An aspiring geospatial analyst searching for meaning through data
Projects 2015 - Present
With co-Principal Investigator Graeme Cranston-Cuebas, donor tolerance to conflict was investigated through a geographic and statistical analysis of aid projects and conflict zones in Nigeria. Our research project was chosen to present in the Innovation Marketplace at USAID's TechCon 2017 at MIT.
Traditionally, development aid spikes during times of catastrophe, natural disasters, and pandemics. These events rapidly increase domestic reliance on government resources in recipient nations and simultaneously degrade their reach and capacity. Political instability has many of the same effects on civilian populations as natural disasters and pandemics by increasing strain upon governments’ medical and relief programs at the same time as infrastructure and institutions are damaged by the conflict. Yet, in these instances, other nations and international bodies may be reluctant to respond, and in many cases intra-state conflict can force donors to suspend or cancel existing aid projects. However, due to the introduction of new emerging donors such as China, foreign aid project allocation is no longer a top-down process and involves extensive consultation and negotiation with the recipient government. However, research has been slow to adjust to this new balance between donor and recipient, and there is a lack of usable data that recipient governments can utilize in these negotiations. This project conducted a project level geospatial analysis of donor tolerance to systemic conflict in Nigeria to help fill that research gap. While there are many factors that influence whether or not a donor is willing to fund a project proposed by a recipient government, this project determined that the level of immediate and regional violence provided a unique insight into the allocation of aid in conflict zones. Through a k-means cluster algorithm, this project was able to classify areas of Nigeria as relatively safe, risky, or “no-go” zones due to Boko-Haram related systemic violence. It was also able to determine that Chinese projects have a significantly higher demonstrated tolerance to both Boko Haram violence, as well as all Nigerian political violence.
Terrorism & Migration
In Fall 2016, I completed an independent study on the spatial relationship between terrorism and migration in Greece through a geospatial and statistical analysis. By using an OLS regression and Moran's I test for spatial autocorrelation, I determined the lack of statistical correlation between the location and success of terrorist attacks and the density of refugee camps in Greece. Other factors were included in the regression formula, such as unemployment levels, electoral influence, and transportation networks. While there is no statistically significant relationship, I detail several possibilities for this reason in the full paper: disparities in the data, migration does not stop in Greece, terrorism is not a major threat in Greece, and the possibility of the complete lack of a relationship.
Least Cost Path Analysis: From Kisangani to Mombasa
As part of the Advanced Topics in GIS course, my team and I derived a least cost path analysis in ArcGIS from Kisangani, DRC to Mombasa, Kenya, for the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Using the Spatial Analyst toolset in ArcGIS, we developed three different cost surfaces for the region, based on levels of factors such as slope, roads, rivers, protected areas, and land cover. Next, we ran the cost distance tool on the cost surface models, and discovered only one of the cost surface models was efficient. We then ran the cost path tool and found the least cost path from Kisangani to Mombasa.
Team members: Lidia Kovacevic, Brian Barnisin, Emmaleah Jones and Leigh Seitz
During summer 2016, I interned at USAID's GeoCenter, working with Chad Blevins on the Remote Sensing Program and Mapping for Resiliency Initiative. I primarily digitized buildings and roads on OpenStreetMap, then performed some basic analyses of the data for the President's Malaria Initiative Planning Team in Mozambique, in preparation for the Indoor Residual Spraying program.
This project is near and dear to my heart, as it has taught me that taking five seconds to trace some satellite imagery can help save lives abroad. I had the opportunity to use the ArcGIS skills I learned in the classroom on a real-world case that led to an improved IRS program that year.
The content below represents different maps I've created for different purposes. Though they do not tell a story collectively, they showcase the type of cartographer I am becoming.