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A Bayesian model for multivariate discrete data using spatial and expert information with application to inferring building a...

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Spatial Statistics
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When modeling sparsely observed multivariate data, strong prior information elicited from experts can be used to bolster predictive accuracy and counteract sampling bias. Similarly, modeling autocorrelation in space can help make use of co-occurrence patterns present in many types of spatial data. To make use of both expert prior information and spatial structure, we propose a novel graphical model for a spatial Bayesian network developed specifically to address challenges in inferring the attributes of buildings from geographically sparse observational data. This model is implemented as the sum of a spatial multivariate Gaussian random field and a tabular conditional probability function in real-valued space prior to projection onto the probability simplex. This modeling form is especially suitable for the usage of prior information in the form of sets of atomic rules obtained from experts. To perform inference with missing data, we implement a Markov chain Monte Carlo scheme composed of alternating steps of Gibbs sampling of missing entries and Hamiltonian Monte Carlo for model parameters. A case study in building attribution is presented to highlight the advantages and limitations of this approach.