Assistant Professor
Academic Appointments

Department of Geography
Assistant Professor

I am a political economic geographer with substantive interests in geospatial data, media, and technologies. My research integrates the geographic, political, and regulatory dimensions of the informational and digital economy. At a high level, this research agenda is motivated by three core questions:

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1) How are digital economies geographically configured and integrated into capitalism?

2) How do geospatial data, media, and technologies circulate through and transform these digital economies?

3) How are social relations and possibilities for political action rearticulated in the (geospatial) digital economy?

I am currently exploring answers to these questions through research projects addressing (among others) the geographies of autonomous vehicles, and the changing political economy of remote sensing in the context of the small satellite revolution.


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Fairchild 020
HB 6017
B.A. UNAM, Mexico

Selected Publications

14. Alvarez León, L.F. & Rosen, J. (2019). “Technology as Ideology in Urban Governance”. L. Bian (Ed.). “Smart Spaces and Places”, Special Issue of Annals of the American Association of Geographers. DOI:

13. Quinn, S. & Alvarez León, L.F. (2019). “Every Single Street? Rethinking Full Coverage Across Street-Level Imagery Platforms”. Transactions in GIS, 00, 1-22. DOI:

12. Alvarez León, L.F. (2019). “How cars became mobile spatial media: A geographical political economy of onboard navigation”. Invited Submission for J. Frith & D. Özkul (Eds.). “Mobile Media Beyond Mobile Phones” [Special Issue]. Mobile Media & Communication. 7(3). 362-379. DOI:

11. Alvarez León, L.F. (2019). “Eyes on the Road: Surveillance Logics in the Autonomous Vehicle Economy”. Invited submission to D. Murakami Wood & T. Monahan (Eds.). “Platform Surveillance” [Special Issue]. Surveillance & Society, 17(1). DOI:

10. Alvarez León, L.F. (2019). “Counter-mapping the Spaces of Autonomous Driving”. Invited article for J. Thatcher & C. Dalton (Eds.). “Special Issue on Critical Cartography”. Cartographic Perspectives, 92, 10-23. DOI:

9. Alvarez León, L.F. & Quinn, S. (2019). “The Value of Crowdsourced Street-Level Imagery: Examining the Shifting Property Regimes of OpenStreetCam and Mapillary”. GeoJournal, 84(2), 395-414. DOI:

8. Alvarez León, L.F., Christophers, B., & Yu, L. (Eds.), (2018). “Introduction”. In L.F. Alvarez León, B. Christophers, and L. Yu (Eds.), The Spatial Constitution of Markets [Special Issue]. Economic Geography. 94, 3. 211-216. DOI:

7. Alvarez León, L.F. (2018). “A blueprint for market construction? Spatial data infrastructure(s), interoperability, and the EU Digital Single Market”. Geoforum. 92. 45-57. DOI:

6. Alvarez León, L.F. (2018). “Information Policy Regimes and the Spatial Constitution of Digital Geographic Information Markets”. In L.F. Alvarez León, B. Christophers, and L. Yu (Eds.), The Spatial Constitution of Markets [Special Issue]. Economic Geography. 94, 3. 217-237. DOI:

5. Alvarez León, L.F. (2017). “The Political Economy of Spatial Data Infrastructures”. In S. Coetzee, F.J. Behr, A. Cooper et al. (Eds.), Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI), Standards, Open Data and Open Source Software [Special Issue]. The International Journal of Cartography. November, 1-19. DOI:

4. Alvarez León, L.F. & Gleason, C.J. (2017). “Production, Property, and the Construction of Remote Sensing Data”. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Methods, Models, and GIS Section. 107(5), September, 1-15. DOI:

3. Alvarez León, L.F. (2016). “Property Regimes and the Commodification of Geographic Information: an Examination of Google Street View”. In A. Leszczynski & J. Crampton (Eds.). Spatial Big Data and Everyday Life [Special issue]. Big Data & Society. July-December, 1-13. DOI:

2. Alvarez León, L.F. (2015). “The Digital Economy and Variegated Capitalism”. Canadian Journal of Communication. 40(4), 637-654. URL:
* Winner of the 2015 UCLA Geography Department Graduate Student Publication Award.

1. León-Manríquez, J.L., and Alvarez, L.F. (2014). “Mao’s steps in Monroe’s backyard: towards a United States-China hegemonic struggle in Latin America?” [Special issue]. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional. 57(spe), 9-27. DOI:

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