John W. Hessler, FRGS

Mathematician, GIS Scientist, and Professor in Baltimore, MD

John W. Hessler, FRGS

Mathematician, GIS Scientist, and Professor in Baltimore, MD

When not climbing in the Alps, I am a specialist in Computational Geography & Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC., and a lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. I also teach courses in the theory of algorithms and the foundations of GIS in the Pierre and Marie Curie Faculty at Sorbonne Université in Paris.

Over the last few years I have given seminars about or taught classes in Evolutionary & Algorithmic Game Theory; Algorithm Design for GIS; Mereology & the Philosophy of GIS; Refugee Flow Modeling; and the Mathematics of the Redistricting & Gerrymandering Problem.

I am the founder of the λ-LAB for the computational and theoretical study of mass population movement and refugee flows, where our philosophy is to apply advanced mathematics and high-performance spatial computing to one of the most difficult humanitarian issues facing the world today.

We are focused developing new statistical tools for mapping far from equilibrium processes, like the spread of pandemics, the rapid economic shifts brought about by war and natural disasters, and mass population movements and refugee flows.

Recently, we have also worked on the mathematics of the database reconstruction theorems and the effects of differential privacy controls, like the Top Down algorithms, on the data of the 2020 Census.

Interested in the policy analysis capabilities of high-performance computing and advanced GIS, I have given briefings to Congressional staff and policy makers across the US on a wide range of current challenges such as the science of redistricting, internet and broadband access, and the geospatial dynamics of health care.

The author of more than one hundred articles and books, including the New York Times bestseller, MAP: Exploring the World, my work has been featured in many media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, the BBC, CBS News and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Imagining a four-dimensional and process based ontology for the next generation of spatial computing, I am trying to turn a mess of mathematical course notes into the book, Lectures on Mereotopology and the Ontological Foundations of Geographic Information Science.

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, I find being close to the gentle hum of supercomputers, pondering the depths of James Joyce’s Ulysses, and confronting the intricate philosophical knots of evolutionary algorithms, strangely comforting.