SpatialTech: Bruno Martins

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, The UCSB forum on spatial technology presents

Challenges in resolving place names over text

 

Bruno Martins

University of Lisbon

11:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | Zoom*

Abstract:

Toponym resolution concerns the disambiguation of place names in textual documents, envisioning the support for applications such as geographical search or the mapping of textually encoded information. Place names are first recognized through a named entity recognition model, and the disambiguation is then achieved by associating each of the place references to a unique position on the Earth’s surface, e.g., through the assignment of geospatial coordinates. The toponym resolution task is particularly challenging, given that place references are highly ambiguous (i.e., distinct locations can share the same place name, and multiple names can be used to refer to the same place). In this talk, I will discuss techniques for toponym resolution, with a particular emphasis on a novel deep learning approach. Contrarily to most previous methods, the novel approach does not involve matching references in the text against entries in a gazetteer, instead directly predicting geospatial coordinates. In brief, the neural network architecture considers multiple inputs (e.g.,the toponym to disambiguate together with the surrounding words), leveraging pre-trained contextual word embeddings for modeling the textual data. The intermediate representations are then used to predict a probability distribution over possible geospatial regions, and finally to predict the coordinates for the input toponym. I will present evaluation results over different types of corpora (e.g., modern newswire text or historical documents), and I will discuss the impact of model extensions related to (i) the use of external information concerning geophysical terrain properties, including information on terrain development or elevation, among others, and (ii) additional training data collected from Wikipedia articles, to guide and further help with model training.

Bio:

Bruno Martins is an assistant professor at the Computer Science and Engineering Department of Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon (IST/UL), and a researcher at the Information and Decision Support Systems Lab of INESC-ID, where he works on problems related to the general areas of information retrieval, text mining, and the geographical information sciences. He received his MSc and PhD degrees from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, both in Computer Science. Bruno has been involved in several research projects related to geospatial aspects in information access and retrieval, and he has accumulated significant expertise in addressing challenges at the intersection of language technologies, machine learning, and the geographical information sciences. He and his students have worked on many different application areas, and he is proudest of the many PhD/MSc students who have graduated under his supervision and are now building wonderful careers.

Material:
SpatialTech-Bruno-Martins

The objectives of the Spatial Technology presentations are to exchange ideas and promote discussion and interaction within the spatial technology community

Please contact Karen Doehner, kdoehner@spatial.ucsb.edu or Emmanuel Papadakis epd@ucsb.edu, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial technologies.

*This talk is a part of the spatial series Knowledge Representation and GeoHumanities; upon registration, you can access all the talks of the series using the provided link.

Follow spatial@ucsb on Twitter | Google+ | Google Calendar

SpatialTech: Ben Adams

On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, The UCSB forum on spatial technology presents

Contrastive explanations in GeoAI

 

Ben Adams

University of Canterbury

4:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Zoom

Abstract:

In the last few years interest in GeoAI has grown as newer machine learning techniques have shown success when applied to geographic problems. For the most part, this work has focused on training predictive deep learning models using large data sets. However, these models can be opaque and the reasoning behind why certain outcomes are predicted will not be clear to a human who might want to make informed decisions based on the predictions. In this talk my plan is not to discuss my own prior research but rather to introduce some recent research on explainable AI, and then to start a discussion within the GeoAI community about how we can build geographic AI systems that better explain their reasoning. In particular, I will focus on contrastive explanations and show how they might work for the kinds of use cases that have been presented at the Reasoning in GeoAI workshop, including crime analysis, travel behaviour modelling, and population projection.

Bio:

Ben Adams is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University at Canterbury, New Zealand. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his research mainly focuses on exploring new ways of using computing technology to advance human understanding of the environment and world. His research includes the development of theories that explain how digital information reflects human conceptualization and building software systems that problem solving. Ben’s research interests include, indicatively, information retrieval, environmental narratives, spatial data science, spatial cognition and environmental narratives.

