J. Dennis Baldwin

J. Dennis Baldwin

Course Instructor | Independent Study Mentor

Area of Interest

Archaeology, Remote Sensing, Lidar, Water Management, Subsistence and Settlement Patterns


I am a PhD student in Geography at the University of Texas at Austin, originally from Ithaca, New York.  I recently finished my MA in Geography at UT Austin, and have a BA in Anthropology and a BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. My research explores the ancient landscape of the Maya through analysis of lidar data combined with traditional archeological field methods including survey and excavation. For my Master’s thesis fieldwork, I excavated an ancient dam and an adjacent residential group in order to understand the chronology of settlement and water management strategies near the major Maya center of El Zotz in north-central Guatemala. My prospective PhD research will explore similar themes at other sites across the Maya lowlands in order to gain a better understanding of human-environment interactions across the wider landscape.

Why students should study GIS? Every discipline whether it is in the “hard” sciences, social sciences, business, and beyond, has a spatial element which can be better understood using the powerful tools available to GIS practitioners. Familiarity with GIS analysis allows students to gain a better understanding of our increasingly complex and globalized world. From a practical standpoint, students can also achieve a competitive edge on the job market by becoming more adept with GIS tools.