An open source toolkit for identifying comparative space-time research questions

Ye Xinyue, She Bing, Wu Ling, Zhu Xinyan, Cheng Yeqing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Comparative space-time thinking lies at the heart of spatiotemporally integrated social sciences. The multiple dimensions and scales of socioeconomic dynamics pose numerous challenges for the application and evaluation of public policies in the comparative context. At the same time, social scientists have been slow to adopt and implement new spatiotemporally explicit methods of data analysis due to the lack of extensible software packages, which becomes a major impediment to the promotion of spatiotemporal thinking. The proposed framework will address this need by developing a set of research questions based on space-time-distributional features of socioeconomic datasets. The authors aim to develop, evaluate, and implement this framework in an open source toolkit to comprehensively quantify the changes and level of hidden variation of space-time datasets across scales and dimensions. Free access to the source code allows a broader community to incorporate additional advances in perspectives and methods, thus facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration. Being written in Python, it is entirely cross-platform, lowering transmission costs in research and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-361
Number of pages14
JournalChinese Geographical Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Comparative
  • Open source
  • Spatiotemporally integrated social sciences


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