Existing digital sensors capture images at fixed spatial and spectral resolutions (e.g., RGB, multispectral, and hyperspectral images), and each combination requires bespoke machine learning models. Neural Implicit Functions partially overcome the spatial resolution challenge by representing an image in a resolution-independent way. However, they still operate at fixed, pre-defined spectral resolutions. To address this challenge, we propose Spatial-Spectral Implicit Function (SSIF), a neural implicit model that represents an image as a function of both continuous pixel coordinates in the spatial domain and continuous wavelengths in the spectral domain. We empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of SSIF on two challenging spatio-spectral super-resolution benchmarks. We observe that SSIF consistently outperforms state-of-the-art baselines even when the baselines are allowed to train separate models at each spectral resolution. We show that SSIF generalizes well to both unseen spatial resolutions and spectral resolutions. Moreover, SSIF can generate high-resolution images that improve the performance of downstream tasks (e.g., land use classification) by 1.7%-7%.
Generating learning-friendly representations for points in space is a fundamental and long-standing problem in ML. Recently, multi-scale encoding schemes (such as Space2Vec and NeRF) were proposed to directly encode any point in 2D/3D Euclidean space as a high-dimensional vector, and has been successfully applied to various geospatial prediction and generative tasks. However, all current 2D and 3D location encoders are designed to model point distances in Euclidean space. So when applied to large-scale real-world GPS coordinate datasets, which require distance metric learning on the spherical surface, both types of models can fail due to the map projection distortion problem (2D) and the spherical-to-Euclidean distance approximation error (3D). To solve these problems, we propose a multi-scale location encoder called Sphere2Vec which can preserve spherical distances when encoding point coordinates on a spherical surface. We developed a unified view of distance-reserving encoding on spheres based on the DFS. We also provide theoretical proof that the Sphere2Vec preserves the spherical surface distance between any two points, while existing encoding schemes do not. Experiments on 20 synthetic datasets show that Sphere2Vec can outperform all baseline models on all these datasets with up to 30.8% error rate reduction. We then apply Sphere2Vec to three geo-aware image classification tasks - fine-grained species recognition, Flickr image recognition, and remote sensing image classification. Results on 7 real-world datasets show the superiority of Sphere2Vec over multiple location encoders on all three tasks. Further analysis shows that Sphere2Vec outperforms other location encoder models, especially in the polar regions and data-sparse areas because of its nature for spherical surface distance preservation. Code and data are available at https://gengchenmai.github.io/sphere2vec-website/.
Geo-tagged images are publicly available in large quantities, whereas labels such as object classes are rather scarce and expensive to collect. Meanwhile, contrastive learning has achieved tremendous success in various natural image and language tasks with limited labeled data. However, existing methods fail to fully leverage geospatial information, which can be paramount to distinguishing objects that are visually similar. To directly leverage the abundant geospatial information associated with images in pre-training, fine-tuning, and inference stages, we present Contrastive Spatial Pre-Training (CSP), a self-supervised learning framework for geo-tagged images. We use a dual-encoder to separately encode the images and their corresponding geo-locations, and use contrastive objectives to learn effective location representations from images, which can be transferred to downstream supervised tasks such as image classification. Experiments show that CSP can improve model performance on both iNat2018 and fMoW datasets. Especially, on iNat2018, CSP significantly boosts the model performance with 10-34% relative improvement with various labeled training data sampling ratios.
Large pre-trained models, also known as foundation models (FMs), are trained in a task-agnostic manner on large-scale data and can be adapted to a wide range of downstream tasks by fine-tuning, few-shot, or even zero-shot learning. Despite their successes in language and vision tasks, we have yet seen an attempt to develop foundation models for geospatial artificial intelligence (GeoAI). In this work, we explore the promises and challenges of developing multimodal foundation models for GeoAI. We first investigate the potential of many existing FMs by testing their performances on seven tasks across multiple geospatial subdomains including Geospatial Semantics, Health Geography, Urban Geography, and Remote Sensing. Our results indicate that on several geospatial tasks that only involve text modality such as toponym recognition, location description recognition, and US state-level/county-level dementia time series forecasting, these task-agnostic LLMs can outperform task-specific fully-supervised models in a zero-shot or few-shot learning setting. However, on other geospatial tasks, especially tasks that involve multiple data modalities (e.g., POI-based urban function classification, street view image-based urban noise intensity classification, and remote sensing image scene classification), existing foundation models still underperform task-specific models. Based on these observations, we propose that one of the major challenges of developing a FM for GeoAI is to address the multimodality nature of geospatial tasks. After discussing the distinct challenges of each geospatial data modality, we suggest the possibility of a multimodal foundation model which can reason over various types of geospatial data through geospatial alignments. We conclude this paper by discussing the unique risks and challenges to develop such a model for GeoAI.
Language models (LMs) now excel at many tasks such as few-shot learning, question answering, reasoning, and dialog. However, they sometimes generate unsupported or misleading content. A user cannot easily determine whether their outputs are trustworthy or not, because most LMs do not have any built-in mechanism for attribution to external evidence. To enable attribution while still preserving all the powerful advantages of recent generation models, we propose RARR (Retrofit Attribution using Research and Revision), a system that 1) automatically finds attribution for the output of any text generation model and 2) post-edits the output to fix unsupported content while preserving the original output as much as possible. When applied to the output of several state-of-the-art LMs on a diverse set of generation tasks, we find that RARR significantly improves attribution while otherwise preserving the original input to a much greater degree than previously explored edit models. Furthermore, the implementation of RARR requires only a handful of training examples, a large language model, and standard web search.
