Steven M Manson

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Geography Department
473 Social Science Bldg

267 - 19th Ave So

Steven Manson is a professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. He also directs the Human-Environment Geographic Information Science lab and U-Spatial. Dr. Manson combines environmental research, social science, and geographic information science to understand complex human-environment systems. He is a Resident Fellow at the U of M's Institute on the Environment and Scholar of the College for the university's College of Liberal Arts. He is a past NASA New Investigator in Earth-Sun System Science and NASA Earth System Science Fellow. He received the Young Scholar Award from the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America, and a University of Minnesota McKnight Land Grant Professorship. Dr. Manson teaches in the areas of geographic information science and spatial analysis of human-environment systems.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Geography, Clark University, Worcester, MA, 2002.
  • B.A. Honours: Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 1995.

Curriculum Vitae


  • geographic information science
  • spatial analysis
  • biocomplexity
  • environmental science
  • global change
  • land use/cover change
Courses Taught
  • Geog 1502: Mapping Our World
  • Geog 3561/5561: Principles of Geographic Information Systems
  • Geog 5563: Advanced GIS
  • Geog 5565: Geographical Analysis of Human-Environment Systems
  • Geog 8292: Spatial Analysis and Modeling
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Association of American Geographers:
  • American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing:


  • Land change in North America: Examination of the patterns, processes, and impacts of urbanization and agriculture in the United States and deforestation in Mexico
  • Big Data: Integrating local to global datasets
  • GISc, Complexity, and Scale:
  • Simplifying Complexity: A review of complexity theory: Manson, Steven, Geoforum, 32(3) 405-414, 2001.
  • Decision making and uncertainty: Bayesian analysis of potential flood heights: Manson, Steven, S. J. Ratick and A. R. Solow, Geographical Analysis, 34(2) 112-129, 2002.
  • Multi-agent systems for the simulation of land use and land cover change: a review: Manson, Steven, Parker, D. C., M. Janssen, M. J. Hoffmann and P. J. Deadman, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93(2) 314-337, 2003.
  • Agent-based modeling and genetic programming for modeling land change in the Southern Yucatan Peninsular Region of Mexico: Manson, Steven, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 111(1) 47-62, 2005.
  • Bounded rationality in agent-based models: experiments with evolutionary programs: Manson, Steven, International Journal of Geographic Information Science, 20 991-1012, 2006.
  • Changing Landscapes in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area: Manson, Steven, M. Bauer, CURA Reporter, 36 3, 2006.
  • Land use in the Southern Yucatan Peninsular Region of Mexico: scenarios of population and institutional change: Manson, Steven, Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems, 30(3) 230-253, 2006.
  • Complexity theory in the study of space and place: Manson, Steven, D. O'Sullivan, Environment and Planning A, 38(4) 677-692, 2006.
  • Challenges in evaluating models of geographic complexity: Manson, Steven, Environment and Planning B, 34 2, 2007.
  • Heights and locations of artificial structures in viewshed calculation: how close is close enough?: Manson, Steven, Sander, H., Landscape and Urban Planning, 82 257-270, 2007.
  • Agent-based modeling of deforestation in southern Yucatán, Mexico, and reforestation in the Midwest United States: Manson, Steven, T. Evans, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104 20678–20683, 2007.
  • Does scale exist? An epistemological scale continuum for complex human-environment systems: Manson, Steven, Geoforum, 39 776-788, 2008.
  • Case studies, cross-site comparisons, and the challenge of generalization: comparing agent-based models of land-use change in frontier regions: Manson, Steven, Parker, D. C., B. Entwisle, R. R. Rindfuss, L. K. VanWey, E. Moran, L. An, P. Deadman, T. Evans, M. Linderman, S. M. Mussavi Rizi, and G. Malanson, Journal of Land Change Science, 3 41-72, 2008.
  • Complex systems models and the management of error and uncertainty: Manson, Steven, Messina, J. P., T. P. Evans, A. M. Shortridge, P. J. Deadman, and P. H. Verburg, Journal of Land Use Science, 3 11-25, 2008.
  • Projecting global land use change and its affect on ecosystem service provision and biodiversity with simple techniques: Manson, Steven, Nelson, E., H. Sander, P. Hawthorne, M. Conte, S. Polasky , PLoS ONE , 5 e14327, 2010. Link
  • Social network analysis of the academic GISc community: Manson, Steven, Sun, S, Professional Geographer, 63 1-16, 2011.
  • Simulated importance of dispersal, disturbance, and landscape history in long-term ecosystem change in the Big Woods of Minnesota: Manson, Steven, Berland, A., B. Shuman, Ecosystems, 14 410-423, 2011.
  • Using eye tracking and mouse metrics to test usability of web mapping navigation: Manson, Steven, L. Kne, K. Dyke, J. Shannon, and S. Eria, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 39 48-60, 2012. Link
  • O'Sullivan, D. and S. M. Manson (2015). Do Physicists Have ‘Geography Envy’? And What Can Geographers Learn From It? Annals of the Association of American Geographers 105 (4): 704-722.
  • Manson, S. M., Nelson, K. C., N. Jordan, R. F. Brummel (2016). Effect of social networks on adoption of multifunctional agriculture. Environmental Modeling and Software 75: 388-401.
  • Scholar of the College, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2016 - 2019
  • Resident Fellow, Institute on the Environment , 2009 - 2012
  • Sustainability Science Award, Ecological Society of America , 2009
  • New Investigator in Earth-Sun System Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2006 - 2009
  • McKnight Land-Grant Professor, University of Minnesota, 2006 - 2008
  • Young Scholar Award, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, 2005