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Recently a new “OSM Tools Plugin” for QGIS had been developed by Nils Nolde. It replaces the original OSMroute plugin for QGIS by Riccardo Klinger, which is now deprecated, as he unfortunately lacks the time to maintain it. Thanks a lot to Riccardo and Nils for their wonderful efforts and contributions so far!

The new “OSM Tools” Plugin is compatible with the recently introduced new ORS API. The plugin provides some of the most relevant functions of the ORS API for QGIS users, such as geocoding/reverse gecoding, routing, as well as accessibility analysis (i.e. creating an isochrone map). The ORS API is continuing to grow with many further options that can be integrated into the open source plugin.

Here you can find a short overview and intro with some screenshots.

Have some fun with using the power of OSM and ORS from your favourite GIS.

OSM Tools




Inspect, judge and estimate OSM land use for Heidelberg and other European cities at Berliner Str. 48, 6pm, 29.06. osmlanduse.org
Knowledge of land use dynamics is essential for a permanent human existence on earth, for instance due to changing climate. Various commercial and scientific products depicting our habitat exist, involving heavy production cost, questionable accuracies and inadequate update cycles. To this end, osmlanduse.org utilized Open Street Map (OSM) to generate planetary available land use data.

However a map is not completed until its accuracy was assessed. Here, we happily invite you to a validation Mapathon of OSM land use data to elevate its use for greater purpose. Activity involves inspection of remote sensing data and estimation of land use.

When: Thursday, 29.06.2017, 6 pm
Where: PC-labs, Berliner Straße 48, Heidelberg

Bring along:
- yourself
- computers are provided, usage of own laptop is encouraged
- snacks and drinks are provided
contact: Michael.Schultz@uni-heidelberg.de

Recently HeiGIT @ GIScience Heidelberg released a dedicated stable disaster version of OpenRouteService (ORS) to support humanitarian logistics within specific regions of catastrophes with data from OSM in a more sustainable way. Since his start in 2008 OpenRouteServivce had been spontaneously applied for specific real world disaster cases already numerous times, for instance during the earthquakes in Haiti 2008 and 2010, in Nepal 2015, and in Equador 2016. Yet this always involved manual effort to set the system up for the specific disaster which costed time and manpower. For this reason this was only manageable for specific larger disasters. In order to provide this tool with most recent data to humanitarian organisations and affected people in a more stable, reliable and automated way, that covers also smaller disasters without manual intervention, the routing and disaster teams at HeiGIT jointly developed this new dedicated disaster ORS.

Basically the Disaster OpenRouteService is an adjusted version of the OpenRouteService which specifically serves the cause of routing considering specific meta information about passable ways from OpenStreetMap. It is constantly running on three individual and interchangeable regions in a distributed cloud environment. For the moment and first version these three permanently running instances cover Africa, South America and Indonesia.

The system has the exceptional ability to navigate on the most up-to-date OSM data added by disaster mappers as data and graph updates are currently computed daily for the whole regions covered. This allows to account for a high user activity and data adjustment rate in OSM during disaster situations, where both the real world situation, as well as the data in OSM are changing in very dynamic way. We are working on providing even more frequent update circles in the future in order to provide the best and most recent available OSM data to the disaster relief organisations, our partner the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and affected people as fast as possible in a fully automated manner.

Moreover, similar to the conventional ORS the Disaster OpenRouteService also provides an accessibility analysis service (calculating fast isochrones) for a given location, the possibility to export GPS tracks to be used offline in mobile devices, and of course the interactive avoid area tool. The latter allows to interactively draw polygons into the map which mark severely affected, not accessible, or impassable regions or road sections which should be avoided for navigation, or are potentially valuable for Search and Rescue (SAR) units.

Similar to the OpenRouteService, the web application and the directions are already fully available in 7 languages, namely English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese. Other languages, such as Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Czech or Nepali are partially available as well (mostly directions on the backend side). In order to make the Disaster OpenRouteService applicable for disaster managers, first responders and affected people all around the world, please help us to update the translations and provide your language here.

