Jim Merchant

Jim Merchant

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  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
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  • Expertise & Interests
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  • Courses Taught
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Title Geographer and GIScientist
Address 306 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
68583-0973
Phone 402-472-3471
FAX 402-472-2946
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James "Jim" W. Merchant Jr., 67, professor of geography, died Feb. 27. Merchant was part of UNL's School of Natural Resources, having served as director and associate director of the Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies.

"Jim loved UNL and the School of Natural Resources," said SNR director John Carroll. "But more importantly, he loved geography and teaching students. When he was getting sick, the thing he was most concerned about were the students in his courses. We have lost a colleague, friend and true academic."

Born Nov. 10, 1947, to James W. and Emely (Wilson) Merchant, Sr., he earned an undergraduate degree at Townson State University. Merchant was awarded graduate and doctoral degrees at the University of Kansas.

He began his career as a senior remote sensing specialist with the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program at the University of Kansas Space Technology Center. He went on to serve as an assistant professor of geography at the University of Kansas from 1986 to 1989.

In 1989, Merchant moved from Kansas to Nebraska to accept a position as associate director of UNL's Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies. The addition of Merchant to the CALMIT team greatly enhanced and broadened the scope of the center's activities. His research in this position focused on land-cover mapping with coarse-resolution satellite data. He went on to serve as director of CALMIT from 2008 to 2011.

In addition to his appointments as a geography professor in SNR and as a research scientist in CALMIT, he held a courtesy professor appointment in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.

"Jim was thoughtful and articulate in his communications with other scholars and managers, and he worked to stay connected -everyone knew Jim Merchant," said Don Rundquist, emeritus professor and former CALMIT director. "Jim had exceptional skill in dealing with the staff of governmental agencies and he definitely knew how to get things done. He was a major player in the widespread implementation of GIS technology in the state of Nebraska."

Merchant's research and teaching interests focused on applications of remote sensing and GIS in natural resources management and environmental assessment. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in these areas, and also offered an annual professional seminar focusing on research methods and professional development in geography.

Merchant was a member of the Association of American Geographers, an elected fellow of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, and co-founder of the MidAmerica GIS Consortium. Some of his awards include: John Wesley Powell Award from the U.S. Geological Survey (1997), Outstanding Contributions Award from the Nebraska GIS/LIS Association (1999), Career Achievements Award from the MidAmerica GIS Consortium (2004), and Outstanding Service Award from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (2008).

"Jim was a consummate citizen of both the School of Natural Resources and the geography program at UNL," said Paul Hanson, SNR associate director." He readily volunteered to serve the unit and within the last several weeks was writing portions of SNR's current Academic Program Review document even though he was months away from his June 2015 retirement. On a more personal note, Jim frequently provided me with advice, particularly in the past year and a half, much of which helped me tremendously in my career. Jim will be greatly missed by those in SNR."

Survivors include Merchant's wife, Loyola Caron; son, Karl; daughter, Anne; siblings, Rob Merchant, Wes Merchant, Betsy Phelps, Cathy Franklin; and eight nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will take place at 10:30 a.m., March 6 at Roper and Sons Chapel, 4300 O St.

In lieu of flowers, individuals are asked to contribute to the University of Nebraska Foundation in Merchant's name. Donations will go toward a forthcoming fund that will provide support to UNL's geography program. Contact Josh Egley, director of development for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, at 402-458-1202 or jegley@nufoundation.org to make a donation.

