About me


I serve as an Assistant Professor of Spatial Data Science and run the MOVE Research Lab at the Department of Geography at the University of California Santa Barbara. Since July 2021, I serve as a Director on the Board of Directors of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS).  I received my PhD in Geography with a specialization in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) from the GIScience Center of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Please see MOVE Research Lab for more information about my research lab at UCSB. Prior to joining UCSB in 2019, I served as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. 

My work is supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2021, I received a prestigious NSF CAREER award to study movement and behavior responses to environmental disruptions across multiple geographic and temporal scales. In general, my research interests involve developing spatio-temporal data analytics, knowledge discovery, modeling, and visualization techniques to study and understand movement in human and natural systems. Our ability to study movement and its relationship to the environment can advance our understanding of social and natural systems. My research on movement advances spatial data science and quantitative approaches for modeling complex dynamic processes such as human-wildlife conflicts, environmental change, natural hazards, spread of diseases, mobility, and global migration. Through interdisciplinary research, I aim to develop a broadly applicable analytical framework to unravel how movement patterns of individuals are driven by their behavior, their environment, and their interactions across multiple spatial and temporal scales. My work on dynamic visualization of movement (see DynamoVis) was featured at the 2018 ESRI User Conference plenary on “Inspiring What’s Next”. At the OSU I was involved in the development of Movebank Env-DATA (Environmental-Data Automated Track Annotation) System which has been featured as a milestone in movement ecology. Both Env-DATA and DynamoVis systems have been used extensively by the movement ecology community to explore the relationships between movement and environmental correlates. 

I teach introductory and advanced GIScience courses, including geographic visualization, and analysis and modeling of movement, agent-based simulation modeling.

Professional Experiences:


  • Postdoc – Computational Movement Ecology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, The Ohio State University (2012-2013).
  • Postdoc – Computational Movement Analysis, University of Zurich, Switzerland, (2011-2012).
  • Ph.D. (Dr. sc. nat.) – Geography with specialization in Geographic Information Science (GIScience), University of Zurich, Switzerland (October 2011).
  • M.Sc. – Geographic Information Systems Engineering, K.N.Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran (2005).
  • B.Sc. – Geomatics Engineering, K.N.Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran (2003).

Contact Information:

Somayeh Dodge, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Assistant Professor
Email: sdodge[AT]ucsb.edu
Department of Geography | UC SANTA BARBARA | MOVE Lab