Renee Sieber's research while affiliated with McGill University and other places

Publications (96)

Article
Historical instrumental weather observations are vital to understanding past, present, and future climate variability and change. However, the quantity of historical weather observations to be rescued globally far exceeds the resources available to do the rescuing. Which observations should be prioritized? Here we formalize guidelines help make dec...
Book
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The Future of Open Data flows from a multi-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant project that set out to explore open government geospatial data from an interdisciplinary perspective. Researchers on the grant adopted a critical social science perspective grounded in the imperative that the research should be...
Article
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Advances in geospatial technologies over recent years have marked dramatic changes in traditional cartographic practices and conventional geographic information systems (GIS). Scholars in GIScience and digital geographies commonly argue that, compared to GIS, the geospatial web (geoweb) offers improved opportunities for Indigenous communities to ma...
Article
Interactive and web-based data visualizations are now widely adopted to make climate change information more accessible, actionable, and meaningful. Despite the rapid uptake of such climate visualization tools (CVTs), there is little research on the design considerations that underpin their efficacy in meeting needs for climate change science and c...
Article
Even as researchers recognize smart cities as sociotechnological assemblages, the attractiveness of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) continues to drive cities towards automating urban process and analysis. Rather than arguing whether researchers should automate their analysis, we are interested in identifying where non-automated...
Conference Paper
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While eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) has huge potential to glassbox Deep Learning, there are challenges in applying it in the domain of Geographic Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI). A land use case study highlights these challenges, which include the difficulty of selecting reference data/models, the shortcomings of gradients as explanatio...
Conference Paper
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Although eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) has huge potential to glassbox deep learning models, there are challenges in applying it in the domain of Geospatial Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI), specifically Deep Neural Networks. We summarize these challenges, which include the difficulty of selecting reference data/models, the shortcomings o...
Preprint
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Social media such as Twitter provide valuable information to crisis managers and affected people during natural disasters. Machine learning can help structure and extract information from the large volume of messages shared during a crisis; however, the constantly evolving nature of crises makes effective domain adaptation essential. Supervised cla...
Article
DRAW (Data Rescue: Archives & Weather) is a citizen science project that asks the Canadian public to take part in transcribing millions of meteorological observations recorded between 1871 and 1963 at McGill University’s Observatory in Montreal, Quebec, which was demolished in 1963. We examine how classroom-based curricula can integrate citizen sci...
Article
Advancements in geospatial technologies promise liberation from experts’ knowledge. We argue that, despite these technological developments, Geographic Information Science (GIScience) expertise continues to shape research concerning Indigenous communities, specifically on abstruse GIScience topics such as ontology. We found limits in approaches to...
Article
Geography (e.g., features, topology, relationships) is relatively well-developed in ontology research. Integrating time and temporal referencing of geographic concepts in ontologies remains understudied with serious ramifications when we attempt to apply ontological models. The gap is heightened when considering Indigenous concepts of time as exist...
Article
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Turning historical meteorological observations into usable data is a challenging process that is immeasurably enriched when it encompasses interdisciplinarity. Here, the McGill DRAW (Data Rescue: Archives and Weather) project shows how climatologists, geographers, archivists, data scientists, and coders together built a citizen-science-based transc...
Article
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Smart cities frequently rely on vast sensor networks, such as traffic cameras and ventilation controllers. This requires that we rethink methods of spatial tessellation. As tessellation is becoming more dynamic, we often combine multiple tessellation methods and switch tessellation shapes frequently for different data collection and analytics. In t...
Article
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Geography educators have long taught anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) using geospatial data, visualizations, analysis tools and models. We examined the attitudes of teachers at secondary schools, research institutions, colleges and universities tasked with teaching using one such technology. We designed a seventeen-question online survey...
Conference Paper
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Abstract Launched publicly in April 2018, The Data Rescue: Archives and Weather (DRAW, https://citsci.geog.mcgill.ca/) Project furthers scientific understandings of weather and climate and its impact on people. Funded by a Fall 2018 Mini Grant, this study examines how classroom-based curricula can integrate the DRAW website while involving students...
