Aileen Buckley
Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene

Position Statement
Curriculum Vitae

Position Statement

Focus on Field-Based Geographic Analysis

Modern geographic analysis has evolved to incorporate computerized techniques for the collection, management, and processing of spatial data;  however, increased focus on digital technology has caused remote computation to sometimes replace rather than augment more traditional in-situ field studies.  More and more environmental research is being conducted in a virtual environment rather than the natural environment.  This is lamentable given the long and distinguished history of field-based geographic research and problem solving.  Ideally, the advantages of both field study and computation would be merged in a digitally-equipped, field-based approach to geographic observation and analysis.

Advantages of studying the environment in the field include multi-sensory observation (simultaneously seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, and even tasting the environment), process observation (seeing the components and mechanics of hydrologic, geomorphic, climatological and other natural processes), pattern identification (identifying similar and dissimilar patterns across spatial and temporal scales), and integrated observation (seeing the environment and its component parts as well as their integration).  Advantages of analyzing the environment digitally include virtual experimentation (tinkering with the system without creating adverse effects that could be long-lasting or irreversible), multi-scale analysis (investigating the environment from a range of spatial and temporal scales from local to regional to continental and even to global), and spatio-temporal analysis (examining change over time through simulation, modeling, or animation).

There are also disadvantages related to both types of analysis.  For example, virtual observation is a generalization of reality (reduction of the richness of the natural environment is required to digitally encode the data), it is data dependent, and it is limited by technology (capabilities and availability of both hardware and software), as well as the ability to make use of the technology.  Real observation is scale-limited (observation is limited to what can be seen from a select point or points in space), static (observation is limited to the point or points in time when the observations are made), and often passive (experimentation with the environment is difficult or impossible due to logistical or legal limitations).

Introduction to the integration of field studies and computerized geographic analysis with respect to environmental studies is the focus of my position paper.  Optimally, environmental analysis would incorporate both approaches -- maximizing the strengths of each while minimizing the limitations.  This integrated approach is rarely introduced in academic settings, but increasingly utilized in practical situations.  Geographers and other spatial analysts should be able to compare these two views of the environment, understand the strengths and limitations of each, and test and assess the value of their application.

Specific questions of interest include:  What is the status of our ability to perform computational analysis while in the field?  How can the environmental information collected at a site be incorporated into existing databases while retaining standards for accuracy and metadata documentation?  How can the contextual information about a site be encoded for computational analysis?  What kinds of geographic analyses exist or need to be developed specifically to enhance field studies?

These are but a few of the many research questions related to field-based geographic analysis.  Because a colleague and I are in the process of developing a course to be taught spring term focussing on field mapping and analysis, we have identified these as our current questions of primary interest.  We would very much welcome any insight into them that could be gained from the Varenius Workshop on the Status and Trends in Spatial Analysis.  At the least, we would like to draw attention to the need for further development of spatial analysis in this area.

Curriculum Vitae


Assistant Professor, University of Oregon, Department of Geography, Eugene, Oregon, September 1997 to present
Graduate Research / Teaching Assistant, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, September 1993 - September 1997


Ph.D., Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, September 1997
M.A. in Geography, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, September 1993
Visiting Scholar, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, Fall and Winter, 1988
B.A. in Geography and Spanish, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, May 1982


Geographic analysis;  geographic visualization;  application of geographic techniques in resource analysis;  cartographic theory and design;  analytic cartography.


American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM)
American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)
Association of American Geographers (AAG)
Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (APCG)
International Association for Landscape Ecology, United States Regional Association (US-IALE)
North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS)


Williams Fund for Undergraduate Education, University of Oregon, June 1998.  $22,000 to develop a course entitled “Measuring and Mapping the Environment” that will provide an innovative approach to undergraduate education.

Junior Professorship Development Award, Department of Geography, University of Oregon, February 1998.  $1000 to support research activities of assistant professors;  based on research proposal.

National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) Young Scholars Institute, Berlin, Germany, July 1996.  Travel, meals, and lodging to participate in annual week-long seminar with American and European GIS specialists;  based on extended abstract of paper presented during seminar and slated for publication in forthcoming book.

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Geographic Information Systems Specialty Group Student Paper Competition, first place, April 1996.  $200 award plus $250 for travel, meals, and lodging:  based on substance and presentation of research.

International Geographic Information Foundation (IGIF) Best Student Proposal, Fall 1995.  $2000 award;  based on substance of proposal and intended use of money.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Science Summer School Program, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, July 1995.  Travel, meals, and lodging to attend one-week intensive summer school program focusing on global environmental change;  based on description of research and relevance to NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth Program.


Buckley, Aileen R. and Philip R. Kaufmann.  Sensitivity of GIS Analysis to Extent, Grain, and Class Aggregation Scale.  In review.

Buckley, Aileen R., N. Scott Urquhart, and Philip R. Kaufmann.  Geographic Visualization in the Development of Landscape Indicators."  In preparation.

Buckley, Aileen R. and A. Jon Kimerling.  Integration of Fundamental Visualization Variables for Cartographic Symbolization.  In preparation.

Buckley, Aileen R. and others.  Damming the Pacific Northwest:  Visualizing Dam Construction in the Columbia River Basin.  In preparation.

Buckley, Aileen R. and Philip R. Kaufmann.  Associations between Landscape and In-Stream Characteristics in the Willamette River Basin, Oregon.  In preparation.

Buckley, Aileen R.  1997.  GIS in the Analysis of Associations between Landscape and Stream Characteristics in the Pacific Northwest, doctoral dissertation.

Buckley, Aileen R.  “Visualization of Multivariate Geographic Data for Exploration."  In Geographic Information Research:  Bridging the Atlantic, Volume 2, edited by M. Craglia and H. Onsrud.  London:  Taylor & Francis.

Bradshaw, Gay A., and Aileen M. Buckley.  1995.  “Cellular Automata and Natural Resource Management."  In Research Problem Analysis -- Modeling, Monitoring, and Displaying Ecological Change at Watershed to Landscape Scales:  Tools for Ecosystem Management, edited by Steven B. Garman, Thomas A. Spies, Warren B. Cohen,

Joseph E. Means, Gay A. Bradshaw, and Duane Dippon. Corvallis, Oregon:  Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center.  USDI-NBS, Special Publication No. 2.

Buckley, Aileen M..  1993.  Modeling Complex Spatial Systems Using Cellular Automata:  A Simulation of Forest Change in Costa Rica, masters thesis.


Aileen Buckley
107J Condon Hall
1251 Department of Geography
University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon  97403-1251
Telephone:  (541) 346-4160
Fax:  (541) 346-2067

Go back to list