University of Wisconsin–Madison

Song Gao

Title: Assistant Professor, Director of Geospatial Data Science Lab


2012-2017: Ph.D. in GIScience, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
2009-2012: M.S. in Cartography and GIS, Peking University, China.
2005-2009: B.S. Honors in Geography, Beijing Normal University, China

Research Areas

GIScience, GeoAI, Geospatial Data Science, Social Sensing, Spatial Networks, Urban Informatics, Human Mobility. 

Research project descriptions can be found in the GeoDS Lab@UW-Madison webpage:

Current Research

PI: 2020-2021, American Family Insurance Data Science Institute Funding Initiative, A Deep Learning Approach to User Location Privacy Protection.

PI: 2020-2021, NSF RAPID Grant, Geospatial Modeling of COVID-19 Spread and Risk Communication by Integrating Human Mobility and Social Media Big Data.

PI: 2020-2022, Academia-Industry Collaborative Funding from Wework Inc., Location Business Modeling Using Multi-Source Big Data.

Co-PI: 2020-2021, NSF Grant, A GeoAI Data-Fusion Framework for Real-Time Assessment of Flood Damage and Transportation Resilience by Integrating Complex Sensor Datasets.

Co-PI: 2020-2022, UW-Madison 2020 Grant Round 6, A Translational and Multidisciplinary Approach to Redistricting.

PI: 2019 Microsoft AI for Earth Grant,  StreetPlay: Scoring Neighborhood Playability in U.S. Metropolitan Areas.

Co-Investigator: 2019-2020, UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research & Marshfield Collaborative Research Pilot Program: Geo-mapping antimicrobial resistance in E. coli from humans & animals.

Courses Taught

Geog 378 Introduction to Geocomputing
Geog 560 Advanced Quantitative Analysis
Geog 573 Advanced Geocomputing & Geospatial Big Data Analytics
Geog 970 Seminar in Geographic Information Science  

Recent Publications

Google Scholar Page, ResearchGate Page, ORCID

#Journal Articles 

Song Gao (2021) Geospatial Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI).  Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. 1-16. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199874002-0228

Song Gao, Jinmeng Rao, Yuhao Kang, Yunlei Liang, Jake Kruse, Dorte Dopfer, Ajay K. Sethi, Juan Francisco Mandujano Reyes, Brian S. Yandell, Jonathan A. Patz (2020) Association of Mobile Phone Location Data Indications of Travel and Stay-at-Home Mandates With COVID-19 Infection Rates in the US. JAMA Network Open. 3(9):e2020485. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.20485

Song Gao, Jinmeng Rao, Yuhao Kang, Yunlei Liang, Jake Kruse. (2020) Mapping county-level mobility pattern changes in the United States in response to COVID-19. SIGSPATIAL Special. 12(1), 16-26. DOI:10.1145/3404820.3404824

Song Gao, Jinmeng Rao, Xinyi Liu, Yuhao Kang, Qunying Huang, Joseph Marks. (2019) Exploring the effectiveness of geomasking techniques for protecting the geoprivacy of Twitter users. Journal of Spatial Information Science. 2019(19), 105-129. DOI:10.5311/JOSIS.2019.18.510

Song Gao, Mingxiao Li, Yunlei Liang, Joseph Marks, Yuhao Kang, Moyin Li. (2019) Predicting the Spatiotemporal Legality of On-Street Parking Using Open Data and Machine Learning. Annals of GIS. 25(4), 299-312. DOI:10.1080/19475683.2019.1679882

Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Helen Couclelis. (2017) Extracting Urban Functional Regions from Points of Interest and Human Activities on Location-based Social Networks. Transactions in GIS. 21(3):446-467. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12289

Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Daniel R. Montello, Yingjie Hu, Jiue-an Yang, Grant McKenzie, Yiting Ju, Li Gong, Benjamin Adams, Bo Yan. (2017) A Data-Synthesis-Driven Method for Detecting and Extracting Vague Cognitive Regions. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 31(6): 1245-1271. DOI:10.1080/13658816.2016.1273357

Song Gao, Linna Li, Wenwen Li, Krzysztof Janowicz, Yue Zhang. (2017) Constructing Gazetteers from Volunteered Big Geo-Data based on Hadoop. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 61: 172-186. DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2014.02.004

