Dr. Daniel Scott Miller Runfola        

William and Mary        

424 Scotland Street

Williamsburg, VA 23185

Phone: 508 - 316 - 9109

Email: danr@wm.edu

Research Lab: www.geoquery.org

Current Positions

2017 - present

Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Science, William and Mary

2014 - present

Senior Geospatial Scientist, AidData, William and Mary

Academic History


May 2012

Clark University Graduate School of Geography

Primary Advisors: Dr. Colin Polsky and Dr. Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr.

Dissertation Title: Human-Environment Interactions across Space and Time

Bachelor of Arts

May 2008

Georgia State University Department of Geosciences

Summa Cum Laude; Research Honors

Past Professional Activities

2017 - 2018

2012 - 2014

2010 - 2015

Inaugural Director, Data Science Program, William and Mary

Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Center for Atmospheric Research, CU:Boulder

Senior Analyst, The Cadmus Group

Research Grants & Other Funding

Peer-Reviewed Academic Publications (* indicates with William and Mary student co-author)

  1. *Goodman, S., BenYishay, A., Lv, Z., Runfola, D., 2019. GeoQuery: Integrating HPC systems and public web-based geospatial data tools. Computers and Geosciences.
  2. *Marty, R., Goodman, S., LeFew, M., Dolan, C., BenYishay, A., Runfola, D. 2018. Assessing the Causal Impact of Chinese Aid on Vegetative Land Cover in Burundi and Rwanda Under Conditions of Spatial Imprecision. Development Engineering.
  3. Buchanan, G., Parks, B., Donald, P., O’Donnel, B., Runfola, D., Swaddle, J., Tracewski, L., Butchart, S. 2018. The Local Impacts of World Bank Development Projects Near Sites of Conservation Significance. Journal of Environment and Development.
  4. Bunte, J., Desai, H., Gbala, K., Parks, B., Runfola, D.M., 2018. Natural resource sector FDI, government policy, and economic growth: Quasi-experimental evidence from Liberia. World Development. Volume 107. pg 151-162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.02.034.
  5. Hughes, S., Cormier, B., Runfola, D.M., 2018. Issue Proximity and Policy Response in Local Governments. Review of Policy Research.
  6. Hollander, J., Polsky, C., Zinder, CD., Runfola, D., 2018. Shrinking Suburbs in a Time of Crisis. In: The Routledge Companion to the Suburbs, Hanlon, B., Vincino, T., eds. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
  7. BenYishay, A., Heuser, S., Runfola, D.M., Trichler, R. 2017. Indigenous land rights and deforestation: Evidence from the Brazilian Amazon. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2017.07.008
  8. *Zhao, J., Kemper, P., Runfola, D., 2017. Quantifying Heterogeneous Causal Treatment Effects in World Bank Development Finance Projects. Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery (ECML PKDD). http://ecmlpkdd2017.ijs.si/papers/paperID507.pdf
  9. *Zhao, J., Runfola, D., Kemper, P. 2017. Simulation Study in Quantifying Heterogeneous Causal Effects. WSC Proceedings. Available online at: http://informs-sim.org/wsc17papers/.
  10. *Runfola, D., Ariel BenYishay, Jeffery Tanner, Graeme Buchanan, Jyoteshwar Nagol, Matthias Leu, Seth Goodman, Rachel Trichler and Robert Marty. 2017. A Top-Down Approach to Estimating Spatially Heterogeneous Impacts of Development Aid on Vegetative Carbon Sequestration. Sustainability 9(3), 409. doi:10.3390/su9030409. http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/9/3/409 .
  11. Runfola, D.M., Samuel Ratick, Julie Blue, Eia Axnia Machado, Nupur Hiremath, Nick Giner, Kathleen White (USACE), Jeffrey Arnold (USACE), 2017. “A Multi-Criteria Geographic Information Systems Approach for the Measurement of Vulnerability to Climate Change.” Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change.
  12. *Marty, R., Dolan, C., Leu, M., Runfola, D. 2017. Taking the Health Aid Debate to the Sub-National Level: The Impact and Allocation of Foreign Health Aid in Malawi. BMJ Global Health. DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2016-000129.
  13. Nawrotzki, R. J., Runfola, D. M., Hunter, L. M., and Riosmena, F. 2016. Domestic and international climate migration from rural Mexico. Human Ecology 44(6), 687-699. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-016-9859-0
  14. Leyk, S., Runfola, D.M., Riosmena, F. ,Hunter, L. and Nawrotzki, R., “Internal and International Mobility as Adaptation to Climatic Variability in Contemporary Mexico: Evidence from the Integration of Census and Satellite Data.” 2016. Population, Space and Place.
  15. *Runfola, D.M., Napier, A., 2016. “Migration, climate, and international aid: examining evidence of satellite, aid, and micro-census data.” Migration and Development.
  16. Kevin Robert Gurney, Paty Romero-Lankao, Karen C. Seto, Lucy R. Hutyra, Riley Duren, Christopher Kennedy, Nancy B. Grimm, James R. Ehleringer, Peter Marcotullio, Sarah Hughes, Stephanie Pincetl, Mikhail V. Chester, Daniel M. Runfola, Johannes J. Feddema, Joshua Sperling. 2015. “Climate change: Track urban emissions on a human scale.” 2015. Nature. 525, 179-181.  doi:10.1038/525179a
  17. Nawrotzki, R. J., Hunter, L. M., Runfola, D. M., Riosmena, F. (2015). Climate change as migration driver from rural and urban Mexico. Environmental Research Letters 10(11), 114023. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/11/114023.
