GeoComputation 2017

2017 International Conference on GeoComputation: Celebrating 21 Years of GeoComputation 4-7 September at the University of Leeds

Stan Openshaw and his colleagues set up the first meeting 21 years ago in Leeds and it returns there for its coming of age. Some good papers will be presented but we have published some commentaries in Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science on the state of the art in GeoComputataion, and you can get these by logging on here. All freely downloadable. Read the words of wisdom and incisive critique and commentary on GeoComputation from

Editorial: GeoComputation: Michael Batty

Commentaries: More bark than bytes? Reflections on 21+ years of GeoComputation: Richard Harris, David O’Sullivan, Mark Gahegan, Martin Charlton, Lex Comber, Paul Longley, Chris Brunsdon, Nick Malleson, Alison Heppenstall, Alex Singleton, Daniel Arribas-Bel and Andy Evans

Calibrating Cellular Automata (CA)


Urban CA models use sets of rules that are applied to each cell in the geographical array to change the state of the cell usually according to attributes that exist in the neighbourhood of the cell in question. As there are usually many thousands of cells and therefore large quantities of data that map one time slice of the system into the next one, then in CA models there is the opportunity to search for pattern in these changes of state, thus deriving transition rules from this data. Ten years or more ago, when Claudia Maria de Almeida from INPE (National Institute for Space Research, Brazil) visited us in CASA, I worked with her on her CA models of development change in Brazilian cities and she developed a number of multivariate methods for extracting the rules from the dynamics of cellular change. The 2003 paper can be downloaded here. Recently I have worked with Yan Liu from Brisbane (U Queensland) and Yongjiu Feng from Shanghai (College of Marine Sciences) on developing a machine learning approach to extracting nonlinear transition rules based on least squares support vector machines which essentially define the patterns needed get appropriate rules. It is all quite tricky stuff in detail but rather generic in terms of what these methods are designed to do. We published a paper recently on this in the journal Stochastic Environmental Research Risk Assessment (Volume 29, 2015, online) and if you click here you can see a copy of the paper and its source. Enjoy.

Urban Complexity and Planning

Shih-Kung An interesting new book by Shi-Kung Lai and Haoying Han which weaves together their various papers which range from strict cellular automata models of urban processes to models of organisational structures such as Cohen’s decision-making model applied to planning (The so-called Garbage Can Model). This book is still pretty theoretical but it gets a lot closer to theories of planning than some of my own books (see the side panel). Nicely presented and well worth a look. There are two forewords to the book, one by myself and one by Lew Hopkins – click here and on the image for details.