An ensemble approach to space-time interpolation

Elizabeth A. Wentz, Donna J. Peuquet, Sharolyn Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The availability of spatial data on an unprecedented scale as well as advancements in analytical and visualization techniques gives researchers the opportunity to study complex problems over large urban and regional areas. Nevertheless, few individual data sets exist that provide both the requisite spatial and/or temporal observational frequency to truly facilitate detailed investigations. Some data are collected frequently over time but only at a few geographic locations (e.g., weather stations). Similarly, other data are collected with a high level of spatial resolution but not at regular or frequent time intervals (e.g., satellite data). The purpose of this article is to present an interpolation approach that leverages the relative temporal richness of one data set with the relative spatial richness of another to fill in the gaps. Because different interpolation techniques are more appropriate than others for specific types of data, we propose a space-time interpolation approach whereby two interpolation methods - one for the temporal and one for the spatial dimension - are used in tandem to increase the accuracy results. We call our ensemble approach the space-time interpolation environment (STIE). The primary steps within this environment include a spatial interpolation processor, a temporal interpolation processor, and a calibration processor, which enforces phenomenonrelated behavioral constraints. The specific interpolation techniques used within the STIE can be chosen on the basis of suitability for the data and application at hand. In this article, we first describe STIE conceptually including the data input requirements, output structure, details of the primary steps, and the mechanism for coordinating the data within those steps. We then describe a case study focusing on urban land cover in Phoenix, Arizona, using our working implementation. Our empirical results show that our approach increased the accuracy for estimating urban land cover better than a single interpolation technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1325
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 14 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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