Wilson Center Experts
Lea Shanley directs the Commons Lab within the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) of Woodrow Wilson Center. You can follow our initiatives, events, videos, and publications at Commons Lab Blog and Commons Lab Facebook Page.
Prior to this, Lea was a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, where she co-directed two reports: Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource; and New Research Directions for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. These reports recommended strategic science and technology priorities for geodesy, hazards monitoring, and national security.
In 2009, Lea was an American Association for the Advancement of Science/Agronomy Society of America-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America Congressional Science Fellow and primary science adviser to the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space. She managed the Senator's priorities for federal R&D and crafted and negotiated legislation addressing earth observation, oceans issues, and hazards research and mitigation.
Previously, Lea conducted community-based participatory action research in geographic information science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This research engaged local and tribal communities in the development and use of GIS-based decision support systems, enabling collaborative decision-making for improved land use planning, natural resource management, coastal management, precision agriculture, and emergency management.
Research Interests: Citizen Science, Social Computing, Big Data Analytics, Smart Cities, Sensors and Sensor Networks, ICT4D, Participatory Mapping.
Selected Honors and Public Service
Lea currently serves on a governance team working towards the formation of a national association for public participation in scientific research (2012-2013). Lea also has served on numerous professional committees, including the Women in Aerospace Awards Planning Committee (2012); National States Geographic Information Council’s Data Sharing Working Group (2010—2011); the Steering Committee for the 2010 NASA Value of Information Workshop (2010); the leadership team that established the statewide Wisconsin Geographic Information Coordination Council (2006—2008); and an Information Policy Task Force and Geospatial Preparedness Task Force for the Wisconsin Land Information Association (2004-2008). Her awards have included a NSF IGERT Fellowship to attend the prestigious Vespucci Summer Institute on Geographic information Science, focusing on Spatial Data Infrastructures, in Fiesole, Italy; a Ford Foundation Community Forestry Fellowship; and an American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Science Fellowship
The Commons Lab of the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science-based and citizen-driven decision-making, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications. The initiative does not advocate for or against specific technological platforms, rather works to ensure that these technologies are developed and used in a way that maximizes benefits while reducing risks and unintended consequences. Our work often focuses on novel governance options at the “edges” where the crowd and social media operate—between formal and informal organizations and proprietary and open-source models of data ownership and access.