Heng Cai

Instructional Assistant Professor

Dr. Cai’s research primarily focuses on GIScience, disaster resilience, and integrated social-environmental dynamics modeling. Her main research goal is to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the complex coastal environmental and human systems under the recurrent and long-lasting threats of climate change and natural disasters. She has worked for several research projects funded by the national science foundation (NSF), Louisiana sea-grant, and coastal protection and restoration authority (CPRA). In recent years, Dr. Cai has focused her efforts on evaluating disaster resilience at multiple geographical scales, modeling land area changes and population relocation, and developing simulation tools to inform decision-making for community resilience enhancement.

Department web page

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Lei Zou

Assistant Professor

Dr. Zou’s research interest is mining big geospatial data to analyze, model, and manage human-environment interactions. Currently, he serves as the PI/Co-PI for several NSF and TAMU funded projects to develop theoretical and intelligent algorithms to analyze geospatial Big Data, improve community resilience to hazards (e.g., hurricanes, flooding, drought, and covid-19), and build sustainability in integrated socio-environmental systems. Meanwhile, Lei is collaborating on projects to understand disparities of disaster resilience using social media, simulate population dynamics and wetland loss in coastal regions, evaluate community resilience in multiple spatial-temporal scales, and predict older adults’ social networks. 

Understanding the impacts and feedbacks between human and natural systems is the key to building sustainable futures for both systems. To build disaster resilience capacities and achieve long-term sustainability in different communities, Dr. Zou mainly focuses on:
•    Social sensing for disaster resilience and management;
•    GeoAI for spatial data collection and analytics;
•    Coupled natural-human (CNH) dynamics modeling for coastal sustainability.

Dr. Zou is currently leading the Geospatial Exploration and Resolution (GEAR) Research Group at TAMU. He serves as the Communication Director for the Geographic Information Sciences & Systems (GISS) Group of the American Association of Geographers. He is also a member of the Research Committee, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), and the Research Agenda Committee, Commission on Geospatial Analysis and Modeling of the International Cartographic Association (ICA). 


Department web page



Graduate Students

Debayan Mandal

Ph.D. student in Geography 

Debayan Mandal is currently a Ph.D. student in Geography at Texas A&M University. His current research interests include disaster management, watershed modeling, and watershed management. His most recent works and publications are in reputed peer-reviewed international journals and books; including quantifying uncertainty in streamflow, analyzing the impact of climate change in river flow, promoting cultural continuity through vernacular architecture, and comparative study of models for MIC. He is a student member of AGU, AOGS, ASCE societies, and iSMART laboratory. He has a master's degree in Civil Engineering at TAMU and a B.Tech in Civil Engineering at VIT University, India. 

Mingzheng Yang

incoming Ph.D. student in Geography 

Mingzheng received his master's degree in urban planning from Peking University. His research interests include spatial analysis, urban planning evaluation, landscape ecology, land use, cover change, and how to accommodate research in the above fields using geographical supporting systems and novel quantitative methods, such as GIS, RS, deep learning, Big data analysis. He also seeks to understand the spatial dynamics of natural and human systems under multiple spatial and temporal scales and predict their impacts on the social and natural environment.

Bing Zhou

incoming Ph.D. student in Geography 

Bing is a coming Ph.D. student who holds a master's degree from Tongji University. With his background built from location-based services and GIS, his current research interests are multidisciplinary and focus primarily on CyberGIS and applying advanced computational approaches to large scale geospatial and spatiotemporal data analysis in disaster resilience, environment evaluation, urban planning and etc. Bing enjoys optimizing algorithms and building tools for data-driven researches and is eager to delve deeper into discovering the inner link between humans and nature to help decision-makers with making better and informed decisions.

Binbin Lin

incoming Ph.D. student in Geography 

Binbin is interested in GIScience, social media data mining, and disaster resilience. She has a master's degree in 3S Integration and Meteorological Applications from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology. She also worked as a GIS summer scholar at Saint Louis University in 2015.


Moxuan Li

Master student in Geography

Moxuan joined us in fall 2020. He graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in GIS. Moxuan's research interest is primarily in building tools for tracing and monitoring natural disasters and environmental changes. He aims to apply geostatistics and programming on social media data mining, and assess the disasters in certain areas, thus helping social managers develop disaster warning and response plans.

Undergraduate Researcher

Nathan Young

Undergraduate student in GIS&T

Nathan is a senior GIS&T major, with research interests in flood hazard mitigation, geopolitics, and sustainability of renewable energy resources. Currently, he is working on an updated assessment on the exposure of flash floods.


Tarik Brown

Undergraduate student in GIS&T

Tarik is a senior GIS&T major, with research interests in urban policy, geopolitics, and analyzing socio-ecological dynamics. Currently, he is working on an updated assessment on the exposure of flash floods.

Former Lab Members

Danqing Liao

Master in Urban Planning

Danqing graduated with a master's degree in Urban Planning in May 2020. She is the recipient of the 2020 Spatial Science and GIS Award in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. This award is given to a planning student who shows an advanced capability to apply GIS and/or digital representation techniques with land use sciences to solve a planning issueHer research focused on social media data mining for emergency management. She analyzed the rescue requests on Twitter in the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey to provide significant insights on real-time emergent rescue. 

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Denisse Ramirez

Undergraduate in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning

Denisse assisted in survey analysis for post-disaster recovery and resilience enhancement. Her work is part of the project 'Integrated disaster citizen science, education and engagement: a customized resilience inference measurement (CRIM) framework'.