GEOG 597i
Critical Geospatial Thinking and Applications


George A. Van Otten, Ph.D.

Welcome to Geography 597i. I look forward to exploring critical geospatial thinking with you. Until 2009, I worked for the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and prior to that, taught geography at Northern Arizona University. I was also a member of the U.S. Air Force (1967-1983; (five years active duty) and served as a C-130 pilot from 1968-1972. After completing a Ph.D. at Oregon State University, I joined the geography faculty at Northern Arizona University and in 1983 switched from the Air Force to Army Reserves, initially as an ordnance officer. In 1988, I transferred from ordnance to intelligence and served in that role until I retired from the military in 1996. During the several decades I spent at Northern Arizona University, I worked closely with the Indian Nations of Arizona on rural development, educational programs, and land-use planning. I am a member of the Association of American Geographers, and also hold the rank of professor emeritus at Northern Arizona University. I retired from Civil Service in 2006, but continued working on course development as a contractor until December of 2009. I am now fully retired (except for part-time teaching).

I have been married to my wife (Ruth) for more than thirty years. We have five children and ten grandchildren. Our home is situated on a few acres at the base of the Huachuca Mountains in rural Cochise County, Arizona. I enjoy working on antique cars, hiking, fishing, and gardening. Since retirement, however, most of my time has been dedicated to my wife, our children, and our grandchildren.

I am enthusiastic about teaching this course and hope to establish a productive working relationship with you.

Best Wishes,

George Van Otten

Dr. Dennis J. Bellafiore, Ph.D.

Dr. Dennis J. Bellafiore is a coauthor of: GEOG 885, Advanced Analytic Methods for the Geospatial Intelligence Professional; GEOG 497B, Location Intelligence for Business; GEOG 597I, Special Topics in Geospatial Intelligence Futures; and GEOG 479, Cyber-Geography in Geospatial Intelligence. 

Outside of Penn State, Dennis serves as a consultant and coach to large and small businesses, education, industry, not-for-profit, government, and community service organizations. He worked for thirteen years at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), including as the global account manager of its largest corporate end-user customer, as manager of sales & marketing for total quality management, and as international strategic marketing director of office document systems for the company. Over the past twenty years, he has served as an organizational change consultant, as president and chief operating officer of a technology-leading digital-print book manufacturer, and as a strategic marketing consultant with a recognized geospatial information company in Lancaster, PA. 

Dennis has consulted on many GIS and IT projects at state, regional, county, and local government levels in Pennsylvania. He has been involved in geospatial requirements analysis, strategic planning, project management, project scoping, customer relationship management, business development, marketing, and organizational consulting involving all aspects of geospatial application development and implementation. He has been a research contributor for economic and workforce development projects funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Brookings Institution, Federal Mediation and Consultation Service, William Penn Foundation, and National Governors’ Association. He is a member of the Academy of Management and Sigma Xi. Dennis holds his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Department of Geography Faculty Page:

Fixed-Term Research Faculty

Penn State Online Geospatial Education Page:

Online Geospatial Education Faculty