In addition to the usage via the web application the API endpoint can be integrated in dedicated applications (e.g. QGIS Plugins) etc. Please contact us for further investigations. Stay tuned for future enhancements.


We cordially do thank the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg for the financial support and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team for the helpful hints and insights, as well as the whole OSM community for their valuable efforts in generating relevant and up2date geographic data.
You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

we cordially invite everybody interested to our next open GIScience colloquium talk

on Mon, June 19, 2.15 pm,

at the Department of Geography, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 348, Lecture Hall, Room 015.

The presentation will be given by Dr. Daniel Wujanz (Technische Universität Berlin).

The topic is:

Terrestrial laser scanning for Geomorphometry - Some remarks on pitfalls and widespread opinions

Ever since its emergence, terrestrial laser scanners (TLS) have proved to be a valuable addition to the toolbox of Geodesists, Geographers and Geologists, especially for the sake of monitoring geometric changes over time. Even though TLS stands in the scientific spotlight for about two decades, vital questions are still not answered to a satisfactory degree. An obvious issue is linked to the detectability of deformations which directly influences all geomorphometric measures that are computed based on the acquired datasets. The detectability of geometric changes is, amongst others, directly correlated to the precision of the applied sensor as well as all required post-processing steps. These steps involve the so called registration into a reference coordinate system as well as the actual quantification of deformation. In this talk, a close look will be taken at the entire processing chain of deformation measurement and their individual influence onto the final outcome. At first, the focus will be set on some popular misconceptions regarding the precision of terrestrial laser scanners followed by some thoughts on referencing point clouds. Finally, a brief review on algorithms for quantification of deformation will be given.


Software Developer Backend Geoinformation Technology
Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT)

Zur Förderung von Technologietransfer und angewandter Forschung im Bereich Geoinformatik wird derzeit mit Grundförderung der Klaus-Tschira Stiftung das Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) aufgebaut. http://www.heigit.org. Dies soll zukünftig als An-Institut weitergeführt werden. Hierfür wird ein Software Engineer Backend Geoinformation Technology gesucht (100%). Die Aufgaben sind je nach Erfahrung in min. einem der beiden Bereiche angesiedelt:

A: Big Spatial Data Analytics

· Mithilfe bei Aufbau einer abfragbaren OSM Full History Geodatenbank unter Nutzung von Big Data Frameworks (Apache Ignite, Spark, Hadoop, etc.)

· Mitarbeit bei der Entwicklung Web-basierter Dienste zur Qualitätsbewertung und Verbesserung von OpenStreetMap durch Data Mining in OSM Full History Daten

· Entwicklung von Methoden und Diensten zur Analyse und Datenanreicherung von heterogenen Geodaten, insb. aus dem Social Web, OpenStreetMap etc.

B: Routenplanung und Navigation Intelligence

· (Spezial)Routing mit OSM, insb. Erweiterung von http://OpenRouteService.org auf Basis von Java

· Erweiterung Backend Dienste-Infrastruktur diverser Location Based Services (LBS) unter Nutzung von nutzergenerierter Geodaten, insb. OSM.

Wir bieten eine attraktive Stelle in einem interdisziplinär ausgerichteten dynamischen Team in einem hochaktuellen Wachstumsmarkt. Die Abteilung Geoinformatik ist u.a. Mitglied im Interdisziplinären Zentrum für Wissenschaftliches Rechnen (IWR) und im Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE). Die Exzellenz-Universität Heidelberg bietet in besonderem Maße ein anregendes interdisziplinäres Forschungsumfeld mit vielen persönlichen Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten.

Wir erwarten ein überdurchschnittlich abgeschlossenes Universitätsstudium in einem der Fächer Geoinformatik, Informatik, Geographie, Mathematik o.ä. Erforderlich sind neben ausgeprägtem Teamgeist, Selbständigkeit und hoher Motivation, sowie ausgezeichneten Fähigkeiten zu interner und externer Kommunikation und Präsentation auf Deutsch und Englisch v.a. ausgezeichnete Methoden- und Technikkompetenz und Erfahrung im Bereich Geoinformatik, alternativ entweder im Bereich Navigation Intelligence & Routing (Java) oder im Bereich Big Spatial Data Analytics mit Ignite & Spark, bzw. Spatial Data Mining & Machine Learning.

