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We are happy to announce that a new JAVA-based tool is available that allows extracting raw GPS data from the OpenStreetMap GPS planet file. The tool is under LGPL license. It allows to specify a bounding box and to export the extracted data to 3D-Shapefiles. Besides the full GPS planet file there are also regional extracts available which both may serve as possible input for the tool, the latter one probably being more convenient for most use cases. Many thanks go to our student assistent Steffen John for his great work! We welcome any feedback as well as further development of the tool by anyone who has an interest. If you need an up-to-date OSM GPS planet file, we also recommend another tool from the OSM community.

In addition to the WebGL visualisation of the voluntarily collected GPS information in Heidelberg, we have added three more regions as showcases to our gallery, including Salzburg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Dresden.

If you are interested in some of the scientific output that we got using this tool, we invite you to visit our poster presentation at GI_Forum (Salzburg, Austria) next week on Wednesday after 6:30pm: “Towards deriving incline values for street networks from voluntarily collected GPS data.”

Our postdoctoral member Maxim Rylov was recently awared the first prize in the 2014 peer-reviewed paper competition of Cartographic Perspectives (Journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society NACIS). The prizewinning paper is entitled “Pairwise Line Labeling of Geographic Boundaries: An Efficient and Practical Algorithm“. The jury praised the paper to be “impressively useful and lucid, and a valuable contribution to our literature.” Beyond academic honours, the award also comes with a 1.350$ cash prize. Andreas Reimer was also involved in this work by co-authoring the article. Congratulations for the great work to both of you!

Rylov, M. and Reimer, A. (2015): Pairwise Line Labeling of Geographic Boundaries: An Efficient and Practical Algorithm. Cartographic Perspectives, volume and issue pending.

The assessment of the quality of volunteered geographic information (VGI) is cornerstone to understand the fitness for purpose of VGI in many application domains. Most analyses focus on the geometric and positional quality, and only sporadic attention has been devoted to the interpretation of the data, i.e., the communication process through which consumers try to reconstruct the meaning of information intended by its producers. Interpretability is a notoriously ephemeral, culturally-rooted, and context-dependent property of the data, concerning the conceptual quality of the vocabularies, schemas, ontologies, and documentation used to describe and annotate the geographic features of interest. To operationalize conceptual quality in VGI, a new framework by Ballatore & Zipf outlines proxy measures to several facets of conceptual quality, including accuracy, granularity, completeness, consistency, compliance, and richness. A case study on a European sample of OpenStreetMap, focused specically on conceptual compliance, showing the considerably spatial variability of the data.

Ballatore, A. and Zipf, A. (2015): A Conceptual Quality Framework for Volunteered Geographic Information. COSIT - CONFERENCE ON SPATIAL INFORMATION THEORY XII. October 12-16, 2015. Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 1-20. (accepted).

In June 2015 the LiDAR Research Group (LRG), Heidelberg University, performed a joint expedition with the Alfred-Wegener Institute (AWI).

This was our first field expedition within the PermaSAR research project, which is funded by the BMWi / German Aerospace Center (DLR) from 2015 to 2018. The project PermaSAR aims at developing a novel method for detecting vertical movements of the topography in a low Arctic permafrost region in Canada using the German radar satellites TerraSAR-X and Tandem-X.

Our study area lies between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, far north of the Polar circle. PIs at the field camp (Trail Valley Creek) are Phil Marsh and Jenn Baltzer.

We could successfully perform in-situ data capturing such as LiDAR, GNSS, installation of subsidence and subsurface temperature stations, etc. At the same time rich radar satellite datasets were captured, which will allow performing differential InSAR.

The picture impressions show best how 3D GIScience and permafrost field work look like :-)

We are happy to learn and inform that the Impact Factor (IF) of the International Journal “Transactions in GIS” according to the new ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking (Thomson Reuters 2015) has seen a nearly 40% increase from 1.000 to 1.398 from 2013 to 2014.

The new IF means that “Transactions in GIS” is now ranked 26th (out of 76 journals) in the Geography category, and among the very top ones related to Geographic Information Science.
“Transactions in GIS” is edited by John P. Wilson, (Los Angeles) (Main editor and the Americas), Qiming Zhou, (HongKong) (Asia and Australasia) and Alexander Zipf (Heidelberg) (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) and published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. As of 2015, Transaction in GIS will only be available online.

transaction in gis

The next talk in our regular colloquium series is quickly approaching. This week Falk Zscheile (Staatsbetrieb Sächsische Informatik Dienste, Dresden) will shed light on the quality of geographic data and information from a rather unconventional perspective: a legal point of view. We invite you to the public talk, which will take place on Thursday, 25th of June, 04:15pm. The venue of the talk will be the lecture hall in BST48.

Qualität von geographischen Daten und Informationen aus rechtlicher Sicht, Falk Zscheile, Thu, 25th June, 04:15pm, Lecture Hall, BST48.

Please note: this talk will be held in German.
giscience hd

Together with the help of our friends from Geolicious OSM routing with our OpenRouteService now has been made available within Quantum GIS.

The “OSM Route” plugin is published in the offical QGIS repository and can be simply installed via the QGIS plugin manager (please enable experimental plugins within QGIS, see screenshot below, then search for OSM Route within the plugin library).

