People

VISTAS Personnel:

PI Cushing, Evergreen (Computer Science and EcoInformatics) is responsible for overall project coordination. She is responsible for the EcoInformatics research, and coordinates the Northwest Computer Science Consortium to Enhance the Study of Climate Change.

CoPI Mike Bailey, OSU (Computer Science) guides graphics and visualization research, leads the VISTAS development effort with the graduate student, and works on curricular development for graduate and upper division CS and middle school girls.

CoPI Denise Lach, OSU (Social Science) is responsible for tracking, documenting, and publishing regarding the co-development process and works closely with the computer and domain scientists to determine which visualizations work and why.

CoPI Barbara Bond, OSU (now Emeritus) provided the initial environmental science vision for this project, and was instrumental in building this project team and setting the domain science goals and objectives.  She continues to participate in annual retreats/workshops, and advises the co-PIs.

Sr. Personnel Susan Stafford, Prof. and Dean (emerita) Univ. Minnesota.  Her role in the project has been to help organize our annual retreats and the Year 3 Symposium, and to contribute to outreach to resource managers.

Sr. Personnel Jenny Orr, Professor and CS Dept. Chair, Willamette Univ. works with the VISTAS development team on the software and visual analytics research;  she also develops curricular materials.

Environmental Science Collaborators were chosen for scientific expertise, fit with the project, and record of collaboration. They work closely on VISTAS’ co-development, visualizations, and visualization sorts, defining VISTAS requirements, and contributing data, algorithms and models.  Each collaborator works at a different spatial and temporal scale within the HJA LTER.

John Bolte,  Prof. and Dept. Head, Biological & Ecological Engineering, OSU.  Develops multi scale bio-complexity models for resource management, and authored Envision. Bolte will work closely with VISTAS developers on visualizations, visualization sorts, and implementation of the VISTAS API as a backend to Envision.

Bob McKane, Ecologist, Western Ecology Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  He is a major user and co-developer of the VELMA model and has collaborated with Bond, Bolte, and many others on hydrology and climate change for the HJ Andrews and Willamette Region.  In that role, he has worked with Cushing and her developers on visualizatiaons prior to this project.  See Bob’s presentation from the Fall 2013 VISTAS retreat.

Allen Brookes, Modeler, works with McKane at the EPA Corvallis, and has been responsible for rewriting VELMA from Processing to Java, and now to C++.  He is also primary author of EPA’s FISH model.

Christophe Thomas, Ass’t. Prof. College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences OSU, whose interests include atmosphere-vegetation interaction, atmospheric turbulence, scale transitions from milliseconds to hours and days, and spatially distributed sensor networks, works on VISTAS visualization of air exchange between forests and the lower atmosphere.  See Christoph’s presentation from the Fall 2013 VISTAS retreat.  In June 2014, Christoph moved to the Micrometeorology Group which he now directs at University of Bayreuth, Germany, where he also serves as Professor.

Dominique Bachelet, Senior Climate Change Scientist Conservation Biology Institute and Data Basin Climate Center, and Associate Professor, Dept of Biological and Ecological Engineering, Oregon State University joined our collaboration team in December 2014. One of the authors of the MC1 Dynamic Global Vegetation Model, Dominique’s primary interests are in the effects of climate change on vegetation. We are working with Dominique to determine the extensibility of the VISTAS software, i.e., how easy is it to use VISTAS for a new visualization application, and of course to provide her with visualizations of her climate change impacts models at various spatial scales.

The VISTAS technical development team is headed by Nik Stephenson-Molnar, currently at the Conservation Biology Institute (Corvallis),  who developed earliest VISTAS prototype ~2008.   Nik is both chief architect and lead developer, but also focuses on the visualization needs for VELMA.

Viriya Ratanasangpunth, holds a BS and an MS in Mathematics from OSU, and was a Masters student in Computer Science at OSU, working with Mike Bailey when he served as the major software developer for VISTAS, focusing on the interface of VISTAS to VELMA.  His Master’s project involved GPU shader algorithm enhancements that lead to more efficient visualization of fluid phenomena like wind.  Vir now works at Amazon in Seattle.

Kirsten Winters, holds a BA in English and Masters Degree in Environmental and Resource Policy. She was a Ph.D. student in Environmental Science at OSU, working with Dr. Denise Lach focusing on the development of visualization tools and their potential use in scientific research, communication and public policy.  she has now completed her Ph.D. (dissertation title to be added), and is a postdoctoral researcher at the Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis.

Undergraduate students Dani Witherspoon and Justin Mangue (Evergreen) and Kendra Schmal and Taylor Mutch (Willamette) also worked on VISTAS;  Taylor is currently completing his final year in mathematics with a computer science minor.  Dani is current working at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, NY, and Justin works as a software engineer in Seattle.  Kendra also works as a software engineer in Salem.

  • Dani worked on color, montage and data extrusion,
  • Justin improved the user interface, See Justin’s Project Log.
  • Kendra implemented a web GL implementation of the wind flow between McRae and Lookout Valleys in the HJA LTER. See the live version of her senior thesis is available : http://willamette.edu/~kschmal/thesis/ and her project log with notes on progress and what she’s been working on.  She continued work on this project after graduation, with funding directly by Christoph Thomas.
  • Taylor Mutch is taking over Kendra’s work on Christoph’s project.

Several Evergreen Masters of Environmental Studies students received research funding from the VISTAS project.  Jerilyn Walley (2013) Valley circulation experiment a classification of wind flow in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and Evan Hayduk (2012) Using LiDAR data to estimate effective leaf area index, determine biometrics and visualize canopy structure in a central Oregon forest with complex terrain both completed thesis research  as a result.  Alison Smith Osterberg received a prestigious research grant to do work in public policy after working one year with VISTAS;  her thesis was submitted in 2014:  Whose Shore — Assessing the Effects of Public Participation on Shoreline Master Program Updates in Puget Sound.