Song Gao. (2015) Spatio-Temporal Analytics for Exploring Human Mobility Patterns and Urban Dynamics in the Mobile Age. Spatial Cognition & Computation. Taylor & Francis. 15(2), 86-114. DOI:10.1080/13875868.2014.984300

Song Gao, Yu Liu, Yaoli Wang, Xiujun Ma. (2013) Discovering Spatial Interaction Communities from Mobile Phone Data. Transactions in GIS. 17(3):463-481. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12042

Song Gao, Yaoli Wang, Yong Gao, Yu Liu. (2013) Understanding Urban Traffic Flow Characteristics: A Rethinking of Betweenness Centrality. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 40(1):135-153. DOI: 10.1068/b38141

Xiao Hou, Song Gao, Qin Li, Yuhao Kang, Nan Chen, Kaiping Chen, Jinmeng Rao, Jordan S. Ellenberg, Jonathan A. Patz. (2021) Intra-county modeling of COVID-19 infection with human mobility: assessing spatial heterogeneity with business traffic, age and race. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 118 (24) e2020524118. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2020524118

Xiaoyi Han, Yilan Xu, Linlin Fan, Yi Huang, Minhong Xu, Song Gao. (2021) Quantifying COVID-19 importation risk in a dynamic network of domestic cities and international countries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 118 (31) e2100201118. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2100201118

Yuhao Kang, Fan Zhang, Song Gao, Wenzhe Peng, Carlo Ratti. (2021) Human settlement value assessment from a place perspective: Considering human dynamics and perceptions in house price modeling. Cities. 118, 103333, 1-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2021.103333

Jinmeng Rao, Song Gao, Mingxiao Li, Qunying Huang. (2021) A privacy-preserving framework for location recommendation using decentralized collaborative machine learning. Transactions in GIS, 25(3), 1153-1175. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12769

Mingxiao Li, Song Gao, Feng Lu, Kang Liu, Hengcai Zhang, Wei Tu. (2021) Prediction of human activity intensity using the interactions in physical and social spaces through graph convolutional networks. International Journal of Geographical Information Science. 35(X), 1-29. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2021.1912347

Xiao Huang, Junyu Lu, Song Gao, Sicheng Wang, Zhewei Liu, Hanxue Wei (2021) Staying at home is a privilege: evidence from fine-grained mobile phone location data in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 1-20. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2021.1904819

Yuanhong Ma, Guangtian Zou, Jung-hye Shin, Yuhao Kang, Song Gao, Kin Wai Michael Siu, Suxin Zhang. (2021) Locating Community-Based Comprehensive Service Facilities for Older Adults Using the GIS-NEMA Method in Harbin, ChinaJournal of Urban Planning and Development. 147 (2), 1-14. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9488(1992)118:1(1) 

Sheng Hu, Song Gao, Liang Wu, Yongyang Xu, Ziwei Zhang, Haifu Cui, Xi Gong. (2021) Urban function classification at road segment level using taxi trajectory data: A graph convolutional neural network approach. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 87, 101619, 1-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2021.101619

Xinyi Liu, Qunying Huang, Song Gao, Jizhe Xia. (2021) Activity Knowledge Discovery: Detecting collective and individual activities with digital footprints and open source geographic data. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 85(101551), 1-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2020.101551 

Bo Peng, Qunying Huang, Jamp Vongkusolkit, Song Gao, Daniel B. Wright, Zheng N. Fang, Yi Qiang. (2020) Urban Flood Mapping with Bi-temporal Multispectral Imagery via a Self-supervised Learning Framework. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2020.3047677

Shi Chen, Qin Li, Song Gao, Yuhao Kang, Xun Shi. (2020) State-specific Projection of COVID-19 Infection in the United States and Evaluation of Three Major Control Measures. Scientific Reports. pp. 1-9. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-80044-3

Yuhao Kang, Song Gao, Yunlei Liang, Mingxiao Li, Jinmeng Rao, Jake Kruse (2020) Multiscale dynamic human mobility flow dataset in the U.S. during the COVID-19 epidemic. Scientific Data. 7(390), 1-13. DOI: 10.1038/s41597-020-00734-5

