Prof. Gao received the 2022 UCGIS Early/Mid-Career Research Award

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Song Gao, Associate Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin – Madison, has been selected to receive its inaugural Early-Mid Career Research Award.

As a young scholar in the field of GIScience, Dr. Gao’s scholarly output constitutes an impressive list of well-cited publications that are proving to furnish innovative ideas and methods impacting the theory and practice of GIScience within the interface of geospatial artificial intelligence (particularly machine learning), big spatial data, and a more humanistic oriented place-based GIS. In addition, Dr. Gao has secured substantial sums of external funding to support his research, and has begun filling GIScience Community leadership roles. The UCGIS Research Awards Review Committee assesses that Dr. Gao has achieved a national and international GIScience profile and reputation that far exceeds expectations for a junior scholar.

The UCGIS Early-Mid Career Research Award is to celebrate an outstanding early-mid career research record of innovative ideas or methods that lead to research impacts on the theory and/or practice of GIScience or geographic information technology.

UCGIS will honor Song Gao and other award recipients as part of its Symposium 2022 programming activities.

Wen Ye received the 2022 University HILLDALE FELLOWSHIP

Please join us congratulating our junior student Wen (Wendy) Ye, who is currently an undergraduate triple-majoring in computer science, data science, and statistics as well as a research assistant in the GeoDS Lab under Prof. Song Gao’s mentorship, just got the UW-Madison “Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship” and will be awarded  in the 2022 Chancellor’s Undergraduate Awards Ceremony! 

The awarded research project is: Understanding spatial inequality to health care access in Wisconsin through deep learning-based network analysis.

In 2019, our GeoDS Lab’s alumnus Timothy Prestby (who is currently a PhD student at PSU Geography) also got this university fellowship under Prof. Gao’s mentorship.

Other Previous Hilldale Fellows at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

https://awards.advising.wisc.edu/campus-wide-award-recipients/test-hilldale-fellows/

Prof. Gao joins the Editorial Board of Transactions in GIS

Recently, Prof. Song Gao is invited to join the Editorial Board of Transactions in GIS, which is a key international journal for publishing geographic information systems/science related research.

Aims and Scope

Transactions in GIS is an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research articles, review articles, and short technical notes on the latest advances and best practices in the spatial sciences. The spatial sciences include all of the different ways in which geography may be used to organize, represent, store, analyze, model and visualize information. The submission of manuscripts that focus on one or more of the following topics among others – is strongly encouraged:

  • GIS, GPS, Remote Sensing and related geospatial technologies;
  • geospatial data acquisition and sensing; maps and spatial reasoning;
  • spatial data infrastructures; standardization and interoperability;
  • spatial data structures and databases; geocomputation;
  • spatiotemporal analysis, integration and modeling;
  • spatial data quality and uncertainty;
  • GIS education and certification; GIS and society;
  • location privacy;
  • and desktop, mobile and Web-based spatially-enabled applications and services.

Keywords

Geographic Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining; Geographic Information Retrieval; Geosensor Networks; Geosimulation; Geospatial Data Integration; Geospatial Semantic Web; Geovisualization; Geographic Information Science; Geographic Information Systems; GIS Architectures and Middleware; GIS and Society; GIS Standardization and Interoperability; GIS&T Education; Global Positioning Systems; Local, Enterprise, Mobile and Web Applications; Location-Based Services; Location Privacy, Data Sharing and Security Maps and Map Services; Ontologies and taxonomies; Public Participation; GIS Remote Sensing; Spatial Analysis; Spatial Cognition and Reasoning; Spatial Data Infrastructures; Spatial Data Quality and Uncertainty; Spatial Databases, Data Structures and Algorithms; Spatial Decision Support Systems; Spatial Dynamics; Spatial Modeling; Spatial Networks; Spatial Thinking; Spatiotemporal Analysis and Modeling; The Spatial Sciences

GeoDS members in 2022 AAG Annual Meeting

Here are a set of sessions in which the GeoDS members will make presentations during the American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2022 Annual Meeting. The time is in the US East Time Zone.

Why geoprivacy matters:An international perspective

Day: 2/26/2022
Start Time: 5:20 PM
End Time: 6:40 PM

Panelist : Song Gao https://aag-annualmeeting.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/19/sessiongallery/3154

Teaching and Research with ArcGIS: Best Practices, Challenges and Opportunities

Day: 2/27/2022
Start Time: 11:20 AM
End Time: 12:40 PM

PanelistSong Gao https://aag-annualmeeting.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/19/sessiongallery/5101

Is Artificial Intelligence good for Geography?

