Group of students showcasing their community mapping project with YouthMappers

Faculty in the GW Center for Urban and Environmental Research (CUER) are experts in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing technologies and more. 

Current research projects focus on mapping poverty in developing countries, measuring environmental sustainability data in polar regions and analyzing medical patient data in the Washington, D.C., community.

GIS and Geospatial Techniques

Our Research






Washington, D.C.

CUER collaborates with the Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, D.C. The center’s work focuses on using Geographic Information System (GIS) analyses of patient data from the CNMC. Projects include mapping thermal burn injuries, immunization rates, childhood obesity, asthma and non-urgent visits to the Emergency Room. The data is then adapted for further written analysis in community interventions and research articles. In addition to CUER members, individual collaborators include Stephen Teach, Brian Jacobs, David Mathison, Linda Fu and Randall Burd.





Developing Countries

Currently, CUER researchers use multi-scale and multi-temporal satellite image data to detect patterns of poverty in developing countries. Previous research involves the urban transition in Ghana and its relations to land cover and land use change through analysis of multiscale and multi-temporal satellite image data.

More About Research in Developing Countries






Polar Regions

CUER researchers work on two NSF projects that map Active Layer Development and Arctic Urban Sustainability. CUER members are part of two major National Science Foundation-funded projects in the Polar Regions, the Arctic Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant examining urban sustainability in the Arctic and the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) project.

Visit the Arctic PIRE Page

Visit the CALM Website



Research Opportunities

We are frequently looking for students and postdocs with whom to collaborate on various projects. If you are interested in pursuing project work with CUER, please contact Ryan Engstrom

A group of students at a table mapping GPS coordinates on laptops





CUER researchers were instrumental in the founding of YouthMappers, a network of university students who collaborate to document previously uncharted communities in developing countries in OpenStreetMap (OSM). GW joins several other universities in the OSM network. Students can also join Mapathon events hosted regularly through YouthMappers.