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The GIScience Group Heidelberg participated actively in the EGU 2015 in Vienna, giving talks of current LiDAR research in the PICO Session “3D Spatial Data, Analysis, Visualization and Infrastructures in Geosciences - From 3D Point Clouds to Information“.

Kristina gave a talk on “LiDAR Vegetation Investigation and Signature Analysis System (LVISA)” and presented the LVISA system, which can be explored online here: LVISA Web Portal.
The abstract to the talk can be found in the online program.

The joined project on “Permanent 3D laser scanning system for an active landslide in Gresten (Austria)” was presented by a colleague from the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna.
The abstract to the talk can be found in the online program.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new scientific journal in Geo-informatics domain published by Springer Verlag. Please share this news along with the provided information below within your scientific network.

Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards

A SpringerOpen Journal, ISSN: 2363-7501


  • Mohamed Bakillah, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • Steve H. L. Liang, University of Calgary, Canada

Administrative Assistant

  • Amin Mobasheri, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Editorial Board

  • Itzhak Benenson, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Jamal Bentahar, Concordia University, Canada
  • Javaan Chahl, University of South Australia, Australia
  • Oscar Corcho, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
  • João Porto de Albuquerque, University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil
  • Max Egenhofer, University of Maine, United States of America
  • Claire Ellul, University College London, United Kingdom
  • Hassan Karimi, University of Pittsburgh, United States of America
  • Marinos Kavouras, National Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • Kiwon Lee, Hansung University, Korea
  • Rob Lemmens, Twente University, Netherlands
  • Mohamed Mokbel, University of Minnesota, United States of America
  • Mir Abolfazl Mostafavi, Laval University, Canada
  • Silvia Nittel, University of Maine, United States of America
  • David O’Sullivan, University of California, United States of America
  • Peter van Oosterom, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  • Andreas Wytzisk, Hochschule Bochum, Germany
  • Feng Xia, Dalian University of Technology, China
  • Alexander Zipf, Heidelberg University, Germany
  • Sisi Zlatanova, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Aims and Scope

Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards provides an advanced forum for the science and technology of open data, crowdsourced information, and sensor web through the publication of reviews and regular research papers. The journal publishes articles that address issues related, but not limited to, the analysis and processing of open geo-data, standardization and interoperability of open geo-data and services, as well as applications based on open geo-data. The journal is also meant to be a space for theories, methods and applications related to crowdsourcing, volunteered geographic information, as well as Sensor Web and related topics.

Editorial waivers

There are a number of editorial waivers available for submissions to Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards in 2015. Requesting a waiver during submission will ensure the article-processing charge is waived.

About this journal

For details of how to submit a manuscript visit: http://www.opengeospatialdata.com/

We are happy to announce that the first version of the wheelchair routing profile is now available online within OpenRouteService and goes into beta testing phase. Currently, there is a separate version (http://openrouteservice.org/wheelchair-2.1/) for testing that contains this new feature, which currently covers Germany only. However, after beta testing, it will also be available via the main openrouteservice.org webpage with the same spatial coverage as ORS (cf. Major Update for OpenRouteService Backend) including all of Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. As always feedback is welcome.

In the pictures below, you can see the effect on route planning for an example route in Heidelberg. While the route plan for pedestrians takes a bridge crossing the river Neckar into account that is only accessible for pedestrians via steps, the wheelchair route plan suggests an alternative route via the next bridge.

IMPORTANT: There is a huge lack of data about sidewalks and footways/paths, such as surface, smoothness, incline and also dropped kerbs. However, this information is necessary to compute optimal routes for wheelchair users. Since the quality of the computed routes can only be as good as the underlying OpenStreetMap data that is used, we are calling the OSM contributor crowd to help improving this situation!

If you want to know, where contributions are still needed - in fact they are needed in most areas ;) -, we highly recommend the OSM Quality Assurance Editor that has been developed by the OSM user nitegate (aka Adrian Stabiszewski) with some extensions from our side as reported earlier. In the current version, this tool shows you e.g. streets that do not have any sidewalk tags yet, ways without an incline tag and also ways without surface/smoothness tags. The latter two will need to be extented to surface and smoothness tags specifically of sidewalks in the future. As you can already judge from the name, the quality assurance editor allows you to directly edit identified ways where data is still missing using your OSM account.

If you want to contribute, please read the OSM Wiki page about wheelchair routing and relevant tags (page is available in several languages, including e.g. German).

On the 7th and 8th of April, our GIScience research group hosted the 4th PCC meeting of CAP4Access project in Heidelberg. The meeting was aimed to discuss the feedbacks and comments received from the reviewers of European Commission from the first evaluation meeting and various items where discussed from both theoretical and technical perspectives.