John P. Wilson, Kevin Butler, Song Gao, Yingjie Hu, Wenwen Li, Dawn J. Wright (2020) A Five-Star Guide for Achieving Replicability and Reproducibility When Working with GIS Software and Algorithms. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1806026

Donghai Liang, Liuhua Shi, Jingxuan Zhao, Pengfei Liu, Jeremy A. Sarnat, Song Gao, Joel Schwartz, Yang Liu, Stefanie T. Ebelt, Noah Scovronick, Howard H. Chang (2020) Urban Air Pollution May Enhance COVID-19 Case-Fatality and Mortality Rates in the United States. The Innovation. S2666-6758(20)30050-3. DOI: 10.1016/j.xinn.2020.100047

Yuhao Kang, Fan Zhang, Wenzhe Peng, Song Gao, Jinmeng Rao, Fabio Duarte, Carlo Ratti. (2020) Understanding house price appreciation using multi-source big geo-data and machine learning. Land Use Policy. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104919

Somayeh Dodge, Song Gao, Martin Tomko, Robert Weibel. (2020) Progress in computational movement analysis – towards movement data science. International Journal of Geographical Information ScienceDOI: 10.1080/13658816.2020.1784425 

Yunlei Liang, Song Gao, Yuxin Cai, Natasha Zhang Foutz, Lei Wu. (2020) Calibrating the dynamic Huff model for business analysis using location big data. Transactions in GIS. 24(4), 1-23. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12624

Fan Zhang, Jinyan Zu, Mingyuan Hu, Di Zhu, Yuhao Kang, Song Gao, Yi Zhang, and Zhou Huang. (2020) Uncovering inconspicuous places using social media check-ins and street view images. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 81 (2020): 101478. DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2020.101478 

Xin Feng, Shaohua Wang, Alan T Murray, Yuanpei Cao, Song Gao. (2020) Multi-objective trajectory optimization in planning for sequential activities across space and through time. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. 46(9), 1756-1768. DOI: 10.1177/2399808320913300

Bin Li, Song Gao, Yunlei Liang, Yuhao Kang, Timothy Prestby, Yuqi Gao, and Runmou Xiao. (2020) Estimation of regional economic development indicator from transportation network analytics. Scientific Reports, 10, no. 1 (2020): 1-15. DOI: 10.1080/s41598-020-59505-2. 

Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao, Grant McKenzie, Yingjie Hu. (2020) GeoAI: Spatially Explicit Artificial Intelligence Techniques for Geographic Knowledge Discovery and Beyond. International Journal of Geographical Information ScienceDOI:10.1080/13658816.2019.1684500 

Kang Liu, Peiyuan Qiu, Song Gao, Feng Lu, Jincheng Jiang, and Ling Yin. (2020) Investigating urban metro stations as cognitive places in cities using points of interest. Cities, 97: 102561. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2019.102561

Tim Prestby, Joe App, Yuhao Kang, Song Gao (2019) Understanding neighborhood isolation through spatial interaction network analysis using location big data. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, DOI: 10.1177/0308518X19891911

Mingxiao Li, Song Gao, Feng Lu, Huan Tong, Hengcai Zhang. (2019) Dynamic Estimation of Individual Exposure Levels to Air Pollution Using Trajectories Reconstructed from Mobile Phone Data.  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16(22), 4522. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16224522

Emmanuel Papadakis, Song Gao, George Baryannis. (2019) Combining Design Patterns and Topic Modeling to Discover Regions That Support Particular Functionality. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 8(9), 385; doi:10.3390/ijgi8090385

Yu Liu, Yihong Yuan, Song Gao. (2019) Modeling the Vagueness of Areal Geographic Objects: A Categorization System. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 8(7), 306; doi:10.3390/ijgi8070306

Mingxiao Li, Song Gao, Feng Lu, Hengcai Zhang. (2019) Reconstruction of human movement trajectories from large-scale low-frequency mobile phone data.  Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. Volume 77: 101346. DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2019.101346

Yuhao Kang, Song Gao, Robert E. Roth. (2019) Transferring Multiscale Map Styles Using Generative Adversarial Networks. International Journal of Cartography. DOI: 10.1080/23729333.2019.1615729.

