My research interests focus primarily on applied economic geography (including public policy) and the investigation of the socio-spatial dynamics of cities using geo-technologies. In addition to these research initiatives, I work closely with students on a range of projects that emphasize economic development, public policy, and GIScience methods.


My interest in GIS and remote sensing began in graduate school and I published my first paper on the subject in 1998. While a graduate student, I served as a GIS intern and team leader at UT and a teaching assistant at WVU. At Wright State University, I was responsible for teaching all GIS courses and managed the lab. Once I arrived at ISU, I began to collaborate with Ryan Jensen (Brigham Young University) and have produced a variety of experimental analyses of urban socio-demographics using geo-technologies. My collaborations with Ryan have also yielded an NSF-MRI grant, book projects, and articles. In recent years, I have had two M.A. students (LaFary and Fuller) work on related projects that utilize GIS/RS in urban areas and novel statistical techniques including geographically weighted regression and the expansion method. In addition to methods papers, I have also contributed to the geo-education literature focused on geo-technologies. In 2005, I earned the designation of certified GIS Professional (GISP) from the GIS Certification Institute.

Economic Geography

In the late-1990s, my research focused primarily on science and technology (S&T) policy and traditional sector studies. Upon my arrival at ISU, I became actively involved in a number of local economic development projects that began to unpack the role of culture in the politics of economic development. Indeed, I have studied the cultural politics of Toledo Jeep with Neil Reid (University of Toledo), Haifa’s Bahai Terraced Gardens with Noga Collins-Kreiner (University of Haifa), and greenhouses. (with Reid, Carroll, Smith, Steiger, and Smith). In addition to my evolving interests in culture and the politics of economic development, I also worked on more traditional research in economic geography including technological innovation (Ceh, ISU), financial services (Maher, M.A. student), Universities and S&T policy (Thakur and Rudibaugh, Ph.D. students), socio-economics of education (Worthington, Ph.D. student), alternative energy production (Pace, M.A. student), and informal economic activities (Villa, M.A. student).

Other Collaborations

In addition to my primary interests, I tend to become engage in a variety of collaborative projects that utilize my statistical training as an economic geographer. My first experience with this was a series of collaborations in the area of public policy agenda setting West Virginia University’s Jeff Worsham and a fellow WVU student Lou Fintor. Since then, I have worked with Greg Bierly and several students to investigate the influence of weather on voter turnout. Based on the success of the weather & voting study, Greg and I subsequently investigated the shifting dynamics of research specialization across the U.S. and Canada at Ph.D. granting institutions. Additional graduate student projects include land-use & place (Cole and Wickens, M.A. students) and urban mosquito genesis (Johnson, Ph.D. student).

Major Projects with Extramural Funding

Greenhouse Project (2004-2012)

USDAA multi-year study of Ohio Greenhouse and Nursery industry funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The collaborative study includes co-PIs from Toledo, Bowling Green, and Ohio State. For more information visit  Project PI: Reid. Co-PIs: Ravlin, Caroll, Gatrell, Pasian, Smith, Steiger, Krauskopf, Perlaky, Frantz. Non-current Co-PIs: Grigore, Lindquist, Konjoinen, Johnson-Webb. ISU Contracts: $64,000 (FY05), $58,837 (FY06), $36,713 (FY07), $36,980 (FY08), $31,550 (FY09), and $73,596 (FY11).

Noyce Scholarship Program (2005-2010), Phase II (2009-2013)

NSF A National Science Foundation scholarship program to recruit high quality science and math teachers for high needs school corporations. For more information visit the homepage  Phase I PI: Gatrell. Co-PIs: Amlaner, Powers, Brown, Jones. Total: $491,303. Phase II. PI: Brown. Co-PIs: Gatrell, Powers, Tuttle, and Gonser. Total: $590,600


McNair Scholars (2009-2012)

USDoE The Purpose of the McNair Graduate Opportunity Program is to improve effective preparation for doctoral study to low-income, first-generation college students and students from groups that are underrepresented in graduate education. For more information visit the homepage  PI: Gatrell. Co-PI: Pearcey. Total: $222,819 (FY09), $222,819 (FY10).


Pre, Too!(2007-2010)

USDoE A U.S. Department of Education recruitment grant for teacher candidates interested in careers in high needs school districts. For more information visit the homepage  PI: Cutter. Co-PIs: Gatrell, Powers. Total: $532,231.



MRI (2003-2006)

NSFA National Science Foundation instrumentation grant that enabled ISU to purchase a AISA+ hyper-spectral sensor and facilitated the creation and operation of WabashView between 2003-2006. PI: Jensen. Co-PIs: Gatrell, Berta, Jensen (South Carolina), Mausel. Total: $133,250.



Social Studies & Geo-Education (2004-2006)

Since 2004, I have served as PI or Co-PI on educational grants across the social studies totaling over $100,000. These grants have been funded by the Indiana Council for Economic Education, National Council for Economic Education, and the State of Indiana’s Department of Education. ISU collaborators have included Conant, Steiger, Clark, and Stofferahn.