Day: 2/27/2022
Start Time: 2:00 PM
End Time: 3:20 PM

PanelistSong Gao https://aag-annualmeeting.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/19/sessiongallery/3749

Geospatial Health Symposium #10: Access and Utilization of Health Care Services 2

Day: 2/27/2022
Start Time: 3:40 PM
End Time: 5:00 PM

Yunlei LiangSpatially-Constrained Community Detection for Health Professional Shortage Area Delineation with Human Mobility Data 

AAG 2022 Symposium on Data-Intensive Geospatial Understanding in the Era of AI and CyberGIS: CyberGIS-enabled spatial epidemiology

Day: 2/27/2022
Start Time: 3:40 PM
End Time: 5:00 PM

Panelist: Song Gao https://aag-annualmeeting.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/19/sessiongallery/3391

Role of GIS in planning smart and resilient cities III

Day: 3/1/2022
Start Time: 11:20 AM
End Time: 12:40 PM

Yuhan JiA Data-driven Method for Identifying Potential Zones for Airport Shuttle Bus Services 

AAG 2022 Symposium on Data-Intensive Geospatial Understanding in the Era of AI and CyberGIS: UCGIS GeoAI & CyberGIS Research Initiative- GeoAI and CyberGIS for Advancing Spatial Decision Making

Day: 3/1/2022
Start Time: 11:20 AM
End Time: 12:40 PM

Song Gao: University of WisconsinReflections on the Development of Spatially Explicit Methods for GeoAI 

AAG 2022 Symposium on Data-Intensive Geospatial Understanding in the Era of AI and CyberGIS: Urban Visual Intelligence

Day: 3/1/2022
Start Time: 2:00 PM
End Time: 3:20 PM

Jacob KrusePlaces for play: Understanding human perception of playability in cities using street view images and deep learning 

Yuhao Kang: University of Wisconsin-MadisonHuman settlement value assessment from a place perspective: Considering human dynamics and perceptions in house price modeling 

AAG 2022 Symposium on Data-Intensive Geospatial Understanding in the Era of AI and CyberGIS: GeoAI for Social Sensing

Day: 3/1/2022
Start Time: 3:40 PM
End Time: 5:00 PM

Jinmeng Rao: University of Wisconsin – MadisonCATS: Conditional Adversarial Trajectory Simulation for Privacy-Preserved Data Publication 

A review of location encoding for GeoAI published on IJGIS

Gengchen Mai, Krzysztof Janowicz, Yingjie Hu, Song Gao, Bo Yan, Rui Zhu, Ling Cai & Ni Lao (2022): A review of location encoding for GeoAI: methods and applications. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2021.2004602

Abstract: A common need for artificial intelligence models in the broader geoscience is to encode various types of spatial data, such as points, polylines, polygons, graphs, or rasters, in a hidden embedding space so that they can be readily incorporated into deep learning models. One fundamental step is to encode a single point location into an embedding space, such that this embedding is learning-friendly for downstream machine learning models. We call this process location encoding. However, there lacks a systematic review on location encoding, its potential applications, and key challenges that need to be addressed. This paper aims to fill this gap. We first provide a formal definition of location encoding, and discuss the necessity of it for GeoAI research. Next, we provide a comprehensive survey about the current landscape of location encoding research. We classify location encoding models into different categories based on their inputs and encoding methods, and compare them based on whether they are parametric, multi-scale, distance preserving, and direction aware. We demonstrate that existing location encoders can be unified under one formulation framework. We also discuss the application of location encoding. Finally, we point out several challenges that need to be solved in the future.

Spatial Data Science Symposium 2021

The Center for Spatial Studies (spatial@ucsb) at the University of California, Santa Barbara hosts the 2nd Spatial Data Science Symposium virtually this year with a focus on “Spatial and Temporal Thinking in Data-Driven Methods.”

The symposium aims to bring together researchers from both academia and industry to discuss experiences, insights, methodologies, and applications, taking spatial and temporal knowledge into account while addressing their domain-specific problems.

Professor Song Gao joins as one of the speakers for the following panel discussion sessions:

Spatial Data Scientist Career Panel Discussion
Panel Discussion: From Analysis to Action: Engaging through Spatial Data Science Storytelling

AAG Webinar on Ethical Issues of Using Geospatial Data in Health Research

Webinar: Ethical Issues of Using Geospatial Data in Health Research or Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Date and Time: Thursday, December 2, 2021 9:00 am – 11:00 am U.S. Eastern Time

Registration: https://aag-geoethics-series.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/10/sessiongallery/200

This conversation is co-organized by AAG and the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science (ISEIS), at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). During this webinar you will first hear presentations from speakers who are longtime scholars in the field of health geography. Presentations from academic speakers will set the stage for a discussion with panelists who are non-academic stakeholders on this topic in and outside the U.S.

Advances in geospatial technologies and the availability of geospatial big data have enabled researchers to analyze and visualize geospatial data in great detail. Geospatial methods are now widely used to uncover the complex patterns of diverse social phenomena, such as human mobility and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, using or mapping individual-level confidential geospatial data (e.g., the locations of people’s residences and activities) involves certain risk of disclosure and privacy violation. Such risk of geoprivacy violation has recently become a widespread concern as many COVID-19 control measures (e.g., digital contact tracing; self-quarantine methods; and disclosure of location visited by infected persons) used by governments or public health agencies collected individual-level geospatial data. These COVID-19 control measures pose a particularly serious geoprivacy threat because recent advances in geospatial artificial intelligence (GeoAI) and high-performance computing may significantly increase the accuracy of spatial reverse engineering (e.g., by linking high-resolution geospatial data with other data such as census or survey data to discover the identity of specific individuals). On the other hand, false inference, such as false positives from facial recognition for example, can result in big consequences.

