Ryan  Burns, phd

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academic positions
research activities
peer reviews
public scholarship
technology proficiencies

Academic Positions

2016-present Assistant Professor
Department of Geography, University of Calgary

2017-present Faculty Member
O’Brien Institute for Public Health

2015-2016 Assistant Professor of Instruction
Department of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University


2015 Ph.D. Geography
University of Washington
Committee: Sarah Elwood, Mark Ellis, Victoria Lawson, Jin-Kyu Jung (Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW-Bothell) Dissertation title: Digital Humanitarianism and the Geospatial Web: Emerging Modes of Mapping and the Transformation of Humanitarian Practices

2009 M.S. Geographic Information Science, San Diego State University

2006 B.A. Geography (Magna Cum Laude), Eastern Kentucky University

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

2016-2019 $150,000. University of Calgary, Human Dynamics Research Strategy. “The Social and Environmental Implications of Smart Cities: A Global Comparative Research Agenda”. PI: Byron Miller Co-PIs: Ryan Burns, et al /(see PDF CV/)

2017 $25,000. SSHRC Connection Grant. “The Social and Environmental Implications of Smart Cities: Toward a Global Comparative Research Agenda.” PI: Byron Miller. Co-applicants: Ryan Burns, et al /(see PDF CV/)

2017 $28,000. University of Calgary, funded by Andrew W Mellon Foundation. Academic Research and University Libraries: Creating a New Model for Collaboration. “Open Data for a Smarter City: Creating A Data Infrastructure Pilot Initiative”. PI: Ryan Burns.

2017 $5,000. University of Calgary, Partnership Development Seed Grant

2017 Department of Geography Graduate Student Association Recognition Award

2017 $3,422. University of Calgary, SSHRC Insight Development Enhancement Grant

2017 $3,000. Calgary Institute for the Humanities Working Group. “Social Justice and the Smart City”. Conveners: Anthony Levenda, Ryan Burns, Victoria Fast, Dean Curran, Noel Keough, Elizabeth Paris, Frank Towers

2013 $4,000. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: “Humanitarian Research and Innovation Grant”

2013 $3,000. UW Graduate School Gerlach Award

2009 $9,000. UW Geography Top Scholar Award (1 year of funding)

2009 $500. Cartography & Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) Master’s Award

2007 $6,600. SDSU McFarland Award

2005 $5,000. School for International Training - “Culture, Language, and Development in Vietnam” research scholarship

Research Activities

2017 Ethical Issues of Digital Humanitarianism. Invited as participant for one-day workshop. Montreal, QC.

2016-2017 Ethics of Location-Based Technologies in Crisis Workshop. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Washington, DC. Invited as participant.

2016 Participant, Summer Institute in Economic Geography. Lexington, KY, University of Kentucky.

2015 Fellow, Data Science for Social Good Fellowship. eScience Institute, University of Washington.

2014 Participant, “Revisiting Critical GIS”. Friday Harbor Laboratories, Friday Harbor, WA.

2013 Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Programme. i-School, University of Toronto, Canada

2011 Bergen Summer Research School University of Bergen, Norway


Articles and Book Chapters

In press Burns, Ryan. Synergizing Geoweb and Digital Humanitarian Research. In Thatcher, J., A. Shears, J. Eckert (eds.), Geographic Research in an Age of New (Big) Data. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

In press Burns, Ryan. Datafying Disaster: Institutional Framings of Data Production following Superstorm Sandy. Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

Accepted Burns, Ryan. Internet Mapping. In B. Warf (ed.), The Sage Encyclopedia of the Internet.

Accepted Burns, Ryan. “Let the Private Sector Take Care of This”: The Philanthro-capitalism of Digital Humanitarianism. In M. Graham (ed.), Digital Economies at the Global Margins. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

2017 Burns, Ryan, C. Dalton, J. Thatcher (alphabetical). Introduction: Critical Data, Critical Technology Focus Issue. Professional Geographer.

2016 Thatcher, Jim, L. Bergmann, B. Ricker, R. Rose-Redwood, D. O’Sullivan, T. Barnes, L. Barnesmoore, L. Beltz Imaoka, R. Burns, J. Cinnamon, C. Dalton, C. Davis, S. Dunn, F. Harvey, J.-K. Jung, E. Kersten, L. Knigge, N. Lally, W. Lin, D. Mahmoudi, M. Martin, W. Payne, A. Sheikh, T. Shelton, E. Sheppard, C. Strother, A. Tarr, M. Wilson, J. Young. Revisiting Critical GIS: Reflections from Friday Harbor. Environment & Planning A 48(5): 815-824.

2015 Schwartz, B., B. Tellman, R. Burns, C. Andersson. Big Data, Satellites, and Disaster Monitoring. Incorporated into UN Global Sustainable Development Report

2014 Burns, Ryan. Rethinking Big Data in Digital Humanitarianism: Practices, Epistemologies, and Social Relations. GeoJournal. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10708-014-9599-x (last accessed 10/15/2014).

2014 Burns, Ryan. Moments of Closure in the Knowledge Politics of Digital Humanitarianism. Geoforum 53 (2): 51-62.

2013 Shanley, Lea, R. Burns, Z. Bastian, E. Robson. Tweeting Up a Storm: The Promise and Perils of Crisis Mapping. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing 79 (10): 865-879.

2013 Burns, Ryan, A. Skupin. Towards Qualitative Geovisual Analytics: A Case Study Involving Places, People, and Mediated Experience. Cartographica 48(3): 157-176.

2013 Burns, Ryan, L. Shanley. Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management: Workshop Summary. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. http://www.scribd.com/doc/165813847/Connecting-Grassroots-to-Government-for-Disaster-Management-Workshop-Summary (last accessed 3/7/2014).

