Karl Korfmacher

Associate Professor, Environmental Science

RIT Laboratory for Environmental Computing and Decision Making (LECDM)
GLISTEN Lake Ontario Cluster

Contact Information

OfficeROS A192
Phone(585) 475-5554

Office Hours

Fall M,W 10-11 and T,R 9-10 or by Appointment Spring M,T,W,R 9-10 or by Appointment

Mailing Address

Environmental Science Program
Gosnell School of Life Sciences
85 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603



Department of the Environment, The Graduate School, Duke University, Durham, NC

DissertationChanges in Land Use and Water Quality in the Yadkin River Basin, NC, 1951-90:  A Time-series and GIS Analysis.

Concentration:  Hydrology and geographic information systems.


School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC

Master’s project:  Simulation of Mineral Weathering in Highly Weathered, Low CEC Soils in the Southeast United States.

Concentration:  Water and air resources.


Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Major:  English.

Concentration:  Science, technology and public policy.



Associate Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology

Teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental science, geographic information systems, campus sustainability, and continually evolving/evaluating curriculum for the RIT Environmental Science program.  Continuing research in environmental impacts of freight transport, ecological modeling, wetlands mapping, hydrologic modeling, habitat monitoring using GIS and satellite remote sensing, campus sustainability and environmental education.  September, 2000 to present.  Former Environmental Science Program Director (2005-11).  Co-director of the Laboratory for Environmental Computing and Decision Making (LECDM) (2010-present). 

Assistant Professor, Denison University

Taught undergraduate courses in introductory and advanced geographic information systems and analysis, environmental assessment, introduction to environmental studies, and the senior research seminar.  Conducted hydrologic, water quality, and land use/land cover change research at the DenisonBio-reserve and surrounding area.  Updated and expanded Denison’s GIS lab and database.  Continued research in sediment transport, hydrologic modeling with GIS, and coastal habitat monitoring using satellite remote sensing.  September, 1996 to August, 2000.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Carleton College

Taught geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing for the Environmental and Technology Studies (ENTS) program.  Assisted faculty members in integrating GIS into their courses and research.  March to June, 1996


Job Responsibilities

Teaching - Applications of Geographic Information Systems, Raster Applications of Geographic Information Systems, Ecological and Environmental Applications of Geographic Information Systems, Soil Science, The Greening of RIT
Advising -  Undergraduate advisor to Environental Science students, thesis advisor to 10 ES graduate students.
Research - Co-director of the Laboratory for Environmental Computing and Decision Making (LECDM) - http://www.rit.edu/gccis/lecdm/, pollution modelling of freight transport, GIS-based habitat monitoring and measurement, hydrologic and water quality modelling, place based environmental education http://www.spatial.redlands.edu/lens/summerinstitute/fellows.aspx, service learning http://www.greatlakesed.net/Clusters/LakeOntario.cfm.

Research Interests


  • Environmental, ecological, and infrastructure impacts of truck, rail, and ship emissions related tp hydraulic fracturing activities
  • Participating in a multidisciplinary initiative to develop a GIS based multimodal freight transport decision and environmental impact assessment model using Network Analyst and ArcGIS (the GIFT model - http://www.rit.edu/gccis/lecdm/gift2.php)
  • Leading multi-college collaboration to infuse service learning into environmental curriculum and research impacting Lake Ontario water quality (Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship Through Education Network - GLISTEN)  http://www.greatlakesed.net/Clusters.cfm 
  • Assisting with the continued development of a GIS-based stopover ecology model for western New York
  • Collaborating on undergraduate Environmental Literacy and Campus Sustainability movements at RIT
  • Developing a GIS based habitat suitability model for the Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata
  • Assessing economic and ecological impacts of storm water runoff using GIS and statistical models
  • Documenting current plant community change from the 1811 Connecticut Tract land survey
  • Co-editing a book on wetland preservation activities in Western NY.
  • Developing GIS curriculum and teaching modules for field based environmental assessments (K-12 and higher education)
  • Mapping and assessing wetland and riparian zone health and extent in the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern, Monroe County, NY (10 year follow-up to 2003 project).
  • Community mapping projects, including repurposing vacant parcels and mapping lead risks.
  • Land use and land cover change and water quality assessments in HUC12 watersheds of the Genesee River Drainage

Selected Publications

E Hane, Brister E, Korfmacher K, 2011.  Visualizing Plant Community Change Using Historical Records.  International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research.  Vol 2, number 4, pp. 1-18.
B Comer, Corbett JJ, Hawker JS, Korfmacher K, Lee EE, Prokop C, Winebrake JJ, 2010.  Marine Vessels as a Substitute for Heavy-Duty Trucks in Great Lakes Freight Transportation. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc. vol. 60, no. 7 p 884-890 (July, 2010).
Winebrake JJ, Corbett JJ, Falzarano A, Hawker JS, Korfmacher K, Ketha S, Zilora S, 2008.  Assessing Energy, Environmental, and Economic Tradeoffs in Intermodal Freight Transportation.   Air & Waste Manage. Assoc. vol 58. p 1004–1013, (August 2008).
Korfmacher, K., B. Ramos, S. Miller, 2007.  GIS in Chemistry: Determining Sediment Deposition Rates and Yield in a Small Rural Pond (book chapter) in Understanding Place: GIS and Mapping Across the Curriculum. Sinton, D.S.  and J. Lund (editors).  ESRI Press, Redlands, CA
Scally, R. and K. Korfmacher.  Drawing the Line Between Wet and Dry: Assessing the Rochester Embayment (book chapter) in GIS for Environmental Management. By Robert Scally.  ESRI Press, Redlands, CA.  2006
Ramos, B., S Miller, K. Korfmacher.  2003.  Implementation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) in the Chemistry Curriculum:  An Exercise in Integrating Environmental Analysis and Assessment.  Journal of Chemical Education, v 80, no. 1 p 50-57 (January, 2003).
Korfmacher, K.F, and R.L. Ferguson.  2002. Updating Seagrass Basemaps Using Aerial Photography and Satellite Imagery.  Proceedings of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Specialty Conference on Coastal Water Resources, p 49-54 (May, 2002)
Krishnaswamy, J M Lavine, D D Richter, K Korfmacher.  2000.  Dynamic Modeling of Long-term Sedimentation in the Yadkin River Basin.  Advances in Water Resources 23 (2000) 881-892.
Ferguson, R.L., K.F. Korfmacher.  1997.  Remote sensing and GIS analysis of seagrass meadows in North Carolina, USA.  Aquatic Botany (special issue) 58:241-258. (in: Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing in Aquatic Botany, Lachavanne, J.-B., Caloz, R. and Lehmann, A. (Eds.))