Hugh Semple

A photo of Hugh Semple

Professor of Geographic Information Systems, Economic Geography

Geography & Geology

140O Strong Hall


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, 1997
  • MA, Geography, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 1991
  • BA, Applied Geography, University of Guyana, Turkeyen, Guyana, 1985

Interests and Expertise

I maintain active research interest in (a) disease mapping and spatial analysis of public health data, (b) food production and food accessibility issues in the Caribbean, and (c) urban revitalization in the Caribbean. In the field of public health GIS, my research revolves around the use of GIS for visualizing and statistically analyzing spatial patterns associated with different types of diseases. Currently, my focus is on geostatistical methodologies for detecting disease clusters and modeling of infectious disease patterns. I have collaborated with public health officials in Jamaica to develop GIS capability in the Ministry of Health in Kingston, and in the various health regions of that country. Recently, I have collaborated with CARES researchers investigating neighborhood patterns associated with Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest in several US cities.

Declining food production (not consumption) in the Caribbean continues to be a major concern to Caribbean governments because of its implications for continued high food import bills, reduced employment and idle capacity in the agriculture sector. My research is aimed at shedding light on the processes contributing to agricultural change in the Caribbean and how these processes are contributing to declines in food production, loss of biodiversity on small farms, and increased food insecurity in the region. My interest in food production has extended to answering questions about the nature, evolution and geographic patterns of food insecure communities in US cities, including food deserts, which are extreme manifestations of food insecure communities in inner city areas.

Both urban growth and decay are evident in the downtowns of Caribbean cities. In recent years, various organizations, including the Caribbean Development Bank, have been involved in funding major projects aimed at revitalizing downtowns in the regions. My research is aimed at assessing the effectiveness of approaches to urban revitalization in the region and to suggest appropriate adjustments to revitalization models and policy. Effectiveness is measured in terms of whether projects meet physical, economic and social goals; whether they pay for themselves; whether they are participatory and whether the changes are sustainable.


  • GEOG 100 Introduction to Geospatial Sciences and Technology
  • GEOG 376 Spatial Analysis
  • GEOG 476 Geodatabases and Client Applications
  • GEOG 509 Geodatabases for Enterprise GIS
  • GEOG 579 Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG 583 Cartographic Design
  • GEOG 584 Visual Programming for GIS Customization
  • GEOG 670 Spatial Analysis and Modeling
  • GEOG 674 Professional Publication/Report