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The Kick-Off Meeting of the European Chapter of the Socienty for Digital Earth (ISDE) was held last week at the EU Joint Research Center (JRC) in Ispra. Prof. Alexander Zipf attended the meeting on behalf of GIScience Research Group Heidelberg University.

Digital Earth is a global initiative to construct a comprehensive virtual representation of the planet. It is a collaborative effort between Earth sciences, space sciences and information sciences to monitor and forecast natural and human phenomena. The International Society for Digital Earth is a non-political, non-governmental and not-for-profit international organization, principally for promoting academic exchange, science and technology innovation, education, and international collaboration towards Digital Earth.

Our paper “Information fusion infrastructure for remote-sensing and in-situ sensor data to model people dynamics” by Hillen et al. (2014) has been selected by the editor of the International Journal of Image and Data Fusion to be freely accessible for downloading (editor’s choice). The paper presents a novel concept for an information fusion infrastructure to fuse remote-sensing data and in-situ measurements for the integration in real-time applications via a spatial data infrastructure (SDI). Enjoy reading it.

In a follow-up study we investigated how such a an information fusion infrastructure can be used to improve routing in crowds: Routing in Dense Human Crowds Using Smartphone Movement Data and Optical Aerial Imagery

Die Leiner & Wolff GmbH läd am Dienstag, den 28.7.2015 herzlich zum zweiten GeoNet.MRN Business-Frühstück des Netzwerks Geoinformation der Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar (GeoNet.MRN) ein!

8.30 - 9.00 Uhr Ankommen mit Frühstückssnack und informeller Austausch

9.00 - 9.30 Uhr Vorstellung der Leiner & Wolff GmbH

9.30 - 10.00 Uhr Ausklang

Ort: Leiner & Wolff GmbH, Hauptstraße 90 , 69117 Heidelberg

Melden Sie sich zu der Veranstaltung einfach auf dem GeoNet.MRN-Portal an.

Hier erfahren Sie mehr über die Mitgliedschaft im GeoNet.MRN.


We cordially invite anybody to our final GIScience colloquium in this summer term.

Dr. Norman Kerle from ITC
will talk about
Post-disaster damage assessment – combining remote sensing image analysis and crowdsourcing
on Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015, 4:00 pm,
at Hörsaal, Berliner Straße 48, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University

Following a disaster event a rapid assessment of its consequences is required, as all stakeholders involved in response and recovery activities rely on situational intelligence. Remote sensing technology has become the principal tool for such mapping, and many types of sensing instruments deployed over the last decades have been used for damage mapping. However, while properties of remote sensing such as rapid availability or synoptic coverage remain strong assets, and despite a host of technical advances, the actual task of damage assessment continues to pose substantial challenges. Those relate to the unique characteristics of individual sensing systems (repeat visit time, incident angle, spatial and spectral image resolution, etc.), but also to the fact that damage is a complex concept with both physical and functional dimensions. In a bid to increase the amount of information that allows a damage assessment beyond obvious rubble piles, increasing use is being made of airborne oblique sensing systems, in particular with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles. The research in our group focuses not on the instrument or engineering side, but rather on image analysis and semantic processing, with object-based image analysis playing an important role. One interesting recent development that is also increasingly influencing the field of damage assessment if crowdsourcing/VGI. This ranges from field-based reporting to collaborative image-based damage mapping. While the potential of such an approach is event, it is far less clear when specifically to make use of volunteers, and how to instruct and engage them.

It has been less than two months since the major update of OpenRouteService. Today we announce the next sound update of the service. In this release, we were mostly concentrated on fixing bugs both on the server and client sides. The full list of changes can be found on github. We summarize some improvements below in the text.

We tried to make the navigation in route instructions, which may consist of many stopovers, intuitively much easier. This update introduces a redesigned list of instructions, where the whole route information is split into sub-sections corresponding to a certain stopover. At the end of each sub-section, travel time and distance need to be covered is given.

We have provided a new bike profile, called cycle tour. Our intention was to give an opportunity to compute a route when a preference is given to cycle networks (see also OpenCycleMap).

Heavy vehicle profile has been extended by taking maxaxleload parameter into account. Now this profile includes all parameters that are important in finding an appropriate route for trucks of buses.

We spent a lot of time in tuning routing profiles in such way, that they could result more realistic routes which meet human expectations.

Concluding, we would like to thank ORS users for their valuable and useful feedback, which helps us a lot in improving every component of the service. In upcoming release, we are planning to add a feedback form which should help us to be even closer to users. We look forward to your comments and hearing from you!

We cordially invite everybody to another interesting talk in the anniversary GIScience Colloquium Series at Heidelberg University.

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Wolfgang Kainz (Professor for Cartography and Geoinformation, Institut for Geographie and Regional Research, University of Vienna) will talk
on Thursday, Jul 16, 2015, 4.15 pm
in the Lecture Hall, Berliner Straße 48, Heidelberg about the

Past, Present and Future of Cartography

For thousands of years humans have tried to depict the places and lands where they lived. We know cartographic drawings from many advances civilizations dating back far beyond the cultures of Rome or Greece. However, cartography as a science was only established about 100 years ago. This presentation gives an overview of the major highlights of the history of cartography and its path to become a science in its own right. Important changes in the understanding of cartography during the recent decades, current scientific issues and the position of cartography versus neighboring disciplines will be discussed. The talk finishes with an outlook into the future of cartography and the role of cartographers in shaping that future.

giscience heidelberg

The first summer school of its kind on Close Range Sensing Techniques in Alpine Terrain took place in Obergurgl, Ötztal Valley, Austria, from July 5 - 11 2015. The event was co-hosted by the ISPRS, the main organizer University of Innsbruck and several other European universities including the GIScience Group of Heidelberg University.

