University of Wisconsin–Madison

Song Gao

Assistant Professor


2012-2017: Ph.D. in GIScience, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
2009-2012: M.S. in Cartography and GIS, Peking University, China.
2005-2009: B.S. Honors in Geography, Beijing Normal University, China

Research Areas

GIScience, Place-Based GIS, Geospatial Big Data Analytics, GeoComputation, Location-Based Social Media. Geospatial Semantics, VGI, Spatiotemporal Data Mining and Visualization, Human Mobility, Urban/Social Sensing, Spatial Analysis, Spatial Networks, GPS Trajectory Data Analytics, Data-Synthesis Methods, Geospatial Data Conflation, High-Precision Maps, Machine Learning, GeoAI. 

Courses Taught

Geog 378 Introduction to Geocomputing
Geog 560 Advanced Quantitative Analysis
Geog 970 Seminar in Geographic Information Science

Recent Publications

Google Scholar Page, ResearchGate Page, ORCID

#Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Helen Couclelis. (2017) Extracting Urban Functional Regions from Points of Interest and Human Activities on Location-based Social Networks. Transactions in GIS. 21(3):446-467. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12289

Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Daniel R. Montello, Yingjie Hu, Jiue-an Yang, Grant McKenzie, Yiting Ju, Li Gong, Benjamin Adams, Bo Yan. (2017) A Data-Synthesis-Driven Method for Detecting and Extracting Vague Cognitive Regions. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 31(6): 1245-1271. DOI:10.1080/13658816.2016.1273357

Song Gao, Linna Li, Wenwen Li, Krzysztof Janowicz, Yue Zhang. (2017) Constructing Gazetteers from Volunteered Big Geo-Data based on Hadoop. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 61: 172-186. DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2014.02.004

Song Gao. (2015) Spatio-Temporal Analytics for Exploring Human Mobility Patterns and Urban Dynamics in the Mobile Age. Spatial Cognition & Computation. Taylor & Francis. 15(2), 86-114. DOI:10.1080/13875868.2014.984300

Song Gao, Yu Liu, Yaoli Wang, Xiujun Ma. (2013) Discovering Spatial Interaction Communities from Mobile Phone Data. Transactions in GIS. 17(3):463-481. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12042

Song Gao, Yaoli Wang, Yong Gao, Yu Liu. (2013) Understanding Urban Traffic Flow Characteristics: A Rethinking of Betweenness Centrality. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 40(1):135-153. DOI: 10.1068/b38141

Shaohua Wang, Song Gao, Xin Feng, Alan Murray, Yuan Zeng. (2018)  A context-based geoprocessing framework for optimizing meetup location of multiple moving objects along road networks. International Journal of Geographical Information Science. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2018.1431838.

Gengchen Mai, Krzysztof Janowicz, Yingjie Hu, Song Gao. (2018) ADCN: An anisotropic density-based clustering algorithm for discovering spatial point patterns with noise. Transactions in GIS. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12313

Kang Liu, Song Gao, Peiyuan Qiu, Xiliang Liu, Bo Yan, Feng Lu. (2017) Road2Vec: Measuring Traffic Interactions in Urban Road System from Massive Travel Routes. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 2017,6(11),321. doi:10.3390/ijgi6110321

Blake Regalia, Grant McKenzie, Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz. (2016) Crowdsensing Smart Ambient Environments and Services. Transactions in GIS. 20(3):382-398. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12233

Zhifeng Wu, Yanwei Chai, Anrong Dang, Jianhua Gong, Song Gao, Yang Yue, Dong Li, Lin Liu, Xingjian Liu, Yu Liu, Ying Long, Feng Lu, Chengzhi Qin, Hui Wang, Peng Wang, Wei Wang, Feng Zhen. (2015) Geography Interact with Big Data: Dialogue and Reflection. Geographical Research, 34(12):2207-2221. 

Grant McKenzie, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao, Li Gong. (2015) How Where Is When? On the Regional Variability and Resolution of Geosocial Temporal Signatures for Points Of Interest. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54:336-346, DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.10.002.

Yingjie Hu,Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Bailang Yu, Wenwen Li, Sathya Prasad. (2015) Extracting and Understanding Urban Areas of Interest Using Geotagged Photos. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54, 240-254, DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.09.001.

Yu Liu, Xi Liu, Song Gao, Li Gong, Chaogui Kang, Ye Zhi, Guanghua Chi, Li Shi. (2015) Social sensing: A new approach to understanding our socio-economic environments. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(3), 512-530, DOI:10.1080/00045608.2015.1018773.

Wenwen Li, Miaomiao Song, Bin Zhou, Kai Cao, Song Gao. (2015) Performance improvement techniques for geospatial web services in a cyberinfrastructure environment - A case study with a disaster management portal. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.04.003.

Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Sathya Prasad, Song Gao. (2015) Metadata Topic Harmonization and Semantic Search for Linked-Data-Driven Geoportals: A Case Study Using ArcGIS Online.Transactions in GIS, 19(3), 398-416. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12151.

Grant McKenzie, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao, Jiue-An Yang, Yingjie Hu. (2015) POI Pulse: A Multi-Granular, Semantic Signatures-Based Approach For The Interactive Visualization Of Big Geosocial Data. Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization, 50(2), 71-85. DOI:10.3138/cart.50.2.2662

Yaoli Wang, Song Gao, Yu Liu. (2013) Exploration into Urban Street Closeness Centrality and its Application Methods: A Case Study of Qingdao. Geographic Research. 32(3):352-364.

Jiansheng Wu, Li Huang, Yu Liu, Jian Peng, Weifeng Li, Song Gao, Chaogui Kang. (2013) Traffic Flow Simulation Based on Call Detail Records. Acta Geographica Sinica. 67(12):1657-1665.

Yu Liu, Chaogui Kang, Song Gao, Yu Xiao, Yuan Tian. (2012) Understanding Intra-Urban Trip Patterns from Taxi Trajectory Data. Journal of Geographical Systems. 14(4):463-483. DOI: 10.1007/s10109-012-0166-z

Yu Liu, Fahui Wang, Yu Xiao, Song Gao. (2012) Urban Land Uses and Traffic Source-Sink Areas: Evidence from GPS-Enabled Taxi Data in Shanghai. Landscape and Urban Planning. 106(1):73-87. DOI:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.02.012

Yu Liu, Yu Xiao, Song Gao, Chaogui Kang, Yaoli Wang. (2011) A Review of Human Mobility Research Based on Location Aware Devices. Geography and Geo-Information Science. 27(4):8-13.

Yong Gao, Song Gao, Runqiang Li, Yu Liu. (2010) A Semantic Geographical Knowledge Wiki System Mashed up with Google Maps. Science in China Series E: Technological Sciences. 53:52-60. DOI:10.1007/s11431-010-3208-0

# Book Chapters

Song Gao, Hanzhou Chen, Wei Luo, Yingjie Hu, Xinyue Ye. (2018) Spatio-Temporal-Network Visualization for Exploring Human Movements and Interactions in Physical and Virtual Spaces. In Shih-Lung Shaw and Daniel Sui (Eds): Human Dynamics Research in Smart and Connected Communities (Chapter 4)Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-73247-3_4.

Song Gao, Gengchen Mai. (2018) Mobile GIS and Location-Based Services. In Bo Huang, Thomas J. Cova, and Ming-Hsiang Tsou et al.(Eds): Comprehensive Geographic Information Systems, Vol 1, pp. 384-397, Elsevier. Oxford, UK. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09710-4.

Song Gao. (2017) Big Geo-DataIn Laurie A. Schintler and Connie L. McNeely (Eds): Encyclopedia of Big Data, Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-32001-4_492-1.

Song Gao. (2017) Spatial Scientometrics. In Laurie A. Schintler and Connie L. McNeely (Eds): Encyclopedia of Big Data, Springer.

Max J. Egenhofer, Keith C. Clarke, Song Gao, Teriitutea Quesnot, W. Randolph Franklin, Yuan May, Coleman David. (2016) Contributions of GIScience over the Past Twenty Years. In Harlan Onsrud and Werner Kuhn (Eds): Advancing Geographic Information Science: The Past and Next Twenty Years, GSDI Association Press, 9-34.

Song Gao, Ying Long. (2015) Finding Public Transportation Community Structure based on Large-Scale Smart Card Records in Beijing. In Ying Long and Zhenjiang Shen (Eds), Geospatial Analysis to Support Urban Planning in Beijing, Springer GeoJournal Library (116), 155-167.

