Rob Howard

Research Associate
Geographic Information Science & Technologies

Brewster A-233

M.S., Geology, East Carolina University
B.S., Geology (Environmental), East Carolina University


Areas of Interest: Remote sensing methods for watershed-scale land cover change detection. Low-cost, connected sensor technologies for large-scale environmental monitoring. Imaging and reality capture technologies and their applications. Decision support tool design and implementation. GIS process automation and application development. Fostering entrepreneurship in the geosciences.

My research interests are diverse, encompassing areas of hydrology, remote sensing, and geographic information science. Currently, I am working on projects mapping urban stormwater response using satellite-based synthetic-aperture radar; developing low-cost, connected environmental sensors; and, mapping the spread of COVID-19 across Eastern N.C.

For information regarding our COVID-19 work in ENC, please visit

Recent Projects

Evaluating Stormwater Retrofit Potential to Reduce Flood Impacts and Improve Water Quality in Urban Coastal Plain Communities (starting in 2022). Funded by the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

Eastern Region Community Health Needs Assessment (2021). Funded by Eastern AHEC.

Mapping of COVID-19 in Eastern N.C. Joint with Vidant Health (2020-2021). Funded by the COVID-19 Recovery Act. General Assembly, N.C. House Bill 1043 (Session Law 2020-4).

Recent Publications

Kearney GD, Hylock R, Park YM, Jones K, Wall B, Howard R, Iver P, Clay M, Endres-Dighe S, Stoner M, Li L, Caika J, Rhea S. Regional Trends in Emergency Department Visits and COVID-Like Illness in North Carolina (March 1-November 30, 2020). North Carolina Medical Journal (Accepted, May 2022)

Kearney, G. D., Jones, K., Park, Y. M., Howard, R., Hylock, R., Wall, B., … & Silvernail, J. (2021). COVID-19: A vaccine priority index mapping tool for rapidly assessing priority populations in North Carolina. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 13(3).

Park, Y. M., Kearney, G. D., Wall, B., Jones, K., Howard, R. J., & Hylock, R. H. (2021). COVID-19 Deaths in the United States: Shifts in Hot Spots over the Three Phases of the Pandemic and the Spatiotemporally Varying Impact of Pandemic Vulnerability. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(17), 8987.

Cooper, H. M., Wasklewicz, T., Zhu, Z., Lewis, W., LeCompte, K., Heffentrager, M., … & Howard, R. (2021). Evaluating the Ability of Multi-Sensor Techniques to Capture Topographic Complexity. Sensors, 21(6), 2105.

Manda, A. K., Etheridge, J. R., Grace‐McCaskey, C., Allen, T. R., & Howard, R. (2021). Are Groundwater Level Data Collected by Citizen Scientists Trustworthy? A Cautionary Tale. Groundwater, 59(1), 123-130.