Lei Zou

Lei Zou

Assistant Professor

Geographic information science (GIScience), spatial big data analytics, social sensing, remote sensing, human-environment interactions, disaster resilience, sustainability


  (979) 458-1803

  CSA 203D


Dr. Lei Zou’s research interest is mining big geospatial data to analyze, model, and manage human-environment interactions. Currently, he serves as the PI/Co-PI for several NSF and TAMU funded projects to develop theoretical and intelligent algorithms to analyze geospatial Big Data, improve community resilience to hazards (e.g., hurricanes, flooding, drought, and covid-19), and build sustainability in integrated socio-environmental systems. Meanwhile, Lei is collaborating on projects to understand disparities of disaster resilience using social media, simulate population dynamics and wetland loss in coastal regions, evaluate community resilience in multiple spatial-temporal scales, and predict older adults’ social networks. 

Understanding the impacts and feedbacks between human and natural systems is the key to building sustainable futures for both systems. To build disaster resilience capacities and achieve long-term sustainability in different communities, Dr. Zou’s research focuses on:

  • Social sensing for disaster resilience and management;
  • GeoAI for spatial data collection and analytics;
  • Coupled natural-human (CNH) dynamics modeling for coastal sustainability.

Dr. Zou is currently leading the Geospatial Exploration and Resolution (GEAR) Research Group at TAMU. He serves as the Communication Director for the Geographic Information Sciences & Systems (GISS) Group of American Association of Geographers. He is also a member of the Research Committee, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), and the Research Agenda Committee, Commission on Geospatial Analysis and Modeling of the International Cartographic Association (ICA).

The GEAR Research Group is actively recruiting graduate students (M.S. or Ph.D.) as well as visiting scholars/students. If you are interested in working with me on GIScience, geospatial big data mining, disaster resilience, and coupled natural-human system modeling, please send me an email (lzou@tamu.edu). Every self-motivated student is extremely welcome to join the GEAR research group. If you have great passion in academia, you will have the opportunity to participate in many research projects. If you are fascinated with cutting-edge GIS technologies, you will have the resources and support to train your skills, access devices, and attend technical workshops. Through a customized tutoring plan for each student, our goal is to help you realize your career goals!

Selected Publications

  • 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.
  • Mihunov, V., Lam, N.S.N., Zou, L., Wang, Z. and Wang, K. 2020. Use of twitter in Disaster Rescue: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Harvey. International Journal of Digital Earth, DOI:10.1080/17538947.2020.1729879.
  • Zhang, B., Benediktsson, J.A., Chen, Z., Peng, D., Liu, B., Zou, L., Li, J. and Plaza, A. 2019. Remotely sensed Big Data: evolution in model development for information extraction. Proceedings of the IEEE, 107(12):2294-2301.
  • Zou, L., Lam, N.S.N. and Cai, H. 2019. A framework for analyzing and visualizing Twitter use patterns during natural hazards. US National Report (US National Committee for the International Cartographic Association) (July 2019), https://cartogis.org/usnc-ica/us-national-report/.
  • Chen, X., Zou, L. and Zhao, B. 2019. Detecting climate change deniers on Twitter using a deep neural network. In ACM 11th International Conference on Machine Learning and Computing (ICMLC). 204-210.
  • Bushra, N., Rohli, R.V., Lam, N.S.N., Zou, L., Mostafiz, R.B. and Mihunov, V. 2019. The relationship between the normalized difference vegetation index and drought indices in the south-central United States. Natural Hazards, DOI: 10.1007/s11069-019-03569-5.
  • Mihunov, V., Lam, N.S.N., Rohli, R.V., and Zou, L. 2019. Emerging disparities in community resilience to drought hazard in south-central United States. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 41:101302.
  • Kirby, R., Reams, M.A., Lam, N.S.N., Zou, L., Dekker, G. and Fundter D.Q.P. 2019. Assessing social vulnerability to flood hazards in the Dutch Province of Zeeland. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, DOI: 10.1007/s13753-019-0222-0
  • Li, R., Leifer, D., Schoof, J., Zou, L. and Crowe, J. 2019. Beyond big data: Social media challenges and opportunities for understanding social perception of energy. Energy Research & Social Science, 56:101217.
  • Lam, N.S.N, Xu, Y.J., Pace, R.K., Liu, K.B., Qiang, Y., Narra, S., Bianchette, T.A., Cai, H., Zou, L., Li, K., Joshi, S. and Mihunov, V. 2019. Collaboration across Boundaries: Reflections on Studying the Sustainability of the Mississippi River Delta as a Coupled Natural-Human System in Across Boundaries for Interdisciplinary Environmental Systems Science: Experiences Around the World (eds: Stephen Prez and Palgrave Macmillion).
  • 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 of disaster resilience during Hurricane Harvey. International Journal of Digital Earth, DOI: 10.1080/17538947.2018.1545878
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mihunov, V., Lam, N.S.N., Zou, L., Rohli, R.V., Bushra, N., Reams, M.A., and Argote, J.E. 2018. Community resilience to drought hazard in South-central United States. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(3):739-755.
  • Cai, H. Lam, N.S.N., Qiang, Y., *Zou, L., Correll, R. and Mihunov, V. 2018. A synthesis of disaster resilience measurement methods and indices. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 31:844-855 (*Corresponding author).
  • 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, SI85:1401-1405.
  • 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., Zou, L. and Mihunov, V. 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. 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.
  • Rohli, R.V., Bushra, N., Lam, N.S.N., Zou, L., Mihunov, V., Reams, M.A. and Argote, J.E. 2016. Drought indices as drought predictors in the south-central USA.Natural Hazards, 83(3):1567-1582.
  • Shen, Q., Li, J., Zhang, B., Wu, Y., Zou, L. and Wu T. 2016. Analyzing spectral characteristics of water involving in-situ multi-angle polarized reflectance and extraction of water-leaving radiance. Spectroscopy and Spectral Analysis, 36(10):3269-3273.
  • 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.
  • Zhang, F., Zhang, B., Li, J., Shen, Q., Wu, Y., Wang, G., Zou, L. and Wang, S. 2014. Validation of a synthetic chlorophyll index for remote estimates of chlorophyll-a in a turbid hypereutrophic lake.International Journal of Remote Sensing, 35(1):289-305.
  • Zou, L., Zhang, B., Li, J., Shen, Q., Zhang, F. and Wang, G.L. 2014. A study on retrieval algorithm of black water aggregation in Taihu Lake based on HJ-1 satellite images. InIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 17(1):012100.
  • Zou, L., Zhang, B., Li, J., Song, Y., Shen, Q. and Li, L. 2012, July. A comparative analysis of the ‘transmittance’ method between using integrating sphere and filter holders for measuring light absorption by aquatic particles. InGeoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), 2012 IEEE International. 2567-2570.
  • Li, J., Zhang, B., Shen, Q., Zou, L. and Li, L., 2012, July. Monitoring water quality of Lake Taihu from HJ-CCD data using empirical models. InGeoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), 2012 IEEE International. 812-815.


Ph.D., Environmental Science, Louisiana State University

M.S., Geographic Information Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences

B.E., Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry, Wuhan University


2019 ICA Scholarship, International Cartographic Association.

2018 CC&E Outstanding Student Dissertation Award, College of Coast & Environment, Louisiana State University.

2018 Dr. Joseph Martinez Memorial Award, College of Coast & Environment, Louisiana State University.

2017 Spring/Summer Dissertation Year Assistantship Grant, Louisiana State University.

2016 Graduate Dean’s Summer Research Stipend Grant, Louisiana State University.

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