USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Ryan McAlinden

Ryan McAlinden

Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Practice of Spatial Sciences

  • 2006: M.S., Computer Science, University of Southern California
  • 2000: B.S., Atmospheric Science, Rutgers University

Ryan McAlinden is director of defense and intelligence programs for the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). Previously he served as senior advisor, Synthetic Training Environment (STE) Cross Functional Team (CFT) for the Army Futures Command and as ICT’s director of modeling, simulation & training at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), leading projects primarily for the U.S. Department of Defense centered around geospatial visualization and analysis. He is an adjunct assistant professor of the practice of spatial sciences with the USC Spatial Sciences Institute.

His primary research interest is identifying, developing and employing novel ways for human users to exploit and better understand the 3D virtual world around them. Immersive mediums like virtual and augmented reality continue to proliferate and are now mainstays in our society. Map-based big data are used in many of the most popular applications on our devices, from review apps, to ride sharing, to self-driving cars. However, the ability to produce and visualize 3D geospatial content for these devices remains elusive, mostly because the process for creating such content is existentially an anthropomorphic process and is, as a result, time-consuming, inefficient and often inconsistent.

McAlinden’s goal, through automation, is to ease the burden of generating 3D terrain content for our electronic devices and systems, as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Ultimately, he seeks to improve the agency that human users have with their maps, and reduce the human load for creating them.

McAlinden rejoined ICT in 2013 after a three-year post as a senior scientist at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in The Hague, Netherlands. There he led the provision of operational and geospatial analysis support to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Prior to joining NATO, McAlinden worked as a computer scientist at ICT from 2002 through 2009 where he led several projects related to geospatial modeling and simulation.


Selected Works and Presentations

Conover, D. M., Beidleman, B., McAlinden, R., & Borel-Donohue, C. C. (2017, May). Visualizing UAS-collected imagery using augmented reality. In Next-Generation Analyst V (Vol. 10207, p. 102070C). International Society for Optics and Photonics.

Spicer, R., McAlinden, R. & Conover, D. Producing Usable Simulation Terrain Data from UAS-Collected Imagery. The 2016 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference, Orlando, FL, USA.

McAlinden, R. & Suma E. Procedural Reconstruction of Simulation Terrain Using Drones. The 2015 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference, Orlando, FL, USA.

McAlinden, Ryan, David Pynadath, and Randall W. Hill Jr. “Chapter Ten, UrbanSim: Using Social Simulation to Train for Stability Operations.” 2014. Understanding Megacities with the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Intelligence Paradigm: 90.

Gons, E., Schroden, J., McAlinden, R., Gaul, M. & Van Poppel, P. Challenges of measuring progress in Afghanistan using violence trends: the effects of aggregation, military operations, seasonality, weather, and other causal factors. Defense & Security Analysis, 28:2, 100-113, 2011.

McAlinden, R., Gaul, M., Gons, E. & Van Poppel, P. Operational Analysis in Afghanistan: Balancing Aggregation & Context. Official ISAF Analysis Paper, 22 May 2011.

McAlinden, R., Dini, D., Merchant, C., van Lent, M. Creating Densely Populated Virtual Environments. Proceedings of the 2007 International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, Honolulu, HI, May 14-18, 2007.

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