Richard Kos

Geospatial Educator and Certified Urban Planner
Years of Experience: 20
MA, Regional Planning, 1995. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
BS, Environmental Planning and Urban Design, 1989. Rutgers University
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Mr. Kos’s professional skills encompass many facets of urban and regional planning, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and education. His studies at Rutgers University focused on environmental planning and urban de-sign, and his graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill concentrated on the use of digital technology to study land use change spatially and quantitatively, transportation planning, and alternative approaches to conventional suburban development patterns. 

Mr. Kos served in a number of increasingly responsible positions as an urban planner, starting as a site plan reviewer for the Middlesex County, NJ Planning Department. During and after his graduate studies in North Carolina, he was as Assistant Planner for the Town of Apex, NC where he served as webmaster, land use planner, and GIS coordinator. He next served as Senior Town Planner and GIS Manager for Huntersville, NC.

After relocating to the Bay Area in 2000, Mr. Kos worked with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as a GIS Planner/Analyst. The Bay Area Lifeline Transportation Map that he completed for MTC was chosen from among thousands of entries for inclusion in ESRI’s 2003 Map Book. From 2003 to 2007, he served as GIS Manager for Design, Community & Environment, a planning and design firm in Berkeley. He oversaw all aspects of the firm's GIS practice and trained colleagues to use ArcGIS and ArcCatalog while managing the production of numerous maps for General Plans and EIRs throughout California. 

Since 2007, Mr. Kos has taught graduate-level GIS and urban planning courses at San Jose State University. He offers introductory and advanced-level GIS courses with a strong emphasis on technological and project management skills sought by today’s employers. He has managed large teams of graduate students to produce maps and conduct spatial analysis for many clients in the South Bay including the City of San Jose Planning Department, Health Trust, Catholic Charities, The City of Mountain View Planning Department, Sustainable San Mateo, and CommUniverCity San Jose.

In 2008, Mr. Kos began to offer his services in GIS education and mapping, cartography and urban planning as a sole proprietor. His recent clients include the Mineta Transportation Institute, SamTrans, Greenbelt Alliance, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the City of Mountain View, CA, Worldlink, Raimi & Associates, HIP Housing, MidPeninsula Housing, Mobility Planners, LLC and KGO-TV in San Francisco. 

In 2012, Esri Press published “GIS for Economic Development”, which Mr. Kos co-authored with a San Jose State University colleague.

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Project Experience

Demographic Mapping and Community Assessment, San Jose. City of San Jose Planning Department and CommUniverCity San Jose, Project ManagerManaged large graduate student teams to collect field data, demographic statistics, and stakeholder information and produce professional planning reports and maps to support the City of San Jose’s urban village planning process.  Led student teams in the facilitation of community open house events.


Web-Based Mapping Platform Implementation, San Jose.The Health Trust. Project Manager. GIS map production, spatial analysis, and implementation of ArGIS Online-based mapping application to promote the Healthy Corner Stores program.


Planning Analysis Mapping, Mountain View. City of Mountain View Planning DepartmentGIS Consultant.Converted all zoning and General Plan maps from AutoCAD and Adobe Illustrator to ArcGIS format and redesigned official city maps. Produced numerous demographic analysis maps in conjunction with the city’s General Plan 2030 Update process. Trained staff to manage GIS data using geodatabases, to edit maps in ArcGIS, and adopt best cartographic practices.


Bay Area Ferry Service Analysis, San Jose.Mineta Transportation Institute. Lead Researcher. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics conducts a nationwide census of ferryboat operators for the U.S. Department of Transportation; the collected information is used for statistical purposes.  The Caltrans Division of Local Assistance was asked by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to gather data regarding ferry operations since MAP-21 includes a new formula program for ferryboats and ferry terminal facilities eligible under 23 USC 129(c).  FHWA asked that Caltrans assure the data is current for MAP-21.  The Mineta Transportation Institute was contacted by Caltrans to conduct this research.  My research team compiled a spreadsheet and accompanying GIS maps that include ferry boats, routes, and operators along with a number of related characteristics including ownership (public or private), daily trip counts, regulation of fares, terminal locations (street address and coordinates), boarding statistics, and route segment lengths.  The resulting data set will be linked to Caltrans’ Earth software for the agency’s future uses. 


Complete Streets Audit and Community Engagement: West San Carlos Street and Bascom Avenue Corridors, San Jose.

Greenbelt Alliance. Project Manager. The primary objectives of the project were: (1) to comprehensively audit the existing conditions of the West San Carlos and Bascom corridors from a complete streets perspective by documenting land uses, building setbacks, pedestrian amenities, parking and transit conditions, street widths, and streetscape amenities; and (2) to directly engage community residents and business owners in the audit review process while engaging them in the city’s Urban Village planning process.  The report concludes with a thorough documentation of resident and business owner concerns about the present and future conditions of the corridors as well as recommendations for next steps in the comprehensive corridor planning process.


Demographic Profile of the African American Community in San José and Santa Clara County, San Jose. African-American Community Service Agency. Co-author with Dr. Ruth Wilson, Chair, SJSU African-American Studies Dept.

The completed report was written in a Call to Action format that accompanied a comprehensive assessment of public health-related aspirations and concerns in the African American community of the South Bay. The finished set of recommendations was informed by numerous stakeholder interviews and focus groups.  The report provides specific guidance to county elected officials and public health organizations to initiate intervention and education programs for the betterment of the community. 


Demographic and Land Use Mapping, Berkeley, CA. Raimi & Associates. GIS Consultant. Assisted with the development of maps related to public health for a variety of municipal clients; maps included access to healthy food, vehicle and pedestrian accident locations, residential proximity to toxic sites, and an audit of pedestrian and transit amenities.


Television Viewership Mapping, San Francisco. KGO-TV. GIS Consultant. Produced ZIP Code-level maps of Nielsen household viewership using raw data provided by client.


Demographic Mapping and Housing Properties Map Production, San Mateo and Foster City. MidPenHousing and HIP Housing. GIS Consultant.  Produced income and household characteristics maps along with detailed maps depicted all agency properties within the service region.


Customized ArcGIS Training, Bay Area. Clients include the Association of Bay Area Governments, SamTrans, Field Paoli Architects, and numerous professionals on a private basis. Training includes presentations, customized materials, self-study guides, and follow-up conversations to gauge progress.