Selected Publications

Li, Ruopu, James W Merchant and Xun-Hong Chen. 2014. A Geospatial Approach for Assessing Groundwater Vulnerability to Nitrate Contamination in Agricultural Settings, Water, Soil and Air Pollution, 225:2214.
Kessler, A., J. Merchant, S. Shultz and C. Allen. 2013. Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Sandhill Crane Habitat Management, Journal of Wildlife Management, 77 (7): 1301-1310.
Li, R. and J. Merchant. 2013. Modeling Vulnerability of Groundwater to Pollution under Future Scenarios of Climate Change and Biofuels-related Land Use Change: A Case Study in North Dakota, USA, The Science of the Total Environment, 447 (2013): 32–45.
Merchant, J. and M. Vaitkus. 2013. Remote Sensing Identifies Impacts of Climate Variability on Reservoirs, Environmental Change: Meeting the Challenges with Remote Sensing Imagery (R. Dodge and R. Congalton, eds.), Alexandria, VA: American Geosciences Institute, 68-69.
Merchant, J. and P. Dappen. 2013. Remote Sensing Enables Modeling of Groundwater Pollution Risk, Environmental Change: Meeting the Challenges with Remote Sensing Imagery (R. Dodge and R. Congalton, eds.), Alexandria, VA: American Geosciences Institute, 54-57.
Li, Ruopu, Qingfeng Guan and James Merchant. 2012. A geospatial modeling framework for assessing biofuels-related land-use and land-cover change. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 161: 17–26.
Kessler, Andrew C., James W. Merchant, Craig R. Allen, and Steven D. Shultz. 2011. Invasive Plants Impacts on Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Roosting Habitat. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 4(4): 369-377.
Baasch, D., J. Fischer, S. Hygnstrom, K. VerCauteren, A. Tyre, J. Millspaugh, J. Merchant and J. Volesky. 2010. Resource Selection by Elk in an Agro-forested Landscape in Northwestern Nebraska. Environmental Management, 46:725-737
Merchant, J.W. and P.R. Dappen. 2010. Employing a Geographic Information System for Wetlands Management in Nebraska's Rainwater Basin, Chapter 7 in Geospatial Technologies in Environmental Management (pp. 103-118), N. Hoalst-Pullen and M.W. Patterson, eds., New York: Springer.
Miller, T.K., C.R. Allen, W.G. Landis and J.W. Merchant. 2010. Risk Assessment: Simultaneously Prioritizing the Control of Invasive Plant Species and the Conservation of Rare Plant Species. Biological Conservation, 143: 2070-2079.
Merchant, J. W. and S. Narumalani. 2009. Integration of Remote Sensing and GIS, Chapter 17 in Handbook of Remote Sensing (T. Warner, D. Nellis and G. Foody, eds.). Sage Publications.
Dappen, P.R., I. Ratcliffe, C. Robbins and J.W. Merchant. 2008. Mapping Agricultural Land Cover for Hydrologic Modeling in the Platte River Watershed of Nebraska. Great Plains Research, 18(1): 39-52.
Bulley, H., D. Marx, J. Merchant, J. Holz and A. Holz. 2008. A Comparison of Nebraska Reservoir Classes Estimated from Watershed-Based Classification Models and Ecoregions, Journal of Environmental Informatics, 11(2): 90-102.
Bulley, H., J. Merchant, D. Marx, J. Holz and A. Holz. 2007. A GIS-based Approach to Watershed Classification for Nebraska Reservoirs, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 43:605-621.
Henebry, G.M. and J.W. Merchant. 2006. Land Cover Map of Nebraska, 1:800,000. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, School of Natural Resources.
Hygnstrom, S.E., M. Cover, B. Stillings, R. Crank, J. Fischer, J. Merchant and S. Korte. 2005. Elk in Nebraska: Opportunity or Another Private-Public Land Conundrum, Proceedings of the 11th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L. Nolte and K.A. Fagerstone, eds.). Fort Collins, CO: USDA/APHIS, 213-218.
Merchant, J.W. 2005. Remote Sensing and the Organization, Chapter 13 in Remote Sensing for GIS Managers (S. Aronoff, editor). Redlands, CA: ESRI Press, 415-419.
Loveland, T.R. and J. W. Merchant. 2004. Ecoregions and Ecoregionalization: Geographical and Ecological Perspectives, Environmental Management, 34:S1-S13.
Henebry, G. and J.W. Merchant. Geospatial Data in Time: Limits and Prospects for Predicting Species Occurrences, Chapter 23 in Predicting Species Occurrences (J. Scott and P. Heglund, eds.), Covelo, CA: Island Press, 291-302.
Crawford, T. M., D. J. Stensrud, F. Mora, J. W. Merchant, and P. J. Wetzel. 2001. The Insertion of a High-resolution Land Cover Dataset into MM5/PLACE. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 2 (5), 453-468.
Vogelmann, D. Helder, R. Morfitt, M. Choate, J. Merchant and H. Bulley. 2001. Effects of Landsat-5 TM and Landsat-7 ETM+ Radiometric and Geometric Calibrations on Landscape Characterization, Remote Sensing of Environment, 78 (1-2), 55-70.
Loveland, T., B. Reed, J. Brown, D. Ohlen, Z. Zhu, L. Yang and J. Merchant. 2000. Development of a Global Land Cover Characteristics Database and IGBP DISCover from 1-km AVHRR Data. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 21,1303-1330.

