Editor’s note: Thank you for joining us for this edition of GeoInspirations. Today our distinguished columnist, Dr. Joseph Kerski, features Dr Timothy Hawthorne, professor at the University of Central Florida but with global outreach.

I have known Dr Hawthorne for a number of years from his work at the intersection of citizen science, UAS, GIS, and education, but when I visited him on his campus at the University of Central Florida for their GIS Day event, it really hit home how much of an innovator he is on his campus and beyond. He brought together 20 education professors for one of the GIS workshops we conducted, and in another, 10 sociology professors, both of which were amazing feats of logistics but also was reflective of his tireless advocacy for spatial and critical thinking there. He also masterminded bringing 350 secondary school students to the campus for a mapping and drone workshop. Beyond the campus, he has been taking students to Belize to map and study coastal issues. But, it doesn’t end there—all of this work is done closely with local landowners, empowering them and listening to their needs and concerns.  He is the brains and vision behind the GeoBus, a mobile citizen science lab designed to truly spread GIS to the masses—including underserved students and the general public. Last and probably most importantly, after meeting some of his students and hearing their passion and vision for the positive impact they want to make in the world, his influence on them became very clear:  For Dr Hawthorne, it is not so much about the tools and data but about the people—landowners, students, faculty, administrators. It is my pleasure to introduce Dr Hawthorne to Directions Magazine readers.


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Learn more about Dr. Hawthorne’s work at, Citizen Science GIS

“The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.” ~Fred Rogers