Universiteit van Amsterdam

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PhD student position on question-based analysis of geographic information with semantic queries, Utrecht (The Netherlands)

Deadline: Sunday 16 February 2020

The QuAnGIS project, a 5-year research project at the University of Utrecht that started in January 2019 funded by the European Research Commission (ERC), develops a theory about interrogative spatial concepts needed to turn geo-analytical questions into machine-readable workflows using Semantic Web, Workflow synthesis and Question-Answering (QA) technology. The focus is on 'core concepts of spatial information', field, object, network, event (Kuhn 2012), and related analytical concepts such as accessibility, exposure, density, distance and aggregation. Based on these concepts, questions can be matched with the capacity of major analytical GIS tools and data sources on the web. The project team is part of a new Geographic Information Methods (GIM) interest group within the Social Urban Transitions (SUT) research programme in the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University.

We seek a highly motivated PhD student who has a strong interest in thinking about data semantics as well as geographic analysis and GIS technology. The new PhD position in this project should focus on the information theory and technology needed to enable GIS analysts to translate (1) geographic questions into analytic workflows and (2) to retrieve corresponding resources for analysis. This involves an investigation into GIS tools and their functionality in terms of semantic concepts, as well as standard web data sources, and how both can be linked. Furthermore, it involves developing a transformation language that can be used to search over GIS workflows using question concepts. Both will be a basis for building an integrated extensible web repository about analytical tools and data sources that can be queried using questions.

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