Article: a PhD thesis.
BIO-INSPIRED COMPUTATIONAL TECHNIQUES APPLIED TO THE CLUSTERING AND VISUALIZATION OF SPATIO-TEMPORAL GEOSPATIAL DATA
Tomassini M., Perez-Uribe A.
Université de Lausanne, Faculté des hautes études commerciales
Faculté des hautes études commerciales (HEC) Université de Lausanne UNIL - Dorigny Internef - bureau 317 CH-1015 Lausanne SUISSE
The coverage and volume of geo-referenced datasets are extensive and incessantly¦growing. The systematic capture of geo-referenced information generates large volumes¦of spatio-temporal data to be analyzed. Clustering and visualization play a key¦role in the exploratory data analysis and the extraction of knowledge embedded in¦these data. However, new challenges in visualization and clustering are posed when¦dealing with the special characteristics of this data. For instance, its complex structures,¦large quantity of samples, variables involved in a temporal context, high dimensionality¦and large variability in cluster shapes.¦The central aim of my thesis is to propose new algorithms and methodologies for¦clustering and visualization, in order to assist the knowledge extraction from spatiotemporal¦geo-referenced data, thus improving making decision processes.¦I present two original algorithms, one for clustering: the Fuzzy Growing Hierarchical¦Self-Organizing Networks (FGHSON), and the second for exploratory visual data analysis:¦the Tree-structured Self-organizing Maps Component Planes. In addition, I present¦methodologies that combined with FGHSON and the Tree-structured SOM Component¦Planes allow the integration of space and time seamlessly and simultaneously in¦order to extract knowledge embedded in a temporal context.¦The originality of the FGHSON lies in its capability to reflect the underlying structure¦of a dataset in a hierarchical fuzzy way. A hierarchical fuzzy representation of¦clusters is crucial when data include complex structures with large variability of cluster¦shapes, variances, densities and number of clusters. The most important characteristics¦of the FGHSON include: (1) It does not require an a-priori setup of the number¦of clusters. (2) The algorithm executes several self-organizing processes in parallel.¦Hence, when dealing with large datasets the processes can be distributed reducing the¦computational cost. (3) Only three parameters are necessary to set up the algorithm.¦In the case of the Tree-structured SOM Component Planes, the novelty of this algorithm¦lies in its ability to create a structure that allows the visual exploratory data analysis¦of large high-dimensional datasets. This algorithm creates a hierarchical structure¦of Self-Organizing Map Component Planes, arranging similar variables' projections in¦the same branches of the tree. Hence, similarities on variables' behavior can be easily¦detected (e.g. local correlations, maximal and minimal values and outliers).¦Both FGHSON and the Tree-structured SOM Component Planes were applied in¦several agroecological problems proving to be very efficient in the exploratory analysis¦and clustering of spatio-temporal datasets.¦In this thesis I also tested three soft competitive learning algorithms. Two of them¦well-known non supervised soft competitive algorithms, namely the Self-Organizing¦Maps (SOMs) and the Growing Hierarchical Self-Organizing Maps (GHSOMs); and the¦third was our original contribution, the FGHSON. Although the algorithms presented¦here have been used in several areas, to my knowledge there is not any work applying¦and comparing the performance of those techniques when dealing with spatiotemporal¦geospatial data, as it is presented in this thesis.¦I propose original methodologies to explore spatio-temporal geo-referenced datasets¦through time. Our approach uses time windows to capture temporal similarities and¦variations by using the FGHSON clustering algorithm. The developed methodologies¦are used in two case studies. In the first, the objective was to find similar agroecozones¦through time and in the second one it was to find similar environmental patterns¦shifted in time.¦Several results presented in this thesis have led to new contributions to agroecological¦knowledge, for instance, in sugar cane, and blackberry production.¦Finally, in the framework of this thesis we developed several software tools: (1)¦a Matlab toolbox that implements the FGHSON algorithm, and (2) a program called¦BIS (Bio-inspired Identification of Similar agroecozones) an interactive graphical user¦interface tool which integrates the FGHSON algorithm with Google Earth in order to¦show zones with similar agroecological characteristics.
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