Dr. Cowan worked as a manager of Spatial Analysis Laboratory at George Washington University from 2013 to 2018. She is also the Co-Founder of YouthMappers, an international university consortium on Mapping for Resilience, and part of the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) team. She is currently at the World Bank as the Disaster Risk Management Consultant with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, and also continues her teaching and research affiliations at the Department of Geography at George Washington University.
Dr. Cowan has extensive experience in GIS and open data. As part of the OpenDRI team at the World Bank, she works specifically on the application of open geospatial data to understand risk, and prepare communities for disasters. In addition, as the co-founder of YouthMappers, she has dedicated herself to engaging college students in mapping societies and to sponsor education and research in the use of open data development. She has participated in several symposiums and workshops, on issues such as open geospatial technology, education around open data, and the application of these technologies to disaster risk management and humanitarian response.