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Space Informatics Lab

The Space Informatics Lab (SIL) has been established in March 2011 by Dr. Tomasz Stepinski at the University of Cincinnati. SIL is located within the Department of Geography. Its research is supported by the UC Space Exploration Research Fund, as well as research grants from NSF and NASA.

SIL develops intelligent algorithms for fast and intuitive exploration of large spatial datasets. Numerous campaigns for remotely sensing the Earth and other planets from spacecraft resulted in vast and rapidly expanding quantity of data having global geographical extent. Without effective tools for automating mapping and analysis of this deluge of data, the ability of geoscience and planetary communities to get insights from the entirety of the collected data is limited. SIL aims at development of tools which would make intelligent exploration of vast spatial data accessible and intuitive.

Several key technologies enabling such tools are currently under development. These include SameSense technology that quantifies an overall similarity between two spatial localities on the basis of available attributes, Geomorphons that is a machine vision-based method for fast and robust mapping of landform elements from digital elevation models (DEMs), and a pair of visual query-by-example, web-based applications: LandEx for finding similar land cover patterns and TerraEx for finding similar landscapes.

SIL Online Tools

LandEx is a content-based query-by-example tool for finding locations having patterns of land cover similar to a user-selected sample. Web-based apllication of LandEx is available to search the United States utilizing the National Land Cover Dataset 2006. Read user guide before using the LandEx for the first time.

DataEye is a Web-based viewer that provides access to spatial datasets developed at SIL, as well as datasets developed by other organizations and available in the public domain. DataEye-USA provides access to data covering the United States. SIL-developed layers include the geomorphons map and the map of pattern-based land cover change.

TerraEx is a content-based query-by-example tool for finding locations having landscapes (patterns of landform elements) similar to a user-selected sample. Web-based application of TerraEx is available to search the country of Poland utilizing the 30 m/cell DEM. Read Read user guide before using the TerraEx for the first time.

Geomorphons App is a Web-based utility that allows users to calculate geomorphons maps from their own DEMs. The app is available online for DEMs in the GeoTiff format having size of less than 100MB and less than 1,500,000 cells.


Eight International Conference on Mars 2014. Paper entitled "Unsupervised Mineralogical Mapping for Fast Exploration of CRISM Imagery" by E. J. Allender and T.F. Stepinski was presented at the Eight International Conference on Mars, July 14-18, 2014, Pasadena, California. Paper.

IGARSS 2014. Papers entitled "Retrieval of pattern-based information from giga-cells rasters - concept and new software" by J. Jasiewicz, T.F. Stepinski, and P. Netzel (paper) and "Pattern-based assessment of 2001/2006 land cover change over the entire U.S." by P. Netzel and T.F. Stepinski (paper) were presented at IGARSS 2014 Quebec, Canada, July 13-18, 2014.

GIScience 2014. Paper entitled "Pattern-based approach to knowledge extraction from large geospatial datasets" by J. Jasiewicz, P. Netzel and T.F. Stepinski will be presented at GIScience 2014 Vienna, Austria, September 23-26 2014.