Spatiotemporal Event Forecasting and Analysis with Ubiquitous Urban Sensors

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Virginia Tech


The study of information extraction and knowledge exploration in the urban environment is gaining popularity. Ubiquitous sensors and a plethora of statistical reports provide an immense amount of heterogeneous urban data, such as traffic data, crime activity statistics, social media messages, and street imagery. The development of methods for heterogeneous urban data-based event identification and impacts analysis for a variety of event topics and assumptions is the subject of this dissertation. A graph convolutional neural network for crime prediction, a multitask learning system for traffic incident prediction with spatiotemporal feature learning, social media-based transportation event detection, and a graph convolutional network-based cyberbullying detection algorithm are the four methods proposed. Additionally, based on the sensitivity of these urban sensor data, a comprehensive discussion on ethical issues of urban computing is presented.

This work makes the following contributions in urban perception predictions: 1) Create a preference learning system for inferring crime rankings from street view images using a bidirectional convolutional neural network (bCNN). 2) Propose a graph convolutional networkbased solution to the current urban crime perception problem; 3) Develop street view image retrieval algorithms to demonstrate real city perception.

This work also makes the following contributions in traffic incident effect analysis: 1) developing a novel machine learning system for predicting traffic incident duration using temporal features; 2) modeling traffic speed similarity among road segments using spatial connectivity in feature space; and 3) proposing a sparse feature learning method for identifying groups of temporal features at a higher level.

In transportation-related incidents detection, this work makes the following contributions: 1) creating a real-time social media-based traffic incident detection platform; 2) proposing a query expansion algorithm for traffic-related tweets; and 3) developing a text summarization tool for redundant traffic-related tweets.

Cyberbullying detection from social media platforms is one of the major focus of this work: 1) Developing an online Dynamic Query Expansion process using concatenated keyword search. 2) Formulating a graph structure of tweet embeddings and implementing a Graph Convolutional Network for fine-grained cyberbullying classification. 3) Curating a balanced multiclass cyberbullying dataset from DQE, and making it publicly available.

Additionally, this work seeks to identify ethical vulnerabilities from three primary research directions of urban computing: urban safety analysis, urban transportation analysis, and social media analysis for urban events. Visions for future improvements in the perspective of ethics are addressed.



spatial data mining, urban computing, urban perception, event detection, Machine learning