Material:
SpatialTech-Ben-Adams

The objectives of the Spatial Technology presentations are to exchange ideas and promote discussion and interaction within the spatial technology community

Please contact Karen Doehner, kdoehner@spatial.ucsb.edu or Emmanuel Papadakis epd@ucsb.edu, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial technologies.

Follow spatial@ucsb on Twitter | Google+ | Google Calendar

SpatialTech: Seila Gonzalez Estrecha

On Tuesday, November 10, 2020, The UCSB forum on spatial technology presents

Enslaved.org: A knowledge representation in WikiBase of people, events and places in the historical slave trade

 

Seila Gonzalez Estrecha

Michigan State University

11:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 10, 2020 | Zoom*

Abstract:

The Enslaved.org project brings together multiple siloed datasets in a Wikibase representation of People, Places, and Events within the historical slave trade. A goal of this project is to develop a tool for scholars and the public to interact with this data to better understand the lives of enslaved Africans and their descendants. The vague definitions for places, with limited geographical information, presents challenges for this project including identifying the best approaches to represent the data. In this context, the meaning of place does not only include the concept of space but also the ethno-identity of many of those who were enslaved. This talk addresses the solutions taken by Enslaved.org in order to represent space, event, and people information and various challenges, including the technology behind the project and the motive to use Wikibase. It also covers the influence of places to disambiguate people records and the ontology alignment between the Wikibase graph and the owl ontology developed for Enslaved.org.

Bio:

Seila Gonzalez Estrecha manages and oversees the design and development of all software at Matrix, including all frontend and backend aspects of web applications, designing databases architecture, decision made for tools and technologies to be implemented, roadmap of software development of any Matrix products, identifying issues and common patterns, and developing standard operating procedures. She has experience implementing semantic web-based systems and standards for ontology-centered knowledge graphs, including work on knowledge graph modularization, ontology design patterns, interdisciplinary knowledge graph development, ontology alignment, data integration and implementation of SPARQL queries. Gonzalez directs the work of developers to ensure the adherence to best practices. She has experience in multiple programming languages and types of databases. Prior to coming to MSU, Gonzalez worked in the private sector as a java software engineer and GIS software developer.

Material:
SpatialTech-Seila Gonzalez-Estrecha

The objectives of the Spatial Technology presentations are to exchange ideas and promote discussion and interaction within the spatial technology community

Please contact Karen Doehner, kdoehner@spatial.ucsb.edu or Emmanuel Papadakis epd@ucsb.edu, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial technologies.

*This talk is a part of the spatial series Knowledge Representation and GeoHumanities; upon registration, you can access all the talks of the series using the provided link.

Follow spatial@ucsb on Twitter | Google+ | Google Calendar

SpatialTech: Yingjie Hu

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the UCSB forum on spatial technology presents

Advancing Spatial and Textual Analysis with GeoAI

 

Yingjie Hu

University of Buffalo

11:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | Zoom*

Abstract:

A rich amount of geographic information exists in unstructured texts, such as news articles, web pages, historical archives, and social media posts. Geoparsers are useful tools that extract location mentions from unstructured texts, thereby enabling spatial analysis of big textual data. In this talk, I will present our recent work in designing a unified platform for comparing geoparsers and building a deep learning-based model for improving toponym recognition from social media messages.

Bio:

Yingjie Hu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University at Buffalo (UB) and the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA). He develops and applies spatial analysis, data mining, machine learning, and deep learning methods to address various geospatial problems in disaster response, public health, urban planning, and digital humanities. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is an alumnus of the STKO Lab. He holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from East China Normal University. Hu is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed articles in top journals and conferences. He is passionate about teaching and conducting research on GIScience.

Material:
SpatialTech-Yingjie-Hu

The objectives of the Spatial Technology presentations are to exchange ideas and promote discussion and interaction within the spatial technology community

Please contact Karen Doehner, kdoehner@spatial.ucsb.edu or Emmanuel Papadakis epd@ucsb.edu, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial technologies.

*This talk is a part of the spatial series Knowledge Representation and GeoHumanities; upon registration, you can access all the talks of the series using the provided link.

