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

Timothy NyergesTim 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 PhD in geography from Ohio State. 

Profile | nyerges@uw.edu

Suzanne Davies Withers

Suzanne Davies WithersSuzanne 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 PhD in geography from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Profile | swithers@uw.edu

Christy Heaton

Christy HeatonChristy 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.


Philip Murphy

Philip MurphyPhilip Murphy is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Geography. A cofounder of InfoHarvest, a Seattle software company that creates and supports decision analysis software, Murphy has consulted with local, state and federal government across the United States, designing software and decision processes for natural and built infrastructure sustainability. He is a founding member of the Spatial Decision Support Consortium and the Ecosystem Management Support Consortium. His current research interests are in geodesign for sustainability management, decision support for species recovery and public participation in planning processes.  Murphy earned his PhD in theoretical physics from The John Hopkins University. 


John Ritzman

John RitzmanJohn 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.