To encourage more US-based participation in geo-spatial research, this support will enable 20 promising graduate and undergraduate students in computer science the necessary financial support to attend one of the field's premier forums, the International Symposium on Spatial and Temporal Databases (SSTD), to be held this year in Minneapolis August 24-26. The biennial event showcases cutting-edge research spanning a vast array of topics and attracts researchers, developers, and end users around the world from academia, industry, and government. The engagement and subsequent education of the next generation of scientists and engineers working with spatial and temporal data will have a significant impact on the lives of ordinary people everywhere. In addition to improvements in vehicular and various forms of public transportation, security mechanisms featuring unprecedented sophistication will be made possible by enhanced intelligence gathering via spatial analysis of satellite imagery, and macroscopic ecological health will be more accurately modeled with more informative uses of spatio-temporal data. Promoting this conference participation by U.S. based graduate and undergraduate students is important for helping the United States to maintain a major foothold in the exciting products, services and ideas to come out of the field of spatial and temporal data.

Project Report

The International Symposium on Spatial and Temporal Databases 2011 (SSTD 2011) is the twelfth year of a series of biannual symposia that discusses and sets the future for new and exciting research in spatial, temporal and spatio-temporal data management and related technologies. The primary focus of SSTD symposia is on original results in the areas of theoretical foundations, designs, implementations, and applications of spatial and temporal database technology. The goal is to exchange research ideas and results that initially contribute to the academic arena, but may also benefit the commercial community in the near future and encourage a dialog between practitioners and researchers. SSTD is a premier research meeting on computer science aspects of geo-informatics, which has become an important part of our everyday life. Google Earth, a popular web-based virtual globe, is widely used for mash-ups to publish a variety of information. Navigation devices and cell-phone/web-based location services are utilized for finding close by friends, nearby businesses and routes. Accordingly to a recent McKinsey report [1], such services may save USD $600 Billion annually by 2020. Large organizations value it for site-selection, logistics and customer relationship management. Emergency managers turn to it to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters; police to identify crime hot-spots for patrol planning and social interventions, earth scientists to understand climate change, and epidemiologists to track spread of infectious diseases. For example [2], a recent report to Congress lists dozens of federal agencies, which use Geo-informatics for critical tasks. To encourage the participation of more U.S based graduate and undergraduate computer science students working with temporal and spatial data, travel support was facilitated to students via this NSF travel grant to SSTD 2011, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from Aug. 24-26. Each travel grant provided up to $1000 to cover reasonable travel expenses, conference proceedings, meals, etc. All grantees were students of US-based institutions and attended sessions at the symposium. Three major activities were carried out during the conference to boost research related to temporal and spatial data across the NSF Travel Grant Awardees. First, a panel related to "Early Career: Challenges and Opportunities" was organized to start things in the right direction for the NSF Travel Grant Awardees. Second, awardee students were paired with individuals from industry and government at the tables during a lunch session at the conference to facilitate the mentoring and exchanging of ideas. Finally, at SSTD 2011, industry representatives were present to discuss current research and potential job opportunities with the students during the demonstration track of the conference. Awardee students expressed their participation in the conference and the success of the travel grants with positive attitudes in their reports. Some excerpts are as follows: "…This symposium offered me a great opportunity to communicate with people from different academic background. They view spatial temporal problems from a complete new angle, for example, data driven approaches for climate studies. These approaches could be integrated with our spatial temporal models to improve the accuracy of models. Exchanging ideas with these people who are actively using computing techniques help me reevaluate the techniques we are using such as cloud computing techniques. Also, I learned more about the career path by communicating with junior faculties and representatives from industry." "I also met people from industry who introduced experiences on job hunting. Senior researchers, especially the alumni of our department and our research group, also attended the symposium. They also introduced their current work, and gave comments on how to build a successful Ph.D. life." "Besides all this, it was fun to talk to a lot of people at different stages of their career, right from recently joined PhD students to professors working for decades and also people from the industry: ESRI, Oracle, etc. The panel was full of experiences from industry, government agencies and academia, where the panelists presented interesting challenging visionary problems. The keynote was a great resource of history of the field of geography and new challenges related to big data, 3D data, mobile devices, etc. The coffee and the lunch breaks were nicely planned so that a lot of communication can take place. ..." Attached figure shows a group picture of travel awardees. [1] New Ways to Exploit Raw Data May Bring Surge of Innovation, a Study Says, New York Times, May 13th, 2011. [2] P. Folger, Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): An Overview for Congress, Congressional Research Service Report 7-5700, 2011.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS)
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Sylvia J. Spengler
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University of Texas at Dallas
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