Dr. Zhenlong Li is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Director of the Center for GIScience and Geospatial Big Data (CeGIS) at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Li received his Ph.D. in Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences from George Mason University in 2015.  His primary research field is GIScience with a focus on geospatial big data  analytics, spatial computing, and deep learning/GeoAI with applications to disaster management, human mobility, and public health.

 ResearchGate   Google Scholar    Curriculum Vitae   Departmental Profile

Postdoc Fellow

Dr. Fengrui Jing joins GIBD as a postdoctoral scholar in Jan. 2022. Fengrui received his PhD in GIScience from Sun Yat-sen University in 2021. He also holds a master’s degree in Physical Geography and two undergraduate degrees in Social Work and Psychology. His research focuses on using massive social media data to map neighborhood disorder and fear of crime, and to examine the causal relationship between micro built environment and fear of crime (Advisor: Li).

Graduate Students

Huan Ning joined GIBD as a master student in 2017 and graduated in May 2019 with thesis titled “Prototyping A Social Media Flooding Photo Screening System Based on Deep Learning and Crowdsourcing”. He rejoined GIDB to pursue his Ph.D. in Spring 2021 after a stay at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Huan’s recent studies are related to place & health, spatial computing, street view image, human mobility, and deep learning. (Advisor: Li)

Curriculum Vitae

Seth Church is a professional Medical Geographer and a PhD student at the Department of Geography, University of South Carolina. His research examines the application of big data and cyberGIS tools to analyze spatial determinants of health. Previous education: Master of Geospatial Information Science & Technology, North Carolina State University; Bachelor of Arts, Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Advisor: Li)


Mohammad Naser Lessani joins GIBD, University of South Carolina as a PhD student in Fall 2022. Naser Lessani holds a M.S. degree in Surveying and Mapping at Central South University, Changsha, China, and a B.A. in Geodesy Engineering from Kabul Polytechnic University, Kabul, Afghanistan. His research interests include spatial data analysis, information visualization, and parallel computing. (Advisor: Li)
Ali Khosravi Kazazi is an incoming PhD student at the Department of Geography, University of South Carolina. Ali has a knowledge of geospatial information science backed by experience in doing research projects. His current research employs data-driven approaches, such as machine learning, to understand critical issues within urban areas. His research resulted in several publications concerning spatial crowdsourcing, 3D urban modeling, and spatial accessibility to health services. (Advisor: Li)
Temitope Ezekiel Akinboyewa is an incoming PhD student at the Department of Geography, University of South Carolina. Temitope holds a masters and bachelor degree in Surveying and Geoinformatics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. His current research focus on the application of deep learning methods for feature extraction from high-resolution imagery. His research interests are centered around GIScience, remote sensing, machine learning, and geospatial data analytics. (Advisor: Li)
Alexander Fulham is a Master’s Student currently studying big data analysis. His research interests include sentiment analysis, cartography, and Russia. (Advisor: Li)
Breonna Roden is a Master’s student at the Department of Geography, University of South Carolina. She is a teaching assistant in GIS courses and research assistant in the GIBD. She received her B.S. degree from the Department of Geoscience, University of North Alabama in Spring 2020. Her primary research interests include remote sensing, spatial analysis, and advanced geospatial approaches in environmental hazards. (Advisor: Wang)


Harrison Cassel is an undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in Statistics and is interested in applying statistical analysis and modelling techniques to public economics and public health topics. He has experience in the insurance industry and is interested in applying the geographic, financial, and social reasoning skills he developed during that time.
Austin Short is a Public Health student interested in exploring geographical and environmental epidemiology as well as the use of clusters to identify infectious disease outbreaks.
Rohit Swain is a South Carolina Honors student interested in exploring urban planning, public economics, environmental policy, public health, and climate modelling using data science methods and GIS.


Mehdi Hajilou is a researcher in the geography and tourism major for the college of hospitality, retail, and sport management at the University of South Carolina. He is broadly interested in using geographical information science in Tourism subjects. His research focuses on using tourism data to map the spatial distribution of destinations. Recently he has been working on Covid-19 effects on tourism destinations on an international level.
Donald Mellen is a senior citizen in the “On Your Time” initiative. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a M.S. in Computer Science from Rutgers. He worked at Bell Laboratories for over 25 years and taught High School for almost 10 years before retiring. He is interested in applying his programming skills to challenging problems.


Yuqin Jiang receives her Ph.D. degree in Summer 2022. Her dissertation title is “Quantifying Human Mobility Patterns During Disruptive Events with Geospatial Big Data”. Dr. Jiang is now a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Civil Engineering Department, Texas A&M University.

Curriculum Vitae

Xiao Huang received his Ph.D. degree in Spring 2020.  His dissertation title is “Remote Sensing and Social Sensing for Improved Flood Awareness and Exposure Analysis in the Big Data era”.  Dr. Huang is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas.
Yago Martín received his Ph.D. degree in Summer 2019 with dissertation titled: “Leveraging Geotagged Social Media to Monitor Spatial Behavior During Population Movements Triggered by Hurricanes”. Dr. Martin is now a Marie Curie Fellow at the Pablo de Olavide University, Spain.
huan Dong Xu was a visiting Ph.D. student at the Geoinformation and Big Data Research lab in 2019. He conducted research about indoor evacuation planning based on individual-level simulation and big data computing and published two journal articles with the team during his stay. 
gracyson Grayson Morgan received his PhD at the Department of Geography in Spring 2022. His dissertation is titled “sUAS and Deep Learning for High-resolution Monitoring of Tidal Marshes in Coastal South Carolina”. He received his B.S. from BYU in Geography with an emphasis in geographic information science. 

Finn Hagerty graduated in 2020 with Distinction and now is a GIS Analyst in the Office of Information and Technology at the SC Department of Public Safety.  His thesis title is “Tracking Population Movement using Geotagged Tweets to and from New York City and Los Angeles during the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

Dr. Anna Fiedukowicz was a short-term visiting scholar at GIBD in 2019. Dr. Fiedukowicz is an Assistant Professor from the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland at the Faculty of Geodesy and Cartography. Dr. Fiedukowicz received his Ph.D. in Cartography (cartographic generalization using rough logics) from the same university in 2017. Her research interests focus on spatial data mining and big data processing.
Daniel Newsome was an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina Honors College (Statistics). He worked on a Magellan Scholar project investigating the celebration patterns of popular U.S. holidays by analyzing billions of geotagged tweets.
Mary Windsor, Graduated M.S. Student (2016-2017),  Her research topic was related to a GIS-based watershed decision support system which will help decision-makers develop comprehensive watershed plans. Research paper title: A Web-based Decision Support Platform for Community Engagement in Water Resources Planning.
Caroline Caroline Garris, Desktop Analyst at Esri. Research Assistant from 01/2016 to 05/2016. She assisted in developing web-based maps for mapping the 2015 South Carolina floods. Caroline is now the Enterprise Readiness Lead (Manager) at Esri.
Ishrat Singh was interested in researching human dynamics and public health by applying big data mining technologies.
parisa_200 Parisa Bozorgi was an Research Assistant from 02/2016 to 07/2016 at GIBD. She assisted on the lab’s research project titled “Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Flood Impact by Integrating Satellite, VGI and Social Media Data.” Parisa is now the GIS Manager at S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC).

First lab meeting in Spring 2023



First lab meeting in Fall 2022


New Year Party, 2021


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