Interface OSM route Berlin in 30min

Beside the possibility to route on OpenStreeMap road networks with any given mode of transport (car, bike, pedestrian) the plugin also offers the Accessibility Analysis feature showing you how far you can travel in a given time. All results are stored as a QGIS layer and can therefore be easily converted into any other format (e.g. shapefiles).

Please test the plugin and report any issues here. Enjoy!

In our research “Routing in Dense Human Crowds Using Smartphone Movement Data and Optical Aerial Imagery“, we propose a navigation approach for smartphones that enables visitors of major events to avoid crowded areas or narrow streets and to navigate out of dense crowds quickly. Two types of sensor data are integrated. Real-time optical images acquired and transmitted by an airborne camera system are used to compute an estimation of a crowd density map. For this purpose, a patch-based approach with a Gabor filter bank for texture classification in combination with an interest point detector and a smoothing function is applied. Furthermore, the crowd density is estimated based on location and movement speed of in situ smartphone measurements. This information allows for the enhancement of the overall crowd density layer. The composed density information is input to a least-cost routing workflow. Two possible use cases are presented, namely (i) an emergency application and (ii) a basic routing application. A prototypical implementation of the system is conducted as proof of concept. Our approach is capable of increasing the security level for major events. Visitors are able to avoid dense crowds by routing around them, while security and rescue forces are able to find the fastest way into the crowd.

Hillen, F., Meynberg, O. & Höfle, B. (2015): Routing in Dense Human Crowds Using Smartphone Movement Data and Optical Aerial Imagery. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. Vol. 4 (2), pp. 974-988.

Raul Krauthausen - the multi award-winning activists well-known from TV and press, founder of Sozialhelden and WheelMap.org - presents his book “Dachdecker wollt ich eh nicht werden“.
WheelMap.org is a prime example of how social engagement and Crowdsouring geodata via OpenStreetMap can be combined perfectly.

Friday, 03/07/2015 19h (doors open at 18:30) in the multi-purpose hall Schriesheim.

Raul and WheelMap.org are partners in the EU project CAP4Access (Participation Platform: myAccessible.eu) together with the GIScience Research Group of Heidelberg University. Heidelberg is one of the pilot sites to record spatial data on the accessibility of locations for wheelchairs and, inter alia, further a specialized wheelchair route planner and navigation system are being developed on the basis of OpenRouteService.org.
raul krauthausen (http://raul.de)

Last week saw the 18th AGILE conference being held in Lisbon, Portugal. Starting on Tuesday with a number of parallel workshops, the conference ran until Friday and included a number of interesting talks, key note sessions and a number of social events. The presence of GIScience at Heidelberg University was felt through two workshops being organised, a presentation being given, and two posters presented (the presentation and posters were all stemming from the CAP4Access project). The poster relating to navigation and landmark extraction was also awarded third place in the best poster competition!

AGILE 2015

On Tuesday full day workshops were run including (amongst others) a Gamification and Geogames workshop as well as two workshops organised by GIScience at Heidelberg University (”RICH-VGI: enRICHment of volunteered geographic information (VGI): Techniques, practices and current state of knowledge” and “Assessing the fitness of citizens observatories for land cover / land use mapping and validation purposes”). Later that evening saw the official opening of the conference at the “Museu Da Cidade” with a number of drinks and snacks, and a couple of unexpected attendees in the form of Peacocks… The day was rounded off with an ESRI Meetup event comprising of Lightning Talks given by users of ESRI products.

On Wednesday the conference got in full swing with a Keynote by Miguel Castro Neto followed by a full day of interesting talks spanning topics from VGI to Spatial Decision Support Systems. The day was rounded off with a cultural walk around Lisbon in the evening to see some of the many sights offered by Lisbon.

Cristo Rei and Lisbon Bridge

Cristo Rei and Lisbon Bridge

Thursday was opened by another keynote entitled “Big Data Integration to Enable Citizen Participation in Smart Cities” given by Isabel Cruz - a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. the day saw a presentation given by Adam Rousell about “Toward a Collective Tagging Android Application for Gathering Accessibility-related Geospatial Data in European cities” as well as the poster session where two of our posters were presented : “On the completeness of sidewalk information in OpenStreetMap, a case study of Germany” and “Extraction of landmarks from OpenStreetMap for use in navigational instructions”. In the evening was the Gala Dinner held across the river from Lisbon centre with amazing views of the city, “Cristo Rei” statue, and the “Ponte 25 de Abril” bridge.

Extraction of landmarks from OpenStreetMap for use in navigational instructions

Extraction of landmarks from OpenStreetMap for use in navigational instructions

On the final day of the conference the last Keynote was provided by Phil Archer from the W3C and called “GIS and the Web – what’s the problem?”. The following presentations were then the ones selected as best papers from the submissions received and highlighted the high standard of submissions made to the conference. Awards were given out before lunch where the GIScience Heidelberg poster “Extraction of landmarks from OpenStreetMap for use in navigational instructions” presented by Adam Rousell was awarded third place in the best poster competition. An announcement was also made that next years AGILE conference will take place in Helsinki in Finland.

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