2. Big Spatial Data and AI
- Difficulty in calibrating training datasets: This problem often occurs in remote sensing data. The spatial resolution determines the size of each pixel and how much land it covers. For instance, if AI models use remote sensing data as inputs and ground-collected data as outputs, the accuracy can be critically affected if images are slightly shifted, resulting in ground sample points matching the wrong pixels. Appropriate project transformation and resampling algorithms are required to ensure the location match between input and output is right. Otherwise, the model will be very hard to converge and the trained models are useless.
- Difficulty in synchronizing observation time: Most spatial information is also time-sensitive. The observation time is important to associate observed events with triggering causes and later potential consequences. Dealing with spatial data must keep in mind the data’s exact observation time, approximate observation period, and time zones (if the dataset is regional). In many studies, high temporal resolution granules are processed into more coarse resolution products, for example, daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, or annual products . The time processing could use maximum, minimum, average, standard deviation, and even some customized algorithms.
- Difficulty in reducing the bias in training datasets: Most spatial datasets are naturally biased. For instance, in the North Dakota agriculture, the growing acres of canola are much smaller than soybean, creating bias in datasets that contain more soybean samples than canola. Bias creates problems for AI training, as AI will get much better accuracy on unbiased datasets. Extra processes need be done to reduce the bias in the training dataset such as batch normalization or restraining the representation sample numbers of each category in the training datasets . However, one should be aware that bias is not the only reason for poor fitting performances and reducing bias might cause the trained model to underfit in the major classes and overfit in the minor classes. Scientists are still looking for solutions to balance between major and minor class samples.
- Difficulty in treating data gaps: Data gaps caused by mechanical issues, weather, cloud, and human reasons are very common in long-term observatory datasets. A typical example of mechanics failure is the gap on the Landsat 7 imagery caused by the Scan Line Correction failure since 2003. Clouds are the major reason blocking satellites from observing the land surface. Misconduct by device operators can also cause gaps in the datasets. Data gaps may lead to missing information of key phenomenon and make AI models unable to capture the patterns. There are several proposed solutions to fill the gaps, but require human invention and take a long time, which is not very efficient for big data.
- Difficulty in dealing with spatiotemporal data fuzziness: Fuzzy data, which are datasets using qualitative descriptions instead of quantitative measures, are everywhere . Social media text , for example, will give a fuzzy location like “San Francisco” and fuzzy time like “yesterday” about some observed event. Spatiotemporal analysis normally requires a precise location (longitude/latitude) and time (accurate to hours/minutes/seconds) . Feeding fuzzy information into AI models might make the models even more inaccurate. How to deal with fuzzy spatiotemporal data is also an important issue faced by AI today .
3. Workflow Management Software
3.1. Atomic Process
3.2. Function Chain
3.3. Error Control
3.5. Big Data Processing Workflow
5. A Prototype: Geoweaver
6. Use Case: AI-Based Agriculture Mapping
- Hybrid Workflow: Geoweaver can help AI practitioners to take advantage of both public resources and private resources and combine them together into one workflow. The training dataset preparation needs a lot of legacy datasets and the programs transforming them into AI-ready format. However, the AI model training facilities are mostly in the public domain, such as Amazon EC2 GPU instances. It is hard to connect the legacy data processing with the AI model training using other WfMS. Geoweaver uses the host module and dynamic computing binding to allow scientists to combine the processes executed on private servers and the public platforms into one workflow and enable the hybrid workflow management in one place.
- Full Access of Remote Files: As mentioned above, most files associated with AI workflow are stored on remote servers/virtual machines. Users always appreciate the tools that allow them to have full and convenient control over the actual files, including creating new files, browsing file folder structure, downloading files, and editing files in place. Geoweaver is not only a workflow system, but also a file management system of multiple remote servers.
- Hidden Data Flow: Business workflows such as BPEL usually separate the content of workflow into two divisions: control flow and data flow. The former defines the sequence of involved processes, and the latter defines the data transfer among input and output variables. It takes a lot of attention to maintain the data flow once the data are big and the file count is dynamic. Geoweaver can create a familiar environment for people to create the workflows without concern about the data flow. Each process is independent and data flow is taken care of by the process content logic.
- Code-Machine Separation: Another feature of Geoweaver is that it separates the code from the execution machine. There are couples of benefits by doing this. The code will be managed in one place and version control for better code integrity would be much easier. Geoweaver will dynamically write code into a file on the remote servers and execute the code. Once the process is over, Geoweaver will remove the code from the remote servers. Regarding the fact that the GPU servers are usually shared by multiple users, the mechanism will better protect the code privacy from other users on the same machine.
- Process-Oriented Provenance: Distinct from data-centric provenance architecture, Geoweaver uses process as major objects to record provenance. The recorded information is also different. In Geoweaver, the inputs are the executed code content, and the outputs are the execution log. Rather than storing partially completed data products, process-oriented provenance can save disk space and enrich the history information of the final data products. Process-oriented provenance can prevent barriers to reproduction of the workflow that would otherwise be caused by changes to the code.
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|Name||Atomic Process||Workflow Language||License|
|ArcGIS Model Builder||ArcGIS toolbox||Self-Defined||Commercial|
|QGIS Processing Builder||GDAL, QGIS, GRASS, SAGA||Self-Defined||GNU GPL |
(General Public License)
|Apache Taverna||Local Java code|
SOAP web services
(Berkeley Software Distribution)
|Cylc||Shell scripts||Directed Acyclic Graph||GPL v3.0|
|Galaxy||Built-in bio process||Gxformat2||AFL|
(Academic Free License)
|Pegasus-WMS||Local shell scripts|
|Apache Airflow||Bash, Python||Directed Acyclic Graph||Apache v2.0|
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