25 September 2021
Bo Zhao, Associate Professor of Geography and GIScience, University of Washington
The developing convergence of Artificial Intelligence and GIScience has raised a concern on the emergence of deep fake geography and its potentials in transforming human perception of the geographic world. Situating fake geography under the context of modern cartography and GIScience, this paper presents an empirical study to dissect the algorithmic mechanism of falsifying satellite images with non-existent landscape features. To demonstrate our pioneering attempt at deep fake detection, a robust approach is then proposed and evaluated. Our proactive study warns of the emergence and proliferation of deep fakes in geography just as “lies” in maps. We suggest timely detections of deep fakes in geospatial data and proper coping strategies when necessary. More importantly, it is encouraged to cultivate a critical geospatial data literacy and thus to understand the multi-faceted impacts of deep fake geography on individuals and human society.