Die Stelle ist baldmöglichst zu besetzen und zunächst bis Juni 2019 befristet mit der Option auf nachhaltige Verstetigung. Bewerbungsunterlagen (CV, Zeugnisse, Referenzen, etc.) senden Sie bitte baldmöglichst, ideal vor 15.07.2017 an zipf@uni-heidelberg.de.

Since April 1st, 2017 Prof. Dr. Bernhard Höfle is the new full professor for “GIScience and 3D Spatial Data Processing” at the Institute for Geography, Heidelberg University.
Last week he was formally introduced to the scientific community of Heidelberg University during the traditional “Professorium” event, which was moderated by Rector Prof. Eitel. The latter took place in the famous historic “Aula” of the so-called Old University (see picture below).

The establishment of a second full professorship in addition to the existing full professor in GIScience of Alexander Zipf is a great step forward for GIS-related science activities in Heidelberg and strengthens both research and teaching in Geoinformatics at the university and the whole region.
With a synergetic overlap the research interests and activities, as well as the teaching spectrum of Prof. Höfle complements and extends the existing GIS expertise in Heidelberg considerably. This leads to a broad and deep set of knowledge and activities in Heidelberg that opens further horizons for collaboration and research in an even more sustainable way.

The realisation of the new professorship is the result of remarkable achievements in terms of research outcomes - esp. during the previous time as “Junior-Professor” at Heidelberg University. This dedication and efforts paid off and is the most promising base for further success stories.

Prof. Höfle joined the GIScience Heidelberg Team as a team leader in 2010 and became Junior Professor there in 2011. A native Vorarlberger (Austria), he studied Geography in Innsbruck (Austria) and Uppsala (Sweden) and received his PhD (Dr. rer nat). from University of Innsbruck in 2007. Then he did his PostDoc at the Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (IPF), Vienna University of Technology until 2009 and afterwards was Research Assistant at the Institute for Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing (IGF) at the University of Osnabrück, Germany until he came to Heidelberg.

During this time he very successfully developed a strong Lidar Research Group, conducted several research projects resulting in well cited publications and supervised several PhDs apart from many further activities in science organizations, teaching and administration.

The whole GIScience team congratulates cordially to this great step for both Prof. Höfle and Heidelberg and we are all looking forward to continue working together on most interesting challenges in GIScience.

An invited introductive overview article on “Online Participation in Geoinformation Technology” with a specific focus on OpenStreetMap has been published in the special issue “Online Participation” of the German language journal “Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik”. It gives some introduction and selected examples of potential usages of OSM data.

Griesbaum, L., Eckle, M., Herfort, B., Raifer, M., Zipf, A. (2017): Partizipative Methoden zur Erfassung und Verarbeitung von Geoinformationen - Das Beispiel OpenStreetMap (OSM). HMD Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik. HMD 316, 54. Jahrgang, August 2017. Special Issue “Online Participation”. DOI: 10.1365/s40702-017-0331-4

( Online First / Open Access)

On the occasion of the international Bike2Work Day the radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB) conducted a short interview with Prof. Alexander Zipf (GIScience HDHeiGIT). It was about current research and development work at the GIScience Research Group Heidelberg and HeiGIT, which involve the use of user-generated geodata for investigations between cycling behaviour and health, as well as the planning of attractive, especially stress-avoiding bicycle routes. The project PEZ at the Central Institute for Mental Health Zentralinstitut für seelische Gesundheit (ZI Mannheim), whose subproject Psychogeographie in Heidelberg is investigating the relationship between urbanity (i.e. environmental factors) and health, in particular mental stress.

