GEOG 588
Planning GIS for Emergency Management

Instructor Information


R. Matthew Beaty, Ph.D

Skype: matt.beaty
SMS/iMessage: +61 414 205 730 (Australia) 

Availability: Course e-mail through Canvas is always the best way to get in touch with me. If urgent, it is also OK to SMS/iMessage. We can make an appointment to Skype/FaceTime if we need to talk. Note that I am located in Australia so there may be a considerable time difference from where you are (you can check my local time here). 

About Me:

Hi! I’m Matt Beaty, your instructor this term for Planning GIS for Emergency Management. In addition to teaching for Penn State’s Online Geospatial Education Program, I work for the Australian Government Department of Health in the Health Analytics Branch and am also a Conjoint Senior Lecturer in Geography at UNSW Canberra. I only recently joined the Department of Health and was previously a Senior Experimental Scientist in the Cities Program and Climate Adaptation Flagship at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national research lab. Before that, I did my PhD work in Geography at Penn State!

My current work focuses on using big data analytics and geospatial analysis to better understand health care systems and identify intervention points to improve health outcomes. I am particularly interested in how health outcomes vary spatially and in relation to social and environmental factors. Some of my work with the CSIRO looked at relationships between the built environment, vulnerable populations and climate-related hazards such as heat waves, floods and bushfire. This research focused on current conditions and future conditions expected under different climate change scenarios. The aim was to identify mitigation and adaptation opportunities through a range of social, engineering and environmental interventions. I’ve also undertaken projects on fire ecology, green infrastructure, transportation logistics, and urban planning. It’s probably clear that my work involves the linkage and integration of a wide range of data types, methods, and disciplines, and has also involved working with some great teams!  

I live in Australia in Yass, a small country town about 50 km northwest of Canberra. I moved here about 13 years ago with my partner, who is also a geographer, and we have a crazy boxer named Oscar. I like to travel as often as I can and have been to every continent except for Antarctica. In my free time, I like to go bushwalking (and city walking), explore the region, and take photos. (Un)fortunately, we have been renovating our old house, and this takes a lot of time, but the end is in sight! 

This course focuses on planning GIS systems to support emergency management tasks. It is a bit different than many other GIS courses in that we are going to focus on the system design aspect of GIS in emergency management as opposed to applying GIS tools to typical emergency management problems. This class will explore how GIS is integrated within mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery stages of emergency management. We'll also focus on case-study examples from recent events and new technological trends that will impact the application of GIS in emergency management in the near future.

The term project in this class can take a number of forms depending on your particular interests and level of experience with GIS in emergency management. In general, the project will involve some type of requirement analysis or project proposal. We'll go over the specifics soon after the course begins.

I'm excited to work together with you this term. I will work very hard to make sure this class works well for you. Please let me know what works well and what does not - as I am very eager to have your feedback.