This webinar will focus on ethical issues of using geospatial data analytics in health research and practices, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The presentations will cover a wide range of topics, including uncertainties in analyzing relationships between disease spread and geographic environment, geoprivacy concerns for different COVID-19 control measures (e.g., digital contact tracing), addressing people’s concerns for geoprivacy in times of pandemics, IRB issues in health research during COVID-19, legal issues arose and policy implications of using individual-level confidential geospatial for controlling the spread of pandemics. Questions to be explored include: How can researchers protect people’s geoprivacy when using individual-level geospatial data to gain insights into the dynamics and patterns of infectious diseases? What disease control measures have higher risk of geoprivacy violation, which may significantly affect people’s acceptance of these measures and undermine their effectiveness in controlling the spread of COVID-19 or future pandemics? How can public health authorities balance the need for disease control and individual geoprivacy protection? What are the legal and technical issues in data sharing? How to minimize the unintended negative consequences such as the stigmatization of and discrimination against infected persons as a result of geoprivacy breaches or location disclosure?

Prof. Gao presents at the GIScience Research UK International Seminar Series

Beginning in 2021, GISRUK launched a series of international seminars celebrating innovation in Geographical Information Science, Chaired by Dr. Peter Mooney.

Dr. Song Gao was invited to give a seminar titled “GeoAI for Human Mobility Analytics and Location Privacy Protection” on 3rd November 2021.

Geographical Information Science Research UK (GISRUK) is the largest academic conference in Geographic Information Science in the UK. For the last 30 years, GISRUK has attracted international researchers and practitioners in GIS and related fields, including geography, data science, urban planning and computer science, to share and discuss the latest advances in spatial computing and analysis. The event in 2022 will be the 30th annual GISRUK conference. The conference will be held on the 5th – 8th April 2022 and hosted by the Geographic Data Science Lab and Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Liverpool. We look forward to welcoming you in person to the conference next year.

New Research Chapter about Store Visit Patterns during COVID-19 Published

Yunlei Liang, Kyle W. McNair, Song Gao, Aslıgül Göçmen. (2021). Exploring Store Visit Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic Using Mobile Phone Location Data. In Shih-Lung Shaw and Daniel Sui (Eds): Mapping COVID-19 in Space and Time: Understanding the Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of a Global Pandemic (Chapter 13). pp. 253-275, Springer.

Abstract:

When the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the pandemic of COVID-19, people around the globe scattered to stores for groceries, supplies, and other miscellaneous items in preparation for quarantine. The dynamics of retail visits changed dramatically due to the pandemic outbreak. The study intends to analyze how the store visit patterns have changed due to the lockdown policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using mobile phone location data, we build a time-aware Huff model to estimate and compare the visiting probability of different brands of stores over different time periods. We are able to identify certain retail and grocery stores that have more or fewer visits due to the pandemic outbreak, and we detect whether there are any trends in visiting certain retail establishments (e.g., department stores, grocery stores, fast-food restaurants, and cafes) and how the visiting patterns have adjusted with lockdowns. We also make comparisons among brands across three highly populated U.S. cities to identify potential regional variability. It has been found that people in large metropolitan areas with a well-developed transit system tend to show less sensitivity to long-distance visits. In addition, Target, which is a department store, is found to be more negatively affected by longer-distance trips than other grocery stores after the lockdown. The findings can be further applied to support policymaking related to public health, urban planning, transportation, and business in post-pandemic cities.

Highlighted results:

  • The dwell time distribution of visitors in Target.
  • Frequency of Visits from home Census Block Groups to Whole Foods Markets.

New research article about Playability in Urban Environments published in CEUS

Jacob Kruse, Yuhao Kang, Yu-Ning Liu, Fan Zhang, and Song Gao. “Places for play: Understanding human perception of playability in cities using street view images and deep learning.” Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 90 (2021): 101693.

Abstract: Play benefits childhood development and well-being, and is a key factor in sustainable city design. Though previous studies have examined the effects of various urban features on how much children play and where they play, such studies rely on quantitative measurements of play such as the precise location of play and the duration of play time, while people’s subjective feelings regarding the playability of their environment are overlooked. In this study, we capture people’s perception of place playability by employing Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to classify street view images. A deep learning model trained on the labelled data is then used to evaluate neighborhood playability for three U.S. cities: Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco. Finally, multivariate and geographically weighted regression models are used to explore how various urban features are associated with playability. We find that higher traffic speeds and crime rates are negatively associated with playability, while higher scores for perception of beauty are positively associated with playability. Interestingly, a place that is perceived as lively may not be playable. Our research provides helpful insights for urban planning focused on sustainable city growth and development, as well as for research focused on creating nourishing environments for child development.

Highlighted results:

  • Our deep learning model was able to produce playability scores whose distribution closely matched that of the training data.
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  • Using images labeled by our deep learning model, we produced a map of playability scores for Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco.
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  • Downtown areas in the three cities studied had high lively scores but low playability scores.
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