Call for Visitors

Dec 5, 2018 • Categories: Featured | Highlight | Research | Visitors

Welcoming New Applications! The UCSB Center for Spatial Studies invites interested scholars, instructors, postdoctoral researchers, and interns to apply to become a visitor with the Spatial Center. Details are available through this...

Spatial discovery and the research library

Jun 26, 2017 • Categories: Publications | Research

A paper co-authored by spatial@ucsb’s Sara Lafia and Werner Kuhn, along with the Map and Imagery Laboratory’s Jon Jablonski and Spatial affiliates Antonio Medrano and Savannah Cooley was published in Transactions in GIS: Lafia, S., Jablonski, J., Kuhn, W., Cooley, S., & Medrano, F. A. (2016). Spatial discovery and the research library. Transactions in GIS, 20(3), 399-412. Abstract: Academic libraries have always supported research across disciplines by integrating access to diverse contents and resources. They now have the opportunity to reinvent their role in facilitating interdisciplinary work by offering researchers new ways of sharing, curating, discovering, and linking research data. Spatial data and metadata support this process because location often integrates disciplinary perspectives, enabling researchers to make their own research data more discoverable, to discover data of other researchers, and to integrate data from multiple sources. The Center for Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the UCSB Library are undertaking joint research to better enable the discovery of research data and publications. The research addresses the question of how to spatially enable data discovery in a setting that allows for mapping and analysis in a GIS while connecting the data to publications about them. It suggests a framework for an integrated data discovery mechanism and shows how publications may be linked to associated data sets exposed either directly or through metadata on Esri’s Open Data platform. The results demonstrate a simple form of linking data to publications through spatially referenced metadata and persistent identifiers. This linking adds value to research products and increases their discoverability across disciplinary...

Core Concepts of Spatial Information

Introduction The Core Concepts of Spatial Information are designed to facilitate spatial computing and reduce its complexity. They also serve as conceptual lenses on environments, allowing for different perspectives on them, fed by data with any sort of spatial reference. We specify the Core Concepts as Abstract Data Types (ADT), defining a set of core computations for each concept, through which users can ask spatial questions (Kuhn & Ballatore, 2015). The ultimate goal is a generic Application Programming Interface (API) for spatial computing. Motivation The main motivation of this project is to promote transdisciplinary research through a more intuitive access to spatial data and computing (Kuhn, 2012). Spatial computing is seen as an enabler, but remains notoriously complex, especially for those without expertise in GIS. A large part of this complexity results from historically grown command sets rather than from inherent difficulties. The Core Concepts and Computations constitute a high-level language that allows for question-based spatial computing across disciplines. Spatial computations get organized around questions, instead of being accessed through procedural commands, limited to certain file formats, and requiring frequent format conversions. Case Study A case study (Vahedi et. al, 2016) exemplifies the gain from applying the Core Concepts to spatial analysis. An economist studying economic activity in China decides to use nighttime light as an indicator. His goal is to quantify nighttime light within a 50-kilometer buffer around Chinese road networks and excluding gas flares. He develops a lengthy ArcPy script solving the problem in around 10 steps (see http://economics.mit.edu/files/8945). To answer the same question through the Core Concepts, one conceptualizes nighttime luminosity as a field. In a single computational step, one restricts the field domain to a 50-Kilometer buffer around roads excluding gas flares, and coarsens the granularity of the field. Architecture The Core Concepts get developed and tested through a four-layer architecture. We assume (and willhave to test) that domain specialists from any discipline can usefully express their spatial questions (Domain questions layer) in terms of Core Concepts (Core Concepts layer). A Mediation layer then automatically translates the results into commands of existing spatial technologies (Technological layer). Together, the Core Concepts and Mediation layers act as a wrapper around existing spatial computing technologies, such as GIS or statistical packages with spatial data structures and analysis functions. Current Status As of now, the set of Core Concepts consists of seven concepts, namely, – One Base Concept: Location – Four Content Concepts: Field, Object, Network, Event – Two Quality Concepts: Granularity, Accuracy It appears likely that the Base and Content Concepts are sufficiently complete to cover the scope of most GIS analyses. The number of Quality Concepts, on the other hand, is likely to grow to include such...

Research

Core Concepts of Spatial Information
The Core Concepts of Spatial Information are a set of concepts designed to facilitate spatial computing
and reduce its complexity in order to broaden access to GIS and other tools (Kuhn, 2012). Read more…

Architecture and Mind Research Focus Group

Apr 30, 2016 • Categories: Event | News | Related Initiatives | Research

The UCSB Architecture and Mind Research Focus Group (RFG) is a forum comprised of faculty, graduate students, and design practitioners. Convened for the 2015-2016 academic year by Professors Volker Welter (History of Art and Architecture), Mary Hegarty (Psychological and Brain Sciences), and Daniel Montello (Geography), the group discusses design, aesthetics, and human experience. The group is dedicated to readings about and discussions of the various ways in which the humanities, cognitive psychology, and behavioral/cognitive geography examine and think about human comprehension of space and place, orientation within a designed environment, perception of architectural and aesthetic details, and architecture’s relations to both the human body and mind. During a recent visit to Los Angeles, the group enjoyed an exploration of the Schindler House, in West Hollywood, and the Eames House, in Pacific Palisades, taking a break for lunch at the L.A. Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. Experiencing these homes and public spaces brought this year’s readings on spatial orientation, social interaction, and perception to life. The Schindler House, constructed in 1922, is notable for its extension of indoor space to outdoor living areas and is one of Rudolph Schindler’s most important surviving works. It also notable for its experimental domestic design, intended to support the co-habitation of two married couples, Rudolph and Pauline Schindler, and Clyde and Marian Chace. The research group engaged with the home by writing their impressions of the physical spaces within the home. The group also learned about preservation efforts during a tour of the home. Following the visit to the Schindler House, the group toured another experiment in domestic dwelling. The Eames House, finished in 1949, was part of the The Case Study House Program, constructed with modular industrial-grade materials and intended to serve as both a home and an artists’ studio. The theme of transparency, extending interior space to the exterior, was reinforced by the house’s characteristic glass walls. At the next Architecture and Mind meeting, members of the RFG look forward to assessing the group’s reactions to the spaces, and discussing the role that these homes played as microcosms of greater social shifts revolutionizing the modern domestic sphere. The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC) supports this research group, and the Center for Spatial Studies subsidized the cost of the field trip. For more information about the RFG, please see:...

ACM video: Andrea Ballatore on map personalization

Nov 30, 2015 • Categories: News | Research

Andrea Ballatore (UCSB) and Michela Bertolotto (University College Dublin) published an article entitled “Personalizing Maps” in the December issue of Communications of the ACM. To accompany it, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has produced a video documentary featuring the Center for Spatial Studies and Andrea Ballatore: Article in Communications of the ACM  –  Open Access author copy Abstract: Geographic maps constitute a ubiquitous medium through which we understand, construct, and navigate our natural and built surroundings. At the intersection of the explosion of geographic information online, data-mining techniques, and the increasing popularity of Web maps, a novel possibility has emerged: Instead of generating one map for large numbers of users, user profiling and implicit feedback analysis can support creation of a different map for each person. The automated personalization of the map-making process is still in its infancy but has the potential to provide more relevant maps to millions of users worldwide....