The proliferation of geospatial data from diverse sources, such as Earth observation satellites, social media, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has created a pressing demand for cross-platform data integration, interoperation, and intelligent data analysis. To address this big data challenge, this paper reports our research in developing a rule-based, semantic-enabled service chain model to support intelligent question answering for leveraging the abundant data and processing resources available online. Four key techniques were developed to achieve this goal: (1) A spatial and temporal reasoner resolves the spatial and temporal information in a given scientific question and enables place-name disambiguation based on support from a gazetteer; (2) a spatial operation ontology categorizes important spatial analysis operations, data types, and data themes, which will be used in automated chain generation; (3) a language-independent chaining rule defines the template for input, spatial operation, and output as well as rules for embedding multiple spatial operations for solving a complex problem; and (4) a recursive algorithm facilitates the generation of executive workflow metadata according to the chaining rules. We implement this service chain model in a cyberinfrastructure for online and reproducible spatial analysis and question answering. Moving the problem-solving environment from a desktop-based environment onto a geospatial cyberinfrastructure (GeoCI) offers better support to collaborative spatial decision-making and ensures science replicability. We expect this work to contribute significantly to the advancement of a reproducible spatial data science and to building the next-generation open knowledge network.
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