2019 Spatial Data Science Symposium

Spatial Data Science Symposium

“Setting the Spatial Data Science Agenda”

December 9–11, 2019

Upham Hotel (https://www.uphamhotel.com/)

Santa Barbara, California


Space and time matter not only for the obvious reason that everything happens somewhere and at some time, but because knowing where and when things happen is critical to understanding why and how they happened or will happen. Spatial data science is concerned with the representation, modeling, and simulation of spatial processes, as well as with the publication, retrieval, reuse, integration, and analysis of spatial data. It generalizes and unifies research from fields such as geographic information science, geoinformatics, geo/spatial statistics, remote sensing, and transportation studies, and fosters the application of methods developed in these fields to outside disciplines ranging from the social to the physical sciences. In doing so, research on spatial data science must address a variety of new challenges that relate to the diversity of the utilized data and the underlying conceptual models from various domains, the opportunistic reuse of existing data, the scalability of its methods, the support of users not familiar with the language and methods of traditional geographic information systems, the reproducibility of its results that are often generated by complex chains of methods, the uncertainty arising from the use of its methods and data, the visualization of complex spatiotemporal processes and data about them, and, finally, the data collection, analysis, and visualization playing out in near real-time. Spatial data science does not only utilize advanced techniques from fields such as machine learning or big data storage and retrieval, but it also contributes back to them. Recent work, for instance, has shown that spatially-explicit machine learning methods substantially outperform more general data when applied to spatial data even though this spatial component may seem of secondary importance at first glance.

The Center for Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara is hosting a symposium entitled “Setting the Spatial Data Science Agenda.” The meeting will bring together academic and industry representatives from fields such as geographic information science, geoinformatics, geo/spatial statistics, remote sensing, and transportation studies, with interest in setting an interdisciplinary research agenda to advance spatial data science methods and practice, both from scientific and engineering viewpoints. We also invite experts from related fields and those that are producers or users of spatial data in the social and physical sciences.


Instead of being restricted by a historically grown partition into small and overlapping communities that deal with spatial data in one way or the other, the overarching goal of this symposium is to put spatial data science at the forefront of a unified field that explores the current research and application landscape to define an agenda for spatial data science for the next 10 years.


About 35 invited and funded experts from academia and industry will convene to share and develop visions, insights, and best practices. Plenary presentations and intense exchanges in small breakout discussion groups offer opportunities for knowledge transfer.


Applications are now closed.

The meeting will be held at the Upham Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara on Dec. 9–11; suggested travel days are Dec. 8 and the afternoon of Dec. 11.

Please direct any questions to Karen Doehner <kdoehner@spatial.ucsb.edu> or Krzysztof Janowicz <janowicz@ucsb.edu>.

Save the Date: Spatial Hangouts 2

Dear all,
After a successful first Spatial Data Science Hangout, we would like to run a follow-up on Monday March 18, 2019 from 12-1pm. We got a lot of positive feedback form many of you but even more importantly several useful suggestions on how to change the formula for the hangout and we will implement them for next week. We will also have a light lunch available for you. Finally, you can also join our slack channel if you plan to regularly participate in the hangout series: https://sds-hangout.slack.com/.

The Lunch Incubator: A Spatial Data Hangout Recap


What a treat it was to host the Center for Spatial Studies’ first Spatial Data Science hangout. Almost 30 usually dispersed graduate students crept out from their hiding places into the bright of day this Tuesday, having heard the call of an informal gathering of spatial data scientists. Initially smelling the hor d’oeuvres from C’est Cheese, they stayed to hear Dr. Janowicz propose two moonshot ideas to advance the field of Spatial Data Science. If we want to make Spatial Data Science a field with a vision, he imagines, we need a big, crazy idea to drive towards. What could that idea be? How about a Geo-Turing test: say a user asks a GIS question of a machine and is unable to tell the difference between a machine’s and a GIS analyst’s results? Or, as another crazy idea, how about detecting and resolving spatial trends of civil destruction, before the Great Filter is upon us?

Students then hopped into the mingling space to grab some Mediterranean food and discuss the ideas they’d just heard. What more was there to learn and do? What next could be done? Inter-lab discussion brought a chance to catch up with old friends and get new ways to think about these topics.


We plan to host many more productive discussions on a monthly or a bi-weekly basis by bringing together bright young minds in a space with some brain food and a provocative thought.  

If you were unable to make it and are dreaming of the pita, or have ideas for topics of discussion, please contact janowicz@ucsb.edu or join the Spatial Data Slack channel.


Join us for Spatial Data Hangout 2 on March 15!