What is special about spatial and spatio-temporal data science?

Machine Learning Seminar Series


Shashi Shekhar
Computer Science and Engineering
College of Science & Engineering
University of Minnesota

Shashi Shekhar

The importance of spatial and spatio-temporal data science is growing with the increasing incidence and importance of large datasets such as trajectories, maps, remote-sensing images, census and geo-social media. Applications include Public Health (e.g., monitoring spread of disease, spatial disparity, food deserts), Public Safety (e.g., crime hot spots), Public Security (e.g., common operational picture), Environment and Climate (change detection, land-cover classification), M(obile)-commerce (e.g., location-based services), etc.

Classical data science and machine learning techniques often perform poorly when applied to spatial and spatio-temporal data sets because of the many reasons. First, these dataset are embedded in continuous space with implicit relationships (e.g., distance), which are important. Second, the cost of spurious patterns is often high in many spatial application domains, which ask for guardrails (e.g., statistical significance tests) to reduce false positives and chance patterns. In addition, one of the common assumptions in classical statistical analysis and machine learning is that data samples are independently generated from identical distributions. However, this assumption is generally false due to spatio-temporal auto-correlation and variability. Ignoring autocorrelation and variability when analyzing data with spatial and spatio-temporal characteristics may produce hypotheses or models that are inaccurate or inconsistent with the data.

Thus, new methods are needed to analyze spatial and spatio-temporal data. This talk surveys common and emerging methods for spatial classification and prediction (e.g., spatial autoregression, GWR), as well as techniques for discovering interesting, useful and non-trivial patterns such as hotspots (e.g., circular, lineararbitrary shapes ), spatiotemporal interactions (e.g., co-locations cascade tele-connections ), spatial outliers, and their spatio-temporal counterparts.

Shashi Shekhar is a Mcknight Distinguished University Professor at the University of Minnesota (Computer Science faculty). For contributions to geographic information systems (GIS), spatial databases, and spatial data mining, he was elected an IEEE Fellow as well as an AAAS Fellow and received the IEEE-CS Technical Achievement Award, and the UCGIS Education Award. He was also named a key difference-maker for the field of GIS by the most popular GIS textbook . He has a distinguished academic record that includes 300+ refereed papers, a popular textbook on Spatial Databases (Prentice Hall, 2003) and an authoritative Encyclopedia of GIS (Springer, 2008).

Shashi is serving as a co-Editor-in-Chief of Geo-Informatica : An International Journal on Advances in Computer Sciences for GIS (Springer), and a series editor for the Springer-Briefs on GIS. Earlier, he served on the Computing Community Consortium Council (2012-15), and multiple National Academies' committees including Models of the World for USDOD-NGA (2015), Geo-targeted Disaster Alerts and Warning (2013), Future Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence (2011), Mapping Sciences (2004-2009) and Priorities for GEOINT Research (2004-2005). He also served as a general or program co-chair for the Intl. Conference on Geographic Information Science (2012), the Intl. Symposium on Spatial and Temporal Databases (2011) and ACM Intl. Conf. on Geographic Information Systems (1996). He also served on the Board of Directors of University Consortium on GIS (2003-4), as well as the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Eng. and IEEE-CS Computer Sc. & Eng. Practice Board.

In early 1990s, Shashi's research developed core technologies behind in-vehicle navigation devices as well as web-based routing services, which revolutionized outdoor navigation in urban environment in the last decade. His recent research results played a critical role in evacuation route planning for homeland security and received multiple recognitions including the CTS Partnership Award for significant impact on transportation. He pioneered the research area of spatial data mining via pattern families (e.g. collocation, mixed-drove co-occurrence, cascade), keynote speeches, survey papers and workshop organization.

Shashi received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of California (Berkeley, CA). More details are available from http://www.cs.umn.edu/~shekhar.


Start date
Thursday, March 11, 2021, 10 a.m.
End date
Thursday, March 11, 2021, 11 a.m.

Online via zoom - http://z.umn.edu/mlseminar