Who We Are

Faculty and Staff

Subhro Guhathakurta, Director

Subhro Guhathakurta joined Georgia Tech in 2011 as the director of the Center for Geographic Information Systems and professor in the School of City and Regional Planning. He was previously associate director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU) and among the founding faculty members of ASU’s School of Sustainability. Subhro was instrumental in developing the Urban Modeling and Simulation Lab in ASU’s College of Design.

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Tony Giarrusso, Associate Director

Tony Giarrusso is associate director of the Center for Geographic Information Systems at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ga. His teaching, research, and consulting activities focus on GIS-based planning solutions for land conservation, public health, alternative energy, coastal and marine resources, and environmental protection.

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Nickolas L. Faust, Resident Scholar and Advisory Board Member

Nickolas (Nick) Faust is the head of the Image Analysis and Visualization Branch Electro-Optics, Environment and Materials Laboratory at Georgia Institute of Technology. He serves on a variety of scientific panels and committees. He was the co-chair of the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)-Commission II Working Group on hardware and software aspects of GIS. He was elected to the Space Technology Hall of Fame (1993) for his pioneering efforts in helping create the ELAS image processing software.

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Ramachandra Sivakumar, Senior Research Engineer

Ramachandra Sivakumar (Siva) is a senior research engineer in the Center for Geographic Information Systems. He has more than 17 years of comprehensive experience in GIS and Information Technology. His expertise includes web-based GIS application design and development, network management, database management, and system administration. His recent projects include design and development of a GIS database for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, developing a GIS framework for MEAG Power’s Location Georgia group, and developing an enterprise GIS plan for the city of Albany, Ga.

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Zhaohua Wang, Senior Research Engineer

Zhaohua Wang received his Ph.D. from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1998. As a visiting scholar, he joined the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech in 2001. He joined CGIS as a research engineer II in 2007 and was promoted to a senior research engineer in 2011. During the past 10 years, he has been continuously conducting research and development in the fields of highway pavement management systems; highway pavement condition assessment using sensor technology; roadway asset inventory and management systems; and application of GIS/GPS and Information Technology for pavement rehabilitation and design.

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Matthew Swarts, Research Faculty

Matthew Swarts is a member of the research faculty in the College of Design. His work focuses on the translation of human behavioral patterns and perceptions within real and virtual worlds into computer models and simulations to better understand design decisions. He often develops custom hardware sensors, interactive systems, and software applications for capturing occupant behavior, testing human spatial perception in 3D virtual environments, running discrete-event and agent-based modeling and simulation, and performing spatial analysis in the intersections between Building Information Modeling and Geographic Information Systems.

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Gordon Zhang, Research Scientist

Gordon Zhang is a research scientist at the Center for GIS. He received his Ph.D. from Zhejiang University in 2013. His expertise is in landscape ecology, spatial hydrology and watershed systems, land use/cover changes and modeling, spatial optimization and decision support systems, geographic information sciences, environmental management and planning, and planning support web-application development.

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Miroslav Malesevic, Digital Designer

Miroslav Malesevic is a digital designer and a researcher at the IMAGINE (Interactive Media Architecture Group in Education) Lab at CGIS and the College of Design. He graduated from the College of Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Belgrade, Serbia. Prior to joining the IMAGINE Lab, Miroslav was a 3D- and visual-effects artist working on various projects ranging from architectural visualization to movies.

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Noah Posner, Research Scientist

Noah Posner graduated from Georgia Tech in 2013 with degrees in Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering. He currently works in the IMAGINE Lab. His expertise is in 3D modeling, visualization, and physical prototyping.

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Stephanie Merrick, Administrative Professional Senior

Stephanie Merrick provides administrative support to the director of the Center for Geographic Information Systems in the College of Design. She works with faculty, students, and human resources to streamline and continue to build on processes that support the research center. Her focus is on, though not limited to, budgeting for the center, hiring students, working with the visiting scholars, provide teaching assistance, travel and expense tracking, and event planning.

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Advisory Board

Mike Carnathan

Recently appointed as the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) Research Division Chief, Mike Carnathan’s extensive background in Geographic Information Systems at ARC and local government make him a key asset to CGIS for metropolitan planning issues.

David DiBiase

Leader of Esri’s education outreach team and longstanding proponent of the professionalization of the GIS field, David DiBiase has more than 25 years of experience using geographic information systems in both academia and the private sector. David’s connections to Esri, the leading supplier of GIS software and applications, and education are well-suited to help us continue our development as leaders in GIS.

Sonny Emmert

Coastal Resource Specialist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division, Sonny Emmert, has worked extensively in Georgia’s Coastal Management Program, focusing on land conservation, coastal and marine spatial planning, and geospatial support. Sonny’s connection to Georgia state and local governments coupled with his knowledge of coastal and marine policy and technical matters is advantageous for CGIS.

David Jared

David Jared, a professional engineer and Georgia Tech alumnus, is assistant state research engineer in the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), where he manages GDOT’s research program. An employee of GDOT for almost 25 years and longstanding partner of many researchers at Georgia Tech, David’s background in Transportation Engineering and Planning provides our Center with unique and distinctive viewpoint on transportation research at the state level.

