Dr. Karen Kline received one of approximately 60 post-doctoral fellowships awarded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for 2004-2005. The program was established in order to foster scientific relationships between Japanese research institutes and researchers in North America and Western Europe. Karen received her PhD in the Winter term of 2005 (A Quantitative Analysis of the Users of Global Environmental Data Sets) and began her 6 month residency at the Geographical Survey Institute (GSI) of Japan shortly afterwards.
Karen comments, “While at GSI, I worked on expanding the user model I had developed while at UC Santa Barbara, identifying where users are located, what applications they use Global Map data for, and what issues might be inhibiting or promoting use. A key issue is that many users are not necessarily from non-governmental agencies or from governments, a key audience that was expected based upon the fact that Global Map was created as a result of the call for data in Chapter 40 of Agenda 21, the document resulting from the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development held in 1992. Overall, the experience was a wonderful one, both professionally and personally.”
The Global Map data Karen refers to is the product of the Global Mapping Project, whose main objective is to develop and provide easy and open access to global digital geographic information in order to expedite global agreements and conventions for environmental protection, to monitor environmental phenomena, and to encourage sustainable development. Professor John (Jack) E. Estes (who founded the department’s geography remote sensing unit in 1972 and was our Department Chair 1991-1992) was the Chair of the International Steering Committee for Global Mapping (ISCGM) from its establishment in 1996 until his death in 2001. Fittingly, Karen, one of his former grad students, is now the Assistant Secretary General of the ISCGM.