As the normal procedure of CAP4Access meetings, all members of project partners presented the work-in-progress of their packages/tasks, followed by questions and discussions on how modules developed/managed by other partners could benefit from each task. On the first day, from CAP4Access team at Heidelberg, Amin Mobasheri gave a presentation about the current state of the collective tagging service (developed by Dr. Mohamed Bakillah) and further ideas on how it would be improved in the future. Furthermore, a presentation regarding the Quality assessment of OpenStreetMap dataset was given by Amin Mobasheri and Stefan Hahmann, followed by two other technical presentations regarding the routing and navigation services enhancing OpenRouteService presented by Stefan Hahmann and Adam Rousell, respectively. A presentation about the data integration (integration of open data regarding kerbs into OSM) was also presented by colleagues from Fraunhofer IAIS.

Furthermore, on the second day, presentations about the plans for the second year of the project regarding awareness raising and user engagements in the four pilot cities including London, Heidelberg, Vienna and Elche were presented and discussed. Local representatives of the advisory board of people with disabilities gave a comprehensive introduction to “Heidelberg Hürdenlos”, which is a city guide for people with different disabilities. Linking this information with OpenStreetMap and Wheelmap is an interesting opportunity for the project.

Besides Heidelberg University, representatives from the following universities/organizations participated in the presentations and discussions: Fraunhofer IAIS, Mapping for Change, Sozialhelden, University of Valencia, Municipality of Elche, University College London and Empirica.

As a funding member of the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE) at Heidelberg University the GIScience Research Group wants to make you aware and invite you also to the open lecture series “Heidelberg Bridge” of the HCE in addition to our GIScience colloquium series.
The HCE “Heidelberg Bridge” programme offers topics from different areas of the environmental sciences. The presentations take place on Monday at 4:00 p.m., starting on 27 April 2015 at the lecture hall Im Neuenheimer Feld 360 (at the Botanical Garden) and are open for all scientists, students and the public.

hce HD Bridge colloquium

The programme of the “anniversary edition” of our regular GI colloquium already got published some weeks from now. However, we are pleased to announce an interesting additional talk that complements our panel. Dr Guibo Sun from the Chinese University of Hong Kong will talk about influences of the built-environment that correlate with aspects of pedestrians walking behaviour. Thereby, his talk will focus on a case study that has been conducted in the vicinity of metro stations in Beijing. Please find further information (e.g., abstract) at the corresponding descriptive page. The talk will take place at the 11th of June, at 04.15pm in the lecture hall at Berliner Straße 48.

End of March and early April Prof. Alexander Zipf from GIScience Heidelberg was invited to give some lectures at the State Key Laboratory for Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS) at Wuhan University and also at the School of Surveying and Geoinformatics at Tongji University in Shanghai, China.
The presentations were about “User-generated Geographic Information Potential and Challenges for GIScience” and discussed some of the findings of the work on VGI, OSM and Social Media in the research group at Heidelberg University. They were well received and followed by some discussions and several meetings with several professors, the vice president of the university and further researchers at those highly regarded institutions in China. Further visits were made e.g. to the GeoStar Wuda Geoinformatics Co. Ltd. as well as to the Sirindhorn International Research Center for Geospatial Information Science in Wuhan.

Dear colleagues,

The deadline for submission of contributions to our AGILE workshop called RICH-VGI has been extended to April 30, 2015.  We call for short papers and extended abstracts for the Workshop:

RICH-VGI: enRICHment of volunteered geographic information (VGI):
Techniques, practices and current state of knowledge

Workshop @ the 18th AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science

Lisboa, Portugal.
Tuesday 9 June 2015

In recent years we have witnessed the rapid emergence of Volunteered Geographical Information (VGI) projects. VGI is being applied more and more for research and applications. Nevertheless, VGI is often denounced due to its heterogeneities in quality, completeness and redundancy. However, these can be improved by applying spatial analysis and data mining techniques. These approaches utilize the relationship between the data from a VGI platform itself and/or cross-utilization of data from other sources, including other VGI platforms or authoritative sources. The purpose of this workshop is to intensively discuss the possibilities of data derivation, knowledge propagation and quality improvement for VGI and VGI analysis.

Examples of topics of particular interest include:
• Enrichment and quality assessment of VGI
• Techniques of matching data sets from different VGI platforms
• Techniques and applications of generating 3D terrain and 3D buildings from VGI
• Enrichment of attributive information for VGI
• Improvement of data quality and quantity from VGI by standardization of data structures
• Innovative data mining and data fusion algorithms adaptable for VGI
• Enhanced VGI analytics that relies upon different data sources (both authoritative and non-authoritative)
• Enrichment and assessment of VGI considering the needs of particular application domains (e.g. environment, routing, disaster management, urban planning, etc.)
• and other similar topics
We invite several kinds of contributions: full research papers presenting new work in the indicated areas, technical applications and case studies, as well as innovative insights.

