People

The Terra Populus project is managed by two groups, the Scientific Leadership Group and the Executive Committee. The Scientific Leadership Group is comprised of Project Principal Investigators and leaders of the partner organizations and determines scientific priorities for the project. The Executive Committee is comprised of professional research staff at the Minnesota Population Center and 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 more than 80 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.

Jamie Gerber

Gerber is Co-Director and Lead Scientist for the Global Landscapes Initiative within the Institute on the Environment. His research develops solutions for improving global food security while minimizing agriculture’s impact on earth’s ecosystems. Gerber provides input based on potential use cases for TerraPop data and tools.

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 user interface design for TerraPop tools and 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 that area.

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 developing administrative boundary data and aggregate population 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 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 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.