Nav: Home

How on Earth does geotagging work?

January 09, 2017

EDMONTON (Monday, January 9, 2017)--In an increasingly digital world, we don't always consider where on earth the information we find online comes from.

Now, computing science researchers at the University of Alberta are using automated geotagging models to put a place to online data and documents.

"With the proliferation of online content and the need for sharing it across the globe, it is important to correctly match names to the places they refer to," says Davood Rafiei, professor in the Department of Computing Sciences and expert in big data and information management.

"The potential applications are huge. Perhaps you want to find out about people, organizations, or events in a certain location. Or maybe you want to understand where your data sources are located. There are even applications for determining if two named entities are in fact referring to the same thing."

Using a two-part model, Rafiei and former master of science student Jiangwei Yu have developed a technique to automate geotagging for news articles and other online documents and data. The model integrates two competing hypotheses: inheritance and near-location.

According to the inheritance hypothesis, named entities are given the same geographical location as the document in which they are mentioned. "For example, every name mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article will inherit the geocentre of the article, which in this case will be New York City, New York, USA," explains Rafiei.

The near-location hypothesis links the named entities to geographical locations mentioned in nearby text--such as a person's name mentioned next to the phrase "Edmonton, Alberta" in an article.

"What happens in the real world though appears to be a mixture of the two forces," explains Rafiei. "Our data shows that the inheritance hypothesis holds in 72 percent of the cases, the near-location hypothesis holds in 67 percent of the cases, and at least one holds in close to 99 percent of the cases."

In addition to being highly accurate, the model is automated, cutting the cost of geotagging significantly.

"The power of geotagging is being better able to understand people, places, and things referenced in online documents," says Rafiei.

The paper, "Geotagging named entities in news and online documents", was presented at International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Proceedings.
-end-
The University of Alberta Faculty of Science is a research and teaching powerhouse dedicated to shaping the future by pushing the boundaries of knowledge in the classroom, laboratory, and field. Through exceptional teaching, learning, and research experiences, we competitively position our students, staff, and faculty for current and future success.

University of Alberta

Related Big Data Articles:

Discrimination, lack of diversity, & societal risks of data mining highlighted in big data
A special issue of Big Data presents a series of insightful articles that focus on Big Data and Social and Technical Trade-Offs.
'Charliecloud' simplifies Big Data supercomputing
At Los Alamos National Laboratory, home to more than 100 supercomputers since the dawn of the computing era, elegance and simplicity of programming are highly valued but not always achieved.
Advances in bayesian methods for big data
Big Data has imposed great challenges for machine learning. Bayesian methods provide a profound framework for characterizing the intrinsic uncertainty and performing probabilistic inference and decision-making.
Compiling big data in a human-centric way
When a group of researchers in the Undiagnosed Disease Network at Baylor College of Medicine realized they were spending days combing through databases searching for information regarding gene variants, they decided to do something about it.
Story of silver birch from genomic big data
Researchers at University of Helsinki, Finland and University at Buffalo, USA have analyzed the evolutionary history of silver birch using big data from the genomes of 150 birches.
Night lights, big data
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have developed an online tool that incorporates 21 years of night-time lights data to understand and compare changes in human activities in countries around the world.
Big data approach to predict protein structure
Nothing works without proteins in the body, they are the molecular all-rounders in our cells.
Is your big data messy? We're making an app for that
Vizier, software under development by a University at Buffalo-led research team, aims to proactively catch big data errors.
Big data for the universe
Astronomers at Lomonosov Moscow State University in cooperation with their French colleagues and with the help of citizen scientists have released 'The Reference Catalog of galaxy SEDs,' which contains value-added information about 800,000 galaxies.
Using Big Data to understand immune system responses
An enzyme found in many bacteria, including the bacterium that gives us strep throat, has given mankind a cheap and effective tool with which to edit our own genes.

Related Big Data Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#514 Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast)
This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south.