The objective of this workshop is to provide an interdisciplinary forum towards determining techniques and ideas for improving VGI in order to derive further information from it for different use cases and VGI analysis. These techniques and ideas include several aspects of data quality, such as completeness, attributes, locational accuracy, metadata, etc

The workshop shall encourage:

  • Discussions and exchange of research experiences, approaches, and algorithms for enriching VGI data,
  • Understanding the state of the art in the area of VGI enrichment,
  • Identifying current knowledge gaps which will help us to clearly outline some short-term and long-term VGI enrichment research goals and themes.

Format of the Workshop
It will be a full day workshop. The workshop will include keynote speeches, a number of oral presentations in three sessions, a session of technical demonstration and a session of panel discussion.

Organizing Committee
Dr. Hongchao Fan
Dr. Jamal Jokar Arsanjani
Dr. Peter Mooney
Prof. Dr. João Porto de Albuquerque
Prof. Dr. Alexander Zipf

Call for Papers
We invite submissions of short papers (maximum 2,000 words) according to AGILE formattingguidelines (Springer Word Document Template or the Springer Latex Document Template).
The papers will be published online.
In addition to this we shall pursue the potential for the publication of a special issue in an appropriate international journal. Please send the manuscripts as word or pdf files to richvgi@geog.uni-heidelberg.de

Submission of short paper: April 07 2015, April 30, 2015
Notification of Acceptance and Review feedback: May 04 2015May 10 2015
Revised Version of Paper for Publication on Website: June 01 2015
Workshop date: June 09 2015

Further information will be posted at the Workshop Homepagehttp://www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/gis/rich-vgi.html


This is the Second Part of the CAP4Access e-Newsletter No 2. 2015.
The First Part can be found here. (It needed to be splitted in two parts for technical reasons)

Finding accessible toilets made easy

People in wheelchairs and other people with mobility impairments must be able to find an accessible toilet when needed. What is more, unavailability of such information can deter from taking a trip to places which are otherwise known to be wheelchair-accessible. For example, the decision to visit a restaurant or pub can easily turn into a gamble if there is no knowledge in advance about toilet availability. To address this requirement, Sozialhelden are currently developing a feature, which will be integrated in Wheelmap in the coming months. When adding a tag to a building, the contributor will be asked explicitly to specify whether toilets are accessible, partly accessible or not accessible. The search interface will be enhanced to allow people to look for accessible toilets in the vicinity of the current location.


CAP4Access website updates

  • The CAP4Access website is being updated continuously to provide insightful information about accessibility related issues. The following updates may be of particular interest:
  • Project flyers in English, Spanish and Austrian-German are available at http://cap4access.eu/what_we_do/.

The list of related events, projects and literature has been updated at http://cap4access.eu/resources/

Europe-wide survey on accessibility needs

We are conducting an online survey targeting people with limited mobility and their helpers or carers. We would like to learn about your experiences with accessibility in daily life. The anonymous survey covers mobility needs; information channels and tools used when planning a journey; features in the built environment such as steps, stairs, and kerbs that make it difficult to get around; experiences with using public transportation; and information that would help get out and make travelling to work, school or college or for recreation easier. The online questionnaire is available in English, German and Spanish . Every response will increase our ability to better meet the needs of people with limited mobility across Europe. Please forward to friends and colleagues!

Calling the crowd! Volunteers sought for retrieving sidewalk information for wheelchair routing

Sidewalk data is of essential importance for the development of routing and navigation services tailored to the needs of wheelchair users. Where there is no sidewalk, chances are that a street is close to inaccessible for wheelchairs. Sidewalk information on OSM is still very patchy, however, which means new, innovative methods to collect such data are required. Heidelberg University’s GIScience Group developed an extension for an OSM quality analysis tool that shows streets that do not have a sidewalk tag yet. In order to be able to utilise the support from volunteers, tasks have been designed and placed on the platform crowdcrafting.org to detect sidewalks from Mapillary imagery. The actual task is straightforward and can be carried out by anybody with a few minutes of spare time and a computer plugged into the Internet.

