GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS

Instructor Information


Ryan Baxter

Ryan Baxter

Email: Please use the course email system in Canvas. I check email and the course forums at least once per weekday and once on weekends unless I notify you otherwise. You may also email me directly at

Office hours: By appointment.

Bio: I am an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Geography at Penn State. I teach courses in the Penn State Online Geospatial Program and undergraduate GIS courses in the Department of Geography. I am very excited about the opportunity to work with you through this course!

Since 1998 I have worked on spatial data management and distribution projects. In particular, I have been the lead developer and system administrator for Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA), which is Pennsylvania’s official spatial data clearinghouse. I’ve been involved in developing online map services and applications since the early days of GIS servers, when we used tools like ESRI’s ArcIMS and Autodesk MapGuide. PASDA has also engaged with emerging data distribution systems, like ESRI’s Geography Network and ArcGIS Online, but we primarily host data locally and publish it using ArcGIS Server on the back-end and a custom user interface. Staying current with the latest technologies and data formats is one of our greatest challenges and keeps us on our toes!

My research and project work occur mostly through my affiliation with Penn State’s Institutes of Energy & the Environment (IEE). Another data management effort that I support is the Penn State Data Commons, which assists Penn State researchers to organize the results of their projects and provides a repository where their (often very big) data is stored and made publicly discoverable and accessible. My scholarly research efforts relate to the land use implications of energy crop production (like switchgrass and winter rye) and identifying suitable lands on which to produce such renewable energy.

I’m looking forward to exploring cloud & server GIS with you and learning from your own experiences!