Xiaobai Angela Yao

Graduate Coordinator

Phone: 706-542-0326

Research Interests

Geospatial Analysis and Modeling; Urban and Transportation System, Network Science, Location-based Social Media Data, Public Health




  • Ph.D , State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo (Geography, GIScience)
  • Master of Science, ITC, the Netherlands (GIS, Urban Planning)
  • Bachelor of Science , WTUSM (Wuhan Univ.), China (GIS, Urban Planning)

Of Note

2012. "Study in a 2nd Discipline" Fellow. University of Georgia. GIS Technologies for Health Research.
2011. Senior Visiting Scholar, Tsinghua University, China. June- December, 2011
2011. Sarah Moss Fellowship Award. University of Georgia.
2010. "Transactions in GIS" Best Paper Award (co-authored with Woo Jang). UCGIS summer assembly, June 15-16, 2010.  Hilton Head, SC.
2005. ESRI-UCGIS Young Scholar Award. University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS).
2004. Nominee (representing SUNY at Buffalo) of Outstanding Dissertation in Social Science and Education for the 2004 NAGS (Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools)’s Outstanding Dissertation Award.
2004. J. Warren Nystrom Award Finalist. Association of American Geographers.
2002. Best Paper Award (first place), GIS Specialty Group Student Paper Competition, AAG Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA.
1997. Graduation with the honor of "DISTINCTION" in ITC, the Netherlands.
1993. Best paper award (first place), East China Urban Planning Young Scholar Paper Competition. Shanghai, China.
1990. Ye Xuean Fellowship Award. Wuhan University (formerly WTUSM).

Selected Publications


Jiang, B. and X. Yao (eds), 2010. Jiang, B. and X. Yao. (eds) 2010. Geospatial Analysis and Modelling of Urban Structure and Dynamics. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. ISBN: 9048185718.

Dang, A. and X.Yao.  Spatial Analysis Techniques and Applications in Planning. Tsinghua University Press. (Textbook in Chinese) (In Press)


Guest Edited Journal Volumes

Yao, X. and B. Jiang, M. Madden, Y. Liu. New Insights Gained from Location-based Social Media Data. Special Issue Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems. (In process)

Yao, X. and B. Jiang. 2009. Geospatial Modeling of Urban Environments. Special Issue in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 36(5).


Articles (graduate advisees underlined)

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. (accepted)

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).

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.

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

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 and 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.


Book Chapters

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.

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.

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., 2009. Qualitative Spatial Reasoning and GIS In M. Madden (ed) Manual of Geographic Information Systems. 1st edition. ASPRS publisher.71-86.

Yao, X., 2009. Georeferencing, Geocoding. In R. Kitchin and N. Thrift. (eds). The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Elsevier.

Yao, X. and Zhou, Y., 2009. Public Transit Need Index – Analyzing Spatial Distribution of the Potential Demand for Public Transit in a City. Geo-spatial Information and Decision Support for Urban Planning. Wuhan University Publishing. (in Chinese).

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.

Thill, J.C. and Yao, X., 1999. Urban Land Management in Transitional Countries: A Decision Support Prototype for Shanghai. In J.C. Thill (ed) Spatial Multicriteria Decision Making and Analysis: A Geographic Information Sciences Approach, Brookfield, VT: Ashgate. pp. 175-197.

Graduate Students

Fan, Qinjin

Research Interests

Giscience and spatial analysis in public health


Guo, Chenxiao (Atlas)

Research Interests

Location-based social media and emotional geographies; Transportation and urban system; WebGIS and geovisualization; Historical GIS; Satellite meteorology


Oh, Doori

Research Interests

GIScience, spatial analysis, cartography, and geovisualization for urban and environmental research. Also, other research interests involve the applicability of ontology models for Big Data in social media.


Rickless, David

Research Interests

GIS, spatial analysis, human-environment nexus and urban geography.


Liu, Ruowei

Research Interests

Spatial analysis and modeling in health geography, environmental management based on remote sensing and snow and ice hydrology.