Atomic Spatial Processes


Sean Jewell, Neil Spencer, Alexandre Bouchard-Côté ;
Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 37:248-256, 2015.


The emergence of compact GPS systems and the establishment of open data initiatives has resulted in widespread availability of spatial data for many urban centres. These data can be leveraged to develop data-driven intelligent resource allocation systems for urban issues such as policing, sanitation, and transportation. We employ techniques from Bayesian non-parametric statistics to develop a process which captures a common characteristic of urban spatial datasets. Specifically, our new spatial process framework models events which occur repeatedly at discrete spatial points, the number and locations of which are unknown a priori. We develop a representation of our spatial process which facilitates posterior simulation, resulting in an interpretable and computationally tractable model. The framework’s superiority over both empirical grid-based models and Dirichlet process mixture models is demonstrated by fitting, interpreting, and comparing models of graffiti prevalence for both downtown Vancouver and Manhattan.

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