More than 40 participants and more than 10 internationally recognized lecturers and keynote speakers came together in the highest permanent settlement of Austria on ca. 2000 m a.s.l, in order to exchange scientific experiences, recent technological developments and hands-on practice. The participating students performed extraordinary research progress in a very short time. Individual small groups worked e.g. on thermal imaging, terrestrial LiDAR of glaciers, rockglaciers and landslides as well as bathymetric LiDAR, photogrammetry from ground and UAVs.

The Tyrolean newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung (TT) was reporting on our summer school in a short report: http://www.tt.com/panorama/katastrophe/10251350-91/katastrophen-besser-lesen-lernen.csp.

From Heidelberg, Bernhard Höfle was member of the organization committee, Martin Hämmerle and Benjamin Kraus actively participated as student members.

We congratulate Martin Rutzinger for the perfect organization and the successful Summer School in a most beautiful mountain environment.

We cordially invite everybody to an open presentation on our colloquium series
tomorrow (Tuesday, 14.07.2015) at 10am by Dr. Matthew W. Wilson to the
Department of Geography, Heidelberg University Lecture Hall EG, Berliner Straße 48, 69198 Heidelberg.
The title of the talk is Quantified Self-City-Nation.

New devices and techniques have emerged to better quantify an individual’s movement, stasis, and even sleep, while a ‘smart city’ discourse and marketing apparatus applies these principles to analysis, representation, and management of the city. Indeed, as cities are increasingly rethought as organisms and human bodies are quantified as systems, the interactive opportunities and limitations for engagement, representation, and resistance are evermore significant.
In this presentation, Dr. Wilson draws parallels between the rising consumer-electronic sector associated with personal activity monitors and the rapid visioning of smart urbanism.
More specifically, Dr. Wilson interrogates these developments in quantification, namely: interoperability and propriety, competition and habit, fashion and surveillance.
What are the social-cultural and political implications for this refiguring of spatial thought and action? What capacities are reinforced and developed through the implementation of these technologies and techniques? Dr. Wilson addresses these concerns, through discussion of a continuum of technologies that serve to open and close multi-scalar systems of attention control.

Dr. Wilson

Dr. Wilson is visiting the GIScience Research Group at the Department of Geography
, Heidelberg University for the whole week.

Matthew W. Wilson, PhD, is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University. He co-founded and co-directs the New Mappings Collaboratory which studies and facilitates new engagements with geographic representation. His research in critical GIS draws upon STS and urban political geography to understand the development and proliferation of location-based technologies, with particular attention to the consumer electronic sector. He has previously taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and his current research project focuses on the founding of the Laboratory for Computer Graphics at Harvard in 1965, a catalyzing moment in the advent of the digital map. His work has been published in leading journals and collections including, Society & Space, Landscape & Urban Planning, Qualitative GIS (Sage), Geoforum, The Professional Geographer, the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Cartographica, Social & Cultural Geography, Gender, Place & Culture, and Environment & Planning A.


Last week members of the GIScience Research Group were attending the AGIT - Symposium and Exhibit for applied Geoinformatics in Salzburg. Beside the interesting welcome note given by Manfred Hauswirth from TU Berlin talking about the impact of Linked Data, the Internet of Things, and Clouds for Geospatial Information Systems, further keynotes and conference talks followed, covering various topics of GIScience.

AGIT Opening Keynote

During the AGIT conference Helen Dorn presented results from the PsychoGeography Project, in particular the “Incorporation of Land Use in a Spatial Trigger for Ecological Momentary Assessments”. In the frame of the AGIT OSM Special Forum, Stefan Hahmann gave a talk regarding current challenges of integrating a wheelchair routing graph within the Cap4Access Project. Furthermore he presented two posters at the GI_Fourm poster session (”Towards deriving incline values for street networks from voluntarily collected GPS data” and “Integrating options for wheelchair users into an open route planning service: state-of-the-art and open challenges“). Clemens Jacobs presented methods to ensure the quality of citizen science biodiversity data. Enrico Steiger was talking about the MDM OSM TMC LCL Project with the main project goal to enrich OSM road networks with official TMC LCL information.  Furthermore he presented his past research of Uncovering Latent mobility pattern from Twitter during mass events during the “Technical and Human Sensors” session of the AGIT GI FORUM research track.

Further Impressions

Visit to Hambach Castle

Recently the members of the Department of Geography, Heidelberg University visited Hambach Castle nearby across the Rhine valley in Rhineland-Palatinate.
It is considered the symbol of the German Democracy movement because of the Hambacher Fest from 1832. (see playmobil photo)

The trip of the institute included a nice hike through the hilly forests, a guided tour through the castle and exhibiton and a nice dinner in a beer garden. It was very interesting and also quite some fun in the really hot sun.

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