Joseph Holler

GitHub Profile


Assistant Professor of Geography at Middlebury College

Recent projects


I am a human geographer and geographic information scientist with interest in open science and the reproducibility of geographic research, and in applying geographic research to global challenges of climate change, hazards, social vulnerability, and social inequality and justice. I teach courses on geographic information systems, human geography of hazards, open geographic information science, and climate change adaptation and development. I have also taught place and society (introductory human geography), water rights and resources (first year seminar), political ecology, and urban geography.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in anthropology/archeology, computer science, and media studies at Ithaca College. After graduating, I taught math and information technology in Tanzanian secondary schools as a Peace Corps volunteer—first in the outskirts of Mwanza and then in Bukoba. I discovered geography through Ihungo Secondary School’s advanced-level combination of history-geography-economics (HGE), and through an agricultural extension officer tracking locusts with global positioning systems. I took a weekend mountain bike trip to visit an information technology NGO in Kayanga to talk about using a new technology (Wi-Fi) to share internet from a satellite connection in rural communities. At the same time, I took advantage of the satellite connection to start doing some research on graduate programs in geography and geographic information systems (GIS). I was immediately hooked by the interdisciplinary nature of geography, combining both critical human geography perspectives on sustainability and development with technical GIS and statistical methods for analyzing spatial patterns and processes.

When I returned to the United States, I enrolled in a Geography PhD and Geographic Information Science (GIScience) IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) NSF Fellowship at the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) at the University at Buffalo. I returned to Tanzania to work with the Jane Goodall Institute in Dar es Salaam and Moshi in preparation for dissertation research on climate change vulnerability and adaptation on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Just as I was finishing my dissertation in 2012, the University of Mary Washington needed a one year leave replacement to teach human geography and GIS. The next year, I joined the Middlebury College Department of Geography as a GIS Teaching Fellow. I am now an assistant professor at Middlebury, teaching courses on hazards, GIS, Open GIScience, and climate adaptation and development.

Bio according to a toddler

At 20 months old, my son associated me with a giant teddy bear, horses, piggy-back rides, hiking, bicycles, rivers, and pancakes.