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Current Research Projects



 Geo-Social Web

The proliferation of GPS-enabled devices and their utilisation by users for geo-tagging personal resources, actions and interactions on the Web is leading to the accumulation of a new type of information on individual users and user groups.   The accumulation of spatiotemporal (ST) user footprints on the Social Web provides an opportunity for deriving personal profiles for users that closely reflect users’ interests over space and time.   This research area concerns the extraction and making sense of such profiles to enhance users’ Web interaction experience.


Geographic Information Retrieval

When people search for information on the web it is very common to specify a geographical location. The need to match people's requirement for geographically-specific information with the numerous sources of geographically referenced information has spurred the development of geographical and location-aware information retrieval facilities. This is reflected in the presence of geographically-specialised or so-called "local" search facilities associated with the main web search engines as well as the provision of location-sensitive information services on mobile devices.

There are many challenging research problems to be addressed in order to make geographical and location-aware search facilities genuinely effective. These are concerned for example with determining the geographical context of text documents in which terminology is often vague and ambiguous, building global geographical knowledge bases, indexing documents with respect to both geographical context and textual content, interaction with spatially-aware search devices, and geographical relevance ranking.


Visualization of Geo-Spatial Linked Data

The Web is increasingly becoming a global information space consisting not just of linked documents, but also of linked data.  This emerging Web of Data now includes diverse data sets, such as DBpedia, GeoNames and Flickr.    This area of research is concerned with the exposure of the inherent geo-spatial and temporal content of linked data resources in view of using this information as an anchor for linking and integrating different data sets.  In particular, visualisation techniques will be explored to allow for the interpretation of the RDF graphs underlying the data resources.  Visualisation of both the spatial and temporal dimensions of the data will allow for the exposure of the inherent spatial, temporal and thematic relationships between data objects and can thus allow for the comparison of multiple data resources and facilitate their integrated utilisation by users.  


Qualitative GIS

Supporting qualitative data and analysis is a longstanding concern within Geographic Information Science, evident in ongoing research on ways of handling qualitative spatial expressions with spatial databases as well as efforts to blend GIS with qualitative research, as part of mixed methods research practices.  This research area aims to investigate methods of extending current GIS technologies to model and manipulate the notion of Place, as conceptualized and required for enabling mixed-method research within GIS.  Use cases in the area of social geography shall be sought to support and evaluate this research.


Spatio-temporal Data Modelling

Large spatial databases are characterised by two main features: the large set of spatial objects of different shapes to be stored, and the inordinate number of spatial relationships (of different types) between those objects. These features impose a substantial burden on storage overheads and system performance which necessitates an efficient mechanism to represent such relations in spatial queries. One of the aims of this research is to design and implement a system for the representation of and reasoning over different types of spatial relationships between objects of arbitrary complexity. Work is also ongoing on modelling of the notion of change in spatio-temporal databases.


Finished Projects

  • TRIPOD: (Co-investigator), TRI-Partite multimedia Object Description, EU FP6 project, Jan. 2007 – Dec. 2009

    Automating caption creation: The primary objective of Tripod is to revolutionise access to the enormous body of visual media. Applying an innovative multidisciplinary approach Tripod will utilise largely untapped but vast, accurate and regularly updated sources of semantic information to create ground breaking intuitive search services, enabling users to effortlessly and accurately gain access to the image they seek from this ever expanding resource ....

  • Vernacular Geography (Co-investigator),

    Vernacular Geography is about people's definition of places. In an Ordnance Survey funded project we aim to automatically build gazetteer services that contain place names and descriptions close to human cognition.....

It is a commonly quoted statistic that up to 80% of information is spatially referenced in some way. Yet the spatial aspect of much of that information is unusable for computing due to its latent semantics that are either unexpressed or expressed informally, and to the limitations of reasoners and formal languages for representing spatial semantics....

SPIRIT (Spatially-Aware Information Retrieval on the Internet) is a research project that has been engaged in the design and implementation of a search engine to find documents and datasets on the web relating to places or regions referred to in a query.

The research addresses the problem of providing efficient access to geographical map data at multiple levels of detail. Derivation of a map at a particular scale and with a particular thematic emphasis is referred to as map generalisation. It involves processes of selection, elimination, shape simplification, caricature, amalgamation and displacement of map features. The objective of the research is to build a multiscale spatial database that facilitates retrieval of selected types of map data at an appropriate level of detail and renders the data as a legible map.






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