Greetings, GIScientists, Geographers, and Computer Scientists at UW,

Please join us at SMI 415c on Monday, October 31st at 4:30 p.m. for a Roundtable Seminar on the Frontiers of Geospatial Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI) organized by the Humanistic GIS Lab of the Department of Geography. The invited speakers will discuss their recent projects, including
    • Revealing the Flow Patterns Underlying Spatial Distribution SnapshotsDi Zhu, Dept of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities;
    • Towards a Foundation Model for Geospatial Artificial Intelligence, Gengchen Mai, Dept of Geography, the University of Georgia;
    • Trajectory Privacy Protection with Geospatial Artificial IntelligenceJinmeng Rao, Dept of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Google [X]; and
  • An Initial Investigation of Geographical Misinformation: Rethinking Satellite Imagery Authenticity and TrustworthinessYifan Sun and Bo Zhao, University of Washington, Seattle.
Please forward this email to anyone who might be interested in this seminar. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Bo Zhao at
=====Biosketch of the speakers========
Dr. Di Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Science in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMN), a faculty member of the Minnesota Population Center (MPC), an executive committee member of the MGIS program at UMN, and the director of Geospatial Data Intelligence (GeoDI) Lab. Prof. Zhu holds a Ph.D. in Cartology and GIScience from Peking University (PKU), a B.S. in Geographic Information Systems and a dual B.S. in Economics both from PKU. Prof. Zhu’s research aims at generating both theoretical and actionable insights from spatiotemporal data by exploring the frontiers that bridge geospatial analysis, artificial intelligence, and social sensing. He uses integrated spatial thinking and cross-disciplinary methods to facilitate Intelligent Spatial Analytics (ISA) and Geographic Knowledge Discovery, focusing on the human-environment complexities within the population, urban dynamics, public health, human mobility, spatial networks, socioeconomic sustainability, crime, business optimization, etc. He has published more than 30 articles in top-level peer-reviewed academic journals and conference proceedings, including the International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, GeoInformatica, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Proceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining, etc. He is a reviewer for over 25 journals and book publishers. He also serves as the guest editor in journals such as Frontiers in Environmental Science, Sustainable Cities and Society, and Remote Sensing. He is currently directing the Faculty Interactive Research Program (FIRP) grant project subsidized by the Center for Urban & Regional Affairs (CURA) in Minnesota. He has won academic accolades such as the Rising Star Award of College GIS Forum in China, the Tang Lixin Scholarship, Distinction of Doctoral Thesis of Peking University, and the Early Career Award of GIS Research of the United Kingdom.
Dr. Mai Gengchen is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography, University of Georgia, and an Affiliated Professor and Graduate Program faculty of the UGA Computer Science Department as well as the UGA Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Before he came to UGA, Dr. Mai was a Postdoctoral scholar at Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL), Department of Computer Science, Stanford University. Dr. Mai got his Ph.D. in Geographic Information Science from the Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2021. His research mainly focuses on Spatially Explicit Artificial Intelligence, GeoAI, Geospatial Knowledge Graph, Deep Learning on Remote Sensing, and Computational Sustainability. Until now, Dr. Mai has published 52 peer-reviewed scientific publications in top international journals and CS/GIS conferences. He is the winner of 3 best paper awards (AGILE 2019, ACM K-CAP 2019 & 2021), and the recipient of various scholarships, fellowships, and grants, such as the Top 10 WGDC 2022 Global Young Scientist Award, AAG 2022 William L. Garrison Award for Best Dissertation in Computational Geography, The Jack and Laura Dangermond Graduate Fellowship, UCSB Schmidt Fellowship, Microsoft AI for Earth Grant, and so on.
Jinmeng Rao is an ABD in Geospatial Data Science Lab at the Department of Geography, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, supervised by Prof. Song Gao. He also works as a Research Scientist at X, the Moonshot Factory (formerly Google[X]). He holds a Master’s degree in Computer Sciences from UW-Madison, a Master’s degree in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems from Wuhan University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Geographic Information Systems from Wuhan University. His main research interests include Geospatial Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI) and its application in geoprivacy protection. He published over 20 academic articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences, including Transactions in GIS (TGIS), Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (CEUS), GIScience, etc. He also serves as a reviewer for over 10 academic journals, including Scientific Reports, TGIS, Computers & Geosciences, etc. He is the recipient of various awards, including national/university-level scholarships. He served as the student director for the Geographic Information Science and Systems (GISS) Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), and he is a volunteer for several international programs and conferences, including AAG Annual Meeting, ERASMUS, UN Mappers, Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA), and CPGIS. He co-founded the GISphere project that collects timely and comprehensive information on global graduate programs and opportunities in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and related fields.
Yifan Sun is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at the University of Washington (UW), in Seattle. He has a background in Geographical Information Science, Urban Planning, and Computer/Data Science and used to work for Bytedance as a full-stack data scientist. His doctoral research is about geographical misinformation, especially focusing on satellite imagery.
Dr. Bo Zhao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, where he also directs the Humanistic GIS Laboratory (HGIS Lab). Prior to his position at UW, Bo was Assistant Professor at Oregon State University after completing a Postdoc at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Bo’s research lies at the intersection of GIScience and Human Geography. He has developed a uniquely humanistic approach to examining GIScience and technologies, especially for the interests of vulnerable populations, such as refugees displaced by climate change effects or LGBTQ+ communities in repressive national contexts. Bo studies how geospatial data streams from social media are used in high-profile social and political struggles, looking, for instance, at “location-spoofing” by activists—like indigenous groups involved in territorial struggles—or by reactionary groups agitating over “fake news.” His recent work on deepfake geography urges GIScientists to develop coping strategies to the ambivalent nature of GeoAI in the age of “post-truth.” The research framework of his recent studies has been funded by NSF, NIH, National Geographic, Samsung, and Google.