Can geographic expertise make us better “finders” of hidden or lost objects? Could spatial literacy, field experience, and spatial techniques proficiency provide a geographer with a competitive edge for locating hard-to-find things?
This talk presents two partially interwoven threads. The first is the more general; that of the “missing-in-action” sub-area of Geographic Search itself. While search problems are dealt with in several disciplines, they are paradoxically far less prevalent and explicit in the geographic literature. This subject of study does not seem to appear on the "geography radar." The second thread chronicles the evolution of a specific area of geographic search: the search for deposited gold. A set of image-based lab and field search techniques is presented. The presentation concludes with a discussion of possible linkages between search notions in geographic gold search, and more general geographic search rules or heuristics.
Dr. Micha Pazner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara (USA), a M.A. in Geography and a B.A. in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He also has a Practical Engineering degree in Computer Science from Hadassah College in Jerusalem.
Micha's career as a professor began at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg) with one wrong move followed closely by several others. First, he donated his research start-up funds to an instructional computer lab. This lab was then equipped with ‘Macs’ for which there was no GIS software. This caused Micha to become an accidental academic software developer. John Wiley and Sons, a book publisher (rather than software distributor) then disseminated the software. As a result, the World Bank sent Micha to Africa — taking him even further away from a normal research path. Half the things Micha tried in Africa flopped. The other half was published as a World Bank book. It became one of the “Top 15 Best Sellers in GIS” in its time. That was when he was ‘exiled’ to South Western Ontario, where Micha's research mayhem continues to this day.
Pazner’s specialization is geographic lab and field techniques and their application with an emphasis on imaging. He has done remote sensing and GIS work including software development, modeling, and applications. Field techniques include field imaging and mapping. Pazner was a consultant on numerous World Bank projects in Africa (Morocco, Angola and Mozambique) and the Americas (Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador). He has also founded and served as President of two high tech start-up companies in the area of GIS and geographic flight simulation. His current primary research application area is geographic gold search.