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G. I. Science in 2015: Predictions and Visions. Shashi Shekhar McKnight Distinguished University Professor Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering University of Minnesota. Source: http://archive.salon.com/comics/tomo/2001/07/09/tomo/index.html ,

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G i science in 2015 predictions and visions l.jpg
G. I. Science in 2015: Predictions and Visions

Shashi Shekhar

McKnight Distinguished University Professor

Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering

University of Minnesota

Slide2 l.jpg

Source: http://archive.salon.com/comics/tomo/2001/07/09/tomo/index.html,


Consumer applications l.jpg
Consumer Applications

  • Location-based Services

    • E.g.: MapPoint, MapQuest, Yahoo/Google Maps, …

Courtesy: Microsoft Live Search (http://maps.live.com)

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Consumer Applications

  • Cell-phone, watch, custom

  • For in-vehicle or portable use

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Application Domains

  • Spatial data mining is used in

    • NASA Earth Observing System (EOS): Earth science data

    • National Inst. of Justice: crime mapping

    • Census Bureau, Dept. of Commerce: census data

    • Dept. of Transportation (DOT): traffic data

    • National Inst. of Health (NIH): cancer clusters

    • Commerce, e.g. Retail Analysis

  • Sample Global Questions from Earth Science

    • How is the global Earth system changing

    • What are the primary forcing of the Earth system

    • How does the Earth system respond to natural and human included changes

    • What are the consequences of changes in the Earth system for human civilization

    • How well can we predict future changes in the Earth system

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Example of Application Domains

  • Sample Local Questions from Epidemiology [TerraSeer]

    • What’s overall pattern of colorectal cancer

    • Is there clustering of high colorectal cancer incidence anywhere in the study area

    • Where is colorectal cancer risk significantly elevated

    • Where are zones of rapid change in colorectal cancer incidence

Geographic distribution of male colorectal cancer in Long Island, New York (Courtesy: TerraSeer)

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Planning and Simulation Applications

  • Evacuation Route Planning

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Future of GIS: Related Work

  • Steven Reader

    • Has not progressed beyond … mapping, querying, spatial data inventory …

    • Potential analytical power of technology to help solve complex societal and environmental problems has yet to be realized …

  • Ron Briggs

    • future (e.g. traffic when I get there)

    • UAVs

  • K. Clark (Textbook on GIS)

    • Impact of computing trends,

    • Social issues: geo-privacy, …

  • Dobson (1983)

    • Automated geography

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Future: Prediction Vs. Vision

  • Predictions

    • 640K ought to be enough for anybody.

    • I think there is a world market for may be five computers.

    • Everything that can be invented has been invented.

  • People

    • Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft, 1981,

    • Thomas Watson, Chairman, IBM, 1943

    • Charles Duell, US Office of Patents, 1899.

  • Hard to predict future

    • despite tools like induction, deduction

    • Stochastic nature of natural and social processes

  • Why engage in futurology ?

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Visions are important!

  • If you do not shape the future, someone else will!

  • Tim Phillips –

    • many … are short of really big ideas …focus on immediately (day to quarter) issues, … sometimes they forget that they got to be around in 10, 20, or 30 years.

  • SCOPE:

    • The futurologists are not trying to make them happen, they are just considering the implications of them happening.

    • GIS Implicatons of Societal Needs

    • GIS Implications of Disrupting technologies and basic research

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Societal Needs and Implications for GIS

  • Is G.I.Science relevant to Global Challenges ?

  • Next Decade Global Challenges [World Fed. Of United Nations Asso.]

    • Sustainable development for all

    • Clean water

    • Balance population and population growth

    • Policy making more sensitive to global long-term perspectives

    • Make information and communication technologies work for all

    • Reduce threat of new and reemerging diseases …

    • Shared values and security strategies to reduce conflict, terrorism, WMD

    • Stop transnational organized crime networks

    • Meeting growing energy demands safely and efficienly

    • … (6 more)

  • What are the implications for GIS ? Ex. Energy

    • Shortest path  Fuel efficient routes, e.g. UPS/DHL reduce left tuens

    • Vehicle: fuel efficiency vs. luxury

      • control – increase A/C airflow on sunny side

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NGA: The Changing Challenge…

Denial and Deception

Above Surface



0 - 4


12 - 24


4 - 12


Traditional NTM Coverage

Below Surface



Source: Greg Smith - NGA

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Computing Trends and GIS Implications

  • 2020 Information Technology [M. Gough, CEO (NCC)]

    • PC – Terflop CPU, Terabyte memory, Peta-byte disks

    • Ubiquitous computing and sensing

    • Spatial Sensors: location + orientation + posture

    • Web 2.0, social networking, virtual life

  • Q? What is the impact on G.I.Sc. ?

    • Point and ask in real world (w/ laser pointer ?)

    • Increase computing capacity

      • Scale up spatial models (e.g. spatial autoregression, agent based)

      • Wider use of LIDAR, Global-Hawk UAVs

    • Will web 2.0 change importance of location ?

      • Impact on clustering of brainpower and wealth

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Technology Trends Beyond Computing

  • Future Shock [Livewire, Summer 2007], AI Magazine, …

    • Robotics

    • Mind-controlled interfaces

    • Personal networking

    • Smart Building

    • Smart Fabric

    • Nano

    • Bio-technology

    • Semantic Web

  • Q? What is the impact on G.I.Sc. ?

    • Bio-technology

      • Neurosurgery – how to locate safe pathways to target in brain ?

    • Autonomous robots (.g. DARPA grand challenge)

      • Navigation on dessert terrain => real-time GIS

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What do we want G. I. Sc. To be in 2015 ?

  • Government – An essential part of governance

    • Juliani effect post 9/11

    • Agencies like NGA, Roles like GIO

    • Spatial Budget processes

      • Ex. Gas tax  Road user charges system

      • Predict Police budget for new developments

  • Business

    • Horizontal – Many Fortune 500 leader considers GIS essential!

      • Marketing, Logistics, Facility location  Strategy

      • Spatial pricing models for floor cleaning machines, ...

  • Academia, University

    • Discipline (department) vs.Interdisciplinary (center, institute) ?

    • Research Enterprise: Science grand challenges

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    What may we do to make 2015 vision more likely?

    • Work together

      • On hard problems of societal importance

      • Communicate societal benefits to decision makers

      • Academia needs support of Business and Government to establish need for new disciplines, departments, centers, institutions

      • And vice versa

    • Goodchild, Haining and 12 others (IJGIS, 1992)

      … if GIS as science is to continue to garner academic recognition and funding, … be able to demonstrate the important and usefulness of its research to GIS applications so that wider GIS industry becomes an advocate and financial partner.

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    Personal view on interesting research?

    • Personal view on interesting research

      • Problem, why is it important? Why is it challenging?

      • Solution / Approach, Is it novel? Is it better than state of the art?

    • Role of industry (beyond resources)

      • Source of problems of societal interest

      • May help assess state of the art in industry

      • Contribute new ideas to solution and approach

      • Expose entrenched academic assumptions

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    Complicated Hotspots

    • Complication Dimensions

      • Spatial Networks

      • Time

    • Challenges: Trade-off b/w

      • Semantic richness and

      • Scalable algorithms


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    Example Basic Research Needs

    • Location Prediction and

      Spatial interest measure: e.g., avg, dist(actual, predicted)

    Prediction 2.

    Spatially more accurate

    than Prediction 1

    Actual Sites

    Pixels with

    actual sites

    Prediction 1