Article
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Historical data provides observational information crucial to our understanding of the evolution of geophysical processes. However, there is a gap between predigi-tal age observations, which are typically handwritten, and data that is discoverable and analysable. The data rescue protocols here address this gap, covering the information lifecycle fr...
Article
This paper presents a crowd sensing system (CSS) that captures geospatial social media topics and allows the review of results. Using Web-resources derived from social media platforms, the CSS uses a spatially-situated social network graph to harvest user-generated content from selected organizations and members of the public. This allows ‘passivel...
Conference Paper
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The Mercator projection has become a standard across web mapping platforms, but has long been considered inappropriate for global data display due to its distortion of high latitude areas. With the ever-rising popularity of web maps, the Mercator projection has seen a resurgence in its use for spatial data visualizations. In this study we investiga...
Article
Climatological data exists in historical documents, such as observatory registers, newspapers, ships’ logs and private diaries. Using present-day technologies, such as open source repositories and code mashups, and high-resolution digital scanning, software applications can be custom-designed to facilitate transcription of data that otherwise exist...
Article
Research on geospatial ontologies focuses on achieving interoperability by creating universal standards applied to data. We argue that universality through ontologies can potentially perpetuate homogenization of concepts, thus contributing to assimilation of Indigenous peoples. We cover the ways the conventional geospatial ontologies enable dichoto...
Poster
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Launched publicly in April 2018, The Data Rescue: Archives and Weather (DRAW, https://citsci.geog.mcgill.ca/) Project furthers scientific understandings of weather and climate and its impact on people. Through citizen science and crowdsourcing, DRAW involves the Montreal public in the collection and transcription of weather information recorded bet...
Article
Efforts to address anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) require public understanding of Earth and climate science. To meet this need, educational reforms and prominent scientists have called for instructional approaches that teach students how climate scientists examine AGCC. Yet, only a few educational studies have reported clear empirical r...
Article
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Land Use/Cover Change (LUCC) detection relies increasingly on comparing remote sensing images with different spatial and spectral scales. Based on scale-invariant image analysis algorithms in computer vision, we propose a scale-invariant LUCC detection method to identify changes from scale heterogeneous images. This method is composed of an entropy...
Conference Paper
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The scientific community requires empirical evidence on how the public builds understanding of climate science. To date, public opinion research has largely focused on classifying segments of the public by their beliefs and determining how correcting and/or inoculating the public against misinformation can lead to more informed public discourse. De...
Article
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Crisis mapping, the combination of software-as-a-service mapping and reporting aimed at large numbers of individuals, is proposed for chronic problems as well as acute issues; it is universalized for global south disasters as well as global north community development. It supposedly affords a new spatial knowledge politics (SKP) that unfolds in loc...
Conference Paper
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Although crowdsourcing drives much of the interest in Machine Learning (ML) in Geographic Information Science (GIScience), the impact of uncertainty of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) on ML has been insufficiently studied. This significantly hampers the application of ML in GIScience. In this paper, we briefly delineate five common stages...
Conference Paper
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ABSTRACT The Data Rescue: Archives and Weather (DRAW, https://test.citsci.geog.mcgill.ca/) Project furthers scientific understandings of weather and climate and its impact on people. Implemented during a three-week course module at Dawson College in Montreal, QC in March/April 2018, students worked as citizen scientists while transcribing logbooks...
Article
Purpose – To rescue at-risk historical scientific data stored at the McGill Observatory, the objectives of the Data Rescue Archive Weather (DRAW) project are: to build a repository; to develop a protocol to preserve the data in weather registers; and to make the data available to research communities and the public. The paper aims to discuss these...
Article
Purpose To rescue at-risk historical scientific data stored at the McGill Observatory, the objectives of the Data Rescue Archive Weather (DRAW) project are: to build a repository; to develop a protocol to preserve the data in weather registers; and to make the data available to research communities and the public. The paper aims to discuss these i...
Conference Paper
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Geoscience educators require innovative instructional approaches and educational technologies to overcome cultural barriers to student learning about climate change. Since 2005, over 150 educational institutions internationally have utilized the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Educatio...
