Meet the team


Yi Qiang

Project Director and Leader for the Florida Team

Dr. Yi Qiang is an assistant professor at the School of Geosciences, University of South Florida. Dr. Qiang obtained his Ph.D. from Ghent University at Belgium in 2012 and worked as a post doctoral research associate at Louisiana State University and University of Colorado - Boulder. His research focuses on spatio-temporal data modeling, geovisualization, disaster risk, resilience, and CNH systems. Dr. Qiang is interested in developing innovative data models, analytical frameworks and software tools to derive useful information and knowledge from diverse forms of geospatial data.


Barbara (babs) Buttenfield

Co-PI and Leader for the Colorado Team

Dr. Buttenfield is a Professor Emerita in Geography at CU-Boulder, and a Research Faculty Affiliate at CU's Earth Lab. Her research interests focus on cartographic generalization, impacts of scale and resolution on geospatial data and models, graphic and database representations of uncertainty, and visualization tools for geographic modeling. She retired from teaching in December 2020 but remains research active and continues to mentor graduate advisees. Current projects in addition to CroScaler include work with USGS to develop multi-scale versions of the National Hydrography Dataset, and an NSF-funded project (TRELIS) to mentor and retain women entering professional careers in geospatial science in academia, public and private sector positions.


Nodari Sitchinava
Co-PI and Leader of the Hawai'i Team

Dr. Nodari Sitchinava is an associate professor at the Department of Information and Computer Science, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. He received his Ph.D. from University of California, Irvine in 2009. His research focuses on designing efficient algorithms and data structures that are both parallel (can be run using multiple processors) and I/O-efficient (utilize faster local memory, e.g. caches, efficiently).

Graduate RAs


Georgios (George) Charisoulis

Graduate Research Assistant

George Charisoulis is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with research specialization in GIScience. His research focuses on the impact that missing data and distance uncertainties introduce in location-allocation modeling. Working with advisor Dr. Barbara Buttenfield, he is exploringh the use of machine learning and simulation to probabilistically establish candidate locations for siting Anaerobic Digesters in rural North AMerican communities. He completed masters research in Denmark at Aalborg University and has worked at Bosch Corporation in California.


Jinwen Xu

Graduate Research Assistant

Jinwen Xu is a Ph.D. student in the School of Geosciences, University of South Florid, working under supervision of Professor Yi Qiang. He has a Bachelors degree in Urban Planning at Beijing Normal University, and obtained a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University. He served as a graduate teaching assistant at Arizona State University and University of Hawai'i at Manoa for 3 years. His research interest in Geographical Information Science focuses on spatial analysis, social media big data, and natural disasters. His current research focuses on geospatial analysis on disaster-related Twitter data.


Kate Carlson

Graduate Research Assistant

Kate Carlson is a master’s student working with advisor Dr. Barbara Buttenfield. Her research interests include geovisualization, visualization of spatio-temporal data and uncertainty, and exploratory analysis using visual tools. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2018 with a Bachelors degree in Geography. Previous projects she has worked on include research with Dr. Somayeh Dodge (UCSB) on DYNAMOvis, an interactive, exploratory visualization tool for GPS tacking data. Kate completed her MA degree in August 2021.


Katie Tyler

Graduate Research Assistant

Katie (KT) Tyler is a master’s student working with advisor Dr. Barbara Buttenfield. Her research interests include geovisualization, urban planning, sustainability and environmental justice. She graduated in 2017 from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelors degree in Ecosystem Science. Following graduation, she worked for the World Wildlife Fund in Washington DC, coordinating partnerships with the private sector to support environmental sustainability. She also worked as an interpretive ranger intern at Rocky Mountain National Park, developing educational content on history, ecology and wildlife for K-12 students.