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Xiaobai Angela Yao


Contact info

212C GG Building
Phone Number:
Research Interests:


  • Geospatial data science: GIS, spatial statistics, machine learning, network analysis, location-based big data
  • Subject areas of focus: urban systems, human dynamics, public health
CV-Yao-short.pdf (143.93 KB)

Dr. Yao is a professor in Geography at the University of Georgia. As a geospatial data scientist, her research interests focus on geospatial techniques ranging from GIS, spatial statistics, machine learning methods, network analysis, location-based big data analytics, and geovisualization. With domain interests in cities, human dynamics, and public health, she applies geospatial techniques to study various urban and health problems.   

Dr. Yao is an internationally known scholar in GIScience. She has been chairing the ICA (international cartographic association) commission on Geospatial Analysis and Modeling and has co-organized a series of professional meetings in that capacity. She is currently President-Elect of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS), a professional society that supports research, education, and practices of geospatial information and techniques. She also serves on the board of directors of the UCGIS (university consortium for geographic information science).

Dr. Yao is always happy to recruit promising graduate students who are interested in applying geospatial analytical techniques to study urban or health problems.

  • Ph.D , University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • MSc., ITC (now Twente University), the Netherlands
  • B.S.,  Wuhan University, China
Selected Publications:

Fan Q, X.A. Yao XA, X. Han. 2021 Spatial variation and disparity in female breast cancer relative survival in the United States. Cancer. doi:

Wei, X., X. Yao. 2021. Constructing and analyzing spatial-social networks from location-based social media data. Cartography and Geographic Information Science 48(3):258-274

Tian, Y. X.Yao. 2021. Urban form, traffic volume, and air quality: a spatiotemporal stratified approach. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science.

Mertzlufft, C. E., M. Madden, N. Gottdenker, J. Runk, A. Saldana, S. Tanner, J. Calzada, X. Yao. 2020. Landscape disturbance impacts on Attalea butyracea palm distribution in central Panama. International Journal Of Health Geographics 19, 58(2020). doi:10.1186/s12942-020-00244-y

Liu,R., X.Yao, C. Guo & X. Wei (2020) Can we forecast presidential election using twitter data? An integrative modeling approach. Annals of GIS, DOI: 10.1080/19475683.2020.1829704

Tian,Y., X.Yao, L .Mu. Q. Fan. (2020). Integrating meteorological factors for a better understanding of the urban form-air quality relationship. Landscape Ecology. 35(10): 2357-2373. 

Liu,G. X Yao, Q. Fan. (2020). Agglomeration centrality examination of cities: an urban transport perspective. Sustainable Cities and Society. 61:102273.

Rickless,D., X, Yao, B. Orland, M. Welch-Devine. (2020). Assessing social vulnerability through a local lens: An integrated geovisual approach. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 110(1):36-66.

Liu, G. X. Yao, Z. Luo, S. Kang, W. Long, Q. Fan, P. Gao. (2019). Agglomeration Centrality to examine spatial scaling law in cities. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 77:101357.  

Fan, Q., X.Yao, Spatio-temporal Analysis and Data Mining of the 2014-2016 Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in West Africa. (2019) In Y. Lu., & E. Delmelle (Eds.), Geospatial Technologies for Urban Health. Springer. pp.181-208.

Yao, X., Huang, H., Jiang, B., & Krisp, J. M. (2019). Representation and analytical models for location-based big data. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 1-7. 

Tian, Y., Yao, X., & Chen, L. (2019). Analysis of spatial and seasonal distributions of air pollutants by incorporating urban morphological characteristics. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 75 : 35-48. 

Wei, X., & Yao, X. A. (2018). A Conceptual Framework for Representation of Location-based Social Media Activities. In 10th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2018). Melbourne, Australia: Schloss Dagstuhl-Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik. doi:10.4230/LIPIcs.GISCIENCE.2018.62

Xi, D. Q. Fan, X.A. Yao, W. Jiang, D. Duan. (2016). A visual salience model for wayfinding in 3D virtual urban environments. Applied Geography. 75: 176-187.

