Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Bo Zhao is an associate professor from the Department of Geography at the University of Washington, Seattle. He also directs the humanistic GIS Las and affiliates to UW’s China Studies Program and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE).Prior to his position at UW, he worked as an assistant professor at Oregon State University, and a postdoc at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He earned his PhD from Ohio State University in 2015. Dr. Zhao’s research efforts lie at the intersection between GIScience and Human Geography, and develop a unique research agenda around the social implications of newly emerging GIS technologies, especially for the interests of vulnerable populations, such as refugees displaced by climate change effects or LGBTQ+ communities in repressive national contexts. Zhao studies how spatial data streams from social media are used in high profile social and political struggles, looking for instance at “location-spoofing” by activists – like indigenous groups involved in territorial struggles – or by reactionary groups agitating over “fake news.” His work on deepfake geography urges GIScientists to develop coping strategies to the ambivalent nature of GeoAI in the age of “post-truth,” moreover, he recently put forward a research framework “Humanistic GIS” to highlight the necessity of a humanistic perspective in rewiring GIS. His recent studies have been funded by NSF, National Geographic, and NIH.