# Peer-reviewed Conference/Workshop Proceedings

Bo Yan, Krzysztof Janowicz, Gengchen Mai, and Song Gao. From ITDL to Place2Vec – Reasoning About Place Type Similarity and Relatedness by Learning Embeddings From Augmented Spatial Contexts. In Proceedings of the 25th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems. Los Angeles Area, CA, USA, November 7–10, 2017, pages 1-10.
Yuchen Zhang, Song Gao, Yiting Ju. Identifying Geographic Features through Map Interpretation: A Case Study of Craters Using Controlling Variables. In Proceedings of the 28th International Cartographic Conference (ICC 2017), Washington, DC, USA, July 2-7, 2017.
Song Gao, Sathya Prasad. Employing Spatial Analysis in Indoor Positioning and Tracking Using Wi-Fi Access Point. In Proceedings of 8th ACM SIGSPATIAL Workshop on Indoor Spatial Awareness (ISA 2016), Oct 31-Nov 3, 2016, Burlingame, California, USA. DOI: 10.1145/3005422.3005425.
Gengchen Mai, Krzysztof Janowicz, Yingjie Hu, Song Gao. ADCN: An Anisotropic Density-Based Clustering Algorithm. In Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM SIGSPATIAL 2016), Oct 31-Nov 3, 2016, Burlingame, California, USA.
Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Dingwen Zhang. Designing a Map Legend Ontology For Searching Map Content. In conjunction with The 15th International Semantic Web Conference, In the Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Ontology and Semantic Web Patterns (WOP 2016), Kobe, Japan, Oct.17-21, 2016
Song Gao, Rui Zhu, Gengchen Mai. Identifying Local Spatiotemporal Autocorrelation Patterns of Taxi Pick-ups and Drop-off. GIScience 2016, In the Short Paper Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (pp.109--113), Montreal, Canada, Sep.27-Sep.30, 2016. DOI:10.21433/B31104b2d8xp.
Song Gao, Yuan Zeng. Where to Meet: A Context-Based Geoprocessing Framework to Find Optimal Spatiotemporal Interaction Corridor for Multiple Moving Objects. AMD'16, In the GIScience 2016 Workshop on Analysis of Movement Data, Montreal, Canada, Sep.27, 2016.
Krzysztof Janowicz, Yingjie Hu, Grant McKenzie, Song Gao, Blake Regalia, Gengchen Mai, Rui Zhu, Benjamin Adams, Kerry Taylor. Moon Landing or Safari? A Study of Systematic Errors and their Causes in Geographic Linked Data. GIScience 2016, In the Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Montreal, Canada, Sep.27-Sep.30, 2016. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-45738-3_18.
Blake Regalia, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao. VOLT: A Provenance-Producing, Transparent SPARQL Proxy for the On-Demand Computation of Linked Data and its Application to Spatiotemporally Dependent Data. In the Proceedings of the 13th Extended Semantic Web Conference(ESWC'16), Anissaras, Crete, Greece, May 29-June 2, 2016. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-34129-3_32.
Jae Hyun Lee, Song Gao, Konstadinos G. Goulias. Can Twitter data be used to validate travel demand models? Presentation for 95th Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting, Washington, D.C., January 10-14, 2016.
Yingjie Hu, Grant McKenzie, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao. Mining Human-Place Interaction Patterns from Location-Based Social Networks to Enrich Place Categorization Systems. In the Workshop on Cognitive engineering for spatial information processes: From user interfaces to model-driven design at the Conference on Spatial Information Theory XII (COSIT'15), October 12, 2015, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
Song Gao, Bo Yan, Li Gong, Blake Regalia, Yiting Ju, Yingjie Hu. Uncovering the Digital Divide and the Physical Divide in Senegal Using Mobile Phone Data. In the Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of GeoComputation (GeoComputation'15), Advances in Geocomputation, pp.143-151, May 20-23, 2015, Dallas, Texas, USA.
Li Gong, Song Gao, Grant McKenzie. POI Type Matching based on Culturally Different Datasets. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Location-based Social Media (ICLSM'15), Mar.13-14, 2015, Georgia, USA.
Yingjie Hu, KrzysztofJanowicz, Sathya Prasad, Song Gao. Enabling Semantic Search and Knowledge Discovery for ArcGIS Online: A Linked-Data-Driven Approach. In Proceedings of 18th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science, June 9-12, 2015, Lisbon, Portugal. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-16787-9_7.
Song Gao, Jiue-An Yang, Bo Yan, Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Grant McKenzie. Detecting Origin-Destination Mobility Flows From Geotagged Tweets in Greater Los Angeles Area. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience '14), Sep.24-26, 2014, Vienna, Austria.
Song Gao, Jiue-An Yang, Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Bo Yan. TrajAnalyst: Matching Data to Trajectory Analysis Modules via a Conceptual Framework. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Analysis of Movement Data (AMD'14), Sep.23, 2014, Vienna, Austria.
Song Gao, Ying Long. Finding Public Transportation Community Structure based on Large-Scale Smart Card Records in Beijing. In Proceedings of the NSF Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics, Aug.11-12, 2014, Chicago, IL, USA.
Yaoli Wang, Song Gao. The Influence of Distance Decay Coefficient on Modularity-based Community Detection in Spatial Networks. In Proceedings of the NSF Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics, Aug.11-12, 2014, Chicago, IL, USA.
Yingjie Hu, Grant McKenzie, Jiue-An Yang, Song Gao, Amin Abdalla, Krzysztof Janowicz. A Linked-Data-Driven Web Portal for Learning Analytics: Data Enrichment, Interactive Visualization, and Knowledge Discovery. In Proceedings of the Workshops at the 2014 International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, Mar.24-28, 2014, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Grant McKenzie, Linna Li. Towards Platial Joins and Buffers in Place-Based GIS. In ACM SIGSPATIAL COMP'13 (pp. 42-49), Nov. 5, 2013, Orlando, FL, USA. DOI: 10.1145/2534848.2534856.
Song Gao, Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Grant McKenzie. A Spatiotemporal Scientometrics Framework for Exploring the Citation Impact of Publications and Scientists. In ACM SIGSPATIAL GIS 2013, Nov. 5-8, 2013, Orlando, FL, USA. DOI: 10.1145/2525314.2525368.
Song Gao, Michael F. Goodchild. Asking Spatial Questions to Identify GIS Functionality. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computing for Geospatial Research and Applications. July 22-24, 2013, San Jose, CA, USA. DOI: 10.1109/COMGEO.2013.18.
Song Gao, Hao Yu, Yong Gao, Yingle Sun. A Design of RESTful Style Digital Gazetteer Service in the Cloud Computing Environment. In Proceedings of 18th International Conference on Geoinformatics. June 18-20, 2010, Beijing, China. DOI:10.1109/GEOINFORMATICS.2010.5568111.
Chaogui Kang, Song Gao, Xing Lin, Yu Xiao, Yihong Yuan, Yu Liu, Xiujun Ma. Analyzing and Geo-visualizing Individual Human Mobility Patterns using Mobile Call Records. In Proceedings of 18th International Conference on Geoinformatics. June 18-20, 2010, Beijing, China. DOI: 10.1109/GEOINFORMATICS.2010.5567857.

