Office: (269) 387-3345
3238 Wood Hall, Mail Stop 5424
Department of Geography
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5424 USA
Ph.D., Geography, Michigan State University, 2002
M.A., Geography, Western Michigan University, 1998
B.S., Earth Science, Central Michigan University, 1995
Certified Geographic Information Systems Professional
Kathleen Baker is associate professor in the Department of Geography at Western Michigan University. Her research combines geographic methods for spatial and temporal analysis with field-based research in the physical sciences such as geology, soil science, meteorology/ climatology, and plant pathology.
Dr. Baker was awarded funding from the USDA to develop methods for a multi-scale, multi-crop, multi-regional crop disease forecasting system based on new publicly available data sources and web based information delivery systems. The overarching goal of the project is to reduce the impact of weather sensitive diseases on profitable crop production in the US, while at the same time reducing fungicide input. The project involves high volumes of data, integration of data sources, scientific workflows, and online access to daily forecasts. As a proof of concept that such a system will be beneficial in a variety of cropping systems throughout the U.S., leaf spot of peanut in Georgia and northern Florida, Fusarium head blight of barley in the northern Great Plains, and late blight of potato in Michigan are used as regional case studies.
Dr. Baker is also a co-PI on the NSF funded GeoBRAENS (Geocognitive Basic Research and Expert-Novice Studies) project. The purpose of this research is to develop a better understanding of how geologists solve problems and perform geologic mapping tasks. Dr. Baker’s role is in the analysis of field navigation data, GPS tracks, and maps produced during controlled mapping tasks. Ultimately, this knowledge may help us to improve the education of future geoscience students.
She is a member of the Association of American Geographers and the International Network for Information Technology in Agriculture.