Peter Sforza, Director

Peter Sforza, Director for the Center for Geospatial Information Technology, provides leadership for the center's research and sponsored projects, management and operations. Initiatives include a broad range of geospatial research and applications for safety and security, health IT, 3-D, context-neutral data mining and visualization techniques.

Sforza brings a wealth of interdisciplinary experience in the geospatial research arena across multiple units at Virginia Tech, including: Virginia Tech Information Technology Strategic Initiatives, Center for Geospatial Information Technology, Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing, and the Department of Geography. By bringing together interdisciplinary teams around complex problems of a geospatial nature that leverage geographic information systems capabilities and academic strengths, he has enjoyed success in the following activities:

  • Development of web mapping applications with Enterprise GIS using Google Earth and ArcGIS Server
  • Coordination of a research team to develop a 3D Blacksburg simulation using lidar, digital photogrammetry, X3D, and available data layers
  • Co-founder of the Virginia Tech Sustainable Nightscape Research Group, focusing on high resolution nighttime oblique photography and spatial data for safety, security and sustainability applications of the natural and built nighttime environment
  • Development of meteorological data assimilation capability with Enterprise GIS and various partners
  • Collaborative work with the New River Valley Planning District Commission's Green Infrastructure Committee and regional planners
  • Creation and teaching of graduate/undergraduate course on web mapping
  • Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing at Virginia Tech

Since 2004, Sforza continues to serve as coordinator for the VirginiaView program under the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech. Sforza manages all VirginiaView activities and staff, including consortium development, data archives, outreach, and research projects.

Prior to his work with VirginiaView, Sforza served as an extension research associate under the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science at Virginia Tech. He served as an extension specialist and statewide coordinator for programs in integrated pest management related to plant pathology and weed science. In this role, Sforza worked with national-scale programs related to agricultural biosecurity.

Selected Grants

2009. Virginia Viticultural Association. High Resolution Vineyard Site Suitability Mapping for Virginia. J. Boyer, T. Wolf, and P. Sforza.

2009. ASF AADN Data Grant: ALOS-PALSAR for land subsidence measurements in eastern Virginia. Sforza and Burbey.

2004-2009. VirginiaView: Stateview Operations for the State of Virginia. J.B. Campbell, et al.

2007. AmericaView/CaliforniaView. "Interactive web tutorial for remote sensing applications," $37,000. Pis: James B. Campbell, Randy Wynne, and Peter Sforza.

2005. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) "Ultra High Resolution Interactive Information Visualization," $497,933. PI: Chris North, Department of Computer Science. PI: Laurence W. Carstensen Jr. Collaborators: James B. Campbell and Peter Sforza.

2004. Virginia Tech Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (CEUT) Teaching-Learning Grant "3-D physical model library for understanding digital elevation models, scaling, and remote sensing data," $3750. P. Sforza, J. B. Campbell, and L. W. Carstensen.

2004-2007. Virginia Tech Summer Training Academy for Rising Students (VT-STARS). PI: Ed McPherson, Co-PIs: Phil Eisenhour and Peter Sforza. U.S. Department of Education. $397,460. Active 4/2004-10/2007.

2002-2005. Southern Plant Diagnostic Network - Virginia Diagnostic and Information Technology. PIs: Erik Stromberg and Peter Sforza. Subcontract through University of Florida, USDA-CSREES 2002-30001-12082. $44,000 in 2002-3; $36,000 in 2003-4.

Selected Publications

Sforza, P. and J. B. Campbell. 2006. VirginiaView's Atlas of Virginia. A collection of maps and data layers for Virginia featuring remotely sensed imagery. In coordination with the Virginia Department of Education, the Atlas will be delivered to approximately 400 schools in over 100 counties in Virginia. Maps can be viewed as layered PDFs, ESRI MXDs, or PNGs. Examples available at Http://

Crooks, T., P. Sforza, S. Theirl. 2004. "AmericaView Soybean Rust White Paper." Special report prepared by AmericaView for USDA-APHIS on the opportunities for remote sensing in U.S. Agricultural biosecurity.

