Workshop Overview

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This virtual workshop is meant to attract participants with a research interest in explainable AI within the Geographic domain (GeoAI). The event focuses on exploring the reasoning path of GeoAI in the analysis of geographic phenomena, finding ways to bring existing spatial theories and models closer to the rapidly evolving data-intensive science, and identifying directions for future research that will promote explainability in GeoAI.

Topic & Aims

Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) research, the significant increase in computational power, and the large-scale availability of data have ushered in a new era of data-intensive science. In the context of GIScience, GeoAI aims to employ AI methods to analyze complex geographical phenomena. Examples include the detection of terrain features and predictive analytics on spatial patterns of various phenomena in crime activity, economy, health, and human behavior. The majority of GeoAI applications rely on machine learning (ML) models to extract generalizable predictive patterns, in the form of mathematical models, that provide useful insights about the phenomenon in question. Machine learning excels in efficiency, scalability, and accuracy; however, this comes at the cost of reduced explainability. A clear reasoning path from data to conclusions is not always evident, but is readily available in traditional analysis of geographic phenomena using conceptual and statistical models.

This workshop aims to bring together GeoAI researchers/data analysts with experts in explainability as well as experts from the domains of human mobility, social sciences, environmental psychology, and criminology. On one hand, GeoAI researchers/data analysts will have the opportunity to present and evaluate their findings by taking into consideration the knowledge of domain experts based on formal theories and models. On the other hand, domain experts (criminologists, environmental psychologists and so on) will have the opportunity to learn about capabilities provided by GeoAI and data science that may challenge the classical patterns of explanation that exist in formal models. Indicatively, environmental psychology experts can learn about state-of-the-art sentiment analysis techniques to discover hotspots of positive/negative emotional responses. At the same time, researchers that use these techniques can evaluate how well they explain human behavior by leveraging the expertise of environmental psychologists.

Structure and outcome

The workshop is planned to take place in the final week of September (September 28th – October 2nd) and it will be organized as three 1-hour Zoom sessions. The objective is to provide opportunities for networking and further collaboration among researchers from diverse backgrounds.

Following the workshop, participants will be invited to submit their work to a special issue published in Transactions in GIS.

Discussion Panel

Name AffiliationArea
Ben AdamsUniversity of CanterburyArtificial Intelligence
Bruno MartinsUniversity of LisbonArtificial Intelligence
Song GaoUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonArtificial Intelligence
Catherine MorencyPolytechnique MontrealHuman mobility
Constantinos AntoniouTechnical University of MunichHuman mobility
Nick MallesonUniversity of LeedsCrime Behavior
Martin AndresenGriffith UniversityCrime Behavior
Dan O'BrienNortheastern UniversityCrime Behavior & Social Sensing
Mehul BhattÖrebro UniversitySocial Sensing & Reasoning

Call for Participation

GeoAI researchers/data analysts are invited to participate in the Reasoning in GeoAI workshop. Expressions of interest can be submitted to in the form of an extended abstract (max. 1500 words excluding names, affiliations and references) summarizing findings or preliminary results about a problem solved using GeoAI methods indicatively related, but not limited, to the following themes:

  • Human Mobility
    • Estimating travel behavior
    • Traffic forecasting
  • Crime Behavior
    • Perceived safety in cities
    • Hate crime and disorder
  • Social Sensing
    • Place recommendation systems
    • Human activities and emotions

The expression of interest should cover the following:

  • Name(s) and affiliation(s)
  • The problem being addressed
  • Reasons why GeoAI is necessary for this problem
  • A summary of the methods used
  • A summary of the results
  • A short discussion about
    • how well the results address the initial problem.
    • any unexpected results and possible explanations.

Important Dates

Submission deadline: September 20, 23:59 AoE
Acceptance notification: September 23
Workshop dates: September 28–October 2 (exact dates and times will be based on optimal time zones for attendees and will be announced later)

For any questions please contact Emmanuel Papadakis (