Workshop on GIScience in the Big Data Age 2012

In conjunction with the seventh International Conference on Geographic Information Science 2012 (GIScience 2012).

Columbus, Ohio, USA. September 18th, 2012

Workshop Description and Scope

The rapidly increasing information universe with new data created at a speed surpassing our capacities to store it, calls for improved methods to retrieve, filter, integrate, and share data. The vision of a data-intensive science hopes that the open availability of data with a higher spatial, temporal, and thematic resolution will enable us to better address complex scientific and social questions. However, on the downside, understanding, sharing, and reusing these data becomes more challenging. Big Data is not only big because it involves a huge amount of data, but also because of the high-dimensionality and inter-linkage of these data sets. The on-the-fly integration of heterogeneous data from various sources has been named one of the frontiers of Digital Earth research, Bioinformatics, the Digital Humanities, and other emerging research visions.
From a more technical perspective, a knowledge infrastructure is required to handle Big Data. Currently, the most promising approach is the Linked Data cloud. While the Web has changed with the advent of the Social Web from mostly authoritative towards increasing amounts of user-generated content, it is essentially still about linked documents. These documents provide structure and context for the described data and easy their interpretation. In contrast, the upcoming Data Web is about linking data, not documents. Such data sets are not bound to a specific document but can be easily combined and used outside of the original context. With a growth rate of millions of new facts encoded as RDF-triples per month, the Linked Data cloud allows users to answer complex queries spanning multiple sources. Due to the uncoupling of data from its original creation context, semantic interoperability, identity resolution, and ontologies are central methodologies to ensure consistency and meaningful results. Space and time are fundamental ordering relations to structure such data and provide an implicit context for their interpretation. Prominent geo-related Linked Data hubs include as well as the Linked Geo Data project, which provides a RDF serialization of Open Street Map. Furthermore, many other Linked Data sources contain location references, e.g., observation data provided by sensors.
This full day workshop is a follow-up event of the successful first workshop on Linked Spatiotemporal Data at GIScience 2010. While this first workshop was centered around Linked Data and geo-ontologies, the GiBDA 2012 workshop takes a broader perspective by highlighting data-intensive science as the research vision and Linked Data as a promising knowledge infrastructure. We hope that the workshop will help better define the data, knowledge representations, infrastructure, reasoning methodologies, and tools needed to link and query massive data based on their spatial and temporal characteristics.

List of Relevant Topics

Topics of interest for the Linked Spatiotemporal Data workshop include (but are not limited to):

Workshop Format and Structure

The full day workshop will focus on intensive discussions setting a roadmap towards publishing, structuring, retrieving, and consuming Linked Spatiotemporal Data and understanding how GIScience can contribute to the vision of a data-intensive science. The workshop will accept three kinds of contributions, full research papers presenting new work in the indicated areas, statements of interest, and data challenge papers. While the research papers will be selected based on the review results adhering to classical scientific quality criteria, the statements of interest should raise questions, present visions, and point to the open gaps. However, statements of interest will also be reviewed to ensure quality and clarity of the presented ideas. We also welcome demonstrations of existing tools, applications, and geo-ontologies. Details for the data challenge are given below. The presentation time per speaker will be restricted to 5 minutes for statements of interest and 10 minutes for full papers. Based on the presented work, all workshop participants will decide on 2--3 research topics to be discussed in breakout groups. In a final session, the breakout groups will present their findings on research topics and challenges and try to integrate them across the discussed topics.

Submissions and Proceedings

All presented papers will be made available through the workshop Web-page, the electronic conference proceedings of GIScience 2012, as well as via CEUR-WS. Full research papers should be approximately 7-10 pages, while statements of interest and data challenge papers should be between 5-6 pages. Selected papers may be considered for a fast-track submission to the Semantic Web journal by IOS Press.

Please upload your submission using the workshop's EasyChair web-page.


Gilberto Camara, the Director of Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) will kick off the workshop with a keynote on Data-intensive Geoinformatics: using big geospatial data to address global change questions.

Abstract: Humanity is changing rural and urban landscapes at an unprecedented pace. Growing pressures on food, water, and energy threaten the planet, at the same time we need to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Given the size of the global challenges, citizens and politicians are pressing scientists to provide qualified information that would allow wise decisions about the future of our planet. Most global change datasets are geospatial, having a geographical location and a temporal reference. Thus, delivering the information needed to deal with global change requires advances in geospatial technologies. We need to represent the past, capture the present, and build future scenarios, linking past, present, and future in a coherent way. We use the term “Data-intensive Geoinformatics” to describe research on methods and tools to deal with large spatiotemporal datasets. Considering the relevance of global change problems for science and society, this talk will discuss some emerging research topics on Data-intensive Geoinformatics: Spatial analysis methods that extract information from large environmental and socio-economic datasets. Semantic discovery services that search for data based on intended use. Spatial modelling tools that combine multi-scale analysis and also model human decision-making. Spatial database technologies that support data-intensive geoinformatics.

Accepted Papers

Download the electronic PDF proceedings.


The program is still subject to change.

Important Dates

Submission due: 18. June 2012 (we will accept late submissions until June 25th)

Acceptance Notification: 9. July 2012

Camera-ready Copies: 16. July 2012


Programme Committee

Related Activities


Please feel free to contact the organizers for further questions at jano @ geog . ucsb. edu.