Yuhao Kang, Qingyuan Jia, Song Gao, Xiaohuan Zeng, Yueyao Wang, Stephan Angsuesser, Yu Liu, Xinyue Ye, Teng Fei. (2019) Extracting Human Emotions at Different Places Based on Facial Expressions and Spatial Clustering Analysis. Yuhao Kang, Qingyuan Jia, Transactions in GIS, 23(3). DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12552. 

Xinyi Liu, Qunying Huang, and Song Gao. (2019) "Exploring the uncertainty of activity zone detection using digital footprints with multi-scaled DBSCAN." International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 33(6): 1196-1223. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2018.1563301

Kang Liu, Song Gao, Feng Lu. (2019) Identifying spatial interaction patterns of vehicle movements on urban road networks by topic modellingComputers, Environment and Urban Systems, 2019,74, 50-61. DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2018.12.001

Thomas Blaschke, Helena Merschdorf, Pablo Cabrera-Barona, Song Gao, Emmanuel Papadakis and Anna Kovacs-Györi (2018) Place versus Space: From Points, Lines and Polygons in GIS to Place-Based Representations Reflecting Language and Culture. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 7(11), 452; doi:10.3390/ijgi7110452

Shaohua Wang, Song Gao, Xin Feng, Alan Murray, Yuan Zeng. (2018)  A context-based geoprocessing framework for optimizing meetup location of multiple moving objects along road networks. International Journal of Geographical Information Science. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2018.1431838.

Gengchen Mai, Krzysztof Janowicz, Yingjie Hu, Song Gao. (2018) ADCN: An anisotropic density-based clustering algorithm for discovering spatial point patterns with noise. Transactions in GIS. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12313

Kang Liu, Song Gao, Peiyuan Qiu, Xiliang Liu, Bo Yan, Feng Lu. (2017) Road2Vec: Measuring Traffic Interactions in Urban Road System from Massive Travel Routes. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 2017,6(11),321. doi:10.3390/ijgi6110321

Blake Regalia, Grant McKenzie, Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz. (2016) Crowdsensing Smart Ambient Environments and Services. Transactions in GIS. 20(3):382-398. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12233

Zhifeng Wu, Yanwei Chai, Anrong Dang, Jianhua Gong, Song Gao, Yang Yue, Dong Li, Lin Liu, Xingjian Liu, Yu Liu, Ying Long, Feng Lu, Chengzhi Qin, Hui Wang, Peng Wang, Wei Wang, Feng Zhen. (2015) Geography Interact with Big Data: Dialogue and Reflection. Geographical Research, 34(12):2207-2221. 

Grant McKenzie, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao, Li Gong. (2015) How Where Is When? On the Regional Variability and Resolution of Geosocial Temporal Signatures for Points Of Interest. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54:336-346, DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.10.002.

Yingjie Hu,Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Bailang Yu, Wenwen Li, Sathya Prasad. (2015) Extracting and Understanding Urban Areas of Interest Using Geotagged Photos. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54, 240-254, DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.09.001.

Yu Liu, Xi Liu, Song Gao, Li Gong, Chaogui Kang, Ye Zhi, Guanghua Chi, Li Shi. (2015) Social sensing: A new approach to understanding our socio-economic environments. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(3), 512-530, DOI:10.1080/00045608.2015.1018773.

Wenwen Li, Miaomiao Song, Bin Zhou, Kai Cao, Song Gao. (2015) Performance improvement techniques for geospatial web services in a cyberinfrastructure environment - A case study with a disaster management portal. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, DOI:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.04.003.

Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Sathya Prasad, Song Gao. (2015) Metadata Topic Harmonization and Semantic Search for Linked-Data-Driven Geoportals: A Case Study Using ArcGIS Online.Transactions in GIS, 19(3), 398-416. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12151.

Grant McKenzie, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao, Jiue-An Yang, Yingjie Hu. (2015) POI Pulse: A Multi-Granular, Semantic Signatures-Based Approach For The Interactive Visualization Of Big Geosocial Data. Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization, 50(2), 71-85. DOI:10.3138/cart.50.2.2662

Yaoli Wang, Song Gao, Yu Liu. (2013) Exploration into Urban Street Closeness Centrality and its Application Methods: A Case Study of Qingdao. Geographic Research. 32(3):352-364.

Jiansheng Wu, Li Huang, Yu Liu, Jian Peng, Weifeng Li, Song Gao, Chaogui Kang. (2013) Traffic Flow Simulation Based on Call Detail Records. Acta Geographica Sinica. 67(12):1657-1665.

Yu Liu, Chaogui Kang, Song Gao, Yu Xiao, Yuan Tian. (2012) Understanding Intra-Urban Trip Patterns from Taxi Trajectory Data. Journal of Geographical Systems. 14(4):463-483. DOI: 10.1007/s10109-012-0166-z

Yu Liu, Fahui Wang, Yu Xiao, Song Gao. (2012) Urban Land Uses and Traffic Source-Sink Areas: Evidence from GPS-Enabled Taxi Data in Shanghai. Landscape and Urban Planning. 106(1):73-87. DOI:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.02.012

Yu Liu, Yu Xiao, Song Gao, Chaogui Kang, Yaoli Wang. (2011) A Review of Human Mobility Research Based on Location Aware Devices. Geography and Geo-Information Science. 27(4):8-13.

Yong Gao, Song Gao, Runqiang Li, Yu Liu. (2010) A Semantic Geographical Knowledge Wiki System Mashed up with Google Maps. Science in China Series E: Technological Sciences. 53:52-60. DOI:10.1007/s11431-010-3208-0

# Book Chapters

Song Gao, Yu Liu, Yuhao Kang and Fan Zhang (2021) User-Generated Content: A Promising Data Source for Urban Informatics. In Wenzhong Shi, Michael F. Goodchild, Michael Batty, Mei-Po Kwan, Anshu Zhang (Eds). Urban Informatics. Chapter 28, pp. 503-522, Springer. 

Monica Wachowicz, Song Gao. (2020) Machine Learning Approaches. In the Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge. DOI:10.22224/gistbok/2020.2.5.

Luo, Wei, Yaoli Wang, Xi Liu, and Song Gao. (2019)  Cities as Spatial and Social Networks: Towards a Spatio-Socio-Semantic Analysis Framework. In Xinyue Ye & Xingjian Liu (Eds), Cities as Spatial and Social Networks, pp. 21-37. Springer, Cham, 2019. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-95351-9

Haosheng Huang, Song Gao. (2018) Location-Based Services. In the Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge. DOI:10.22224/gistbok/2018.1.14.

Janowicz, Krzysztof, Grant McKenzie, Yingjie Hu, Rui Zhu, and Song Gao. (2018) Using Semantic Signatures for Social Sensing in Urban Environments. In Constantinos Antoniou Loukas Dimitriou Francisco Pereira (Eds). Mobility Patterns, Big Data and Transport AnalyticsElsevier 

Song Gao, Hanzhou Chen, Wei Luo, Yingjie Hu, Xinyue Ye. (2018) Spatio-Temporal-Network Visualization for Exploring Human Movements and Interactions in Physical and Virtual Spaces. In Shih-Lung Shaw and Daniel Sui (Eds): Human Dynamics Research in Smart and Connected Communities (Chapter 4). pp. 67-80, Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-73247-3_4.

Song Gao, Gengchen Mai. (2018) Mobile GIS and Location-Based Services. In Bo Huang, Thomas J. Cova, and Ming-Hsiang Tsou et al.(Eds): Comprehensive Geographic Information Systems, Vol 1, pp. 384-397, Elsevier. Oxford, UK. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09710-4.

Song Gao. (2017) Big Geo-DataIn Laurie A. Schintler and Connie L. McNeely (Eds): Encyclopedia of Big Data, Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-32001-4_492-1.

Song Gao. (2017) Spatial Scientometrics. In Laurie A. Schintler and Connie L. McNeely (Eds): Encyclopedia of Big Data, Springer.

Max J. Egenhofer, Keith C. Clarke, Song Gao, Teriitutea Quesnot, W. Randolph Franklin, Yuan May, Coleman David. (2016) Contributions of GIScience over the Past Twenty Years. In Harlan Onsrud and Werner Kuhn (Eds): Advancing Geographic Information Science: The Past and Next Twenty Years, GSDI Association Press, 9-34.