  18. Nawrotzki, R. J., Riosmena, F., Hunter, L. M., Runfola, D. M. (2015). Undocumented migration in response to climate change. International Journal of Population Studies 1(1), 60-74. DOI: 10.18063/IJPS.2015.01.004.
  19. Nawrotzki, R. J., Riosmena, F., Hunter, L. M., & Runfola, D. M, 2015. Amplification or suppression: Social networks and the climate change – migration association in rural Mexico. Global Environmental Change 35, 463-474. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.09.002
  20. Runfola, D.M., Romero-Lankao, P., Leiwen, J., Hunter, L., Nawrotzki, R., and Sanchez, L., 2015. “The Influence of Migration on Exposure to Extreme Weather Events: A Case Study in Mexico.” 2015, Society and Natural Resources.
  21. P. Romero-Lankao, K. Gurney , K. Seto, M. Chester , R. Duren , S. Hughes , L. Hutyra, P. Marcotulio , L. Baker , C. Kennedy , E. Larson , S. Pincetl , D. Runfola , L. Sanchez Peña , G. Shrestha , A. Sarzynski , N. Grimm , J. Sperling , E. Stokes., 2014. Towards a more integrated understanding of urbanization, urban areas and the carbon cycle, Earth’s Future, 2(10). 515-532. *Translated into Chinese Journal for Urban and Regional Planning, 2015.
  22. Runfola, D.M., Hughes, S., 2014. “What makes green cities unique? Examining the economic and political characteristics of grey and green cities.” Land, 3(1), 131-147; doi:10.3390/land3010131.
  23. Marcotullio, Peter J., Sara Hughes, Andrea Sarzynski, Stephanie Pincetl, Landy Sanchez Peña, Patricia Romero‐Lankao, Daniel Runfola, and Karen C. Seto,  2014. "Urbanization and the carbon cycle: Contributions from social science." Earth's Future.
  24. Giner, N.M., Polsky, C., Pontius, Jr., R.G., Runfola, D.M., Ratick, S., 2014. “Creating spatially-explicit lawn maps without classifying remotely-sensed imagery: The case of suburban Boston, Massachusetts, USA.” Cities and the Environment (CATE), 7(1), 10.
  25. Runfola, D.M. (Contributing Author), 2014. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 5, Working Group 2 - Chapter 26. North America.
  26. Patricia Romero-Lankao, Kevin Gurney, Karen Seto, Mikhail Chester, Riley M. Duren, Sara Hughes, Lucy R. Hutyra, Peter Marcotullio, Larry Baker, Nancy B. Grimm, Chris Kennedy, Elisabeth Larson, Stephanie Pincetl, Dan Runfola, Landy Sanchez, Gyami Shrestha, Johannes Feddema, Andrea Sarzynski, Joshua Sperling, and Eleanor Stokes, 2014. “A critical knowledge pathway to low-carbon, sustainable futures: integrated understanding of urbanization, urban areas and carbon.” Earth’s Future.
  27. Runfola, D.M., Pontius Jr., R.G., 2013. "Quantifying the temporal instability of land change transitions." International Journal of GIS, 27(9), 1696-1716.
  28. Runfola, D.M., Polsky, C., Giner, N., Pontius Jr., R.G., Nicolson, C., 2013.  "Future Suburban Development and the Environmental Implications of Lawns: A Case Study in New England, USA"  In: Modeling of Land-Use and Ecological Dynamics: Cities and Nature, D. Czamanski, I. Benenson, and D. Malkinson, eds. Springer: New York.  pp. 119-141.
  29. Runfola, D.M., Polsky, C., Nicolson, C., Giner, N., Pontius Jr., R.G., Krahe, J., Decatur, A., 2013. "A Growing Concern? Examining the Influence of Lawn Size on Residential Water Use in Suburban Boston, MA, USA" Landscape and Urban Planning, 119, 112-123.
  30. *Runfola, D.M., Hamill, T., Pontius, R.G., Rogan, J., Polsky, C., Albert, D., Ratick, S., 2014. “Exploring hybrid remote sensing and interpolative approaches for rapidly mapping discrete units of interest.”  International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research. 
  31. Giner, N.M., Polsky, C., Pontius Jr., R.G., and Runfola, D.M., 2013. "Understanding the determinants of lawn landscapes: A fine-resolution spatial statistical analysis in suburban Boston, Massachusetts, USA." Landscape and Urban Planning, 111, 25-33.
  32. Islam, N., Kitazawar, D., Runfola, D.M., Giner, N., 2012. "Urban Lakes in a Developing Nation: Drivers, States, and Impacts of Water Quality and Quantity in Dhaka, Bangladesh." Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management. 17(4): 253-263.
  33. Gao, Y., Marpu, P., Niemeyer, I., Runfola, D.M., Giner, N., Hamill, T., Pontius, G.R. Jr., 2011. "Object-based classification with features extracted by a semi-automatic feature extraction algorithm - SEaTH." Geocarto International26 (3).
  34. Rogan, J., Bumbarger, N., Kulakowski, D., Christman, Z., Runfola, D.M., Blanchard, S., 2011. "Improving forest type discrimination with mixed lifeform classes using fuzzy classification thresholds informed by field observations." Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing36 (6).
  35. Griffin, S., Rogan, J., Runfola, D.M., 2011. "Application of Spectral and Environmental Variables to Map the Kissimmee Prairie Ecosystem using Classification Trees." GIScience & Remote Sensing48(3).
  36. Fortier, J., Rogan, J., Woodcock, C., Runfola, D.M., 2011. "Utilizing temporally invariant calibration sites to classify multiple dates of satellite imagery." Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing77 (2): p.181.
  37. Runfola, D.M., and Katherine B. Hankins. 2010. "Urban dereliction as environmental injustice." ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 9(3): 345-367

