The Human Factors in GIScience lab as part of the GeoVISTA Center is devoted to advance the understanding of how humans cognize geographic space. Research related to this question addresses how humans communicate spatial information in different modalities (e.g, linguistically and graphically), how cognitive processes can be characterized formally, or how to advance emprical methods to learn about spatial cognition. As such, we are an interdisciplinary group collaborating with researchers in geography, linguistics, information science and technology, informatics, and psychology.


The third Pennsylvania and Friends Spatial Cognition Symposium will take place in May (http://sites.psu.edu/spatialcognitionsymposium2016/).

Paper accepted at Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS).

Paper accepted at Spatial Cognition and Computation.

Paper accepted by The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication.

NSF funds research on Navigation and Wayfinding in Virtual Realities (more to come).

LMI Research Institute funds project on Virtual Reality for Distributed Workforces (more to come).

Ecology Institute funds effort on Virtual Ecology (more to come).

Position paper accepted at GIR 2015, Paris, France

Two papers accepted at the Conference on Spatial Information Theory, COSIT 2015

Paper accepted at the GeoSpatial Week (ISSDQ) 2015

The third Pennsylvania and Friends Spatial Cognition Symposium is scheduled to take place in State College in May 2016.

The second Pennsylvania and Friends Spatial Cognition Symposium is scheduled to take place in State College in April 2015.

Paper accepted for a book on Land Use and Land Cover Semantics - Principles, Best Practices and Prospects.

Paper accepted a The Cartographic Journal.

Paper accepted at the Journal Cartography and Geographic Information Science.

Paper accepted at the International Workshop on Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR) at ACM SIGSPATIAL.

Paper accepted at the International Journal of Cognitive Informatics and Natural Intelligence.

Several papers have been accepted at Journals (Spatial Cognition and Computation, Envrionment and Behavior, Cartography and Geographic Information Science) and Conferences (Spatial Cognition 2014). We also were successfull at workshops and extended abstracts. See publication section for more information.

Two former members of the Human Factors lab secure tenure line positions.


Paper accepted at the Conference of Spatial Information Theory, COSIT 2013.

Paper accepted at the International Conference for Cognitive Computing, ICCI 2013.

Eun-Kyeong Kim receives EMS Centennial travel award to participate in ACM SIGSPATIAL.

Jinlong Yang receive Alumni Award

Alexander Klippel and Anthony Robinson have received a grant from the Center for Online Innovation in Learning at Penn State to work on Enhancing Online Geospatial Education with Sketch-based Geospatial Learning Objects.

Rui is heading to Muenster, Germany to start his Post Doc in the Spatial Intelligence Lab working with Dr. Angela Schwering.

Jenny receives IGERT Fellowship.

Paper accepted at The Cartographic Journal (see publications).

Alex got promoted to Associate Professor (with tenure :)

Rui li has passed his dissertation defense (CONGRATULATIONS!) and his research is featured in a story on "Research Penn State" (read more ...)

Half a dozen papers accepted at major conferences - Spatial Cognition 2012, International Conference Spatial Cognition 2012, GIScience 2012, SDH 2012, ECAI 2012 (see publications).

The Human Factors in GIScience Lab+ visited SILC in Philadelphia (stay tuned ...).

Professors Nora Newcombe and Tim Shipley (both SILC) gave Coffee hour double feature.

We launched a lecture series in Human Factors in GIScience.

Alex is Partner Investigator on an ARC funded project: From environmental monitoring to management: extracting knowledge about environmental events from sensor data. (PI/CI: Matt Duckham)

Sen Xu has passed his comprehensive exam and is now ABD. Congrats Sen!

Members of the Human Factors Lab at NACIS.

Human Factors Lab members Elaine and Rui receive awards.

We welcome new lab members Jennifer Smith, Sam Stehle, and Jan Oliver Wallgruen. For more information visit our people page.

Paper accepted at JOSIS.

Paper accepted for Las Navas Book.

Raechel, Sen, and Rui participating in COSIT 2011, Belfast Maine.

Paper acepted at Journal of Map and Geography Libraries.

Paper accepted at ACM SIGSPATIAL 2011.

Chealsea, Rui, and Alex at the CogSci 2011 Conference, just before a talk by Noam Chomsky.

Paper accepted at Workshop on Cognitive Engineering for Mogile GIS

Paper accepted at the Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

Paper accepted at the COSLI-2 Workshop.

Alex is now editorial board member of JOSIS.

Chelsea receives research grant from the Schreyer's Honors College.

The Human Factors Lab welcomes its new and renewed members: Raechel Bianchetti, Jinlong Yang, and Brian Chorman.

Jinlong's thesis was approved by the Schreyer Honors Program.

Jinlong receives an honorable mention for the for 2010-2011 AAG Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award.


Lab meeting on the 35th floor of the Sheraton in Seattle during the 2011 AAG meeting.

Paper accepted at CoSci2011.

Paper accepted at TopiCS.

Paper accepted at CaGIS.

The Human Factors Lab welcomes its new members: Elaine Guidero and Chelsea Gilliam.

Paper accepted at CaGIS.

Sen Xu finished his master thesis. Congratulations Sen!

Rui Li has designed the Human Factors in GIScience logo. Thanks Rui!



Lab Meeting at Mt Hood (SC'10)

Four members from the Human Factors Lab to participate in SC'2010


Research in focus

Random foliage

This month research focus is on work together with Frank Hardisty (GeoVISTA Center) and Chris Weaver (Oklahoma State University) on star plot glyphs and visual analytics. We conducted several experiments to shed light on the role that shape (of a star plot glyph) has on how the represented data is interpreted. We also developed tools that aid in the analysis of behavioral data. Read more ...