Follow spatial@ucsb on Twitter | Google+ | Google Calendar

[Canceled] Spatial Tech Lunch: Roland Knapp

Canceled due to COVID19 outbreak. Any updates will be posted here.

 

On Wednesday, March 11, from 12:00–1:00 pm please join us for the next Spatial Technology Lunch in the Center for Spatial Studies (Phelps Hall 3512). This semi-regular series, hosted by spatial@ucsb, aims to promote discussion and interaction within the university’s spatial technology community. Please RSVP here by Saturday, March 7. Sandwiches and drinks will be provided.

Spread of a virulent amphibian pathogen across the Sierra Nevada

Dr. Roland Knapp

 

Abstract: The global emergence of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium
dendrobatidis: “Bd”) has caused the extinction of at least 90 frog species and the decline of
hundreds more. This impact has been called the most spectacular loss of vertebrate
biodiversity due to disease in recorded history. Bd is believed to have originated in Asia, but is
now distributed worldwide due to global commerce. In California’s Sierra Nevada mountains,
Bd emerged in the 1960s and subsequently spread across the range, causing precipitous
declines of the once-common mountain yellow-legged frog and its eventual listing under the
U.S. Endangered Species Act. Describing this spread, including identifying factors associated
with its arrival in frog populations, would allow better prediction of future spread and aid in the
identification of possible vectors. In this presentation, I will provide details on the patterns of
Bd spread in the Sierra Nevada and solicit input on how these data could best be analyzed.

Bio:
Roland Knapp is a research biologist at the University of California Sierra Nevada
Aquatic Research Laboratory. His research interests include the population and conservation
biology of endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains,
and the community ecology of montane lake ecosystems. The landscape-scale surveys of
aquatic habitats in the southern Sierra Nevada (7,000+ lakes and ponds) that he led form the
basis for ongoing amphibian and lake recovery efforts in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and
Yosemite National Parks, and beyond. His current research focuses on the recovery of
mountain yellow-legged frogs in the presence of the recently-emerged amphibian chytrid
fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis).

 

Have any questions for Dr. Knapp before or after the discussion? Give him a shout at roland.knapp@ucsb.edu.

Spatial Tech Lunch: Dan Baciu

On Tuesday, November 12, from 12:00–1:00 pm please join us for the next Spatial Technology Lunch in the Center for Spatial Studies (Phelps Hall 3512). This semi-regular series, hosted by spatial@ucsb, aims to promote discussion and interaction within the university’s spatial technology community. Please RSVP here by Friday, November 8. Sandwiches and drinks will be provided.

The Geography of Cultures: New Methods for Decoding, Analysis, and Synthesis

Dan Baciu

 

Abstract: It is tempting to believe that ideas and culture are free to spread and therefore free of geography. However, the phenomenon of “culture shock” most dramatically questions and limits the validity of such hypothesis: When chasing your dreams and horizons, you may end up in a different culture on a different continent, and, under those circumstances, you may loose your sense of self. Geography and culture are inseparable because geography is an important medium for cultural life.

Although people carry their cultural values with them, they may reach a place where those values no longer apply. So to say, their cultural currency is no longer accepted—but this anecdotal evidence should really only raise interest in new research directions with global implications. At UCSB, Benjamin Cohen has shown that money has surprising geographies with massive political consequences on a global stage. Dan C. Baciu, supported by the Interpretation Lab, continues along this path but goes further in studying the geography of cultures. In an age of information and knowledge, as Alvin and Heidi Toffler contemplated, cultures are the new currencies. Companies are no longer valued for their transaction volume alone, but also for their ability to amass information about people and their cultures. Yet, how are these personal, local, and global scales of culture interconnected? And how do mass and social media shift geographical distributions and reshape entire systems of value?

Studying these questions, Dan Baciu envisioned and probed new methods of extracting geographical information from public media. Instead of relying on gazetteers, his team uses natural language processing and publicly contributed knowledge bases. This makes it possible to create many interconnected layers of geography, history, and cultural circles, allowing for the application of a richer stock of analysis and synthesis methods. In turn, these new possibilities for empirical assessment allow for the testing of new theory about the relationships between individuals, cultural cannons, and shared global geography.

