Coffee & Viz

The Need for Geospatial Participatory Modeling

Jelena Vukomanovic

Complex environmental problems require bigger data and better models

Stakeholder participation is necessary to understand trade-offs and find solutions

Participatory Modeling

Making It Real!

Geospatial analytics offers 3 ways to better engage stakeholders…

Making It Real with PLACE

Contextualizing place motivates stakeholders to explore an issue that affects them

Making it spatial, makes it personal


Visualizing spatial interaction catalyzes new understandings of connectedness

What happens here, affects there!

Making It Real with SPATIAL SCALE

Where’s the problem? What’s the process?

Geospatial Participatory Modeling

Dynamic, adaptive models that enable stakeholders to visualize and explore the roles of place, spatial interaction, and spatial scale through all steps of the research process

Coffee & Viz

Serious Gaming with Tangible Landscape

Brendan Harmon, Anna Petrasova & Vaclav Petras

Computational modeling

Developing games with

Tangible Landscape

A tangible user interface powered by open source GIS

Coupling a digital and physical model of a landscape

Physically manifesting digital data so that you can intuitively feel and shape it with your hands

Near real-time interaction


Intuitive scientific modeling with Tangible Landscape

Scientific gaming

To make scientific problem solving a game we need:

  • goals
  • rules
  • interactivity
  • challenging tasks
  • scores

Termite game

Coastal game

Coffee & Viz:

Collaborative Management of Invasive Species

Using Tangible Landscape

Center for Geospatial Analytics

Francesco Tonini & Douglas Shoemaker

Invasive Species

Global Change: increased human mobility, land-use change

Environmental Impacts

Habitat alteration

Economic Impacts

Structural damage

Key Management Issues

Time to action counts!

Key Management Issues(cont.)

Cost of treatments!

  • Invasive termites in the U.S.: ≈ $750 mi property damage
  • In U.S. each year control cost for termites alone $1.5+ billion

Key Management Issues(cont.)

Allocation & efficacy of treatments!

Collaborative Management Using Tangible Landscape

Co-learning and collaboration

  • Quickly and intuitively learn dynamics of complex spread models

Collaborative Management Using Tangible Landscape

Co-learning and collaboration

  • Stakeholders virtually placed into the landscape

Collaborative Management Using Tangible Landscape

Co-learning and collaboration

  • Quickly develop & test management strategies

Collaborative Management Using Tangible Landscape

Co-learning and collaboration

  • Receive near-real time feedback

Treatments Allocation (in the field)

Localized treatments of infested areas (e.g. fumigation, host removal, chemical treatments)

Treatments Allocation (on Tangible Landscape)

Delineation of eradication/control areas directly on Tangible Landscape

Termite infestation game


This game is set in Dania Beach, Florida, a neighborhood at risk of invasion by termites. Try to save as many city blocks as possible from infestation with preventative treatment given a limited budget.

Termite infestation game


  • Players have a limited treatment budget (10 blocks)
  • At the beginning of each round players will see a map of the city and a map of termite habitat
  • Then players may place treatment blocks on the game board in order to protect against termites
  • The game master runs the termite spread simulation and shows the results
  • At the end of each round players will see the animated spread of termites, the budget spent, and the number of city blocks infested
  • For new players the game master randomizes the starting locations of the initial termite colonies

Modeling Coastal Dynamics

Center for Geospatial Analytics

Helena Mitasova, Anna Petrasova, Vaclav Petras, Brendan Harmon

Geospatial data, aerial and ground photos: NOAA Digital Coast, USGS, NCDOT and NCSU MEAS research program

North Carolina Coast: Dynamic Landscape

  • Sandy barrier islands are continuously shaped by ocean and wind

  • Storms and hurricanes bring shore erosion, flooding, inlets opening and filling
  • Lidar mapping since 1996 captures 3D dynamics, identifies vulnerable locations

Landscape shaped by wind: Jockey's Ridge sand dunes

Active migrating dune system within fixed state park boundaries, lost half of its height and split into multiple smaller ridges

Jockey's Ridge migration 1974 - 2014

Landscape shaped by ocean waves and currents: Cape Fear

Capes and inlets are the most dynamic landforms: Bald Head island shoreline evolution and Cape Fear dynamics


Static structures in dynamic landscape are vulnerable

Coastal erosion moves shoreline and degrades dunes making homes vulnerable to flooding

Storm surge flooding

Foredunes protect homes and infrastructure from flooding during storms, their degradation increases vulnerability


Simulation of extreme storm surge flooding: Cape Fear

Flooding extent simulation at Cape Fear area

Coastal flooding game

This game is set on a vulnerable stretch of the coast on Bald Head Island, North Carolina.

The community is protected from the ocean by a foredune, but the dune may be breached and a storm surge may flood the homes.

Coastal flooding game

Objective: Build coastal defenses with your limited sand budget to save as many homes as possible from flooding.

  • Phase 1: Players build flood defenses using their sand budget
  • Phase 2: The game master breaches the foredune at a random location
  • Phase 3: The game master runs a 3m storm surge simulation
  • Phase 4: At the end of each round players will see the breaches in the dune, the simulated flooding, and the number of houses lost

Interactive Bald Head Island

Unique community striving for sustainable development: exploring the landscape in the Hunt library Teaching and Visualization laboratory