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Dr. Paul M. Torrens, Center for GIS, Department of Geographical Sciences, and UMIACS, University of Maryland

Urban simulation as a process model within GIS

Publications are here | Project overview | Eye candy
Project overview

Next-generation geospatial information technologies are becoming more and more tightly interwoven with process models that can animate the dynamics and complex phenomenology that underpin geography. In some instances, we can develop incredibly realistic replicas of entire systems in computer models. Our work in this area is particularly focused on urban simulation, and the interface between humans and their social and built surroundings in city settings.

GIS have traditionally transcended the complexity of the world by simplifying its intricacies. Like maps, GIS are an abstraction of a much more complicated reality, and one of their huge success stories has been in supporting myriad explorative schemes atop that abstraction. Nevertheless, partly because of their origins in digital cartography, GIS have developed a reliance on static representation of the world that is increasingly out-of-place with the floods of data that now capture, measure, and frame phenomena as they unfold around us. Our research is focused on many diverse aspects of building a next-generation of GIS and cyberinfrastructure that integrates process models, i.e., computer models that represent the dynamic drivers of physical, human, social, environmental, and cyber-systems from their constituent components, often in ways that course across their boundaries. These functioning of these models relies heavily upon intertwining GIS and cyberinfrastructure into their computational substrate.

Eye candy

The image above shows the three-dimensional interface for our testbed simulation platform, in Salt Lake City, UT. The volumetric model is fully-integrated into the simulation infrastructure (see how we use this to build earthquake simulations and crowd models), and it is interwoven with underlying network, graph, and GIS data models.

GIS movement tracks

Massive ice CA

GIS movement tracks

Spatiotemporal GIS

GIS movement tracks

Urban simulation in GIS

GIS movement tracks

Big data movement analytics


climate indicators spatial analysis

Land indicators of climate

geosimulation high performance computing

High-performance computing and networking for geosimulation

earthquake model agent based GIS

Earthquake models

CA ice sheet model

Ice-sheet modeling

kinect control of GIS and robots
Robot motion control

simulating disasters ABM GIS
Human behavior in critical scenarios

crowd model riot model simulation wired

Modeling riots

physics engine GIS

Dynamic physics for built infrastructure

moving agents through space and time

Moving agents through space and time

validating agent based models

Validating agent-based models

machine learning GIS

Machine-learning behavioral geography

high performance computing urban simulation emergence

Accelerating agent-based models

megacity models

Megacity futures

immersive modeling

Immersive modeling

space-time GIS

Space-time GIS and analysis

measuring sprawl

A toolkit for measuring sprawl

space-time GIS

Modeling time, space, and behavior

simulating crowd behavior

Simulating crowd behavior

wi-fi geography

Wi-Fi geography

Simulating sprawl

Simulating sprawl