Imagine collecting hundreds of thousands of books, news, social media, and TV for everything called “Chicago school,” “Humanities,” and “Science.” What would these data reveal? Dr. Baciu and his collaborators used supercomputing to decode natural language, and they went on to enrich these data with geographical and historical information. Furthermore, they combined historical evaluations with data analysis, dimensionality reductions, and classification. Finally, to make sense of their results, they developed interfaces to interactively visualize distributions and stratification. Their GeoD and 7D toolkit is expected to be released to the public in a forthcoming research article.

The newly discovered geographical distributions of culture are surprising: There are maps of science, humanities, universities networks, postmodernism, national parks, oceanography, study abroad, and many more. And these geographies are not as you expect them. If you think that the U.S. Dollar is limited to the U.S., and that national parks are where they are, you will be surprised. The new methods allow us to refine our understanding of how culture grows in geographical space.

The new methods of analysis and synthesis were driven by theory and questions that preoccupied Dr. Baciu already during his Ph.D.; and the new findings confirm his earlier postulates. For him, the newly discovered geographical distributions are no longer surprising. Although new to humanities scholars, the theoretical foundations of his work are not new to everyone. Equivalent mathematics are a textbook-case of evolutionary dynamics already.

“United we stand” inspires not only collaborative spirit, but also a new research direction in the study of urban culture and diversity. “United” in this context means learning to listen to everyone. Dan C. Baciu has shaped this research direction most recently as Postdoc in English at UC Santa Barbara.

Spatial Tech Lunch: Jeff Onsted & Nathaniel Roth

On Wednesday, November 28, from 12:00–1:00 pm please join us for the next Spatial Technology Lunch in the Center for Spatial Studies (Phelps Hall 3512). This semi-regular series, hosted by spatial@ucsb, aims to promote discussion and interaction within the university’s spatial technology community. Please RSVP here by Monday, November 26. Sandwiches and drinks will be provided.

 

Science and Spatial Technology at the California Department of Conservation

Jeffrey Onsted and Nathaniel Roth

 

Onsted Roth Tech Lunch

Abstract: The California Department of Conservation’s scientists and engineers are dedicated to
balancing today’s needs with tomorrow’s obligations by fostering the wise use and conservation
of energy, land, and mineral resources. Our spatial technologies support this work by enabling us
to collect, store, analyze, visualize, report, and share data on the state’s resources and serves as a
core ingredient to discharging our regulatory, advisory, and conservation responsibilities.
Whether mapping the state’s geology and geologic risks, identifying changes within the state’s
agricultural spaces, managing portions of the state’s carbon portfolio, or regulating the
California’s mineral and petroleum extraction industries, high quality spatial data is essential to
meeting our mandates. With very few exceptions, all of our spatial data is either available now or
will be in the very near future.

Nathaniel Roth, Geographic Information Officer, California Department of Conservation,
Ph.D. Geography, UC Davis,  2016; M.A. Geography, UC Davis 2012; B.S., Environmental
Biology & Management, UC Davis 2000

Jeff Onsted, Chief Science Adviser, California Department of Conservation, Ph.D.
Geography, UC Santa Barbara, 2007; M.A. Geography, UC Santa Barbara, 2002; B.A. Urban
Studies and Planning, UC San Diego, 1995.

Spatial Tech Lunch: Marthe Wens

On Wednesday, May 30, from 12:00–1:00 pm please join us for the next Spatial Technology Lunch in the Center for Spatial Studies (Phelps Hall 3512). This semi-regular series, hosted by spatial@ucsb, aims to promote discussion and interaction within the university’s spatial technology community. Please RSVP to Crystal Bae (cbae@spatial.ucsb.edu) by Monday, May 28. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

Integrating heterogeneous, dynamic adaptation behaviour in drought risk modelling

Marthe Wens


Abstract: Droughts are a prevalent and costly hazard impacting urban, agricultural, and natural systems. Increasing climate variability is expected to exacerbate drought conditions in many parts of the world while evolving socio-economic conditions and adaptation strategies influence both short and long term risk to ecosystems, economies, and human health. Since adaptation strategies evolve over time, explicitly modeling these dynamics is important for understanding future risk.