Computer Software (* indicates with William and Mary student co-author)

  1. *Goodman, S., BenYishay, A., Runfola, D., 2017. GeoQuery: Dynamic High Performance Computation for the Retrieval of Arbitrary Spatial Data. Summary Available online at http://www.geoquery.org/. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28363.59686
  2. *Marty, R., Goodman, S., LeFew, M., BenYishay, A., Runfola, D. 2016. GeoSIMEX: A R Package for Estimating Parameters in Linear Models incorporating Spatial Imprecision. https://github.com/itpir/geoSIMEX
  3. Runfola, D., Lv, Miranda, BenYishay, A., 2017. GeoMatch: A R Package for Propensity-Score Matching in Conditions of Intervention Spillover. https://github.com/itpir/geoMatch

Datasets and Reports (* indicates paper with William and Mary student co-author)

  1. *Batra, G., Anand, A., Goodman, S., BenYishay, A., Nyoteshwar, J., Runfola, D., 2017. A Value for Money Analysis of GEF Interventions in Land Degradation and Biodiversity, http://www.gefieo.org/evaluations/value-money-analysis-gef-interventions-land-degradation-and-biodiversity
  1. Runfola, D.M., BenYishay, A., Buchanan, G., Nagol, J., Tanner, J., Environmental Impact of World Bank Projects: A Case Study of Integrating Value for Money Analysis into Impact Evaluations. What Works? Value for Money in Impact Evaluations. Independent Evaluation Group, the World Bank.
  2. Polsky, C., Pontius, R., Giner, N., Decatur, A., Runfola, D.M., and Rakshit, R., Plum Island Ecosystems LTER Landcover, 2013.  Marine Biological Laboratory. Available Online: http://pie-lter.ecosystems.mbl.edu/content/holmes-land-cover
  3. Polsky, C., Pontius, R., Giner, N., Decatur, A., Runfola, D.M., and Rakshit, R., “HERO Object-based lawn mapping exploration of suburbia: rationale, methods and results for the NSF Plum Island Ecosystems Long-term Ecological Research Site.


Courses designed and taught at William and Mary:

Applied Machine Learning (APSC 691)
Data Driven Decisionmaking (DATA 201/301 [COLL 200])

Computational Geography (APSC 691)

Breaking Intuition: How Data is Changing Our World (DATA 100 [COLL 100])

Courses taught at other institutions:

Decision Methods for Environmental Management and Policy (GEOG 261), Clark University

Formal Training

Seminar in College Teaching, Worcester State University (Fall 2011)

Workshop on Undergraduate Mentoring, Clark University (Summer 2010)

Student Advising at William and Mary


Self-designed major advisor

Mollie Gaines, Lauren Hobbs, Noah Kim, Emma Lather, Hyun-Jik Lee, Graham Melville, Elizabeth Rosen, Campbell Scheuerman, Mallika Suri, Daniel Tay, Jennifer Traver, Audrey Way, Hemasree Yeluru, Rebecca Youngerman

Undergraduate RAs*, Monroe Scholars**, and Honors Thesis***


Institutional (William and Mary) and Extramural Service

Reviewer -

Journals & Books: Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management, Environmental Management, Landscape and Urban Planning, International Journal of GIS, Remote Sensing of Environment, Remote Sensing, Mitigation and Adaptation, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Elsevier Global Books, Geoscience, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Development Engineering, Nature Sustainability, PLoS One, Land Degradation & Development, Climatic Change

Grant Competitions: National Science Foundation (Geography and Spatial Sciences), Department of Homeland Security (BTI Center of Excellence), United States Agency for International Development

Service at the College of William and Mary

Awards, Honors, and Press Coverage

Select Invited Events & Lectures

Other Presentations