Neural network representation learning for spatial data is a common need for geographic artificial intelligence (GeoAI) problems. In recent years, many advancements have been made in representation learning for points, polylines, and networks, whereas little progress has been made for polygons, especially complex polygonal geometries. In this work, we focus on developing a general-purpose polygon encoding model, which can encode a polygonal geometry (with or without holes, single or multipolygons) into an embedding space. The result embeddings can be leveraged directly (or finetuned) for downstream tasks such as shape classification, spatial relation prediction, and so on. To achieve model generalizability guarantees, we identify a few desirable properties: loop origin invariance, trivial vertex invariance, part permutation invariance, and topology awareness. We explore two different designs for the encoder: one derives all representations in the spatial domain; the other leverages spectral domain representations. For the spatial domain approach, we propose ResNet1D, a 1D CNN-based polygon encoder, which uses circular padding to achieve loop origin invariance on simple polygons. For the spectral domain approach, we develop NUFTspec based on Non-Uniform Fourier Transformation (NUFT), which naturally satisfies all the desired properties. We conduct experiments on two tasks: 1) shape classification based on MNIST; 2) spatial relation prediction based on two new datasets - DBSR-46K and DBSR-cplx46K. Our results show that NUFTspec and ResNet1D outperform multiple existing baselines with significant margins. While ResNet1D suffers from model performance degradation after shape-invariance geometry modifications, NUFTspec is very robust to these modifications due to the nature of the NUFT.
Generating learning-friendly representations for points in a 2D space is a fundamental and long-standing problem in machine learning. Recently, multi-scale encoding schemes (such as Space2Vec) were proposed to directly encode any point in 2D space as a high-dimensional vector, and has been successfully applied to various (geo)spatial prediction tasks. However, a map projection distortion problem rises when applying location encoding models to large-scale real-world GPS coordinate datasets (e.g., species images taken all over the world) - all current location encoding models are designed for encoding points in a 2D (Euclidean) space but not on a spherical surface, e.g., earth surface. To solve this problem, we propose a multi-scale location encoding model called Sphere2V ec which directly encodes point coordinates on a spherical surface while avoiding the mapprojection distortion problem. We provide theoretical proof that the Sphere2Vec encoding preserves the spherical surface distance between any two points. We also developed a unified view of distance-reserving encoding on spheres based on the Double Fourier Sphere (DFS). We apply Sphere2V ec to the geo-aware image classification task. Our analysis shows that Sphere2V ec outperforms other 2D space location encoder models especially on the polar regions and data-sparse areas for image classification tasks because of its nature for spherical surface distance preservation.
Narrative cartography is a discipline which studies the interwoven nature of stories and maps. However, conventional geovisualization techniques of narratives often encounter several prominent challenges, including the data acquisition & integration challenge and the semantic challenge. To tackle these challenges, in this paper, we propose the idea of narrative cartography with knowledge graphs (KGs). Firstly, to tackle the data acquisition & integration challenge, we develop a set of KG-based GeoEnrichment toolboxes to allow users to search and retrieve relevant data from integrated cross-domain knowledge graphs for narrative mapping from within a GISystem. With the help of this tool, the retrieved data from KGs are directly materialized in a GIS format which is ready for spatial analysis and mapping. Two use cases - Magellan's expedition and World War II - are presented to show the effectiveness of this approach. In the meantime, several limitations are identified from this approach, such as data incompleteness, semantic incompatibility, and the semantic challenge in geovisualization. For the later two limitations, we propose a modular ontology for narrative cartography, which formalizes both the map content (Map Content Module) and the geovisualization process (Cartography Module). We demonstrate that, by representing both the map content and the geovisualization process in KGs (an ontology), we can realize both data reusability and map reproducibility for narrative cartography.
A common need for artificial intelligence models in the broader geoscience is to represent and encode various types of spatial data, such as points (e.g., points of interest), polylines (e.g., trajectories), polygons (e.g., administrative regions), graphs (e.g., transportation networks), or rasters (e.g., remote sensing images), in a hidden embedding space so that they can be readily incorporated into deep learning models. One fundamental step is to encode a single point location into an embedding space, such that this embedding is learning-friendly for downstream machine learning models such as support vector machines and neural networks. We call this process location encoding. However, there lacks a systematic review on the concept of location encoding, its potential applications, and key challenges that need to be addressed. This paper aims to fill this gap. We first provide a formal definition of location encoding, and discuss the necessity of location encoding for GeoAI research from a machine learning perspective. Next, we provide a comprehensive survey and discussion about the current landscape of location encoding research. We classify location encoding models into different categories based on their inputs and encoding methods, and compare them based on whether they are parametric, multi-scale, distance preserving, and direction aware. We demonstrate that existing location encoding models can be unified under a shared formulation framework. We also discuss the application of location encoding for different types of spatial data. Finally, we point out several challenges in location encoding research that need to be solved in the future.