The Terra Populus project is managed by two groups, with additional input from an externa Advisory Board. The Scientific Leadership Group, comprised of Project Principal Investigators and leaders of the partner organizations, determines the scientific priorities. The Executive Committee, comprised of professional research staff at the Minnesota Population Center, oversees implementation of the priorities and day-to-day management of the project.


Scientific Leadership Group

Steven Ruggles, Principal Investigator/Program Director

Ruggles is Regents Professor of History and Director of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota. He is best known as the creator of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), the world's largest population database, spanning two centuries and 70 countries. Ruggles has made important contributions to the study of long run demographic change, focusing especially on historical family demography.

George Alter

Alter is Director of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Alter is responsible for managing the world’s largest data archive, and he developed innovative methods for reconstructing and analyzing life histories from longitudinal data. Alter contributes to planning for TerraPop’s decades-long preservation and access.

Robert Chen

Chen is Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network. He is a leader in multiple national and international information and data projects and groups. His research revolves around sustainable development and risk assessment, including contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Chen is helping lead efforts to integrate population data with administrative boundary data and with new time series of land cover based on remote sensing data.

Jonathan Foley

Foley is Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. He is one of the nation’s leading environmental scientists, and his work has transformed our understanding of global-scale interrelationships of land use, ecosystems, climate, and water resources. Foley's focus is on problems of data fusion and on usability and data access for environmental data.

Victoria Interrante

Interrante is Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Her primary research expertise is in the design, development, and evaluation of methods for the effective visualization of large multi-valued datasets. Interrante is assisting with online visualization of TerraPop data.

Wendy Pradt Lougee

Pradt Lougee is University of Minnesota Librarian. She is a pioneer in major digital library development projects and was a key player in the development of JSTOR, one of the most successful models of a sustainable digital archive. She is working on fostering a scientific community interested in TerraPop and on organizational sustainability.

Steven Manson

Manson is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota. His work combines environmental research, social science approaches, and geographic information science to understand changing urban and rural landscapes. Manson's focus is on TerraPop’s Geographic Information Systems and spatial data integration.

Shashi Shekhar

Shekhar is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.  He is internationally recognized for his work on spatial databases, and provides guidance for TerraPop in those fields.

Jaideep Srivastava

Srivastava is Professor of Computer Science and Enginering at the University of Minnesota.
He has made extensive contributions to data integration and social networks. He provides assistance in the areas of database design and performance, metadata management, and semantic data integration.



Executive Committee

Catherine Fitch – Executive Director

Fitch is Associate Director of the Minnesota Population Center (MPC) and founding Co-Director of the Minnesota Research Data Center (MnRDC). At MPC, Fitch has been intimately involved in the creation of several large social science databases. Her own research focuses on historical demography and marriage formation in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. She is responsible for external communication and overseeing the organizational development committees.

Tracy Kugler – Project Manager

Kugler is responsible for day-to-day management of TerraPop data processing, software development, archival development, and education and outreach. Kugler also develops and manages tools and processes for producing administrative boundary data.

Alex Jokela - Lead Software Engineer

Jokela is the primary technical lead on TerraPop.  He is responsible for taking ideas and outlined processes and turning them into software.  

Matthew Sobek - Director of Data Integration and Dissemination

Sobek managed the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), and created the largest and most widely-used population data system in the world. Sobek assists the Project Manager with archival development and metadata processing.

David Van Riper - Director of Spatial Data

Van Riper is the MPC Spatial Core Director, responsible for supporting the spatial analysis needs of MPC members and research projects. He assists the project manager with the acquisition and management of spatial data, including aggregate population statistics, land use and land cover information, climate data, and vector-based GIS data.



Advisory Board

Wendy Baldwin, Population Council

Wendy Baldwin, began serving as Presdient and CEO of the Population Reference Bureau in June 2011.  Prior to joining the PRB, she served as vice president and director of the Poverty, Gender, and Youth program at the Population Council, where she worked with the council's regional directors and professional staff to implement program- and policy-oriented research to improve the future of young people in developing countries. For the past 20 years she has worked with the World Health Organization, serving since 1988 as the chair and collaborating scientist of the Steering Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research on Reproductive Health.

Daniel Brown, University of Michigan

Daniel Brown’s research focuses on linking landscape patterns with ecological and social processes. His particular focus is on land-use and land-cover dynamics, making use of multiple methods, including GIS, remote sensing, digital terrain analysis, ecological mapping, social surveys and statistics, and computer simulation. Specific projects focus on the interacting social and ecological aspects of land use and cover change in rural and peri-urban environments, land use and vulnerability to flooding in China, and spatial and social effects on health.

Janet Gornick, City University of New York

Janet Gornick is currently Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is also Director of the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), a cross-national data archive and research center located in Luxembourg. Most of her research is comparative, across the industrialized countries, and concerns social welfare policies and their impact on family well-being and gender equality.

Charles Hirschman, University of Washington

Charles Hirschman is Boeing International Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. Hirschman conducts research on immigration and ethnicity in United States and on social change in Southeast Asia. He currently directs the University of Washington-Beyond High School project, a longitudinal study of educational attainment and the early life course of young adults.

David Lam, University of Michigan

David Lam is Professor in the Department of Economics and Research Professor in the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Professor Lam’s research focuses on the interaction of economics and demography in developing countries, including analysis of the economics of population growth, fertility, marriage, and aging. He has worked extensively in Brazil and South Africa, where his research analyzes links between education, labor markets, and income inequality.

David Theobald, Colorado State University

David Theobald is a Research Scientist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University. His research focuses on land use change, particularly landscape ecology, socio-economic drivers, and impacts of development on wildlife habitat. Current research projects include modeling strategies for adaptation to coupled climate and land use change in the US, fire and water in Colorado and changing landscapes, and an Integrated Climate Land Use System.

Reeve Vanneman, University of Maryland

Reeve Vanneman is a stratification sociologist whose recent research focuses on changing gender inequalities in the United States and India. He is working with Dave Cotter and Joan Hermsen, to understand why the U.S. gender revolution of the 1970s and 1980s seems to have come to a halt in the 1990s. With Sonal Desai and colleagues in Delhi at the National Council of Applied Economic Research, Reeve helped field a nationwide survey in India of 41,554 households. This panel survey analyzes the relationships of poverty, gender stratification, and social capital on health and education outcomes.

Stephen Walsh, University of North Carolina

Stephen Walsh is Professor of Geography, member of the Ecology Curriculum, and Research Fellow of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Broadly speaking, his research seeks to understand ecological, biogeographic, and geomorphic factors affecting landscape patterns at a host of space and time scales. Several projects examine coupled human-natural systems and land use/cover dynamics in the frontier environment of the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, and in rural Nang Rong District, Northeastern Thailand. The transformation of the Earth’s surface in these regions, particularly through deforestation, agricultural extensification, secondary forest succession, and urbanization, is linked to a variety of scientific and policy issues revolving around the human dimensions of land use/cover change and the proximate and distal causes and consequences of such changes. Additional research emphasizes pattern-process relationships at the alpine and sub-alpine environments of Glacier National Park, Montana, the Northern Rocky Mountains, and, more recently, the mountains of the US American West.

Michael J. White, Brown University

Michael White is a Professor of Sociology at Brown University. His areas of interest span demography and urban sociology with a particular interest in topics pertinent to public policy, such as US immigration policy, and the implications of migration for health in developing countries. Much of his research is unified by a concern for population distribution and migration: processes of movement, settlement, and adjustment. This interest is applied to a wide variety of geographic settings, looking at urbanization in China and Vietnam; urban growth, health and environmental change in Africa; and international migration to high income countries.