Campus & Community

Winners of Fisher Prize in Geographical Information Science named

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The Committee of the Howard T. Fisher Prize in Geographical Information Science (GIS) recently named two undergraduate and two graduate students as 2006-07 award recipients.

In the undergraduate category, prizes were awarded to Jaclyn Hatala ’07 for her submission “Hyperspectral Spatial Analysis of Pathogen-Induced Mortality in Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” a portion of her senior thesis in environmental science and public policy; and to Adam Sachs ’07 for his submission “Using Spatial Analysis to Establish a Relationship Between Hurricane Attributes and Damages.” Sachs’ submission is based on his thesis presented to the Department of Economics and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

In the graduate category, prizes were awarded to Kevin Bunker (master in urban planning candidate, Graduate School of Design [GSD]) for his submission titled “Evaluating Potential Sewer Extensions in Ipswich, Massachusetts” (based on his final project for the GSD course “Fundamentals of GIS”) and to Corina Graif (Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology) for her submission “Creative Class and Diversity: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics in Chicago Neighborhoods,” based on her master’s thesis.

In the student evaluations, one of the judges referred to Hatala’s research as a “mathematically complex geostatistical analysis.” About Sachs’ work, a judge said: “Extremely well written, carefully structured, beautifully and clearly illustrated.” About Bunker’s submission, the judges commented: “A good description of an interesting technique.” Meanwhile, the judges referred to Graif’s work as “an innovative technique to estimate cultural diversity at the neighborhood level.”

The Howard T. Fisher Prize in Geographic Information Science was established in 1999 by the Harvard University GIS Users’ Group to promote and reward student work in this broad and potentially interdisciplinary area, from both undergraduate and graduate students at the University. For more information about the prizes, visit

Howard Taylor Fisher, a geographer and mathematical cartographer, founded the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis at GSD in 1965 where he developed the synegraphic mapping system. The initial endowment for the fund was provided by a generous contribution from Jack Dangermond M.L.A. ’69, president of Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc., the world-leading company in geographic information system modeling and mapping software and technology.

The 2006 Committee members were Stephen Ervin and Paul Cote of GSD; Yi Li, Harvard School of Public Health; Wendy Guan, Center for Geographical Analysis; Sumeeta Srinivasan, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Lucia Lovison-Golob, Division of Continuing Education/Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS); and Peter K. Bol, Alyssa Goodman, and Jason Ur of FAS.