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 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 extraction, 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: 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: Jim Thatcher

Jim Thatcher is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. His research examines relationships between extremely large geospatial data sets and the creation and analysis of those data sets and society, with a focus on how data has come to mediate, saturate, and sustain modern urban environments. Often referred to as Critical Data Studies or Digital Political Ecologies, Jim’s work has been featured in media outlets including NPR and The Atlantic. His first edited volume, Thinking Big Data In Geography: New Regimes, New Research, is forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press.

Featured Panelist: Britta Ricker

Britta Ricker is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies program at the University Washington Tacoma. Ricker teaches a wide variety of courses related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Science and Urban Research Methods. Her research interests convergence around spatial information collection and dissemination opportunities afforded by mobile computers. She is interested in applying these tools for spatial learning related to emergency preparedness and environmental communication initiatives. Her professional experience includes acting as a Hazard Mapping Analyst for Dewberry and Davis, a consultant for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She has also acted as a cartographic consultation for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), and cartographic services (on paper!) for MapQuest.

Britta was also just featured in Wired Magazine.

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.