Edited Journal Issues (with Peer Review)

2017 Burns, Ryan, C. Dalton, J. Thatcher. Making More out of Data: Advancing Critical Data Studies. Special Issue of Professional Geographer.

2015 Burns, Ryan, D. Meek. The Politics of Knowledge Production in the Geoweb. Special Issue of ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies.

2015 Burns, Ryan, J. Thatcher. What’s So Big about Big Data? Finding the Spaces and Perils of Big Data. Special Issue of GeoJournal.

Conference Presentations

Papers presented

2017 “Knowledge Politics and Representational Inequalities in Open Calgary”. Nordic Geographers Meeting: Stockholm, Sweden.

2017 “Data Absences and Strategies: Community Tactics for Self-representation”. Annual Meeting of the AAG: Boston, MA.

2016 “Big Data, digital humanitarianism, and smart cities: New directions for GIScience research”. Invited presentation at San Diego State University Department of Geography: San Diego, CA.

2016 “The inequalities of economic and representational inclusion in digital ‘solutions’ to urban crisis”. Regional Studies Association: Smart City-Regional Governance for Sustainability. Dresden, Germany.

2014 “Crisis Mapping as Social Process: Research and Policy Implications of New Digital Technologies”. Keynote presentation at Crisis Mapping Seminar, Heidelberg University, Germany.

2014 “The Digital Humanitarian Moment: New Practices, Knowledge Politics, and Philanthro-capitalism.” University of Washington Department of Geography Colloquium. Seattle, WA.

2012 “Digital Public Scholarship: Mapping Youth Journeys.” College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Showcase. HuskyFest 2012. Seattle, WA.

2010 Mitchell, K. & R. Burns [equal contribution] “Mapping Engagement: Using Basic Geovisualization Technologies to Help Children Become Better Geographers and Better Citizens.” Plenary session, Fall meeting of the Association of Washington Geographers.

2009 “Visualization of Attribute Spaces Involving Places, People and Utterances.” International Cartographic Conference. Santiago, Chile.

Panel Participation & Sessions Organized

2016 Organizer. “Hipster Geographies: Socio-spatial Practices, Politics, and Economies of Culture’s Most Maligned Figure”. Annual Meeting of the AAG. San Francisco, CA. Organizer with Cristina Temenos and Jesse McClelland. (2 sessions)

2016 Organizer. “Toward a Geographical Software Studies”. Annual meeting of the AAG. San Francisco, CA. Organizer with Nick Lally. (4 sessions)

2014 Panelist. “Publishing, not Perishing: A Student’s Guide to Academic Publishing.” Annual meeting of the AAG. Tampa, FL.

2013 Organizer. “Whither Small Data?: The Limits of ‘Big Data’ and the Value of ‘Small Data’ Studies.” Organizer with Jim Thatcher. Annual meeting of the AAG. Los Angeles, CA. Presenting panelists: Rob Kitchin, Jim Thatcher, Ralph Schroeder (Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University), Taylor Shelton. Discussant: Andrés Monroy-Hernández (Microsoft Research).

2013 Organizer. “Critical Interventions into Gender & the Geoweb.” Organizer with Monica Stephens. Annual meeting of the AAG. Los Angeles, CA. Presenting panelists: Brent Hecht, Monica Stephens, Michele Masucci, Adrianne Wadewitz (Center of Digital Learning and Research, Occidental College).

2012 Organizer. “Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management: A Policy Roundtable.” Organizer with Lea Shanley, John Crowley, and Alyson Lyons. Washington, DC. For list of panelists, see: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/GrassrootstoGovernmentAgenda-9.9.12_0.pdf

2011 Organizer. “Critical Perspectives on Software & Space.” Organizer with Joe Eckert. Annual meeting of the AAG. Seattle, WA. Presenting panelists: Mark Graham, Matt Zook, Rob Kitchin, Wendy Chun (Modern Culture and Media, Brown University). Chair: Sarah Elwood. Discussant: Matt Wilson.

Teaching Experience

Advanced Research and Applications in GIS; Urban and Environmental GIS (U of Calgary)

Web and Mobile GIS; Digital Mapping; Fundamentals of GIS (Temple U)

GIS Databases and Programming; Cultural Geography; The Making of World Regions; Urban GIS (U Washington)

Professional Service

2017-present International Advisory Board for ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies

2016-present Masters in GIS Renewal Committee, University of Calgary

2016 Program Committee for Spatial Knowledge and Information – Canada 2017

2015-2016 Professional Science Master’s in GIS Steering Committee

2013-2014 Secretary and Treasurer, “Geographic Information Systems and Science” Specialty Group of the AAG

2012-2013 Leadership Collective Member, “Socialist & Critical Geography” Specialty Group of the AAG

2008-2012 Webmaster, “Socialist & Critical Geography” Specialty Group of the AAG

Community and Public Scholarship

2015 Formatting and Sharing Your Syllabus with Markdown and Github. Invited workshop at Temple University, 10/30/2015.

2013 Interview for the Digital Humanitarian Network, “Guidance for Collaborating with Formal Humanitarian Organizations.” http://app.box.com/s/w25sqotkg4qc2f2ch1ii.

2012 Interview for Simpson Center for the Humanities News, “Doctoral Student Ryan Burns Selected to Present on Digital Scholarship at UW HuskyFest 2012.” http://bit.ly/HUCIQS.

2012 Interview for UW Today, “UW Leads in Connecting Scholarship with Community.” http://bit.ly/yQ77sX.

Technological Proficiency (messy)