The University of Texas at Dallas

Endowed Chairs and Professorships

Dr. May Yuan

Professor May Yuan in studio photo School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

The University of Texas System supports the professorship.


Yuan is interested in using GIS data to find direct social implications for policymaking and decision-making in everyday life.


Geospatial revolution has changed the ways we think, behave and interact through location-aware devices, location-based services, Web mapping applications and crowd-sourced or volunteered geographic information. We have access to so much information about where we are, what is nearby and how to get to places. There are great opportunities for us to develop effective approaches to making sense of the data, analyzing alternative scenarios, communicating geographic dynamics and collaborating on what we can do to make the world a better place.

Professor of Geospatial Information Sciences
Ashbel Smith Professor

Dr. May Yuan joined UT Dallas’ School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences in fall 2014 as a professor of geospatial information sciences (GIS) and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Before her arrival at UT Dallas, Yuan was a Brandt Professor and Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and served as director of the Center for Spatial Analysis.

Yuan studies fundamental and applied GIS science by developing new data models and analysis methods to address environmental and social problems such as wildfire risk, tornado hazard, air pollution, offender monitoring, crime mapping and spatial cognition. Her recent work expands to spatial data science.

Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and various state government agencies and the industry.

Yuan serves as the chief editor for the International Journal of Geographic Information Science. She is also a member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee; the academic program committee of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation; and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Geospatial Science and Human Security at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She was the president of the University Consortium for Geographical Information Science (2011-2012) and president of the Cartography and Geographical Science Society (2019-2020).

Yuan earned her bachelor’s degree in geography from National Taiwan University. She holds a master’s degree and a PhD in geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo.