Qunshan Zhao

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Post Doctoral Scholars
TEMPE Campus


Qunshan Zhao is originally from the Fujian Province of China. He finished his undergraduate study on Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry and GIS from the School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering at Wuhan University, China (2013).

In 2017, He finished his Ph.D. in Geography in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU), and continue to work as a postdoctoral research associate in urban and community resilience in the SPacial Analysis Research Center (SPARC) at ASU. His research focuses on using remote sensing, GIS and spatial analytical tools to solve emerging environmental and societal problems in the urban environment. 


2017 - Ph.D. (Geography) Arizona State University

2015 - M.A. (Geography) Arizona State University

2013 - B.E. (Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry) Wuhan University

Google Scholar

Research Interests

Empirical: Urban Green Infrastructure; Community Resilience; Human Activity Space; Urban and Regional Planning; Human and Environmental Systems.

Methodology: Geographic Information Science; Remote Sensing; Spatial Optimization; Spatial Statistics; Urban Climate Modeling and Instrumentation.

Study Area: United States, Nepal, China, Canada.


Refereed Journal Articles

2018              Zhao, Q., Sailor, D. J., & Wentz, E. A. (2018). Impact of tree locations and arrangements on outdoor microclimates and human thermal comfort in an urban residential environment. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 32, 81-91.

2018              Zhao, Q., Yang, J., Wang, Z., & Wentz, E. A. (2018). Assessing the cooling benefits of tree shade by an outdoor urban physical scale model at Tempe, AZ. Urban Science, 2(1), 4.

2017              Yabiku, S. T, Glick, J. E., Wentz, E. A., Ghimire, D., & Zhao, Q. (2017). Comparing paper and tablet modes of retrospective activity space data collection. Survey Research Methods, 11(3), 329-344.

2017              Kuai, X., & Zhao, Q. (2017). Examining healthy food accessibility and disparity in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Annals of GIS, 23(2), 103-116.

2017              Zhao, Q., Wentz, E. A., & Murray, A. T. (2017). Tree shade coverage optimization in an urban residential environment. Building and Environment, 115, 269-280.

2016              Zhao, Q., & Wentz, E. A. (2016). A MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER) Imagery for Urban Heat Island Research. Data, 1(1), 7.

2015              Zhao, Q., Myint, S. W., Wentz, E. A., & Fan, C. (2015). Rooftop surface temperature analysis in an urban residential environment. Remote Sensing, 7(9), 12135-12159.

Referred Book Chapters

2018              Zhao, Q., Fischer, H., Luo, W., & Wentz, E. A. “Community resilience in Maricopa County, Arizona, USA: the analysis of indoor heat-related death and urban thermal environment.” Book Chapter for Geospatial Technologies for Urban Health, Springer. (Chapter proposal accepted, under preparation)

Refereed Conference Proceedings

2016              Zhao, Q., Wentz, E. A., Fotheringham, A. S., Yabiku, S. T., Hall, S. J., Glick, J. E., Dai, J., Clark, M., & Heavenrich, H. (2016). Semi-parametric Geographically Weighted Regression (S-GWR): a Case Study on Invasive Plant Species Distribution in Subtropical Nepal. In 9th International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Montreal, Canada.

2015              Wentz, E. A., & Zhao, Q. (2015). Assessing validation methods for building identification and extraction. In 2015 Joint Urban Remote Sensing Event (JURSE) (pp. 1-4). IEEE.

2014              Zhao, Q., Wentz, E. A. & Murray, A. T. (2014). Shade optimization in a desert environment. In 8th International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Vienna, Austria.

2012              Zhao, Q., & Kuai, X. (2012). Land use classification and accuracy assessment based on image fusion of TM and SPOT5. In 18th China Symposium on Remote Sensing. (In Chinese)

2012              Kuai, X., & Zhao, Q. (2012). Wetland image classification of remote sensing based on support vector machine. In 18th China Symposium on Remote Sensing. (In Chinese)

Research Activity

Dissertation: Optimizing Tree Locations and Arrangements for Mitigating Urban Heat and Improving Human Thermal Comfort in a Hot Arid Urban Residential Environment
• Applied spatial optimization to maximize tree shade coverage on building structures in the 3D GIS environment. 
Poster: http://bit.ly/2xv4BR0
• Utilized physical scale model with field measurements to evaluate the tree shade benefits on the building facade.
Slides: http://bit.ly/2xEm0co
• Employed microclimate numerical simulation to evaluate locational benefits from trees in the neighborhood.

NSF CNH: Feedbacks between human community dynamics and socio-ecological vulnerability in a biodiversity hotspot
• Digitized and managed social survey data collected by digital tablets into GIS database.
• Analyzed the relationships between invasive species coverage and socio-ecological factors by using R.
Poster: http://bit.ly/2wNYjiB

NIH R21: Innovation in the Measurement of Community Contextual Features
• Digitized and managed the paper survey data and tablet survey data in the GIS environment.
• Produced human activity space data by using spatial statistics, network analysis, and GIS.
• Applied the social network analysis by using Python and R. 

Individual Project: Analyzing Urban Heat Island Phenomenon by Using High Resolution Satellite Images
• Analyzed the relationships between rooftop surface temperature, rooftop configuration, and nearby vegetation.
Slides: http://bit.ly/2fjkDW5

Individual Project: Assessing validation methods for building identification and extraction
• Comparing building extraction accuracy by pixel and object based validation methods. 
Slides: http://bit.ly/2ht2dTB 

Individual Project: Mixed Methods Analysis of Refueling Infrastructure Preferences for Adopting Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles
• Created a transportation network dataset for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle refueling station modeling.
• Applied mixed location modeling methods to locate the refueling stations optimally by CPLEX.

GIS Analyst: Working in Decision Theater Network to generate the web-based platform for optimizing voting precincts in Maricopa County.


Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
GIS 461 Optimization Fundamentals
PUP 481 Optimization Fundamentals
GIS 561 Optimization Fundamentals
PUP 581 Optimization Fundamentals


2018              J. Warren Nystrom Award (An outstanding paper based upon a recent

                      dissertation in geography), American Association of Geographers ($1,000)

2017              Dissertation Research Grant, American Association of Geographers

                      ($1,000, PI)

2016              Finalist of Landscape Specialty Group Student Presentation Competition,

                      American Association of Geographers