Sahoo K, G.L. Hawkins, X.A.Yao, K.Samples, S. Mani. (2016). GIS-based biomass assessment and supply logistics system for a sustainable biorefinery: A case study with cotton stalks in the Southeastern US. Applied Energy. 182:260-273. 

Wei, X. and X.Yao. (2015). 3D model construction in an urban environment from sparse LiDAR points and aerial photos – a statistical approach. Geomatica. 69(3).

Brown, C. and X. Yao. (2015). Development of a Nationwide Road Change Database for the U.S. in the Post–Recession Years (2008–2012). Chapter 10. In Francis Harvey and Yee Leung (eds) Spatial Data Handling 2015. Springer.

Chen, A., Yao, X. A., Sun, R., & Chen, L. (2014). Effect of urban green patterns on surface urban cool islands and its seasonal variations. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 13(4):646-654

Wei, X. and X.Yao. (2014). A Hybrid GWR-Based Height Estimation Method for Building Detection in Urban Environments. ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences 2(2):23-29.

Wei, X. and X.Yao. 2014. Random Walking Value for Ranking Spatial Characteristics in Road Networks. Geographical Analysis 46(4):411-434.

Jang, W. and X.Yao. 2014. Track Ethnically Divided Commuting Patterns Over Time – Method and a Case Study of Metropolitan Atlanta. Professional Geographers. 66(2):274-283.

Yao, X. and S. Zhang. 2014.Social-spatial structure of Beijing: a spatial-temporal analysis.  International Journal of Society System Science. 6(1):18-33.

Shen, Z., X.Yao, M. Kawakami, P. Chen, M. Koujin. 2012. Integration of MAS and GIS using Netlogo. In Z.Shen (eds) Geospatial Techniques in Urban Planning, Advances in Geographic Information Science. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. pp.369-388.

Jang, W. and X. Yao. 2011. Interpolating Spatial Interaction Data. Transactions in GIS. 15(4):541-555

Coleman, J.B., X. Yao, T. Jordan, and M. Madden., 2011. Holes in the Ocean: Filling Voids in Bathymetric Lidar Data. Computers and Geosciences. 37(4):474-484

Shen, Z., X.Yao, M. Kawakami, P.Chen., 2011. Simulating spatial market share patterns for impacts analysis of large-scale shopping center on downtown revitalization. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 38(1):142-162.

Kim, H. and X. Yao., 2010. Pycnophylactic interpolation revisited: integration with dasymetric method. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 31(21):5657-5671.

Yao, X. , 2010. Modeling and analyzing cities as spatio-temporal places. In B.Jiang and X.Yao (eds) Geospatial Analysis and Modelling of Urban Structure and Dynamics. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. pp.311-328.

Yao, X. and Jiang, B., 2009. Geospatial Modeling of Urban Environments Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 36(5):769-771.

Thill, J.C. Kretzschmar, W.A., Casas, I. and Yao, X. , 2006. Detecting geographic and socio-economic associations in English dialect features with self-organising maps In Agarwal, P. and Skupin, A. (Eds) Self-Organising Maps: Applications in Geographic Information Science, Wiley.

Yao, X. and L. Zou., 2008. Interoperable Internet Mapping - An Open Source Approach. Cartography and Geographic Information Science. 35(4):279-293.

Yao, X. and J.C. Thill, 2007. Neuro-Fuzzy Modeling of Context-Contingent Proximity Relations. Geographical Analysis: An International Journal of Theoretical Geography. 39(2):169-194.

Yao, X., 2007. Examining Potential Demand of Public Transit for Commuting Trips Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems. 31(5):535-550

Jiang, B. and Yao, X. , 2006. Location-Based Services and GIS in Perspective. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 30(6): 712-725.

Yao, X. and Thill, J.C. , 2006. Spatial Queries With Qualitative Locations In Spatial Information Systems. Computers, Environment & Urban Systems. 30(4):485-502.

Yao, X. and Thill, J.C., 2005. How Far Is Too Far – A Statistical Approach To Proximity Modeling. Transactions in GIS. Vol. 9(2): 157-178.

Yao, X. and B.Jiang, 2005. Visualization of Qualitative Locations. Cartography and Geographic Information Science. 32(4):219-229.



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