Bo Zhao (he/him)

Associate Professor
Bo Zhao

Contact Information

SMI 412E
Office Hours
By appt or request a zoom mtg via


Ph.D., Geography, The Ohio State University, 2015
Curriculum Vitae (378.06 KB)

I am currently an Associate Professor in UW Geography, where I also have the privilege of directing the Humanistic GIS Lab. My research interests focus on GIScience, spatial misinformation, and the societal implications of emerging GIS technologies. I am particularly invested in understanding and addressing the experiences of vulnerable populations, such as refugees displaced by climate change effects and LGBTQ+ communities in repressive national contexts.

A cornerstone of my research is my work on 'Humanistic GIS.' This area delves into how GIS and human experiences interact, influencing societal structures, behaviors, and experiences. I am deeply interested in how GIS can be utilized to support these vulnerable populations and in assessing their potential impact on geospatial technologies and data. Another significant aspect of my research is 'deep fake geography,' where I provide an in-depth exploration of fake satellite imagery. This work encourages the public and various stakeholders to recognize and address its impact on national security and geoprivacy.

My contributions to the academic community have been recognized through numerous accolades, including awards from prestigious organizations such as the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and Samsung. I was also part of teams that were honored with the UW Population Health Initiative Awards in 2020 and 2021. My projects have been diverse, ranging from the dynamic mapping visualization of the coronavirus pandemic, providing critical and up-to-date insights, to explorations into Black-owned restaurant patronage and the dynamics of the homeless community during the same period. My work consistently underscores the importance of GIS in addressing complex social issues and contributes significantly to the broader dialogue on the ethical and practical implications of geospatial data.

My laboratory is currently seeking interns and volunteers to contribute to a variety of research projects.


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