Song Gao, Ying Long. (2015) Finding Public Transportation Community Structure based on Large-Scale Smart Card Records in Beijing. In Ying Long and Zhenjiang Shen (Eds), Geospatial Analysis to Support Urban Planning in Beijing, Springer GeoJournal Library (116), 155-167.

# Conference/Workshop Proceedings

Jinmeng Rao, Song Gao, Yuhao Kang, Qunying Huang. (2020) LSTM-TrajGAN: A Deep Learning Approach to Trajectory Privacy Protection. In the Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2021), pp. 1-16. DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.GIScience.2021.12

Song Gao, Shawn Newsam, Liang Zhao, Dalton Lunga, Yingjie Hu, Bruno Martins, Xun Zhou, Feng Chen. (2019) GeoAI 2019 Workshop Report. In Proceedings of the 3rd ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on AI for Geographic Knowledge Discovery (GeoAI’19). ISBN: 978-1-4503-6957-2

Yunlei Liang, Song Gao, Mingxiao Li, Yuhao Kang, and Jinmeng Rao. (2019) Analyzing the Gap Between Ride-hailing Location and Pick-up Location with Geographical Contexts (Best Poster).  In Proceedings of 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Ride-hailing Algorithms, Applications, and Systems (RAAS’19). DOI: 10.1145/3357140.3365493

Yunlei Liang, Song Gao, Tianyu Wu, Sujing Wang, and Yuhao Wu. (2018) Optimizing Bus Stop Spacing Using the Simulated Annealing Algorithm with Spatial Interaction Coverage Model. In 11th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Computational Transportation Science (IWCTS’18), November 6, 2018, Seattle, WA, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp 53-59. doi: 10.1145/3283207.3283212

Yuhao Kang,  Song Gao, Yunlei Liang. (2018) Utilizing Reverse Viewshed Analysis in Image Geo-Localization. In Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGSPATIAL Workshop on Recommendations for Location-based Services and Social Networks (LocalRec'18), November 6, 2018, Seattle, WA, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp 1-5. doi: 10.1145/3282825.3282828

Gengchen Mai, Krzysztof Janowicz, Yingjie Hu, Song Gao, Rui Zhu, Bo Yan, Grant McKenzie, Anagha Uppal, and Blake Regalia. (2018) Collections of Points of Interest: How to Name Them and Why it Matters [Short Paper], In: Proceedings of Spatial big data and machine learning in GIScience Workshop at GIScience 2018, August 28 - 31, 2018, Melbourne, Australia.

Bo Yan, Krzysztof Janowicz, Gengchen Mai, and Song Gao. (2017) From ITDL to Place2Vec – Reasoning About Place Type Similarity and Relatedness by Learning Embeddings From Augmented Spatial Contexts. In Proceedings of the 25th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems. Los Angeles Area, CA, USA, November 7–10, 2017, pages 1-10.

Yuchen Zhang, Song Gao, Yiting Ju. Identifying Geographic Features through Map Interpretation: A Case Study of Craters Using Controlling Variables. In Proceedings of the 28th International Cartographic Conference (ICC 2017), Washington, DC, USA, July 2-7, 2017.

Song Gao, Sathya Prasad. Employing Spatial Analysis in Indoor Positioning and Tracking Using Wi-Fi Access Point. In Proceedings of 8th ACM SIGSPATIAL Workshop on Indoor Spatial Awareness (ISA 2016), Oct 31-Nov 3, 2016, Burlingame, California, USA. DOI: 10.1145/3005422.3005425.

Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Dingwen Zhang. Designing a Map Legend Ontology For Searching Map Content. In conjunction with The 15th International Semantic Web Conference, In the Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Ontology and Semantic Web Patterns (WOP 2016), Kobe, Japan, Oct.17-21, 2016

Song Gao, Rui Zhu, Gengchen Mai. Identifying Local Spatiotemporal Autocorrelation Patterns of Taxi Pick-ups and Drop-off. GIScience 2016, In the Short Paper Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (pp.109--113), Montreal, Canada, Sep.27-Sep.30, 2016. DOI:10.21433/B31104b2d8xp.

