Multivariate spatially oriented data sets are prevalent in the environmental and physical sciences. Scientists seek to jointly model multiple variables, each indexed by a spatial location, to capture any underlying spatial association for each variable and associations among the different dependent variables. Multivariate latent spatial process models have proved effective in driving statistical inference and rendering better predictive inference at arbitrary locations for the spatial process. High‐dimensional multivariate spatial data, which are the theme of this article, refer to data sets where the number of spatial locations and the number of spatially dependent variables is very large. The field has witnessed substantial developments in scalable models for univariate spatial processes, but such methods for multivariate spatial processes, especially when the number of outcomes are moderately large, are limited in comparison. Here, we extend scalable modeling strategies for a single process to multivariate processes. We pursue Bayesian inference, which is attractive for full uncertainty quantification of the latent spatial process. Our approach exploits distribution theory for the matrix‐normal distribution, which we use to construct scalable versions of a hierarchical linear model of coregionalization (LMC) and spatial factor models that deliver inference over a high‐dimensional parameter space including the latent spatial process. We illustrate the computational and inferential benefits of our algorithms over competing methods using simulation studies and an analysis of a massive vegetation index data set.
A key challenge in spatial data science is the analysis for massive spatially‐referenced data sets. Such analyses often proceed from Gaussian process specifications that can produce rich and robust inference, but involve dense covariance matrices that lack computationally exploitable structures. Recent developments in spatial statistics offer a variety of massively scalable approaches. Bayesian inference and hierarchical models, in particular, have gained popularity due to their richness and flexibility in accommodating spatial processes. Our current contribution is to provide computationally efficient exact algorithms for spatial interpolation of massive data sets using scalable spatial processes. We combine low‐rank Gaussian processes with efficient sparse approximations. Following recent work by Zhang et al. (2019), we model the low‐rank process using a Gaussian predictive process (GPP) and the residual process as a sparsity‐inducing nearest‐neighbor Gaussian process (NNGP). A key contribution here is to implement these models using exact conjugate Bayesian modeling to avoid expensive iterative algorithms. Through the simulation studies, we evaluate performance of the proposed approach and the robustness of our models, especially for long range prediction. We implement our approaches for remotely sensed light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data collected over the US Forest Service Tanana Inventory Unit (TIU) in a remote portion of Interior Alaska.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
The log‐Gaussian Cox process is a flexible and popular stochastic process for modeling point patterns exhibiting spatial and space‐time dependence. Model fitting requires approximation of stochastic integrals which is implemented through discretization over the domain of interest. With fine scale discretization, inference based on Markov chain Monte Carlo is computationally burdensome because of the cost of matrix decompositions and storage, such as the Cholesky, for high dimensional covariance matrices associated with latent Gaussian variables. This article addresses these computational bottlenecks by combining two recent developments: (i) a data augmentation strategy that has been proposed for space‐time Gaussian Cox processes that is based on exact Bayesian inference and does not require fine grid approximations for infinite dimensional integrals, and (ii) a recently developed family of sparsity‐inducing Gaussian processes, called nearest‐neighbor Gaussian processes, to avoid expensive matrix computations. Our inference is delivered within the fully model‐based Bayesian paradigm and does not sacrifice the richness of traditional log‐Gaussian Cox processes. We apply our method to crime event data in San Francisco and investigate the recovery of the intensity surface.
Joint modeling of spatially oriented dependent variables is commonplace in the environmental sciences, where scientists seek to estimate the relationships among a set of environmental outcomes accounting for dependence among these outcomes and the spatial dependence for each outcome. Such modeling is now sought for massive data sets with variables measured at a very large number of locations. Bayesian inference, while attractive for accommodating uncertainties through hierarchical structures, can become computationally onerous for modeling massive spatial data sets because of its reliance on iterative estimation algorithms. This article develops a conjugate Bayesian framework for analyzing multivariate spatial data using analytically tractable posterior distributions that obviate iterative algorithms. We discuss differences between modeling the multivariate response itself as a spatial process and that of modeling a latent process in a hierarchical model. We illustrate the computational and inferential benefits of these models using simulation studies and analysis of a vegetation index data set with spatially dependent observations numbering in the millions.
Gaussian process models have been widely used in spatial statistics but face tremendous computational challenges for very large data sets. The model fitting and spatial prediction of such models typically require O(n3) operations for a data set of size n. Various approximations of the covariance functions have been introduced to reduce the computational cost. However, most existing approximations cannot simultaneously capture both the large- and the small-scale spatial dependence. A new approximation scheme is developed to provide a high quality approximation to the covariance function at both the large and the small spatial scales. The new approximation is the summation of two parts: a reduced rank covariance and a compactly supported covariance obtained by tapering the covariance of the residual of the reduced rank approximation. Whereas the former part mainly captures the large-scale spatial variation, the latter part captures the small-scale, local variation that is unexplained by the former part. By combining the reduced rank representation and sparse matrix techniques, our approach allows for efficient computation for maximum likelihood estimation, spatial prediction and Bayesian inference. We illustrate the new approach with simulated and real data sets.
Occupancy modelling is a common approach to assess species distribution patterns, while explicitly accounting for false absences in detection–nondetection data. Numerous extensions of the basic single‐species occupancy model exist to model multiple species, spatial autocorrelation and to integrate multiple data types. However, development of specialized and computationally efficient software to incorporate such extensions, especially for large datasets, is scarce or absent.
We introduce the
spOccupancy Rpackage designed to fit single‐species and multi‐species spatially explicit occupancy models. We fit all models within a Bayesian framework using Pólya‐Gamma data augmentation, which results in fast and efficient inference. spOccupancyprovides functionality for data integration of multiple single‐species detection–nondetection datasets via a joint likelihood framework. The package leverages Nearest Neighbour Gaussian Processes to account for spatial autocorrelation, which enables spatially explicit occupancy modelling for potentially massive datasets (e.g. 1,000s–100,000s of sites). spOccupancyprovides user‐friendly functions for data simulation, model fitting, model validation (by posterior predictive checks), model comparison (using information criteria and k‐fold cross‐validation) and out‐of‐sample prediction. We illustrate the package's functionality via a vignette, simulated data analysis and two bird case studies.
spOccupancypackage provides a user‐friendly platform to fit a variety of single and multi‐species occupancy models, making it straightforward to address detection biases and spatial autocorrelation in species distribution models even for large datasets.