John Kostelnick

Illinois State University, Department of Geography-Geology, Campus Box 4400, Normal, IL 61790-4400
(309) 438 - 7679

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My research lies in the realm of GIScience, at the intersection of cartography, geovisualization, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). My specific research interests include visualization methods for hazards and threats, the design and usability of interactive and animated maps and geovisualizations, GIS applications in society (e.g., humanitarian demining, sea level rise), modeling in GIS, cartographic symbolization and design, and the cultural geography of the United States. I enjoy the broad nature of geography as a discipline, which provides research opportunities dealing with a range of topics.

See below for a description of recent and current research projects.

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Sea Level Rise


The objective of this research is to develop GIS methods for modeling and visualizing global sea level rise due to climate change. The project was initiated through the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) with colleagues at the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University. See the sea level rise project website for project results. Ongoing work focuses on the development of improved methods for effectively visualizing sea level rise at local, regional, and global scales particularly in the context of uncertainty and level of realism.

Emergency Management


Web-mapping tools have become increasingly popular in emergency managment contexts for hazard planning, mitigation, response, and recovery purposes. The goal of this project was to design and develop a web-based mapping system for use by emergency managers in Illinois. In conjunction with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, a prototype system was developed utilizing a user-centered design approach that solicitied input and feedback from emergency responders from across the state. Ongoing work focuses on deploying the new system, adding additional datasets and functionality, and testing the utility of the system in actual emergency response scenarios.

Humanitarian Demining


The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) estimates that there are currently 40-50 million landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the ground around the world today. Maps and GIS are essential to landmine removal or humanitarian demining process. The goal of this project was to develop a new set of cartographic symbols that could be used in humanitarian demining activiities. The new symbol set has been implemented in the GICHD's Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), a leading GIS used in humanitarian demining. See the humanitarian demining project website at the University of Kansas for detailed information about the project as well as to download the symbol set and example maps. Ongoing work includes promulgating the symbols set as a new international standard, and investigating the broader practice of symbology design and standardization by humanitarian agencies around the world.

Interactive Mapping


As part of my dissertation research, I developed the Religion Interactive Mapping and Exploration System (RIMES), a customized piece of mapping software designed specifically for the exploration of county-level religion data in the United States. RIMES was developed for use in both research and teaching contexts, and may be used for exploring geographic patterns of religion in the United States. Ongoing work involves adding additional functionality to RIMES, and testing the usability of the system in teaching and research contexts.

Ecological Niche Modeling


This project involved ecological niche modeling of black-tailed prairie dog (BTPD) habitats in Kansas with the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Prediction (GARP) and GIS. A number of environmental variables, including multi-temporal remotely sensed data from the MODIS satellite system, were used as inputs in the modeling to produce a BTPD species suitability map for Kansas.

Emerald Ash Borer


The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle from Asia that has devasted ash tree populations in the United States in recent years. Using Chenoa, IL as a pilot study site, this project investigates the feasibility of color infrared (CIR) imagery and extensive field data collection to monitor and assess ash tree decline from EAB.