Laura Sharp

Areas of Study

GIS, Science & Technology Studies, Social, Cultural and Economic Geography

Research Interests

I specialize in geographic information systems (GIS) and cultural, social, and economic geography. I am especially interested in the way our experience of the world is informed by visuality, including the visual’s material and embodied dimensions, as well as how we communicate our geographic experience through visual mediums such as maps and popular media. To explore these relationships, my dissertation research in Los Angeles, California focuses on understanding the spatial distribution of on-location filming (filming that occurs away from the studio set). In particular, I have conducted interviews and GPS-tracked ride-alongs with location scouts, production designers, and homeowners to understand the scopic regimes that these individuals bring to the scouting process, the socio-technical arrangements that make location filming possible, and how these arrangements affect the people who live in Los Angeles. Key to my findings is that the contemporary location production process is underpinned by a mobile and embodied gaze captured in the photographs scouts take of potential film locations and disseminate to decision makers via information communication technologies.

 As the technological intern for the City of Tucson IT-GIS group I have been able to put my interest in visualization into practice by designing websites and interactive web maps that communicate the work being done by the City and enhance citizens’ experience of where they live.  One popular project that I’ve worked on is the Murals of Tucson web map, which allows users to find murals in the downtown area either by searching the map or using thumbnail images of the murals they want to see. I think people like the map because we often see this artwork as we’re driving around but often don’t have time to stop and think about it.  The map allows people to dig into the stories behind the murals and relate them to their own spatial trajectories in the city.

Selected Publications

Sharp, Laura. 2018. “But how do you show that in a film?” Absence,Cartographic Anxiety, and Geographic Realism Through the Landscapes of Akira Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala. GeoHumanities. DOI:10.1080/2373566X.2018.1447313

Sharp, Laura and Chris Lukinbeal. 2015. Film Geography: A Review and Prospectus.  In, Mediated Geographies/Geographies of Media, Science and Business Media series, International Handbooks of Human Geography.  Edited by, Susan Mains, Julie Cupples, and Chris Lukinbeal.  Sage.

Lukinbeal, Chris and Laura Sharp. 2015. Performing America’s Toughest Sheriff: Media as Practice in Joe Arpaio’s Old WestGeojournal 80(6): 881-892.

Sharp, Laura and Chris Lukinbeal. 2014. Film Geography. In Wiley-AAG International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the  Earth, Environment, and Technology.  New York: Wiley Press. Forthcoming.

Lukinbeal, Chris and Laura Sharp. 2014. Geography and Film. In Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. Ed. Barney Warf. New  York: Oxford University Press.

Sharp, Laura. 2014. Rev. of Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, by Henry Jenkins, Sam  Ford, and Joshua Greene. Journal of Consumer Culture. Forthcoming. 

Crampton, Jeremy W., Jay Bowen, Daniel Cockayne, Brittany Cook, Eric Nost, Lindsay Shade, Laura Sharp, and Malene  Jacobson. 2013. Whose geography? Which publics? Dialogues in Human Geography 73(3): 73-76. 


Web Apps Designed for the City of Tucson

City of Tucson Story Map Hub Site

Murals of Tucson Web Map

Lead Officer Contact Lookup App

Sun Link Art and Poetry Web App

Proposition 101: Tucson Delivers Streets Web App

Proposition 101: Tucson Delivers Story Map

Laura Sharp's picture

Contact Information

Laura Sharp
Ph.D. Candidate, Teaching Associate
Office: ENR2 S570-BB


Ph.D. Geography (Expected Dec. 2018), The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

M.A., Geography (2013), University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

B.G.S., Geography (2009), University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Courses Taught

GEOG 150B: Human Geography and Global Systems

GEOG 160: Geography of the Non-Western World

GEOG 222: Cities of the World

GEOG 305: Geography of the Former Soviet Union

GEOG 150C: Environment and Society

GEOG 205: Places in the Media

GEOG 417: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems