Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology

The CREST Center for Geospatial and Environmental Informatics, Modeling and Simulation.


The CREST Center will recruit and support underrepresented minority (URM) students to pursue degrees in STEM fields with a focus on coastal resilience. The center will expand the university’s education and research capacity. The center programs include three integrated research subprojects, mentoring, and STEM outreach. Subproject 1 develops new approaches integrating remote and autonomous sensing with geospatial computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve coastal zone monitoring and resiliency decision making. It generates detailed and accurate geographic information systems data for characterization of the built and natural environment. Results will be integrated in subprojects 2 and subproject 3. Subproject 2 develops a better understanding of the urban water cycle and the resilience of water infrastructure through integrated characterization, simulation, and assessments. Subproject 3 investigates how emerging data sources and advanced geospatial computing can be applied to evaluate, assist, and improve a coastal community’s physical, behavioral, and social health after disasters.

Center research will address the challenges of coastal resilience by developing new approaches that integrate remote and autonomous sensing with geospatial computing, AI/deep learning, and (big) data analytics for comprehensive coastal zone monitoring at different scales and for resiliency decision making. The focus is on improving resiliency to extreme coastal hazards and episodic and persistent events (e.g., hurricane and sea-level rise). Research is aimed to address challenges that include (a) complexity reduction and exploitation of information from 2D/3D geospatial data using AI; (b) understanding measurement uncertainty and its impact on detection analyses; (c) exploiting unmanned aerial systems to improve post-disaster mapping; (d) digital elevation and land cover modeling; (e) effective application of air-land-sea autonomous systems for monitoring and vulnerability assessment of the nearshore environment; (f) coupled human-natural systems, including interdependent components of environmental, socioeconomic, and infrastructure characteristics; (g) environmental stressors of disaster-prone coastal communities and the changes over space and time; (h) post-disaster conditions of the urban water cycle and water infrastructure; (i) understanding the dynamics of micro-level social vulnerability and community resilience for assessing psychological and health stresses of a disaster-affected population; and (j) studying mobile location data at both the device and aggregated levels from various sources  to advance the knowledge of geospatial data quality within the context of emerging data sources.


The CREST Center is supported by the National Science Foundation HRD Division of Human Resource Development, Award No. 2112631.

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