In this talk I will advocate extending the traditional drought-risk framework to better include the bilateral relationship between human and physical systems. The use of agent-based modeling technique to simulate the co-evolution of future drought hazard, exposure, vulnerability and heterogeneous, individual adaptation decisions, is showcased using a case study in Kitui, rural East Kenya.

Marthe Wens is currently a PhD Student in the Department of Water and Climate Risk Institute for Environmental Studies at the Instituut voor Milieuvraagstukken (IVM).

Spatial Tech Lunch: Jorge Chen

On Tuesday, May 22, from 12:00–1:00 pm please join us for the next Spatial Technology Lunch in the Center for Spatial Studies (Phelps Hall 3512). This semi-regular series, hosted by spatial@ucsb, aims to promote discussion and interaction within the university’s spatial technology community. Please RSVP to Crystal Bae (cbae@spatial.ucsb.edu) by Sunday, May 20. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

How well can a $750 DIY LiDAR scanner scan?

Jorge Chen

Chen Tech Lunch
Abstract: Laser scanners provide a fast, convenient, and accurate way to take distance measurements of the surrounding environment. They operate by calculating the time it takes for a light beam to travel to a distant object and back using a process called light detection and ranging, or LiDAR, that, when repeated numerous times, forms a “point cloud” of (x,y,z) coordinates. Until very recently, only large enterprise users with big budgets could afford this type of technology, with the cost of most LiDAR scanners running well over $100K. However, the trickling down of LiDAR to consumer products has resulted in a new class of relatively cheap sensors that can now be found in robotic vacuum cleaners, drones, autonomous vehicles, and maybe even in upcoming smartphones.

This presentation looks at the performance of the Scanse 3D panoramic LiDAR scanner, one of the first panoramic scanners designed for consumer use. At an incredible price of $750, this camera-sized do-it-yourself scanner uses a $150 LiDAR sensor attached to two orthogonally rotating servos that are controlled by open source software on a Raspberry Pi — all powered by an off-the-shelf cell phone charger. Performance assessment involved comparing measurements of a conference room taken with the Scanse 3D and a professional Trimble scanner. Results showed the Scanse consistently overestimated room dimensions by 15 cm, although at the local level of a flat surface it showed sub-centimeter accuracy, with high standard deviation and sub-centimeter precision. This latter result indicated systematic drift, which can be seen in a plot of the point cloud. Perhaps more interesting than the results, though, were the challenges faced in aligning the noisy and wavy Scanse data with the highly accurate and precise Trimble data. These were addressed using extended Gaussian image analysis, histogram analysis, and the iterative closest point process, all of which will be covered during the presentation.

Jorge Chen is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geography at UCSB.

Spatial Tech Lunch: Sinan Yuan

On Monday, April 30, from 12:00–1:00 pm please join us for the next Spatial Technology Lunch in the Center for Spatial Studies (Phelps Hall 3512). This semi-regular series, hosted by spatial@ucsb, aims to promote discussion and interaction within the university’s spatial technology community.

Please RSVP to Crystal Bae (cbae@spatial.ucsb.edu) by Saturday, April 28. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

Experimental VR Research on Spatial Cognition in Chinese Traditional Villages

Sinan Yuan
Associate Prof. Department of Architecture
Tianjin University, Tianjin, China


Abstract: By using VR technology, the researcher establishes an experiment platform to analyze the spatial cognition process of people when they are wandering in the traditional Chinese villages. Xiamei and Chengcun, two traditional villages in northern Fujian province, were chosen as the samples in the experiment. The data of movements, head directions of the subjects in the experiment were collected as well as the corresponding subjective feedbacks during the experiment. Through data visualization and analysis, the research reveals the characteristics of the cognition and behavior of the participants when experiencing a complex space such as the traditional villages.

Sinan Yuan is currently a visiting scholar at UCSB from Tianjin University in China.