Nost, Eric

Dr. Eric Nost
Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
519 824-4120 ext. 53279

Political ecology; digital governance; environmental planning, markets, and justice; webmapping.

I research how data technologies inform environmental governance. New kinds of data-generating sensors and data-synthesizing algorithms are becoming central to everyday life and may prove transformational in policy too. A key challenge for geographers in the coming years is assessing these technologies’ promise to help society solve sustainability issues related to food security, climate change adaptation, and ecosystem services conservation. This will be done by understanding their human dimensions - their design, use, maintenance, and effects on society - alongside other governance trends such as marketization and metrification. It will involve understanding how these data systems came but also experimenting with them towards more just and equitable ends.

My work contributes to the field of political ecology and is currently supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant. I teach undergraduate courses in nature-society geography and mapping as well as graduate courses in research methods and in Guelph's Master of Conservation Leadership program. I serve on the coordinating committee of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), where we bring people together to analyze publicly available socio-environmental data and track the portrayal of climate change issues on the web.

GEOG*1220 Human Impact on the Environment
GEOG*2480 Mapping and GIS
GEOG*4480 Contemporary Geographical Thought
CONS*6030 Conservation Tools and technology
GEOG*6091 Geographical Research Methods II

For a full list of publications, see my CV here. For webmapping and other programming projects, visit my Github page.

Nost, E. and E. Colven. 2022. Earth for AI: A Political Ecology of Data-Driven Climate Initiatives. Geoforum.

Goldstein, J. and E. Nost, eds. 2022. The Nature of Data: Infrastructures, Environments, Politics. University of Nebraska Press.

Duncan, E., A. Glaros, D. Ross, & E. Nost. 2021. New but for whom? Discourses of innovation in precision agriculture. Agriculture and Human Values.

Machen, R. and E. Nost. 2021. Thinking algorithmically: The making of hegemonic knowledge in climate governance. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Nost, E., M. Robertson, and R. Lave. 2019. Q-method and the performance of subjectivity: Reflections from a survey of US stream restoration practitioners. Geoforum 105: 23-31.

Walker, D., E. Nost, A. Lemelin, R. Lave, and L. Dillon. 2018. Practicing environmental data justice: From DataRescue to Data Together. Geo.

Moore, S., R. Roth, H. Rosenfeld, E. Nost, K. Vincent, T. Buckingham, M.R. Arefin. 2017. Undisciplining Environmental Justice Research with Visual Storytelling Geoforum.

Nost, E., H. Rosenfeld, K. Vincent, S. Moore, and R.E. Roth. 2017. HazMatMapper: An online and interactive geographic visualization tool for exploring transnational flows of hazardous waste and environmental justiceJournal of Maps 13(1): 14-23. Map . Shortlisted for Journal of Maps’s 2017 “Best Map” award.

Nost, E. 2015. Performing nature’s value: software and the making of Oregon’s ecosystem services marketsEnvironment and Planning: A 47 (12): 2573-2590.

I am recruiting a Master's of Arts student with interests in agri-environmental stewardship, geospatial technology, and science-policy interfaces, to start in Fall 2023. The MA student will complete a social science research project on best practices for agri-environmental data management and use, conducting focus groups with and surveying stakeholders including farmers, farmer organizations, Indigenous communities, conservation authorities, conservation NGOs, and governments. The thesis research will support colleagues who are developing a WebGIS platform to enable stakeholders to identify agri-environmental hot spots at a field scale in the Lake Erie Basin and prioritize investments in conservation actions (see Liu et al. 2018). The research is funded by the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph via the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

The MA student will gain research skills related to focus group and Q survey methods (Nost et al. 2019). A key component of the research involves knowledge mobilization alongside collaborators - an opportunity for the student to enhance their project management and public communication skills.

I am also looking to recruit a Master of Arts student to research the design of government datasets in Canada and/or the US (e.g. the National Pollutant Release Inventory or the Enforcement and Compliance History Online datasets) and to experiment in alternative uses of them. This research could inform ongoing policy discussions such as those around Canada's Bill C-230 and the US's Justice40 initiative, both of which seek to develop data infrastructures for advancing environmental justice. The student would have the opportunity to collaborate with EDGI members on this project.

The Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at Guelph and I aim to foster welcoming and collaborative spaces that value diversity and wellness. I encourage applications from all qualified individuals, including from justice-seeking groups and those underrepresented in higher education. Prospective applicants should contact me via email - - and forward an unofficial transcript, resume or CV, and a brief statement outlining their interests as they relate to the project.

Graduate Students Supervised

Name Research
M.A. Farshchi, Asana
M.A. Jesmer, Hope Research interests: agrifood systems, soil nutrient management, policy support tools.
M.A. Ross, Zo Research interests: precision conservation.
M.A. Singer, Noah Research interests: Web Mapping, Data Governance, Cartography
M.A. Zokaei Ashtiani, Mahya Evaluating social and environmental justice and sense of place in energy transitions.
M.A. 2021 MacIntyre, Jillian Agroecological Farming Methodologies as Climate Change Resilience on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
M.A. 2021 O'Brien, Aidan Soil organic carbon decision-support systems: Integrating salience, credibility and legitimacy.
Ph.D. 2023 Glaros, Alex Sustainable Food Systems' Transformations, from Critique to Practice: Describing and designing food futures.