Scientists and Applications

Below is the list of scientists and their potential applications.

Don LaFreniere – Assistant Professor of Historical Geography and GIS

Contact Information

Email: djlafren at
Office Phone: 906-487-2189
Office: AOB 200A, GLRC 208
Social Science Department
Michigan Technological University

App Idea: Time Traveler Photos

The Keweenaw Time Traveler is a historic spatial data infrastructure (HSDI)that is recreating the built and social environments of the Copper Country from 1850 to 1950.  Every ten years, corresponding with the decennial census, we are mapping and modelling in 3D all of the houses, businesses, schools, and copper mining sites.  Individual level socio-demographic information is mapped to each structure, allowing us to know where every individual lived, worked, and went to school in the Keweenaw for a hundred year period.  Core to the project is the ‘Time Machine’, which allows the public to explore the datasets and help us transcribe documents and map annotations.  The next step is to construct a photo and memory sharing app that will integrate with the Time Machine.  This app will use the basemaps and data already created and will allow users to geotag photographs and share memories of historic locations.  The photos and associated memories are to be integrated directly into HSDI database.

Initial Meetings

Thursday, 1/19/2017 at 5 pm EDT
Wednesday, 1/25/2017 at 5 pm EDT
In 316 GLRC

Mary Ellen Miller – Environmental Engineer

Contact Information

Email: memiller at
Office Phone:  (734) 994-7221
Michigan Tech Research Institute
Michigan Technological University

App Idea: Allow Citizen Scientists to utilize WEPP model for predicting hillslope scale erosion

Empower citizens with tools and datasets for protecting invaluable natural resources. Understanding and managing soil erosion is vital for protecting our nation’s water quality and land productivity. The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) is a physically-based hydrology and soil erosion model developed to predict soil detachment and movement.  WEPP utilizes climate, topography, soil, and vegetation properties to predict plant growth, residue decomposition and soil water balance on a daily time step and infiltration, runoff, and erosion on a storm-by-storm basis. WEPP can predict runoff, erosion and sediment delivery by a single storm event, month, year, or by average annual values for either an individual hillslope or a watershed containing many hillslopes, channels and impoundments. A key advantage of WEPP is it is a process based model and unlike empirical models can be applied outside the region where it was developed.

Parameterizing and running the WEPP model can be time consuming and difficult, therefore online hillslope interfaces such as Disturbed WEPP have been created to make the model more accessible (  Disturbed WEPP was developed for forest managers and has land cover for mature and young forests, skid trails, shrubs, good and poor grass communities, and low and high soil burn severity fires. Another new tool developed by Michigan Tech Research Institute in conjunction with NASA and the USDA Forest Service is an online erosion modeling database designed to rapidly generate spatial WEPP inputs for recently burned areas within the Continental United States ( Automating the creation of model inputs facilitates the wider use of more accurate, process-based models for spatially explicit predictions of post-fire erosion and runoff.

The idea for this App is to combine these two WEPP tools to further facilitate the use of the WEPP model. Having a mobile web app that combines these two WEPP tools has the potential to assist land managers and scientists in the field and can put advanced erosion modeling capabilities into the hands of citizen scientists.

Initial Meetings

Thursday 1/19/2016 at 5:00 PM EDT
Tuesday 1/24/2016 at 5:00 PM EDT
By Michigan Tech google hangout or Go To Meeting

Donalea Dinsmore – Water Resources Management Specialist

Contact Information

Email: Donalea.Dinsmore at
Office Phone: (608) 266-1926
WI DNR, Division of Environmental Management

App Idea: Beach Monitoring App

During the swimming season, the swimming conditions are monitored at many beaches between one and five times per week. Measurements that are taken on-site can be used to develop a model that predicts bacteria levels and they are part of a standardized sanitary survey. The sanitary survey information helps public health professionals identify potential causes of contamination. The application needs to capture observations made at the beach. Often student interns are hired to collect data and most have access to a smartphone. In some locations, WIFI or cellular signal may be limited so the app needs to be able to store the collected information until the collector is within signal range to send the data to the centralized database or beach manager who then uses the data as inputs to the model.

