Ryan Burns, PhD

PhD in Geography University of Washington, USA
MS in Geographic Information Science San Diego State University
BA in Geography Eastern Kentucky University

Ryan Burns

Areas of Research

Urban GIS
The application and implications of spatial technologies in an urban context.
Critical GIS
The social and political implications of digital spatial technologies across a range of application areas.
Digital Humanitarianism
The new kinds of social practices and relations generated by the use of spatial technologies within disasters and humanitarian crisis zones.
Open Data, Smart Cities
What are the conceptual and empirical relations between open data platforms and smart cities? How do people, places, and knowledges come to be encoded as data, and (perhaps) included (or not) in open data platforms? What are the unequal relations of power in smart cities and open data platforms?
Geovisualization and geovisual analytics
What are the epistemological limitations of Big Data, geovisualization techniques, and data mining? What are the impacts of producing knowledge through these mechanisms?
Geographical software studies
In what ways do software influence what we know about the world, and the means by which we can know it? Is software inherently spatial? How does software produce space?
Geographic political economy
In what ways do the entanglements between economic and political processes rely upon and shape space? How does capitalism function and perpetuate in digital spaces, software, cartographic visualizations, and data?

Supervising degrees

Geography - Doctoral: Accepting Inquiries
Geography - Masters: Accepting Inquiries
Geography - Masters: Accepting Inquiries
Geography - Masters: Accepting Inquiries

More information

Working with this supervisor

I am interested in mentoring graduate students who are equally enthralled by critical social theory and new technologies. If you spend mornings reading David Harvey and by evenings switch to Mike Goodchild, get in touch. If you get the sense that there's probably more to technology, data, and software than just 0s and 1s, and that they are instead part of what constitutes the social, send me an email. If, instead, you agree with 1995-era Eric Sheppard that the 0s and 1s are fundamental to framing computational thinking, and the word "epistemology" comes up in your defense, please reach out! As much as I enjoy teaching spatial statistics, scripting, models, database design, and spatial analysis, they are not central to my research and thus I would likely not make a good PhD adviser for these sorts of research interests (but at the master's level we could probably work something out). In other words, I am *not* looking for prospective students who wish to focus on the topics listed above, unless it is from a critical-social-political-theoretic perspective.

Please reach out by emailing me at ryan.burns1@ucalgary.ca. In your email, please tell me:

  1. How did you come across my profile? Did someone refer you?
  2. Have you read anything I've written? 
  3. How do your interests intersect with critical human geography, digital geography, urban geography, and GIScience?
  4. Which scholar has most inspired your interest in pursuing graduate studies?