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About Ran Tao

Tao's research centers on GIScience methods and applications. He is particularly interested in studying spatial interaction phenomena with spatial flow data. He has developed a series of spatial flow data analysis methods that blend the latest techniques in spatial statistics, data mining, geovisualization, and geocomputation. He has also been leading or been actively engaged in collaborative research projects which exert the power of GIS to a variety of domains, such as studying shrinking cities in Northeast China with human migration data, predicting the recovery locations of the stolen vehicles, modeling territorial control based on violent conflict events in Sub-Saharan Africa.

His teaching philosophy is to create a network of effective knowledge sharing both inside and outside the classroom, while tailoring his teaching style to enhance student’s professional development, regardless of their diverse disciplinary or cultural backgrounds. He is interested in teaching various GIS-related courses, including but not limited to: Spatial Thinking, Spatial Analysis, Spatial Database, Mobile GIS, Web GIS, GIS Programming, and Open-Source GIS.


Present Assistant Professor, University of South Florida School of Geosciences


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Professional Service and Affiliations

2018 Conference Session Organizer, AAG 2018 Spatiotemporal Symposium
2018 Treasurer, Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group (CISG) of AAG
2018 Conference Session Organizer, NARSC 2018 GeoComputation I
2018 Conference Session Organizer, NARSC 2018 GeoComputation II: Spatial Data Analysis and Statistics
2018 Board Member, Urban Geography Specialty Group (UGSG) of AAG
2013 Reviewer, 3rd ACM SIGSPATIAL Workshop on Emergency Management using GIS (EM-GIS 2017)
2013 Reviewer, Annals of the American Association of Geographers
2013 Reviewer, Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science
2013 Member, Association for Computing Machinery, SIGSPATIAL
2013 Member, Association of American Geographers (AAG)
2013 Reviewer, Cartography and Geographic Information Science
2013 Reviewer, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems
2013 Reviewer, International Journal of Geographical Information Science
2013 Reviewer, Journal of Asian and African Studies
2013 Reviewer, Journal of Royal Statistical Society
2013 Reviewer, Journal of Spatial Science
2013 Member, Regional Science Association International (RSAI)
2013 Reviewer, Science and Public Policy
2013 Reviewer, Scientia Iranica
2013 Reviewer, Transactions in GIS
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Honors and Awards

  • AWS in Education Grant award
  • UNC Charlotte TPDS teaching award
  • Championship of North Carolina World Geography Bowl
  • Travel Award of Open Science Grid (OSG) 2013 Summer School
  • Travel Award of XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment)
  • Tuition Award, Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP), UNC Charlotte


  • GEOG 1103 Spatial Thinking
  • SSCI 401 Geospatial Intelligence
  • SSCI 265 The Water Planet
  • SSCI 165 Sustainability Science in the City
  • SSCI 592 Mobile GIS
  • SSCI 583 Spatial Analysis
  • SSCI 582 Spatial Databases
  • GIS 3006 Mapping and Geovisualization


2017 PhD, University of North Carolina
2012 BS, Wuhan University

Contact Information

Office: NES 308
Phone: (813) 974-1431


Articles (9)

Book Chapters (1)

Conference Proceedings (2)

Podcasts (1)