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The Utilization of Spatiotemporal Information to Learn about Cities and Regions


Unit Name:
Spatial Information Science
Unit representative:
Professor Tsutomu Suzuki,
Faculty of Engineering, Information and Systems

Unit members:
20 (7 faculty members, 1 postdoctoral fellow, 12 from other organizations)

Key words:
geographical information science, urban engineering, spatial analysis, spatiotemporal data



As indicated by the widespread use of car navigation equipment and smartphones, this is an era that anyone can easily identify their actual location on a map and utilize this information by using GPS (global positioning system), technology providing precise data on position.
“Spatial information” is used for urban planning, fixed asset management, and hazard maps to improve administrative services. It is also used for the businesses of private companies such as plans for opening new stores and marketing.

Various academic applications of “spatial information” are also expected. The “Spatial Information Science” Research Unit aims to provide value-added spatial information on the basis of the geographical information system (GIS).

Strategic utilization of spatial analysis methods as a challenge

We are involved in the integration of techniques for “spatial information” analysis, which has been in progress in the fields of geography and urban engineering – two academic disciplines to examine the significance of space, and their strategic utilization based on integrated techniques. Despite notable progress in methodological approaches in these fields due to recent advancements in information technology, there has been no active interaction between the two fields, although synergistic effects have been expected. To address this problem, the spatial information science research unit, consisting of specialists in geography and urban engineering, has been actively promoting the sophistication of multidisciplinary/application-oriented spatial analysis methods and the strategic utilization of scientific knowledge for policy-making (Figure).

Figure: Overall picture of the Spatial Information Science Unit

Figure: Overall picture of the Spatial Information Science Unit

Extraction of information from various spatial information sources

In general, “spatial information” comprises a large amount of data. It is necessary to analyze significant amounts of information using appropriate methods, and convert them into useful information for society, in order to examine various phenomena at the level of country, region and city, and to discuss urban planning and the control of cities.

We are conducting researches with emphasis on: (1) methods for spatial statistical analysis, (2) methods for optimization of allocation and network analysis, and (3) spatial simulation technology, while searching for mutual applicability across different scientific fields. We have provided new spatiotemporal information to improve our lives through these studies.

Social contributions and achievements
● Systematic organization of spatial analysis methods used in geographical information science and urban engineering
● Accumulation of empirical knowledge and know-how on the advantages and disadvantages of the analysis methods
● Integration of spatial analysis methods used in geography – an established general scientific discipline, and other fields, such as spatial analysis, city/regional community planning, risk engineering, and locational analysis.
● Development of methods in different specialized fields and the possibility of their advancement across the fields
● Systematic organization of spatial analysis methods and synergistic development of new methods across various fields

(Interviewed on May 22, 2013)

Research Administration/Management Office at U Tsukuba TEL 029-853-4434