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Campus-wide research effort to deploy GeoAI

Alan Flurry

Faculty from the department of geography, School of Computing, and the College of Engineering are collaborating on a group of DoD-funded projects focused on optimizing geospatial artificial intelligence.

The capability to deploy GeoAI for real-time usage will enable first-responders to react rapidly to changes in terrain around the world resulting from climate change and natural disasters. The campus-wide research effort, which includes faculty from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense to expand the capabilities of GeoAI models.

The work is particularly critical in cold regions around the globe that, as they continue to warm at a rapid pace due to climate change, also become increasingly conducive to commercial shipping, fishing, and other strategic activities. Remote sensing-based terrain awareness builds on existing UGA strengths in satellite-based mapping and modeling, as well as the development of sophisticated 3-D object detection for autonomous navigation applications.

"The significant expansion in the need for geospatial AI coincides with UGA's explosive growth of capacity across the AI research area," said Deepak Mishra, Merle C. Prunty, Jr. Professor & Associate Head in the Franklin College department of geography and Principal Investigator on the new grant projects. "Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers' interest in GeoAI comes at a fortuitous time for the university as we buildout and solidify our AI modeling techniques."

“This research seeks to address some of the fundamental challenges in building effective, efficient  and practical AI tools for complex Geospatial problems,” said Lakshmish Ramaswamy, Professor and associate director in the School of Computing and a Co-Principal Investigator on the projects. “Our goal is to design novel AI architectures, algorithms and systems that take into account the unique characteristics of the geospatial domain.” 

The full article is available at UGA Research Communications

Image: a satellite image (left) is shown next to corresponding point clouds, where each point represents height values. Researchers can run AI on multi-angle satellite images to produce a 3D reconstruction of a geographic area. (Photo courtesy of Deepak Mishra)


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