Participate here: http://crowdcrafting.org/app/detectsidewalkinformationfromstreetlevelimages/newtask

Or read more at http://myaccessible.eu/looking-for-sidewalks-on-open-data-day/

Meet us at European Commission sponsored events in Brussels

Net Futures 2015
is a new addition to the range of European Commission organised conferences in the ICT domain. The conference will bring together a large number of interest groups working on the following topics: internet of things, open source developments, the cloud, smart cities, and novel types of ICT-driven entrepreneurship. It will also include consultation meetings that cover cross-cutting topics such as network technologies, software & services, cloud, net innovation, and experimental platforms. The event will be structured around three pillars that represent stages in the life-cycle of an idea: research and innovation, technological validation, and final delivery to market. Net Futures 2015 will be on 25 - 26 March in Brussels. See http://netfutures2015.eu.

On 18 - 19 June 2015, the City of Lisbon will be hosting a major EUROCITIES event on Cities for Accessibility, Jobs and Inclusion. Under the heading “Together towards barrier-free Europe”, the conference will discuss how cities can ensure that everyone, including people with disabilities, the elderly and parents with children can fully participate in society. From the built environment and transport to public websites, accessibility is crucial for the quality of life as well as social and labour market inclusion of many residents. The conference will bring together stakeholders from the EU as well as national, regional and local levels to discuss how to steer the accessibility agenda together. Attendees will be policy makers from the EU, national, regional and local authorities, representatives of civil society and human rights organisations, trade unions, business associations, and research and academia. See http://www.eurocities.eu/eurocities/events/Conference-Cities-for-Accessibility-together-towards-barrier-free-Europe-

7 - 8 July 2015 marks the 2nd International Conference on Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPS). An entire ecosystem of initiatives innovates the European and worldwide societies through a plurality of voices and approaches, including social entrepreneurship, crowdfunding, sharing economy, P2P, sustainable consumption, just to mention a few. What they all have in common is the use of the internet and the internet of things as a lever to scale, engage, ideate, debate, impact and overall tackle societal challenges. CAP4Access belongs to the first batch of CAPS projects that have started in late 2013 and early 2014. This international annual event provides existing projects and initiatives with an opportunity to discuss their impact, increase their visibility, develop synergies and roadmaps, and liaise with any interested stakeholders: civil society organisations, NGOs, local communities, students and hackers, academic and industrial institutions, policy makers, national agencies, new Members of the European Parliament. See http://caps-conference.eu/ .

This is a free e-newsletter published by CAP4Access, a project co-funded by the European Commission. It is implemented by a consortium led by empirica GmbH, in cooperation with Elche City Council, Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis & Information Systems, MappingForChange, University of Valencia (Polibienestar Research Institute), Sozialhelden e.V., University College London (Accessibility Research Group), University of Heidelberg (GIScience Research Group), and Centre for Social Innovation. The project interacts with the public under the label MyAccessible.EU, also hosting a related website at http://MyAccessible.EU.
Contact person: Karsten Gareis, Project Manager, empirica GmbH (karsten.gareis@empirica.com).
Legal notice: The content of this e-newsletter was prepared by CAP4Access consortium partners and represents their personal views. These views have not been adopted or in any way approved by the European Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement from the European Commission. Reproduction is authorised provided that the source is acknowledged.

With the Geo-reCAPTCHA we present a new concept for crowdsourcing of vast amounts of geoinformation by micro-mapping tasks.

The paper can be downloaded free of charge (until 22 May 2015).

In our study we investigated the possibilities and limitations of capturing building footprints via Geo-reCAPTCHA based on remote sensing imagery. We could analyze more than 2200 individual digitizations and conclude that all technical requirements are addressed in our Geo-reCAPTCHA system design. Thus, Geo-reCAPTCHA offers an appropriate alternative to reCAPTCHA regarding CAPTCHA security as well as the resulting data quality.

Above that, there are further geographic applications and potential use cases in which data from Geo-reCAPTCHA could be integrated. One use case could be to contribute to the digitization of base maps in crisis-prone parts of the worlds where maps are missing. Moreover, Geo-reCAPTCHA could be used to classify remote sensing data. For example, Geo-Wiki could utilize Geo-reCAPTCHA to update the global land cover classification by presenting random parts of satellite images in which the predominant land cover class (e.g., forests, agricultural, or urban areas) should be digitized. Beyond that, even 3D earth observation data in the form of laser scanning point cloud data can be classified by identifying objects within the point cloud (e.g., a house or a tree) using Geo-reCAPTCHA. These LiDAR datasets are particularly relevant for establishing reference object libraries, such as for vegetation objects where the large amount of reference object features improves automatic 3D tree characterization.

Hillen, F. & Höfle, B. (2015): Geo-reCAPTCHA: Crowdsourcing large amounts of geographic information from earth observation data. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. Vol. 40 (0), pp. 29-38.

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