Sforza, P. and L.W. Carstensen. 2004. "National Elevation Data for Slope and Aspect Calculations in ArcGIS." The Virginia Geospatial Newsletter, Volume 2, Number 2, 10-11. Futrell, M. and P. Sforza. 2004. "Converting VBMP Digital Terrain Model to a Digital Elevation Model for Raster Analysis Applications." The Virginia Geospatial Newsletter, Volume 2, Number 3, 9-10.

Sforza, P., R. Wynne, S. Popescu, and Z. Bortolot. 2004. "The power of 3-dimensional visualization and immersive virtual environments for improving lidar processing algorithms." In Proceedings of the ASPRS 2004 Annual Conference. Denver, CO. May 23-28.

Sforza, P. 2003. "The biocomplexity of barley yellow dwarf disease." In Mathematical Modeling of the Spread of Agricultural Bioterrorism Agents - Summary of an Open Conference. Scientific and Technical Intelligence Committee, National Intelligence Council. September 16-17, 2003. The MITRE Corporation, McClean, VA.

Sforza, P., S. Moore, and E.L. Stromberg 2003. Visualization of Wheat Virus Epidemiology in Virginia. ESRI Spatial Farmer Newsletter. Spring 2003. Page 6.

Sforza, P., S. Moore, E.L. Stromberg, and D.A. Herbert. 2001. Using a geographic information system as a tool to improve the integrated management of barley yellow dwarf in Virginia wheat. Phytopathology 91: S81. Publication no. P-2001-0587-AMA.

Sforza, P. and A. Baudoin. 2000. Latent Period, Incubation, Incubation Period. The Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Pp. 569-570 and pp. 606-607.

Sforza, P. and K. K. Hatzios. 2000. Development of 3-D animations and virtual reality environments for teaching in weed science and agricultural pest management. Phytopathology 90:S71. Publication no. P-2000-0506-AMA.

Sforza, P., S. A. Tolin, and E. L. Stromberg. 2000. Survey of a farm in Henrico County, Virginia for reservoirs of barley yellow dwarf viruses using ELISA. Phytopathology 90:S133. Publication no. P-2000-0018-PTA.

Sforza, P., C. W. Roane, and K. K. Hatzios. 2000. History of plant pathology in Virginia: A 110-year chronology. Phytopathology 90:S133. Publication no. P-2000-0017-PTA.

Sforza, P., E.S. Hagood, and E.L. Stromberg. 1999. Effect of transgene Bt toxin and applications of tefluthrin, azoxystrobin and propiconazole on yield and agronomic characters of near-isoline double-cropped corn in Virginia. Phytopathology 89: S101.

Selected Professional Activities

2006 - present | Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing

2006 | Chair, Virginia Tech GIS and Remote Sensing Research Symposium. Blacksburg, VA.

2005 | Co-chair, Virginia Tech GIS and Remote Sensing Research Symposium Blacksburg, VA.

2005 - 2008 | American Phytopathological Society Board Member Office of Electronic Communications

2004 - 2007 | American Phytopathological Society Epidemiology Committee

2004 - 2006 | American Association of Geographers

2003 - 2005 | National Plant Diagnostic Network Epidemiology Committee

2003 - 2005 | Virginia CAPS (Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey) Committee

2003 - 2004 | Advisor to ScienCentral, Inc. Science and Technology News for the public

2003 - present | Member, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

2002 - 2005 | Southern Plant Diagnostic Network (SPDN) IT representative for Virginia

2001 - 2004 | Virginia Cooperative Extension liaison to Plant Health Management Network

1999 - 2002 | Graduate Student Committee, American Phytopathological Society

1997 - present | American Phytopathological Society, Member

1998 - 2006 | Entomological Society of America, Member

1998 - 2005 | Weed Science Society of America, Member

1997 - present | Phi Sigma Biological Honor Society

1999 | Chair, 15th Annual Graduate Research Symposium of Virginia Tech

1999 - 2000 | Departmental Advisory Committee

1998 - 2000 | University Commission on Outreach, Member

1998 - 2004 | Department and College Computing Committee

1998 - 2004 | Virginia IPM Educational Program for Extension