Article
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This study with 79 students in Montreal, Quebec, compared the educational use of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) global climate model (GCM) to climate education technologies developed for classroom use that included simpler interfaces and processes. The goal was to show how differing climate education technologies succeed and...
Poster
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Efforts to address climate change require public understanding of Earth and climate science. To meet this need, educators require instructional approaches and scientific technologies that overcome cultural barriers to impart conceptual understanding of the work of climate scientists. We compared student inquiry learning with now ubiquitous climate...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Secondary school and undergraduate environmental education methods that rely on inquiry research, peer collaboration and group projects can help to build local community engagement with and understanding of environmental problems such as anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC). This study with 79 students in Montreal, Quebec aimed to show how di...
Conference Paper
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Secondary school and undergraduate environmental education methods that rely on inquiry research, peer collaboration and group projects can help to build local community engagement with and understanding of environmental problems such as anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC). This study with 79 students in Montreal, Quebec aimed to show how di...
Article
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The provision of open data by governments at all levels has rapidly increased over recent years. Given that one of the dominant motivations for the provision of open data is to generate ‘value’, both economic and civic, there are valid concerns over the costs incurred in this pursuit. Typically, costs of open data are framed as internal to the data...
Conference Paper
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Research in psychology and education has shown students form mental models of Earth system processes and the natural world based on social experience. These experiences include identification with specific natural places and their alteration by humans. Here we hypothesize that student experience with more green or natural spaces can result in incre...
Article
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This paper reviews university-level efforts to improve understanding of anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) through curricula that enable student scientific inquiry. We examined 152-refereed publications and proceedings from academic conferences and selected 26 cases of inquiry learning that overcome specific challenges to AGCC teaching. Thi...
Conference Paper
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The geoscience community must consider the value of differing educational pedagogy if they hope to foster a citizenry capable of engaging with policies addressing climate change. We compared inquiry methods in which students use widely available climate education tools to those in which students run a computational global climate model from the Nat...
Article
Recent advances in web-based geospatial tools (the Geoweb) show promise as low-cost and easy-to-use methods to support citizen participation. This research presents two case studies of Geoweb implementation set in community-based organizations in rural Quebec, Canada. When comparing the development and sustainability of each Geoweb tool, the implem...
Conference Paper
There has been a proliferation of literature that incorporates social network analysis (SNA) to study geographic phenomena. We argue that these incorporations have mostly been superficial. What is needed is a stronger interrogation of the challenges and possibilities of a tight coupling of spatial and social network concepts, which take advantage o...
Conference Paper
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We propose a crowd sensing system to capture certain dynamics of public participation in a city. Crowd sensing systems (CSS) attempt to capture the opinions of local publics from web- resources. We define our CSS using a spatially-situated social network graph where users along with different variables, such as time, location, social interaction,...
Article
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Research on participatory design (PD) dates back to the 1970s, and has focused historically on internal organization settings. Recently, the proliferation of content-producing technologies such as social media and crowdsourcing has led to the explosion of user-generated content (UGC) that originates outside of organizations. Participative challenge...
Article
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A gap has existed between the tools and processes of scientists working on anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) and the technologies and curricula available to educators teaching the subject through student inquiry. Designing realistic scientific inquiry into AGCC poses a challenge because research on it relies on complex computer models, glo...
Article
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Volunteered geographic information (VGI), delivered via mobile and web apps, offers new potentials for civic engagement. If framed in the context of open, transparent and accountable governance then presumably VGI should advance dialogue and consultation between citizen and government. If governments perceive citizens as consumers of services then...
Article
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In this paper, we critically explore the interplay of algorithms and civic participation in visions of a city governed by equation, sensor and tweet. We begin by discussing the rhetoric surrounding techno-enabled paths to participatory democracy. This leads to us interrogating how the city is impacted by a discourse that promises to harness social/...
Article
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The emergence of Web 2.0, open source software tools, and geosocial networks, along with associated mobile devices and available government data, is widely considered to have altered the nature and processes of place-based digital participation. Considerable theorizing has been dedicated to the geographic version of Web 2.0, the geospatial Web (Geo...
Conference Paper
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Educators and communicators face difficult cultural, political, scientific, and technical challenges in combating skepticism about anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) science. Environmental education research methods contribute to a solution for this problem by providing a unique disciplinary framework for better understanding these challeng...
Conference Paper
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We examine how the use of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) global climate model (GCM) shaped the learning of 79 students in two six-week science courses taught in Montreal, Quebec. Student work with Columbia University’s Educational Global Climate Model (EdGCM) significantly increased diagnostic exam scores pre to post and res...
Conference Paper
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A gap exists between how anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) is taught and how scientists themselves investigate it. Without such scientific learning, students can develop misperceptions from media reports or informal educational settings. However, advances in computing technology over past decades have made possible improved research-grade...
Article
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Big data have shifted spatial optimization from a purely computational-intensive problem to a data-intensive challenge. This is especially the case for spatiotemporal (ST) land use/land cover change (LUCC) research. In addition to greater variety, for example, from sensing platforms, big data offer datasets at higher spatial and temporal resolution...
Article
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New forms of participatory online geospatial technology have the potential to support citizen engagement in governance and community development. The mechanisms of this contribution have predominantly been cast in the literature as ‘citizens as sensors’, with individuals acting as a distributed network, feeding academics or government with data. To...
Article
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Numerous exegeses have been written about the epistemologies of volunteered geographic information (VGI). We contend that VGI is itself a socially constructed epistemology crafted in the discipline of geography, which when re-examined, does not sit comfortably with either GIScience or critical GIS scholarship. Using insights from Albert Borgmann's...
Article
Crisis mapping has emerged as a method of connecting and empowering citizens during emergencies. This article explores the hyperbole behind crisis mapping as it extends into more long-term or ‘chronic’ community development practices. We critically examined developer issues and participant (i.e. community organization) usage within the context of l...
Poster
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Research into perceptions of anthropogenic climate change demonstrates that providing the public with increasing amounts of scientific evidence has failed to significantly alter public opinion or knowledge of this complex issue due to differing views of the human relationship to the natural world and the work of climate scientists. Our research ide...
Conference Paper
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Geocollective is a proof-of-concept project composed of largely open-source software; forming back-end tools required for the collection, processing, and basic scientific analysis of content collected from the Internet. Social media, mobile-technologies, and user-generated content of all kinds have piqued the interest of many social science researc...
Conference Paper
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Crisis mapping has carved a niche in the information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) movement as a method of connecting and empowering marginalized citizens during emergency events. Those impacted by natural and human disasters can share and provide information. Crisis mapping information can further be used by agencies to imp...
Chapter
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Governments have long been active online, providing services and information to citizens. With the development of Web 2.0 technology, many governments are considering how they can better engage with and accept citizen input online, particularly through the gathering and use of volunteered geographic information (VGI). Though there are several benef...
Article
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There has been ample work in GIScience on the formalization of ontologies but a relatively neglected area is the influence of language and culture on ontologies of geography. Although this subject has been investigated for conceptual ontologies using indigenous words denoting geographic features, this article represents the first attempt to develop...
Article
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Recent increases in the use of Web 2.0 and Geoweb technologies by citizens have led many governments to investigate the adoption of these technologies. This research examines the motivations driving multiple levels of government in Quebec, Canada to consider the adoption of the Geoweb within a context of rural development. We present results from a...
Article
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Reviews of tourism amenities posted online by tourists represent an emerging source of data to support tourism research. To obtain this user-generated content (UGC), either a time-consuming manual transcription or the use of automated web harvesting – a controversial practice – is required. This paper describes the use of automated web harvesting t...
Article
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Access to sufficient high-quality geospatial data can be a significant challenge at the municipal level. In Canada and Québec, this is particularly relevant considering the uneven integration of municipal governments within provincial and federal spatial data infrastructures (SDI). Recent initiatives have focused on lightweight, Web-based methods o...
Article
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New map-based online tools have the potential to facilitate citizen participation in discussing the impacts of tourism. This research investigates the use of Geospatial Web 2.0 (Geoweb) tools to gather volunteered geographic information (VGI) on tourism-related environmental change from citizens of Barbados. We hosted participatory mapping workshop...