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Dr. Chang Zhao

Assistant Professor, Ecosystem Services Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Dr. Zhao is an Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Services Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of Florida. She received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Iowa in 2018 and her B.E. in Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering from Wuhan University in 2012. Prior to joining the University of Florida, she worked as a research methodologist in spatial data science at NORC at the University of Chicago.

Her research interests include Geographic Information Science, Remote Sensing, Geovisualization, Ecosystem Service Assessments, and AI (Machine Learning and Deep Learning). Her research and extension programs are interdisciplinary and employ a wide range of geospatial, statistical, and AI tools, as well as observational, modeling, and mixed approaches. Her current research projects focus on the following areas: (1) Combining machine learning, deep learning, GIS, remote sensing, and field observation to quantify the spatiotemporal dynamics of and interrelationships between ecosystem services (e.g. food production, climate regulation, pollination, and recreation) across urban and agricultural landscapes; (2) Incorporating socioeconomic data (census, surveys, social media, crowdsourced data) and qualitative methods into ecosystem service assessments to understand socioeconomic drivers of ecosystem service production, use and consequences on human health and well-being; (3) Utilizing GIS, remote sensing, and AI to support interdisciplinary applications in agriculture, public health and social sciences. The ultimate goals of her research and extension programs are to advance scientific understanding of where and how nature provides benefits to human societies, and to produce actionable knowledge and develop solutions to enhance sustainable land use planning and management across the continuum of urban and rural systems.

Research Interests

  • Geographic Information Science
  • Remote Sensing
  • Geovisualization
  • AI (Machine Learning and Deep Learning)
  • Ecosystem Service Assessments
  • Spatiotemporal Data Mining for Interdisciplinary Research in Agriculture, Public Health, and Social Sciences

Contact Information


2091 McCarty Hall B

Gainesville, FL 32611

Mailing Address:

Main Campus

3105 McCarty Hall B

PO Box 110500

Gainesville, FL 32611

  • Education


    • Ph.D. in Geography, University of Iowa, 2018

    • Geoinformatics Certificate, University of Iowa, 2018

    • B.E. in Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, Wuhan University, 2012

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