Susan Miller

As Georgia’s inaugural Geospatial Information Officer, Susan Miller is working to advance the use of geospatial sciences for public policy and decision-making through partnerships across all levels of government and disciplines in Georgia. Before joining the team in Georgia, she was the director of a global GIS program for The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest conservation organization, where she led the design and implementation of organizational-wide geospatial strategies. Susan’s role as the state’s Geospatial Information Officer will serve to foster many relationships between CGIS and agencies in the state.

Our Students

Our students are an invaluable asset to the Center for GIS. We routinely employ 10-20 undergraduate and graduate students per semester from a variety of colleges and schools across Georgia Tech, with the majority enrolled in the School of City and Regional Planning graduate program.  Students work on a variety of projects and perform a multitude of tasks ranging from software development to writing and editing journal articles to spatial modeling to image processing to serving as teaching assistants. These incredibly bright students are a vital part of CGIS’ ongoing success and we are fortunate to have them spend their time at Georgia Tech working for us

Ph.D. Students

Fereshteh Shahmiri
Fereshteh Shahmiri is a first-year Ph.D. student in the area of Design Computing. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with an M.S. degree in Computational Design. She joined CMU-Digital Fabrication Lab and her main research has been focused on Robotic Fabrication and Human Robot Interaction. She also has experience in software development and integration of different application interfaces. By involvement in CMU-CoDe Lab, where she has received The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO grant for Creative Inquiry, part of her experience and research has been focused on the area of Interactive Design. She holds a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering from Tehran University of Arts and has attended Architectural Association of London (AA) summer school programs.

Beside academic activities, she has professional experience in software industry. She has worked at Bentley Systems where she has established a framework for parametric modeling software environment and has been involved in development of GenerativeComponents.

Heonyeong Lee
Heonyeong Lee’s research interests lies in regional economic performance, and planning and policy for improving regional economic resilience. He is currently participating in an NSF funded project, Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Processes and System (RIPS) as a research assistant. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, he worked at the Korea Environment Institute from 2013 to 2015 where he engaged in several studies on community development planning and policy evaluation. Heonyeong earned bachelor's (2011) and master's (2013) degrees in Urban Planning and Engineering from Yonsei University.

Youngseong Lee

Yongsung Lee's research focuses on the relationship between urban form and travel behavior, and its implications to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. In his master's thesis, Yongsung wrote about the price elasticity of automobile gasoline and its variation depending on different urban forms and policies; all else being equal, the more compact urbanized areas are, the more sensitive to gasoline price their residents are. Recently, Yongsung is analyzing the impact of high energy price on urban form.

Before joining Georgia Tech, Yongsung worked as a research assistant at the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS) from 2008 to 2010. Yongsung earned a MUP (2012) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a M.E. in Architectural Planning (2008) and a B.S in Architecture (2003) from Seoul National University in South Korea.

Hashemi Toroghi
Shahaboddin-Sean H. Toroghi is a graduate research assistant at Georgia Institute of Technology, a graduate student at school of Building and Construction (pursuing Ph.D. degree - minor in economics) and school of City and Regional Planning (persuading master's degree). Before attending Georgia Tech, he received bachelor's and master's degrees in Civil Engineering, and an MBA degree.

He worked in the construction industry for seven years and at an engineering firm as a structural designer for two years. He holds several certifications and licenses, including Fundamentals of Engineering, General Engineering Contractor license (California), Project Management Professional, and LEED certifications. His field of work includes Energy Infrastructure system and other interdependence infrastructures to it, renewable energy adoption and diffusion at urban and regional areas. He also is a software developer, and his latest software is currently being used at 11 offices of the Georgia Department of Transportation. He is currently working on an NSF funded research on the topic of Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Processes and Systems (RIPS).

Kyungsoon Wang

Kyungsoon Wang’s research interests lie in the housing and real estate markets, community and economic development, neighborhood revitalization and stability, finance for housing and urban development, and geographic information system applications in planning research. Her dissertation explores the determinants of resilience of neighborhood housing in the context of metropolitan housing markets during and after the recent U.S. housing crisis. Wang has participated in research projects on housing, urban, and regional issues and policies in the United States and East Asia. Her research has resulted in publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at national and international conferences. Her research on the impact of smart growth initiatives on home values was awarded a research grant by the Housing Community Development Division of the APA in 2010, and she was awarded the Korea Foundation Fellowship in 2011.

She holds a master's degree from the School of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech, a master's degree in urban planning and design from the Graduate School of Environment Studies at Seoul National University, and a bachelor’s degree from the Department of Urban Engineering at the University of Seoul.

Wenwen Zhang
Wenwen Zhang's research focuses on how land use and transportation systems interact with each other along with the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the urban transportation system. She also has a strong interest in visualizing data with web-based applications. Currently, she works as a research assistant at the Center for Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Before joining the Ph.D. program, Wenwen completed a dual-degree program (city planning & civil engineering) at Georgia Tech. She earned her bachelor's degree in engineering with a specialty in city planning from Zhejiang University in China.