompted the Center's transition into a virtual organization with speakers from all around the globe, thereby strengthening its outward-facing role.

Today marks my last day as the Center's director. I would like to express my gratitude to the hundreds of participants — especially those who were always open to new ideas and experiments; our collaborators in industry, academia, and government agencies; our project partners — for instance, in the KnowWhereGraph project; and most importantly the team of students, postdocs, developers, our administrative wizard Karen Doehner, and the entire former team of directors and advisors. Finally, whoever the new team may be, we wish them well on their journey.

Before I say goodbye, I would like to thank postdoc Kitty Currier (also leaving the Center today). I could not have asked for a more competent, better organized, and more supportive person.