Initial Analysis of Simple Where-Questions and Human-Generated Answers (Short Paper)

Authors Ehsan Hamzei , Stephan Winter , Martin Tomko

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Ehsan Hamzei
  • The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Stephan Winter
  • The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Martin Tomko
  • The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia


The support by the Australian Research Council grant DP170100109 is acknowledged.

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Ehsan Hamzei, Stephan Winter, and Martin Tomko. Initial Analysis of Simple Where-Questions and Human-Generated Answers (Short Paper). In 14th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 142, pp. 12:1-12:8, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Geographic questions are among the most frequently asked questions in Web search and question answering systems. While currently responses to the questions are machine-generated by document/snippet retrieval, in the future these responses will need to become more similar to answers provided by humans. Here, we have analyzed human answering behavior as response to simple where questions (i.e., where questions formulated only with one toponym) in terms of type, scale, and prominence of the places referred to. We have used the largest available machine comprehension dataset, MS-MARCO v2.1. This study uses an automatic approach for extraction, encoding and analysis of the questions and answers. Here, the distribution analysis are used to describe the relation between questions and their answers. The results of this study can inform the design of automatic question answering systems for generating useful responses to where questions.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Information systems → Question answering
  • Information systems → Spatial-temporal systems
  • Information systems → Information extraction
  • question answering
  • scale
  • prominence
  • where-questions


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