Educational Background

  • BS - Towson State University, Geography (1969)
  • MA - University of Kansas, Geography (1973)
  • PhD - University of Kansas, Geography (1984)

SNR Faculty Area(s)

Affiliations (index)

Notable Websites

Other Areas of Interest

Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Geospatial Data Analysis Support/Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Starting Date 9/1/2012
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 8/31/2013
Funding Level $74,639.00
Funding Source Nebraska Military Department/Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

 
Grant Title 2012 American View
Starting Date 7/1/2012
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 6/30/2013
Funding Level $23,500.00
Funding Source Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture

 
Grant Title AmericaView Mini Grant (additional funding)
Starting Date 10/14/2011
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Co-PIs
Milda Vaitkus
Ending Date 12/31/2012
Funding Level $5,000.00
Funding Source AmericaView

 
Grant Title Geospatial Data Analysis Support/Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Starting Date 9/1/2011
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 8/31/2012
Funding Level $77,465.00
Funding Source Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

 
Grant Title Nebraska View (additional funding)
Starting Date 9/30/2008
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 6/30/2012
Funding Level $23,800.00
Funding Source US Department of the Interior

 
Grant Title Geospatial Data Analysis Support for the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Starting Date 1/1/2006
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 8/31/2011
Funding Level $341,007.00
Funding Source Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

 
Grant Title Implementation of the AmericaView Program in Nebraska
Starting Date 9/1/2002
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 6/30/2011
Funding Level $597,808.00
Funding Source US Geological Survey

 
Grant Title Initial Design and Implementation of the Nebraska Geospatial Data Sharing and Web Services Network
Starting Date 8/6/2008
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 2/5/2011
Funding Level $260,870.00
Funding Source Nebraska Office of the Chief Information Officer

 
Grant Title GIS Data Analysis Support
Starting Date 9/1/2010
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 8/31/2011
Funding Level $77,121.00
Funding Source Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

 
Grant Title Stateview Program Development and Operations (additional funding)
Starting Date 7/1/2010
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 6/30/2011
Funding Level $25,000.00
Funding Source AmericaView

 
Grant Title Stateview Program Development and Operations for the State of Nebraska (additional funding)
Starting Date 8/31/2008
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 9/29/2010
Funding Level $5,788.00
Funding Source AmericaView

 
Grant Title StateView Program Development and Operations for the State of Nebraska
Starting Date 9/30/2009
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 9/29/2010
Funding Level $23,100.00
Funding Source AmericaView

 
Grant Title Geospatial Data Analysis for the Nebraska Department of Emergency Management
Starting Date 9/1/2009
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 8/31/2010
Funding Level $85,192.00
Funding Source Nebraska Miliatry/Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

 
Grant Title Determination of Appropriate Lake Water Quality Expectations (Nutrient Criteria) for Nebraska 2009
Starting Date 3/1/2009
Principal Investigators
Co-PIs
Holz, John
Aris Efting
Jim Merchant
Istanbulluoglu, Erkan
Ending Date 2/28/2010
Funding Level $39,087.00
Funding Source Environmental Protection Agency

 
Grant Title Leadership to Design and Implement the Nebraska Geospatial Data Sharing and Web Services Network
Starting Date 8/5/2008
Principal Investigators
Jim Merchant
Ending Date 2/28/2011
Funding Level $34,441.00
Funding Source Nebraska Office of the Chief Information Officer

 

Courses Taught in the Current Semester
Course Number Course Title Day Time Cross Listing
GEOG 412 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems W 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
GEOG 412 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems T 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
GEOG 412 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems MWF 0100-1050 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
GEOG 812 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems T 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
GEOG 812 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems W 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
GEOG 812 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems MWF 0100-0150 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
GEOG 902 General Seminar F 0200-0250 P n/a
NRES 412 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems T 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
NRES 412 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems W 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
NRES 412 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems TR 0545-0700 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
NRES 812 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems MWF 0100-0150 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
NRES 812 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems RW 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
NRES 812 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems T 0200-0420 P GEOG/NRES 412/812
Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
GEOG 217 Mapping Science: 21st Century n/a
GEOG 901 Proseminar in Research Methods and Professional Development X X n/a
GEOG 940 Seminar in Human Geography: Global Land Use & Land Cover Change X X n/a