Liora Sahar, PhD, GISP

Scientific Director, Geospatial Research

Why Geospatial Research?

“The power of GIS is not just in the aesthetic cartographic display of health data but also in the ability to link attribute data (properties of the feature) with the geography. Linking these attributes by geography makes understanding and interpretation simpler, allowing consumers of mapping products the ability to identify social and demographic patterns and trends.” —from"GIScience and Cancer: State of the Art and Future Trends for Cancer Surveillance"

At ACS since 2013

As the Scientific Director for Geospatial Research, Liora Sahar, PhD, leads a team of professionals with background and experience in GIS, city planning, environmental sciences and geography that also supports daily activities of ACS programs, units, and regions. The focus of her work within society programs is to engage in geospatial research with application to ACS’ mission and income decision making.

Sahar also teaches a graduate remote sensing class at the Georgia Institute of Technology (GA-Tech).

Research focus and accomplishments

Sahar provides leadership, expertise, and operational support to ACS as related to the integration of Geographic Information Systems and Science within ACS’ mission and research projects, and recently led a paper entitled “GIScience and Cancer: State of the Art and Future Trends for Cancer Surveillance and Epidemiology.” Her research interests also involve topics related to health equity and disparities, such as defining a rurality schema that aligns with ACS’ mission needs (“Using GIS Technology to Define and Assess a Rurality Scheme Suitable for Decision Support in Health and Patient Services”), using geospatial clustering to identify geographic pockets of elevated mortality rates (“Where Can Colorectal Cancer Screening Interventions Have the Most Impact?”), and exploring issues related to disaster planning and recovery (“When Disaster Strikes: The Role of Disaster Planning and Management in Cancer Care Delivery”).

In addition to research, a large portion of the team’s resources support geospatial related activities across the ACS, with a special focus on translating research findings into tangible products and interactive tools. We also use geospatial technology to inform decision making, as demonstrated in the recently launched Medicaid Atlas and the Lung Cancer Atlas.


For a full list of Sahar’s publications, visit her Google Scholar page.


Work before ACS

  • Northrop Grumman, GIS Expert/Senior Geospatial Analyst
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), Graduate Research Assistant, Instructor
  • TTI-Telecom, Software Engineer
  • IDF, Israel, Research and Development Engineer, Assistant Manager/Manager of a Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Department
  • Israel Institute of Technology (Technion): Assistant Lecturer/Teaching Assistant

Professional organizations

  • American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), Member
  • Georgia Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (GA URISA), Member
  • Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), Member


  • PhD: Design Computing and Databases (GIS), Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Design, 2004-2009
  • MSc: Geodetic Engineering, Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), 1995-1997
  • BSc: Geodetic Engineering, Israel Institute of Technology, 1991-1995

Personal life 

I believe we should each find ways to give back to the community and help others thrive. That’s why a few years ago I became a girl scout troop
leader — so I can help empower girls to become strong women and leaders. I also helped introduce STEM careers to middle and high school girls in metro Atlanta while serving as the professional development chair for the Women in Northrop Grumman (WiNGS).