Song Gao, Yuan Zeng. Where to Meet: A Context-Based Geoprocessing Framework to Find Optimal Spatiotemporal Interaction Corridor for Multiple Moving Objects. AMD'16, In the GIScience 2016 Workshop on Analysis of Movement Data, Montreal, Canada, Sep.27, 2016.

Krzysztof Janowicz, Yingjie Hu, Grant McKenzie, Song Gao, Blake Regalia, Gengchen Mai, Rui Zhu, Benjamin Adams, Kerry Taylor. Moon Landing or Safari? A Study of Systematic Errors and their Causes in Geographic Linked Data. GIScience 2016, In the Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Montreal, Canada, Sep.27-Sep.30, 2016. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-45738-3_18.

Blake Regalia, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao. VOLT: A Provenance-Producing, Transparent SPARQL Proxy for the On-Demand Computation of Linked Data and its Application to Spatiotemporally Dependent Data. In the Proceedings of the 13th Extended Semantic Web Conference(ESWC'16), Anissaras, Crete, Greece, May 29-June 2, 2016. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-34129-3_32.

Jae Hyun Lee, Song Gao, Konstadinos G. Goulias. Can Twitter data be used to validate travel demand models? Presentation for 95th Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting, Washington, D.C., January 10-14, 2016.

Yingjie Hu, Grant McKenzie, Krzysztof Janowicz, Song Gao. Mining Human-Place Interaction Patterns from Location-Based Social Networks to Enrich Place Categorization Systems. In the Workshop on Cognitive engineering for spatial information processes: From user interfaces to model-driven design at the Conference on Spatial Information Theory XII (COSIT'15), October 12, 2015, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

Song Gao, Bo Yan, Li Gong, Blake Regalia, Yiting Ju, Yingjie Hu. Uncovering the Digital Divide and the Physical Divide in Senegal Using Mobile Phone Data. In the Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of GeoComputation (GeoComputation'15), Advances in Geocomputation, pp.143-151, May 20-23, 2015, Dallas, Texas, USA.

Li Gong, Song Gao, Grant McKenzie. POI Type Matching based on Culturally Different Datasets. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Location-based Social Media (ICLSM'15), Mar.13-14, 2015, Georgia, USA.

Yingjie Hu, KrzysztofJanowicz, Sathya Prasad, Song Gao. Enabling Semantic Search and Knowledge Discovery for ArcGIS Online: A Linked-Data-Driven Approach. In Proceedings of 18th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science, June 9-12, 2015, Lisbon, Portugal. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-16787-9_7.

Song Gao, Jiue-An Yang, Bo Yan, Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Grant McKenzie. Detecting Origin-Destination Mobility Flows From Geotagged Tweets in Greater Los Angeles Area. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience '14), Sep.24-26, 2014, Vienna, Austria.

Song Gao, Jiue-An Yang, Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Bo Yan. TrajAnalyst: Matching Data to Trajectory Analysis Modules via a Conceptual Framework. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Analysis of Movement Data (AMD'14), Sep.23, 2014, Vienna, Austria.

Song Gao, Ying Long. Finding Public Transportation Community Structure based on Large-Scale Smart Card Records in Beijing. In Proceedings of the NSF Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics, Aug.11-12, 2014, Chicago, IL, USA.

Yaoli Wang, Song Gao. The Influence of Distance Decay Coefficient on Modularity-based Community Detection in Spatial Networks. In Proceedings of the NSF Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics, Aug.11-12, 2014, Chicago, IL, USA.

Yingjie Hu, Grant McKenzie, Jiue-An Yang, Song Gao, Amin Abdalla, Krzysztof Janowicz. A Linked-Data-Driven Web Portal for Learning Analytics: Data Enrichment, Interactive Visualization, and Knowledge Discovery. In Proceedings of the Workshops at the 2014 International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, Mar.24-28, 2014, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Song Gao, Krzysztof Janowicz, Grant McKenzie, Linna Li. Towards Platial Joins and Buffers in Place-Based GIS. In ACM SIGSPATIAL COMP'13 (pp. 42-49), Nov. 5, 2013, Orlando, FL, USA. DOI: 10.1145/2534848.2534856.

