Heng Cai

Heng Cai

Instructional Assistant Professor

GIScience, geostatistics, disaster resilience, integrated social-environmental dynamics modeling


  Eller O&M 707C


Dr. Cai’s research primarily focuses on GIScience, disaster resilience, and integrated social-environmental dynamics modeling. Her main research goal is to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the complex coastal environmental and human systems under the recurrent and long-lasting threats of climate change and natural disasters. She has worked for several research projects funded by the national science foundation (NSF), Louisiana sea-grant, and coastal protection and restoration authority (CPRA). In recent years, Dr. Cai has focused her efforts on evaluating disaster resilience at multiple geographical scales, modeling land area changes and population relocation, and developing simulation tools to inform decision-making for community resilience enhancement.

Selected Publications

Selected peer-reviewed journal articles:

Correll, R., Lam, N.S.N., Mihunov, V., Zou, L. and Cai, H. 2020. Economics over Risk: Flooding is not the only driving factor of migration considerations on a vulnerable coast. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1766409

Cai, H., Lam, N.S.N., Zou, L. and Qiang, Y. 2018. Modeling the dynamics of community resilience to coastal hazards using a Bayesian network. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(5):1260-1279.

Cai, H., Lam, N.S.N., Qiang, Y., Zou, L., Correll, R. and Mihunov, V. 2018. A synthesis of resilience measurement methods and indices. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 31:844-855.

Zou, L., Lam, N.S.N., Cai, H., and Qiang Y. 2018. Mining Twitter data for improved understanding of disaster resilience. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(5): 1422-1441.

Lam, N.S.N., Cheng, W.J., Zou, L., and Cai, H. 2018. Effects of landscape fragmentation on land loss. Remote Sensing of Environment, 209:253-262.

Zou, L., Lam, N.S.N., Shams, S., Cai, H., Meyer, M.A., Yang, S., Lee, K., Park, S.J. and Reams, M.A. 2018. Social and geographical disparities in Twitter use during Hurricane Harvey. International Journal of Digital Earth, DOI: 10.1080/17538947.2018.1545878

Lam, N.S.N., Qiang, Y., Li, K., Cai, H., Zou, L., and Mihunov, V. 2018. Extending resilience assessment to dynamic system modeling: Perspectives on human dynamics and climate change research. Journal of Coastal Research, 85(sp1):1401-1405.

Zhang, Z., Hu, H., Yin, D., Kashem, S., Li, R., Cai, H., Perkins, D. and Wang, S. 2018. A cyberGIS-enabled multi-criteria spatial decision support system: A case study on flood emergency management. International Journal of Digital Earth, DOI: 10.1080/17538947.2018.1543363

Lam, N.S.N., Xu, Y.J., Liu, K.B., Dismukes, D.E., Reams, M.A., Pace, R.K., Qiang, Y., Narra S., Li, K., Bianchette, T., Cai, H. and Zou, L. 2018. Understanding the Mississippi River Delta as a coupled natural-human system: research methods, challenges, and prospects. Water, 10(8):1054.

Qiang, Y., Lam, N.S.N., Cai, H. and Zou, L. 2017. Changes in exposure to flood hazards in the United States. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 107(6):1-19.

Cai, H., Lam, N.S.N., Zou, L., Qiang, Y. and Li, K. 2016. Assessing community resilience to coastal hazards in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. Water, 8(2):46.

Zou, L., Kent, J., Lam, N.S.N., Cai, H., Qiang, Y. and Li, K. 2015. Evaluating land subsidence rates and their implications for land loss in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. Water, 8(1):10.

Li, K., Lam, N.S.N., Qiang, Y., Zou, L. and Cai, H. 2015. A cyberinfrastructure for community resilience assessment and visualization. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 42(sup1):34-39.


Ph.D.  Environmental Science, Louisiana State University, 2017

M.S. Geographic Information Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, 2013              

B.E.  Surveying and Mapping, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, China, 2010


2019 - Local Organizing Committee travel grant for the 29th International Cartographic Conference (ICC2019)

2017- University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) summer school and Symposium travel fund

2017 - International Cartography Association (ICA) travel grant for the 28th International Cartographic Conference

2017 - Jeanne X. Kasperson Award, Hazards, Risk, and Disasters Specialty Group, Association of American Geographers

Additional Information

Courses Taught:

Applications in GIS

GIS Programming



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