In the context of these activities, ideas were developed to expand the online route planner OpenRouteService.org, which are currently being tested and in the first stage of development have the goal of generating routes that “prefer green areas“. The further development of route planners for specific information requirements such as wheelchair routing or disaster management is a major focus at HeiGIT.

Here you can read the whole interview: http://www.rbb-online.de/politik/beitrag/2017/05/interview-alexander-zipf-fahrrad-b2wd-bike-2-work-day-geodaten.html (in German)

GIScience @ ISCRAM 2017

The last couple of days, the picturesque city of Albi in southern France became the gathering place of researchers, practitioners and organizations in the field of information systems for crisis response and management. Following the ISCRAM conference theme “Agility is coming” presentations, round tables, workshops, symposiums and keynotes were organized in which the current and previous work and challenges, developments and objectives were shared and discussed by professionals from over 20 countries of the world. How can we facilitate efficient collaboration between researchers and practitioners? How to use new technology and methodologies to improve preparedness, mitigation as well as disaster and crisis response?

For GIScience, Carolin Klonner presented her current study on the use of country-specific training materials for remote mapping activations. The paper introduces current practices for the work with volunteer mappers to support disaster management and data quality assurance.

A literature review of quality assessment methods for Crowdsourced Geographic Information was presented by Livia Castro Degrossi (AGORA, University of São Paulo, Brazil/ GIScience), showing the current state of the art and focusing on intrinsic data quality assessments.

The first day of ISCRAM is traditionally dedicated to workshops and tutorials. One of these workshop topics being the “Post-Crisis Damage and Needs Assessment of Buildings for Response, Reconstruction and Recovery Planning”, Melanie Eckle (HeiGIT) used this chance to introduce our NSF Eager project around area based damage assessments and comparative damage rankings by volunteers.

Moreover, Melanie presented the initial approach in the CrowdFDA project, regarding the use of VGI to monitor post-disaster recovery in tourist destinations.

All papers can be accessed in the ISCRAM proceedings.

We thank the organizing team, the “yellow barrets”, for a great conference, amazing venues and for keeping their promise “AlbiThere4U”. A big thank you furthermore to the members of the ISCRAM community, for inspiring and innovative talks and discussions, project ideas and follow-ups. We are very looking forward to extending our collaborations. In this sense: Merci beaucoup et à bientôt!

Degrossi, L.C.; Albuquerque, J.P.d.; Rocha, R.d.S; Zipf, A. (2017): A Framework of Quality Assessment Methods for Crowdsourced Geographic Information: a Systematic Literature Review. ISCRAM 2017. 14th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response And Management. Albi, France.

Eckle, M.; Herfort, B.; Yan, Y.; Kuo, C-L.; Zipf, A. (2017): Towards using Volunteered Geographic Information to monitor post-disaster recovery in tourist destinations. ISCRAM 2017. 14th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response And Management. Albi, France.

Klonner, C., Eckle, M., Usón, T. & Höfle, B. (2017): Quality Improvement of Remotely Volunteered Geographic Information via Country-Specific Mapping Instructions. ISCRAM 2017. 14th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response And Management. Albi, France.

MSF Scientific Days is a conference organised by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) with a focus on research and innovation towards improving humanitarian actions. This years conference was held from May 19-20 at the Royal Society of Medicine in London and brought together more than 200 people. The presentations covered different aspects of medical treatment, but also findings towards the use of geo data within MSF and the role of the Missing Maps Project.

The GIScience Research Group Heidelberg contributed to the conference by giving a talk and holding a demo session on our recent activities regarding the MapSwipe App and MapSwipe Analytics webservice. You can find out more information on this topic in our paper:

Herfort, B., Reinmuth, M., Porto de Albuquerque, J., Zipf, A. (2017): Towards evaluating the mobile crowdsourcing of geographic information about human settlements. 20th AGILE conference 2017, Wageningen, Netherlands

Furthermore have a look at the slides and the poster we designed for the MSF Scientific Days.

We are looking forward to the presentations of MSF Scientific Day South Asia in Delhi on 27th May. :)

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