Initial Meetings

Thursday, 1/19/2017, 5 pm EDT, (4 pm CDT)
Tuesday, 1/24/2017, 5 pm EDT, (4 pm CDT)
By Go To Meeting or Skypee

Erich Petushek – Assistant Professor of Human Medicince

Contact Information

Email: erich.petushek at
Office Phone: (906) 227-1780
Cell Phone: 262-470-7551
Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University

App Idea: ACL Risk Estimator

Because the U.P. spans a wide geographic area, access to experienced and knowledgeable sports medicine professionals is limited, thus reducing translation of evidence based practices. This application will allow citizens to gain feedback from qualified professionals regarding an athlete’s risk for traumatic knee injury. The scientist is interested in using the videos to assess the effects of various educational interventions on injury risk. Specifically, this application will allow users (athletes themselves, coaches, parents etc.), to upload videos of athletes performing a common knee injury risk screening task (drop vertical jump). Once uploaded, the videos will be viewed by qualified professional and feedback given to the user regarding the risk for that athlete sustaining a future ACL injury.

Initial Meetings

Thursday, 1/19/2017, 5 pm EDT
Tuesday, 1/24/2017, 5 pm EDT
By cell phone

Kuilin Zhang – Assistant Professor of Transportation

Contact Information

Email: klzhang at
Phone/Text: 906-487-1828
Office: Dillman 301i
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michigan Technological University

App Idea: An Individual Person Activity-Travel Tracking System (iPATTS)

The objective of this project is to develop an individual person activity-travel tracking system. The app can collect activity-travel dynamics of an individual person in 24-hour over many days. Ideally, the app will replace the existing National Household Travel Survey form ( The resulting data can be used to understand travel behavior and forecast travel demand for planning transportation infrastructure systems. With a user interface, the app will track individual traveler’s daily activity location, type, and duration, as well as travel mode and other information for multiple days (e.g one week). Activity location information will be logged using the GPS function in smartphones, which is corresponding to a predefined travel analysis zone set. Activity types or trip purpose will be selected by travelers with a predefined set such as work and school activity types. The multi-day travel log data for all the travelers will be stored in files. Statistical analysis of travel pattern analysis of these multi-day multi-person travel data will provide spatially and temporally distributed trips from different origins and destinations, which are categorized by activity type, travel mode, and departure time.

Initial Meetings

Thursday 1/19/2017, 4PM EDT
Tuesday 1/24/2017, 4PM EDT
in Dillman 301j

Adam DeWeese – Research Associate Marine Biologist

Contact Information

Email: Adam.DeWeese at
Office phone: (608) 264-9229
WI DNR, Division of Environmental Management

App Idea: Drinking Water Inspection

Public drinking water systems around the country provide a product we all take for granted. Water that is free of disease causing organisms and harmful poisons to the human body is a luxury in many other parts of the world.  To ensure this vital resource is safe to consume, public health professionals must inspect drinking water systems on a regular basis. More than 11,000 public water systems exist in Wisconsin alone. Due to recent changes in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, more than 8,000 of these public water systems in Wisconsin must be inspected each year. This type of inspection, referred to as an Annual Site Visit (ASV), consist of an examination of the source of the water (wellhead), potential contamination sources nearby (manure, septic tanks, etc.), and system components (storage tanks, pipes, treatment, and pumps). The objective of this app is to provide a means to collect inspection data about sanitary defects during ASVs, submit this data to the WI Department of Natural Resources drinking water database, and print out a professional quality report for the client.

Initial Meetings

Thursday,1/19/2017, 4 pm EDT, (3 pm CDT)
Tuesday, 1/24/2017, 4 pm EDT (3 pm CDT)
By Go To Meeting