Awards and Honors

2017 The 'Young Researcher Award' in GIScience selected by The Austrian Academy of Sciences
2017 International Cartographic Association (ICA) Scholarship
2015-2016 National Award for Outstanding Chinese PhD Students Study Abroad
2016 Finalist in AAG Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group Honors Student Paper Competition
2015 Third place in the Esri Intern Weekend of Innovation Hackathon
2015 Chinese-American Engineers and Scientists Association of Southern California (CESASC) Scholarship
2014 The Jack & Laura Dangermond Graduate Fellow
2014 UCSB Geography Excellence in Research Award
2014 The U.S. Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) Doctoral Scholarship
2014 Runner-up for Learning Analytics and Knowledge Data Challenge
2013 Finalist in the Robert Raskin Mashup Mapping Competition
2013 AAG International Geographic Information Fund Student Grants
2012 Outstanding Graduate Awards of Peking University
2011 Best Paper Award in the National RS&GIS Chinese Graduate Students Academic Forum
2009&2011 First Prize in the Esri China GIS Web Application Development Contest
2009 Outstanding Graduate Awards of Beijing Normal University
2006-2008 National Fellowships for Outstanding Undergraduates
Travel Grants: 
2013-2017 Jack & Laura Dangermond Student Travel Grants; 2017 NSF Travel Grant for Mobility Science Workshop at OSU; 2016 NSF Travel Grant for Mobility Science Workshop at UT-Austin; 2016 NSF Travel Grant for 2016 ACM SIGSPATIAL Conference; 2015 Travel Grant for Twenty-Year Anniversary of the International Early Career Scholars Vespucci Institute in GIScience; 2014 NSF Travel Grant for the 10th Reasoning Web Summer School; 2014 NSF Travel Grant for the International Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics; 2013 NSF Travel Grant for  ACM SIGSPATIAL Conference; 2013 NSF Travel Grant for CyberGIS All-Hands Meeting.

Graduate Students and Postdocs

I am recruiting new graduate students (M.S. or Ph.D.) as well as visiting scholars/students. Please send your CV/Resume to my email if you are interested.

Other Activities

Peer-reviewers for:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
International Journal of Geographical Information Science (IJGIS)
Transactions in GIS (TGIS)
Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (CEUS)
International Journal of Digital Earth (IJDE)
Journal of Spatial Information Science (JOSIS)
GIScience & Remote Sensing
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information (IJGI)
Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Journal of Spatial Science (JSS)
Transactions on Spatial Algorithms and Systems
Landscape and Urban Planning (LUP)
Journal of Land Use Science (TLUS)
International Journal of Urban Sciences
Urban Geography
International Journal of Computer Science and Application (IJCSA)
Advances in Engineering Software
Expert Systems With Applications
Public Transport
Future Generation Computer Systems
Earth Science Informatics
Transactions on Information Systems
IET Intelligent Transport Systems

Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison,

550 North Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1404, USA


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