Song Gao, Yingjie Hu, Krzysztof Janowicz, Grant McKenzie. A Spatiotemporal Scientometrics Framework for Exploring the Citation Impact of Publications and Scientists. In ACM SIGSPATIAL GIS 2013, Nov. 5-8, 2013, Orlando, FL, USA. DOI: 10.1145/2525314.2525368.

Song Gao, Michael F. Goodchild. Asking Spatial Questions to Identify GIS Functionality. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computing for Geospatial Research and Applications. July 22-24, 2013, San Jose, CA, USA. DOI: 10.1109/COMGEO.2013.18.

Song Gao, Hao Yu, Yong Gao, Yingle Sun. A Design of RESTful Style Digital Gazetteer Service in the Cloud Computing Environment. In Proceedings of 18th International Conference on Geoinformatics. June 18-20, 2010, Beijing, China. DOI:10.1109/GEOINFORMATICS.2010.5568111.

Chaogui Kang, Song Gao, Xing Lin, Yu Xiao, Yihong Yuan, Yu Liu, Xiujun Ma. Analyzing and Geo-visualizing Individual Human Mobility Patterns using Mobile Call Records. In Proceedings of 18th International Conference on Geoinformatics. June 18-20, 2010, Beijing, China. DOI: 10.1109/GEOINFORMATICS.2010.5567857.

Awards and Honors

2020 Amazon AWS Educate Faculty Ambassador
2020 National Fellowships Engage Geospatial Research and Education On COVID-19
2020 UW-Madison Distinguished Honors Faculty Award
2019 UW-Madison Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships
2018-2019 UW-Madison Honored Instructor
2017 Fall UW-Madison Honored Instructor
2017 The 'Young Researcher Award' in GIScience selected by The Austrian Academy of Sciences
2017 International Cartographic Association (ICA) Scholarship
2015-2016 National Award for Outstanding Chinese PhD Students Study Abroad
2016 Finalist in AAG Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group Honors Student Paper Competition
2015 Third place in the Esri Intern Weekend of Innovation Hackathon
2015 Chinese-American Engineers and Scientists Association of Southern California (CESASC) Scholarship
2014 The Jack & Laura Dangermond Graduate Fellow
2014 UCSB Geography Excellence in Research Award
2014 The U.S. Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) Doctoral Scholarship
2014 Runner-up for Learning Analytics and Knowledge Data Challenge
2013 Finalist in the Robert Raskin Mashup Mapping Competition
2013 AAG International Geographic Information Fund Student Grants
2012 Outstanding Graduate Awards of Peking University
2011 Best Paper Award in the National RS&GIS Chinese Graduate Students Academic Forum
2009&2011 First Prize in the Esri China GIS Web Application Development Contest
2009 Outstanding Graduate Awards of Beijing Normal University
2006-2008 National Fellowships for Outstanding Undergraduates

Travel Grants:
2019 ICC-USNC Young Scholar 2013-2017 Jack & Laura Dangermond Student Travel Grants; 2017 NSF Travel Grant for Mobility Science Workshop at OSU; 2016 NSF Travel Grant for Mobility Science Workshop at UT-Austin; 2016 NSF Travel Grant for 2016 ACM SIGSPATIAL Conference; 2015 Travel Grant for Twenty-Year Anniversary of the International Early Career Scholars Vespucci Institute in GIScience; 2014 NSF Travel Grant for the 10th Reasoning Web Summer School; 2014 NSF Travel Grant for the International Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics; 2013 NSF Travel Grant for  ACM SIGSPATIAL Conference; 2013 NSF Travel Grant for CyberGIS All-Hands Meeting.

Graduate Students and Postdocs

Please see our lab's page:

Other Activities

Associate Editor:
Annals of GIS

Editorial Board Member:
Scientific Reports
Cartography and Geographic Information Science

Guest Editor:
International Journal of Geographical Information Science (IJGIS)
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information (IJGI)

Contact Information


Office Hours:

Tue Thur 1-2pm

Mailing Address:

Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison,

550 North Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1404, USA

Email: song.gao[at]

On Twitter: