Alenka Poplin

Alenka Poplin PhD

Associate Professor, Community and Regional Planning

Signature Research Areas


(515) 294-8097

Campus Office: 487 Design

Mailing Address
Community and Regional Planning Department
158 College of Design
Ames, IA, 50011


PhD in Geoinformation Science, Institute for Geoinformation and Cartography, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Master of Business Administration (MBA), Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

MSc Surveying and Spatial PlanningFaculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying, Technical University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


Research Interests

Serious GeoGames for civic engagement in urban planning (selected)

  • de Sena, Í., Poplin, A. and B. de Andrade. 2021. A framework for a serious educational geogame using Minecraft for landscape exploration, In: Computational Urban Planning and Urban Management (CUPUM), TOGETHER – Urban Informatics for Future Cities, Springer Publishers.
  • de Andrade, B. A., Poplin, A. and I. S. de Sena. 2020. Minecraft as a Tool for Engaging Children in Urban Planning, International Journal of Geo-Information, 9 (3), 170, p. 1 – 19, published online March 13, 2020,
  • Poplin, A. 2020. Big Data and Occupants Behavior in a Built Environment: Introducing a Game-Based Data Collection Method, Journal of Urban Planning and Development (JUPD), Special Issue on Data Science & the Built Environment. Volume 146, Issue 2 (June 2020), published online on March 19, 2020, American Society of Civil Engineers, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000552.
  • Poplin, A., de Andrade, B. A.* and I. S. de Sena*. 2021  Geogames for change: co-designing the future of cities with games, In: Owens and Larke (eds) Games and Play in the Creative, Smart and Ecological City,Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, p. 64 - 94.
  • Poplin, A. 2018. GeoGames: Games for Change – Designing for Future Communities, translated to Portuguese, Geografía y Sistemas de Información Geográfica (GEOSIG), Special Issue on Geodesign, Section I, p. 150-166.
  • Poplin, A., Kerkhove, T., Reasoner, M., Roy, A, and N. Brown. 2018. Serious GeoGames for civic engagement in urban planning: discussion based on four game prototypes, book chapter in the book titled The Virtual And The Real: Perspectives, Practices and Applications For The Built Environment (Yamu, C., Poplin, A., Devisch, O. and G. de Roo (Editors)), p. 189 – 213, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York.
  • Poplin, A. and K. Vemuri. 2018. Spatial Game for Negotiations and Consensus Building in Urban Planning: YouPlaceIt!, book chapter in the book titled Geogames and Geoplay - Game-based Approaches to the Analysis of Geo-Information, Editors: O. Ahlqvist and C. Schlieder, p. 63 – 90, Advances in Geographic Information Science, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
  • Poplin, A. 2014. Digital serious game for urban planning: B3 – Design your Marketplace!, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Volume 41 (3), p. 493-511.
  • Poplin, A. 2012. Playful public participation in urban planning: A case study for online serious games, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (CEUS), Elsevier, Volume 36, Issue 3, May 2012, p. 195-206.

Smart Cites & Big Data (selected)

  • Poplin, A., de Andrade, B. A., and S. Mahmud. 2021 Exploring Tangible and Intangible Characteristics of Evocative Places: Case Study of the City of Vitória in Brazil, Springer special issue on Modern Approaches to the Visualization of Landscapes, edited by Olaf Kühne, Corinna Jenal and Dennis Edler, p. 517 - 546, Springer.
  • Poplin, A. 2020. Energy Geogame ‘e-footprints’. Prototype Designed to Collect Data about Human Behavior in Built Environments, In: Brković Dodig and Groat (eds) Rutledge Companion to Games in Architecture and Urban Planning: Tools for Design, Teaching and Research, p. 163 – 174, Taylor & Francis / Routledge, New York.
  • Poplin, A. 2020. Exploring Evocative Places and their Characteristics, The Cartographic Journal. Published online on March 2, 2020,
  • Poplin, A. 2018. Cartographies of Fuzziness: Mapping Places and Emotions, The Cartographic Journal, Volume 54, Issue 4, p. 291-300.
  • Yamu, C., Poplin, A., Devisch, O. and G. de Roo. 2018. The Virtual And The Real: Perspectives, Practices and Applications For The Built Environment, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York.
  • Poplin, A., Shenk, L. and U. Passe. 2017. Transforming Pervasive into Collaborative: Engaging Youth as Leaders with GIS through a Framework that Integrates Technologies, Storytelling, and Action, Journal of Interaction Design & Architecture, Special issue on Pervasive Participation – New Horizons for Citizen Involvement and User Experience, Volume 35, p. 182-204.
  • Poplin, A. 2017. Mapping Expressed Emotions: Empirical Experiments on Power Places, Special issue: Methods and Applications of  Empirical Cartography, Journal of Cartography and Geographic Information, Vol. 2, p. 83-91.
  • Poplin, A., Yamu, C. and L. Rico-Gutierrez. 2017. Place-making: an approach to rationale behind the location choice of power places. University campus Ames as a case study, The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, XLII-4/W3, 73-81,, 2017.
  • Poplin, A., Shenk, L., Krejci, C. and U. Passe. 2017. Engaging youth through spatial socio-technical storytelling, participatory GIS, agent-based modelling, online geogames and action projects, ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., IV-4/W3, 55-62,, 2017.

GeoVisualization and GeoDesign (selected)

  • Lewis, B., W. Guan, and A. Poplin. 2017. Evaluating the Current State of Geospatial Software as a Service Platforms: A Comparison Study, in Leitner M. and J. Jokar Arsanjani (eds): Citizen Empowered Mapping, Springer, p. 53-84.
  • Poplin, A., Guan, W. and B. Lewis. 2016. Online Survey of Heterogeneous Users and Their Usage of the Interactive Mapping Platform WorldMap, The Cartographic Journal. Published online, Sept 19/2016.
  • Guan, W., Poplin, A. and B. Lewis. 2015. Understanding today’s online GIS user through the lens of a WorldMap survey, Transactions in GIS, Volume 19, Issue 3, p. 417–438.
  • Poplin, A. 2015. How User-Friendly are Online Interactive Maps? Survey Based on Experiments with Heterogeneous Users, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Volume 42, Issue 4, p. 358-376.
  • Poplin, A. 2012. Web-based PPGIS for Wilhelmsburg, Germany: an Integration of Interactive GIS-based Maps with an Online Questionnaire, Special Issue of the Journal of Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 71-84.

Selected Uploads