Space, Time and Visual Analytics

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24 Issue 10 2010, Pages 1577 – 1600: Geospatial Visual Analytics: Focus on Time Special Issue of the ICA Commission on GeoVisualization

Gennady Andrienko; Natalia Andrienko; Urska Demsar; Doris Dransch; Jason Dykes; Sara Irina Fabrikant; Mikael Jern; Menno-Jan Kraak; Heidrun Schumann; Christian Tominski

“Visual analytics aims to combine the strengths of human and electronic data processing. Visualisation, whereby humans and computers cooperate through graphics, is the means through which this is achieved. Seamless and sophisticated synergies are required for analysing spatio-temporal data and solving spatio-temporal problems. In modern society, spatio-temporal analysis is not solely the business of professional analysts. Many citizens need or would be interested in undertaking analysis of information in time and space. Researchers should find approaches to deal with the complexities of the current data and problems and find ways to make analytical tools accessible and usable for the broad community of potential users to support spatio-temporal thinking and contribute to solving a large range of problems.”

University of Illinois Researchers to Develop Cyberinfrastructure for Geography Software

The National Science Foundation has awarded $4.4 million to an initiative led by the University of Illinois that will combine cyberinfrastructure, spatial analysis and modeling, and geographic information science to form a collaborative software framework encompassing many research fields.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software has been widely used for spatial problem solving and decision making applications since the 1960s. It has become an invaluable tool for geography-related fields, its uses spanning archaeology, disaster preparedness, public health, resource management, urban planning and much more.  However, conventional GIS software isn’t capable of handling the huge volumes of data and complex analysis required for many modern applications.

Cyberinfrastructure is a system that integrates data management, visualization, high-performance computing and human elements to tackle complex problems. This type of supercomputing power could address many GIS scenarios where current software falls short.

Led by Shaowen Wang, a professor of geography and also a senior research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois, an interdisciplinary team of researchers will work to develop CyberGIS, a comprehensive software framework that will harness the power of cyberinfrastructure for GIS and associated applications. Computer science professor Marc Snir chairs the project steering committee.

“The overarching goal of this project is to establish CyberGIS as a fundamentally new software framework encompassing a seamless integration of cyberinfrastructure, GIS, and spatial analysis and modeling capabilities,” Wang said. “It could lead to widespread scientific breakthroughs that have broad societal impacts.”

The project is part of NSF’s Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation program, which aims to promote scalable, sustainable, open-source software elements. In addition to the advanced problem-solving capabilities, the researchers hope that CyberGIS will enhance sharing among researchers and facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction through multiple-user, online collaboration.

“CyberGIS will empower high-performance, collaborative geospatial problem solving,” Wang said. “For example, it could dramatically advance the understanding of disaster preparedness and response and impacts of global climate change.”

The project involves partnerships among academia, government, and industry with an international scope. Partners institutions include Arizona State University, the Computer Network Information Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), Georgia Institute of Technology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University College London Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (England), University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, University of California-San Diego, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Washington, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (Australia). The five-year project began in October 2010.

[Source: University of Illinois press release]

Small-Scale Spatial Analysis of In Situ Sea Temperature throughout a Single Coral Patch Reef

Journal of Marine Biology, Volume 2011

Kelvin D. Gorospe and Stephen A. Karl

“Thermal stress can cause geographically widespread bleaching events, during which corals become decoupled from their symbiotic algae.  Bleaching, however, also can occur on smaller, spatially patchy scales, with corals on the same reef exhibiting varying bleaching responses.  Thus, to investigate fine spatial scale sea temperature variation, temperature loggers were deployed on a 4 m grid on a patch reef in Kāne’ohe Bay, Oahu, Hawai‘i to monitor in situ, benthic temperature every 50 minutes at 85 locations for two years.  Temperature variation on the reef was characterized using several summary indices related to coral thermal stress.  Results show that stable, biologically significant temperature variation indeed exists at small scales and that depth, relative water flow, and substrate cover and type were not significant drivers of this variation.  Instead, finer spatial and temporal scale advection processes at the benthic boundary layer are likely responsible.  The implications for coral ecology and conservation are discussed.”

Abstracts Sought for 2011 GIS in Public Transportation Conference

URISA and the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) are pleased to announce the 2011 GIS in Public Transportation Conference, taking place in St. Petersburg, Florida, September 12-14, 2011. This biennial conference helps transportation professionals for all areas within public and private transportation by:

  • Providing professional development opportunities
  • Facilitating the sharing resources and industry information
  • Enabling peer-to-peer networking
  • Engaging and learning about new vendor technologies

The Program Committee will organize an educational program based upon the abstracts submitted through the Call for Participation. All abstract submissions, received by February 11, 2011, will be reviewed and considered for this conference.  The Program Committee encourages abstract submissions  in one or more of these four general categories – Applications, Tools, Data, and Management & Policy. Examples of topics within each category are included below:


  • Asset Management – Stops, stations, communications, routes/track, work orders, etc; Bus Stop Inventory Collection and Management
  • Transit Operations – Scheduling; AVL; paratransit voice annunciation; ridership stats; routing; performance analysis; data validation, etc.
  • Security and Safety – Crime analysis, accident/safety analysis, emergency planning, disaster recovery, etc.
  • Planning –  Service planning; TDM planning, Census data transit planning; transit-oriented development; demand studies (long-range forecasting, transit oriented development, etc.)
  • Public Information – data presentation/cartography; trip planners; other public website services
  • Other Applications Topics


  • Software – Google/Microsoft and transit; open source and web-enabled GIS; mashups, Web 2.0
  • Data Collection – Automatic Passenger Counters (APC); GPS, mobile GIS
  • Other Tools Topics


  • Data Modeling – transit modeling applications
  • Data Standards – transit data standards
  • Data Sources –  American Community Survey, LED (Longitudinal Employment Dynamics) Data, Census Data, National Household Data Survey
  • Other Data Topics


  • Enterprise Architecture – implementation issues
  • GIS and IT management topics
  • FTA/Census/FGDC programs/priorities – Intelligent Transportation Systems, Title 6, NTD Data
  • GISP Program
  • New Starts Program
  • Other Management & Policy Topics

Preconference workshops, an exhibition, and networking events will accompany the educational program. Visit the conference website (, for details and submission guidelines.

