Faculty & Staff
The UW Master of GIS program is taught by faculty with expertise in a variety of areas, including GIS theory and practice; gathering information requirements; database design and management; statistical and spatial analysis; and geovisualization in 2-D, 3-D and 4-D.
Tim Nyerges – Director
Tim Nyerges is a professor of geography and the director and founder of the UW Master of GIS for Sustainability Management program. Through his teaching, research and outreach, Nyerges focuses on participatory GIS, particularly the sustainable management of land, transportation and water resources. Since 1998, he has worked on the development and evaluation of networked GIS to enable stakeholder participation in solving complex sustainability problems. His current research focus is sustainability information science, especially the spatial-temporal resilience of human-environment relations within coastal watersheds. Nyerges is a coauthor of the textbook Regional and Urban GIS: A Decision Support Approach. A former president of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and a former member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee, he was named a UCGIS fellow in 2015. Nyerges earned his Ph.D. in geography from Ohio State.
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Suzanne Davies Withers – Associate Director
Suzanne Davies Withers is an associate professor of geography and the associate director of the UW Master of GIS for Sustainability Management program. Withers is a spatial demographer and population geographer whose research applies spatial demographic analysis and geographic information science to investigate spatial mobility over the life course. Event history analysis and longitudinal modeling are her specialties. Specifically, she investigates the intersection of family dynamics, housing markets, labor market transitions and geographic mobility at scales ranging from local to national. Her current research focuses on housing inequalities, social justice and sustainable cities. Withers has been nominated several times for the UW Distinguished Teaching Award. She has a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Christy Heaton is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Geography and a GIS analyst for SGSI, a GIS company in Seattle. She earned her master’s degree in GIS from the UW in 2014. Her capstone project used strategic modeling techniques to connect green infrastructure (e.g., natural open spaces for recreation) across the central Puget Sound region of Washington state. Before undertaking her master’s at the UW, Heaton worked as a GIS analyst for the state of Utah, where she was involved in many large-scale projects, including the 2010 census redistricting and the Utah Broadband Project. Heaton's interests lie in programming, open source software and GIS community organizing.
Jason Karr is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Geography and the founder of GeosoundNW, a geospatial decision support company that leverages the power of GIS and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to help organizations visualize data. Karr is also a geospatial engineer consultant for Sound & Sea Technology, an ocean and maritime engineering firm. He earned his master’s degree in GIS at the UW in 2012. For his capstone project, he worked with the West Coast Governors’ Alliance on ocean health, addressing critical ocean and coastal protection and management issues facing the states of California, Oregon and Washington. Before starting his master’s program, Karr worked at Black & Veatch, focusing on floodplain mapping for FEMA, and at Starbucks, where he used demographics to help drive strategic site selection. Karr’s interests lie in using unmanned aircraft systems to model coastal and inland environments, visualize zero visibility environments and provide geospatial decision support.
Kory Kramer is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Geography and the customer advocacy lead for desktop products at Esri. He earned his master’s degree in GIS at the UW in 2013. For his capstone project, he created a transit-oriented development map for low-income housing tax credit allocation in partnership with Puget Sound Regional Council. With an undergraduate degree in biology and a concentration in environmental studies, Kramer became interested in using GIS as a tool for sustainability management when working as the land stewardship manager for Osa Conservation, a nonprofit conservation organization based on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.
Jennifer Rashan is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Geography and a 2017 graduate of the UW Master of GIS program. For her master's capstone project, Rashan worked with King County to refine and improve its disaster vulnerability online tool, which maps locales in terms of their ability to recover from a potentially catastrophic event. Originally from Chicago, Rashan earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology, which gives her a community-centric perspective that she applies to GIS work whenever possible.
John Ritzman is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Geography and a GIS specialist for the City of Bothell. He earned his master’s degree in GIS at the UW in 2015, and his capstone project involved using Python and ModelBuilder to create a tool and workflow for U.S. river managers to submit data to the National River Recreation Database. During his master's studies, Ritzman worked as a GIS technician for the City of Shoreline and as an operations specialist for the Master of GIS program, assisting with projects such as the 2015 Geodesign Workshop. Ritzman’s interests lie in programming and application development, process modeling and geodesign for decision support.
Mike Strong is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Geography and the GIS administrator for Sound Transit in Seattle. He is a 2016 graduate of the UW Master of GIS program. For his capstone project he worked with the app TOTAGO (Turn Off The App & Go Outside), helping to develop scripting that summarized transit service information for trailheads from GTFS transit feeds. Strong's interests are in Python scripting, cartography and data visualization.