Introducing Resistance GIS

Are you interested in using or do you already use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or geospatial technologies to help the world?  Do you oppose the exploitation of these technologies for applications of war, surveillance, marketing, and unsustainable resource extraction?  Do you want to know how to apply your knowledge to support social movements?

What is Resistance GIS?

Resistance GIS is a free mini-conference taking place on May 20th, 2017 at Portland State University.

This conference aims to build a new critically informed framework for applications of GIS by providing a space for GIS experts and non-experts to exchange radical ideas that challenge the dominant paradigm of GIS as neutral tool.  Students, academics, organizers, professionals, and the general public are welcome to join, learn and share tips, skills, and visions for how geospatial technologies, open data, and data visualization can empower communities and support civil resistance struggles and social movements.

Why Resistance GIS?

GIS are ubiquitous. They have helped our world with efficiency, saving money, making better decisions, communication, and visualizing our complex lives.  Perhaps expectedly, applications of these powerful advancements have most significantly benefited government agencies and large corporations.  And while many results of their institutional applications have led to great advancements in the way humans live and interact with the world around them, many others have enabled unbridled capitalism, invasive marketing, resource exploitation, culling, surveillance and war.

But as geospatial technologies become cheaper and more publicly accessible, control of the spatial narrative is shifting.  Resistance GIS is a forum to explore this shift and develop a framework for how GIS can be used a tool of empowerment for community organizations and social movements.


Featured Speaker: Erin McElroy

Erin McElroy is co-founder of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project—a data visualization, data analysis, and narrative collective documenting the dispossession and resistance of San Francisco Bay Area residents upon gentrifying landscapes. Erin is also a doctoral candidate in Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz, studying the materiality of techno-utopics upon Bay Area and Romanian landscapes. Currently Erin is a fellow at the Kala Institute in Berkeley, and is teaching classes at UC Santa Cruz on technologies of displacement.

Featured Speaker: Jennifer Veilleux

Jennifer Veilleux is a geographer focused on the water security of international rivers.  Jennifer earned her Ph.D. in Geography from Oregon State University. She has a background in surface and subsurface water science and has researched, published, and lectured on threats to humans and the environment from water development in the Nile, Mekong, Missouri, among other basins throughout the world.  In addition to scholarship, Veilleux uses maps, infographics, and satellite imagery through social media to highlight spatial relationships of environmental justice and human rights issues as relates to water.

As a Postdoctoral Associate with the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University, Jennifer does research and analysis of the hydropolitics of some of the world’s major rivers.


Featured Panelist: Beth Pickard

Beth Pickard is a librarian and assistant professor at Portland State University where she works with geographers and other scientists. She earned her BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and her MSI in Information Science from the University of Michigan. In addition to her work in academia, she writes poetry, fiction and other genre-resistant pieces. Her work has appeared in Underwater New York, the Portland Review and elsewhere.

Before coming to PSU, Beth served as Interim Engineering Librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago and as University Library Associate at the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on information access.

Featured Panelist: Mathew Lippincott

Mathew Lippincott has collaborated across the boundaries of art, science, and education to execute projects as diverse as the city of Portland’s emergency sanitation plan, signage for the US’s first edibly landscaped public park, and a space suit you can make in your living room. He has shown artwork at the CDC, spoken at the USGS & EPA, written a new chapter to the Uniform Plumbing Code, and is currently in a cooperative agreement with NASA.
A founding member Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, Mathew has worked to translate environmental monitoring prototypes into manufactured kits and written and illustrated guides to environmental pollution for six years. Unpowered flight is Mathew’s lifelong passion. He has been teaching people to make and fly DIY kites and balloons for eight years, and his Balloon Mapping Kits made Kickstarter’s best of 2012.

Featured Panelist: Veronica Velez

Dr. Verónica Nelly Vélez is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Education and Social Justice Minor at Western Washington University (WWU). Before joining WWU, Verónica worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and the Director of Public Programming at the Center for Latino Policy Research at UC Berkeley. Her research interests include Critical Race Theory and Latina/o Critical Theory in Education, the politics of parent engagement in educational reform, particularly for Latina/o (im)migrant families, participatory action and community-based models of research, and the use of GIS technologies to further a critical race research agenda on the study of space and educational (in)opportunity. Verónica presents workshops nationally on how to employ GIS critically in educational research and visual literacy projects seeking social and spatial justice. In addition to her scholarly work, Verónica serves as a consultant for several grassroots and non-profit organizations throughout California, building upon her work as a community organizer for over 15 years.

Featured Panelist: Dillon Mahmoudi

Dillon Mahmoudi will graduate in June 2017 with a PhD in Urban Studies
at Portland State University. He also received his Graduate Certificate in GIS from the Geography department. In the fall of 2017, he will be moving to Baltimore to be Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he will teach courses in advanced GIS methods and economic geography. His research and community engagement focuses on critical methods for GIS, bifurcation and deskilling in tech work (software and cartography), geographies of urban inequity, and the intersections of cities and digital technologies.

Featured Panelist: Jamaal Green

Jamaal Green is a doctoral candidate in the Urban Studies and Planning Department at PSU. He is an economic development planners, and a sometimes economic geographer, interested in the intersections of land-use and labor market outcomes. Specifically, his dissertation will be studying the conversion of industrial land to non-industrial uses in the country’s fifty largest cities and the politics therein. He cares passionately about the potential for planning to be a progressive force in the development of our cities. He uses GIS as a way to explore questions about the socio-spatial and socio-economic relations of city-regions from the locations of payday loan establishments to mapping the changing geography of manufacturing labor.

Featured Panelist: Adam Brunelle

Adam Brunelle is a community organizer and advocacy planner with experience incubating community
projects and programs at the grassroots level, including his work on climate change as a co-founder of nonprofit 350PDX and more recently engage Portland’s Lents community on livability issues through local nonprofit Green Lents. Brunelle is committed to bottom-up change and community-led advocacy, focusing his work on improving livability, preserving affordability, and fostering community control in the Lents area. He received his Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University in 2016, and was awarded the Excellence in Sustainability: Inspiring Student Award in 2016 by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions.