Bowman Expedition to Colombia

Colombia GIS Place-Based Field Research

This project focused on violence, one group documenting and studying incidences of violence, the other collecting societal information and searching for factors that exacerbate or ameliorate violence.  Professor David Keeling, AGS Councilor and Chair of the Geography Department at Western Kentucky University, led the effort.  Our primary purpose was to assist two NGOs who were already conducting the research on the two themes, and in particular to enhance their fundamental capabilities in GIS and geographic analysis.  Our Colombian partners were:

The Bowman Expedition team, including graduate student Brian Blickenstaff from Southern Mississippi University, conducted field work in Comuna 13, Medellin, Colombia along  with GEOSCIRE researchers on two occasions.  Dr. John Dizgun (historian) and Dr. Holli Drummond (sociologist) worked with faculty at EAFIT University in Medellin, conducted archival work for newspaper and other articles about Comuna 13, and designed a new sociological survey to provide additional information about social change in the Comuna after 2002.  They also worked on developing an exchange agreement with EAFIT faculty and students.

WKU provided advanced GIS training for three CERAC personnel:

  • Amaury Prieto (3-D analysis and cadastral mapping software);
  • Sebastian Diaz (historical cartography, cartographic symbolization);
  • David Aponte (ArcGIS basic analysis).

Dr. John Kostelnick, Illinois State University, who has expertise in cartographic symbolization, joined the research team to work with Sebastian Diaz and CERAC personnel to develop a standard protocol for data presentation for violence data.  Dr. Kostelnick visited WKU to work with Sebastian Diaz on cartographic symbolization problems with the CERAC violence database.

WKU developed a one-year professional GIS Certificate program for Sebastian Diaz including courses on campus plus others to be taken online remotely from Colombia.

If you want to know more about this project, click here.

Funded by the Foreign Military Studies Office of the U. S. Department of Defense.