Analysis of Spatiotemporal Anomalies Using Persistent Homology: Case Studies with COVID-19 Data

Abigail Hickok, Deanna Needell, Mason A. Porter

We develop a method for analyzing spatiotemporal anomalies in geospatial data using topological data analysis (TDA). To do this, we use persistent homology (PH), a tool from TDA that allows one to algorithmically detect geometric voids in a data set and quantify the persistence of these voids. We construct an efficient filtered simplicial complex (FSC) such that the voids in our FSC are in one-to-one correspondence with the anomalies. Our approach goes beyond simply identifying anomalies; it also encodes information about the relationships between anomalies. We use vineyards, which one can interpret as time-varying persistence diagrams (an approach for visualizing PH), to track how the locations of the anomalies change over time. We conduct two case studies using spatially heterogeneous COVID-19 data. First, we examine vaccination rates in New York City by zip code. Second, we study a year-long data set of COVID-19 case rates in neighborhoods in the city of Los Angeles.

Knowledge Graph



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