[Source: URISA press release]

An Integrated Approach for Visual Analysis of a Multisource Moving Objects Knowledge Base

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24 Issue 10 2010, Pages 1543 – 1558: Geospatial Visual Analytics: Focus on Time Special Issue of the ICA Commission on GeoVisualization

Niels Willems; Willem Robert van Hage; Gerben de Vries; Jeroen H. M. Janssens; Véronique Malaisé

“We present an integrated and multidisciplinary approach for analyzing the behavior of moving objects. The results originate from an ongoing research of four different partners from the Dutch Poseidon project (Embedded Systems Institute (2007)), which aims to develop new methods for Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) systems to monitor vessel traffic in coastal areas. Our architecture enables an operator to visually test hypotheses about vessels with time-dependent sensor data and on-demand external knowledge. The system includes the following components: abstraction and simulation of trajectory sensor data, fusion of multiple heterogenous data sources, reasoning, and visual analysis of the combined data sources. We start by extracting segments of consistent movement from simulated or real-world trajectory data, which we store as instances of the Simple Event Model (SEM), an event ontology represented in the Resource Description Framework (RDF). Next, we add data from the web about vessels and geography to enrich the sensor data. This additional information is integrated with the representation of the vessels (actors) and places in SEM. The enriched trajectory data are stored in a knowledge base, which can be further annotated by reasoning and is queried by a visual analytics tool to search for spatiotemporal patterns. Although our approach is dedicated to MSS systems, we expect it to be useful in other domains.”

The War Disease: A Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Political Violence

Job Market Paper, University of Pittsburgh, October 2010

Shikha Basnet

“Social phenomena rarely occurs in isolation and civil wars are no exception. War has usually been viewed as a one dimensional phenomena and the spillover of war studied across international boundaries only. This paper is a first step towards building a conceptual framework to analyze violence upsurges in a more dynamic and disaggregated setting. Using data on the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, I propose a model that conceptualizes violence as a spatial-temporal process and then estimate the parameters of interest via the Maximum Likelihood technique. Like the spread of a disease, the spread of war can be broken down into two stages. First is the infection stage when initial areas become involved in war. The second stage occurs when the extent of violence in the a ected areas increases. In the model the two stages are correlated, which allows for unobserved heterogeneity in an area’s war receptivity to jointly influence the likelihood of war, and the intensity of violence upon war starting in the area. The main conclusion is that the key determinant of whether or not an area is drawn into a civil war is its proximity to areas that are already engaged in the civil war. Moreover, contrary to previous studies, socioe- conomic conditions related to greed, grievance, and opportunity become insigni cant once the proximity to conflict is accounted for.”

Spatial Patterns of Fetal Loss and Infant Death in an Arsenic-affected Area in Bangladesh

International Journal of Health Geographics, 2010, 9:53, Published 26 October 2010

Nazmul Sohel, Marie Vahter, Mohammad Ali, Mahfuzar Rahman, Anisur Rahman, Peter Kim-Streatfield, Pavlos S Kanaroglou, and Lars Ake Persson

“Background: Arsenic exposure in pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcome and infant mortality. Knowledge of the spatial characteristics of the outcomes and their possible link to arsenic exposure are important for planning effective mitigation activities. The aim of this study was to identify spatial and spatiotemporal clustering of fetal loss and infant death, and spatial relationships between high and low clusters of fetal loss and infant death rates and high and low clusters of arsenic concentrations in tube-well water used for drinking.

“Method: Pregnant women from Matlab, Bangladesh, who used tube-well water for drinking while pregnant between 1991 and 2000, were included in this study. In total 29,134 pregnancies were identified. A spatial scan test was used to identify unique non-random spatial and spatiotemporal clusters of fetal loss and infant death using a retrospective spatial and spatiotemporal permutation and Poisson probability models. Result: Two significant clusters of fetal loss and infant death were identified and these clusters remained stable after adjustment for covariates. One cluster of higher rates of fetal loss and infant death was in the vicinity of the Meghna River, and the other cluster of lower rates was in the center of Matlab. The average concentration of arsenic in the water differed between these clusters (319 ug/L for the high cluster and 174 ug/L for the low cluster). The spatial patterns of arsenic concentrations in tube-well water were found to be linked with the adverse pregnancy outcome clusters. In the spatiotemporal analysis, only one high fetal loss and infant death cluster was identified in the same high cluster area obtained from purely spatial analysis. However, the cluster was no longer significant after adjustment for the covariates.

“Conclusion: The finding of this study suggests that given the geographical variation in tube-well water contamination, higher fetal loss and infant deaths were observed in the areas of higher arsenic concentrations in groundwater. This illustrates a possible link between arsenic contamination in tube-well water and adverse pregnancy outcome. Thus, these areas should be considered a priority in arsenic mitigation programs.”

Nazmul Sohel email, Marie Vahter email, Mohammad Ali email, Mahfuzar Rahman email, Anisur Rahman email, Peter Kim-Streatfield email, Pavlos S Kanaroglou email and Lars Ake Persson