Tuesday, December 12th, 2023

Pearson 304 (Studio C) & on Zoom
Hosted by UD-GIS. All are welcome to attend in person or on Zoom.


  • Upcoming events
  • GIS Day 2023 Recap
  • Open table discussion
Join via ZOOM

Unequal Urban Park Quality leads to environmental injustices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Access to urban parks has been linked to several public health benefits. The characteristics of a park, such as its natural features, recreational opportunities, and size all contribute to a park’s quality. Yet prior research has quantified the physical characteristics of parks and uncovered that the quality of parks in the United States of America (USA) may not be equal, with lower quality parks being associated with vulnerable demographic groups. Lower park quality within vulnerable communities impacts the benefits that they receive from parks, presenting an environmental justice concern. While these studies provide evidence of environmental injustice, they do not always take into account the voices of those being impacted by urban park quality. Rather than basing quality solely on a park’s physical characteristics, we let demographic groups speak for themselves by measuring the perception of park quality across 143,913 social media reviews of 285 parks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We conduct an accessibility analysis using an origin-cost matrix to identify parks that are accessible to a range of vulnerable groups. Park reviews are summarized using anchor word-assisted topic modeling to gauge the factors affecting park perception. Topic modeling results are compared to physical park data obtained from satellite imagery to identify the overlap between park perception and real world park characteristics. Results allow practitioners and researchers to identify demographic groups and areas which do not receive the full benefits associated with high quality parks, while also providing insight into the drivers of disparities in park perception.

Matthew Walter is a PhD Candidate at the University of Delaware in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences.

He uses his background in GIS and remote sensing to study human-environment interactions in urban and coastal ecosystems.

Revealing Coastal Secrets of Saltwater Intrusion in Delmarva through Remote Sensing

Saltwater intrusion (SWI), the encroachment of saltwater into freshwater aquifers in coastal regions, is expected to exacerbate due to climate change, unsustainable agricultural practices, and the increasing demand for crops and water resources. Soil salinization poses a global challenge, impacting an area slightly exceeding the continental United States (approximately 1.1 billion hectares). The expansion of marshlands is closely linked to SWI, and with rising sea levels, the submersion and growth of these marshlands have become a complex phenomenon to comprehend. To address this issue, our research employs GeoAI-based land cover classification to precisely quantify salt patches and expanding marshland across 14 coastal counties in the eastern USA states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (Delmarva). While high-resolution aerial imagery is useful for quantifying fine-scale salt patches and evolving marshlands, it lacks temporal resolution. To bridge this gap, we harnessed Sentinel 2 data and developed a machine learning model to generate annual maps of salt-impacted farmlands and marshlands during 2019-2023. Additionally, we enhanced the precision of land cover classification through spectral unmixing, enabling more accurate quantification of the affected land. These detailed insights offer valuable information to landowners when making decisions regarding their properties. To gain deeper understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of salt patches, we further examined the correlation of several hydroclimatic factors, such as groundwater pumping rates, river flow, storm surges, precipitation, surface temperatures, sea-level rise, elevation, distance from the coastline, and soil types, with the observed spatiotemporal patterns of SWI.

Manan Sarupria, PhD student

Manan obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from BITS Pilani Goa campus, India in 2019 with final year thesis at the National University of Singapore. He received his Masters’ degree in Water Resources Engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium in the summer of 2021. Manan has experience in performing statistical analysis of extreme hydrological events, hydrological modeling, multispectral remote sensing imagery, geospatial analysis, and climate change impact assessment. Inspired by the beauty of the natural world and its ability to sustain a human society in a balanced way, Manan is motivated to study how climate change is affecting this delicate balance today. Starting from Spring 2022 at the EASEL Lab, Manan is working on a NASA-funded project to evaluate the impacts of saltwater intrusion on coastal ecosystems under the changing climate and delivering real-time satellite-derived big data for environmental change research. If not working, you’ll find me drumming, cooking, cycling, hiking, or in a vinyl shop.