Beau MacDonald is a GIS Project Administrator for the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. Her recent work includes geospatial data analysis and research on social and environmental determinants of health to support ongoing USC Spatial partnerships with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Southern California Environmental Health Science Center at the Keck School of Medicine at USC; and the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.

In addition, Beau guides Wilson Map Lab student research teams, which have included many data-driven collaborations with numerous collaborating organizations across a range of topics, including LA’s urban forest; food and nutrition insecurity; and maternal health.

Beau promotes the use of geographical information science concepts and technologies for interdisciplinary synthesis; provides data analysis, geoprocessing, mapping, graphics, and writing support; is experienced with environmental modelling, historical ecology, design and cartography. She staffs the USC Spatial Sciences Institute Help Desk.

Beau is an applied biogeographer and Women in GIS advocate with research interests that involve the distribution, resilience, and sustainability of threatened or endangered communities that persist along the edges and within the confines of built environments – including wetlands, urban farms, birds, butterflies and Angelenos.

Before coming to the USC Spatial Sciences Institute, she worked with the Center for Geospatial Science Technology at the California State University, Northridge.


M.A., Geography, California State University Northridge

B.A., Geography/Environmental Studies, University of California Los Angeles

Selected articles, presentations and reports

Longcore, T and Ethington PJ, eds. 2023. Mapping Los Angeles landscape history: the indigenous landscape. Report to the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation. USC Spatial Sciences Institute.

Berelson W, Rollins N, Kim J, Johnson E, Margulies E, Casas N, MacDonald B, Wilson J. 2023. A portable sensor for the determination of tree canopy air quality. Environmental Science Atmospheres 3: 1186–1194.

Kingsbury P, Abajian H, Abajian M, Angyan P, Espinoza J, MacDonald B, Meeker D, Wilson JP, Bahroos N. 2023. SEnDAE: A resource for expanding research into social and environmental determinants of health. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 238: 107542.

Wolfswinkel EM, Howell AC, MacDonald B, Wilson JP, Howell LK. 2022. American Indian and Alaska Native accessibility to comprehensive cleft lip and palate treatment. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal 60: 1376–1384.

Clemesha RES, Gershunov A, Lawson DM, Longcore T, MacDonald B, Booker M, Munson B, O’Connor K. 2021. A high-resolution record of coastal clouds and fog and their role in plant distributions over San Clemente Island, California. Environmental Research Communications 3: 105003.

Ablondi R et al. 2021. Maximizing the benefits of increased urban canopy on the eastside of Los Angeles. Report for the City of Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. USC Dornsife Public Exchange.

Zhang L, Wilson JP, MacDonald B, Zhang W, Yu T. 2020. The changing PM2.5 dynamics of global megacities based on long-term remotely sensed observations. Environment International 142:105862.

FitzGerald J, Nie L, Ta S, Nguyen H, MacDonald B, Wilson J. 2020. Modeling the health impacts of proposed urban design interventions in the City of Los Angeles. Report to the City of Los Angeles. USC Spatial Sciences Institute.

Ethington PJ, MacDonald B, Stein G, Deverell W, Longcore T. 2020. Historical Ecology of the Los Angeles River Watershed and Environs: Infrastructure for a Comprehensive Analysis. Report to the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation. USC Spatial Sciences Institute.

Longcore T, MacDonald B, Wilson JP. 2020. Reconstruction of historical topography to estimate erosion and model historical vegetation distribution on San Clemente Island, California. Final Report for the US Navy. USC Spatial Sciences Institute and UCLA Institute of the Environment.

MacDonald B and Windisch R. 2018. “Showcasing Public Benefits of Stormwater Capture with Geospatial Applications.” URISA GIS-Pro & CalGIS Conference. October 2018.

Paudel S, Benavides JC, MacDonald B, Longcore T, Wilson GWT, Loss, SR. 2017. Determinants of native and non-native plant community structure on an oceanic island. Ecosphere 8: e01927.

Paudel S, Wilson GWT, MacDonald B, Longcore T, Loss SR. 2016. Predicting spatial extent of invasive earthworms on an oceanic island. Diversity and Distributions 22: 1013–1023.

Paudel S, Longcore T, MacDonald B, McCormick MK, Szlavecz K, Wilson GWT, Loss SR. 2016. Belowground interactions with aboveground consequences: invasive earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Ecology 97: 605–614.

“Los Feliz Congregations” in Flory R et al. 2015. Mapping the new landscape of religion: block-by-block in a changing Los Angeles neighborhood. Boom: a journal of California 5:34–43.

Longcore T, Rich C, Mineau P, MacDonald B et al. 2013. Avian mortality at communication towers in the United States and Canada: which species, how many, and where? Biological Conservation 158: 410–419.

Longcore T, Rich C, Mineau P, MacDonald B et al. 2012. An estimate of avian mortality at communication towers in the United States and Canada. PLoS ONE 7: e34025.