Jan Oliver Wallgrun


I have been working as a researcher and instructor at the Penn State Geography department, but a little while ago moved back to Germany where I am originally from. I am a computer scientist by training, with my master and Ph.D. both in Informatics. However, I have been working in the areas of GIS and GIScience for more than a decade now. In my residential courses at Penn State, I have been teaching introductory courses to GIS and GIScience, geospatial data management and spatial databases, and object-oriented programming for GIScience. I am still conducting research in affiliation with the Penn State GeoVISTA Center focusing on problems of spatial and spatio-temporal modeling and reasoning, as well as the interpretation and processing of human descriptions of spatial knowledge such as natural language descriptions or sketch maps. I am also interested in algorithmic problems of spatial data integration, matching, and query processing as a basis to build "intelligent" spatial retrieval and assistance systems. My most recent work also involves the application of immersive technologies (virtual and augemented reality) for spatial data analysis and GIScience education.

Course Spotlight

pile of maps

Cartography and Visualization (GEOG 486) covers design principles and techniques for creating maps with contemporary mapping tools. Students will be introduced to future-focused application topics such as augmented and virtual reality, mapping with multivariate glyphs, the visual depiction of uncertainty, interactive geovisualization, and (geo)visual analytics, and decision-making with maps and mapping products. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Fritz Kessler

Dr. Fritz Kessler has taught various online courses in the Master's of Geographic Information Systems at Penn State since 2007. He's also an avid cyclist and musician. Learn more about Dr. Kessler, see what he has to say about online education, and hear him play a tune on the mandolin.