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The topic of the open colloquium series by the Heidelberg Geographic Society (HGG) for this summer semester is “Global Understanding“. The first presentation is given by Prof. Alexander Zipf (GIScience Heidelberg) this evening, Monday May 2nd at 19.00 pm (Location: Heidelberg University, INF 227, HS2)

He will talk about Crisis Mapping , i.e. user generated geoinformation for disaster management and humanitarian activities, introducing activities such as the Humanitarian OpenStreetmap Team, digital humanitarian network, Missing Maps project and of course the disastermappers heidelberg. Also some examples of the work at GIScience Heidelberg in this context will be presented shortly.

The full programme of the HGG presentations can be found here.


The 6th PCC meeting of CAP4Access EU project was held during 21st and 22nd of April in Vienna. Adam Rousell, Stefan Hahmann and Amin Mobasheri attended this meeting from GIScience research group of Heidelberg University. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the progress of deliverables as well as to perform the first experiment for testing the tools developed within the project. The process of setting up the experiment benefited from using tools such as OSMatrix for accessibility to select the proper locations where the experiment should take place. The tools for testing were the obstacle tagger and the navigation mobile application both developed by Heidelberg GIScience research group. In addition to these two tools, with the aim of enriching the completeness of sidewalk attributes in Vienna, it was decided to use the Vespucci OSM editor for performing data collection during the experiment. The participants of this experiment were all members of project partners who are familiar with the tools and whom also have the knowledge of looking for possible problems/errors in the tools for reporting back to developers.

Apart from this experiment and the discussions followed by it, our meeting enjoyed hosting Anita Graser from Austrian Institute of Technology giving a presentation on related research being done within the PERRON project. In addition and on behalf of CAP4Access, Stefan Hahmann presented the challenges and work in progress regarding sidewalk routing within the OpenRouteService wheelchair profile which was followed by discussions on the overlapping topics between two projects and possible collaborations in the future.

Psychiatric research is increasingly interested in the influence of social and
environmental contexts on human health
. According to recent findings, specific impacts of
urban upbringing on neural social stress processing relate to the heightened prevalence of mental disorders in cities.
Although this is a major societal problem, it remains unknown which environmental components (e.g., psychosocial stressors, air pollutants, rare nature exposure…) are responsible.

We introduce Ambulatory Assessment (AA) as a methodological approach to investigate contextual influences. In practice, GPS-triggered electronic diaries are suitable to capture data in everyday life, gathering information on both context and mental states to assess dynamic processes in real-life and real-time. Geoinformatics is
able to provide detailed information on spatial variations in environmental risk factors.

An ongoing longitudinal study at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim
combines AA, functional magnetic resonance imaging and epigenetic approaches to investigate the most relevant environmental factors influencing mental health. The findings might be incorporated in urban planning to reduce the risk of mental disorders.

Further details and a general overview is given in the recently accepted forthcoming journal paper:

Reichert, M., Törnros, T., Hoell, A., Dorn, H., Tost, H., Salize, H.-J., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Zipf, A., & Ebner-Priemer, U. W. (in press). Using Ambulatory Assessment for experience sampling and the mapping of environmental risk factors in everyday life. Die Psychiatrie. 2016 (2).

A brief first analysis on the realized trigger only is very shortly presented in:

Dorn, H., Törnros, T., Reichert, M., Salize, H.J., Tost, H., Ebner-Priemer, U., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Zipf, A. (2015): Incorporating Land Use in a Spatiotemporal Trigger for Ecological Momentary Assessments. In: Car, A., Jekel, T., Strobl, J., Griesebner, G. (Eds.), GI_Forum 2015 – Geospatial Minds for Society (pp. 113-116). Journal for Geographic Information Science, 1.

Related work investigates the use of OpenStreetMap as a potential data source:

Dorn, H., Törnros, T. & Zipf, A. (2015): Quality Evaluation of VGI using Authoritative Data – A Comparison with Land Use Data in Southern Germany. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. Vol 4(3), pp. 1657-1671, doi: 10.3390/ijgi4031657

Törnros, T., Dorn, H., Hahmann, S., and Zipf, A. (2015): Uncertainties of completeness measures in OpenStreetMap - A Case Study for buildings in a medium-sized German city, ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., II-3/W5, 353-357, doi:10.5194/isprsannals-II-3-W5-353-2015.

psychogeo movie

The accurate determination of user interest in terms of geographic information is essential to numerous mobile applications, such as recommender systems and mobile advertising. User interest is greatly influenced by the usage context and varies across individuals; therefore, a user interest model should incorporate these individual needs and propensities. In a recently published journal paper, we present an approach to model user interest in a contextualized and personalized manner based on location-based social networks. Multinomial logistic regression is employed to quantify the relationship between user interest and usage context at both the aggregate and individual levels.
The proposed approach is tested in a real-world application using Foursquare check-ins issued between February and June 2014 in the three major cities of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
Results demonstrate the capability of the contextualization process for capturing contextual influences on user interest, and that such influences can be observed at a fine-grained scale at the individual level through the personalization process. The proposed approach therefore enables contextualized and personalized estimation of user interest, thereby contributing useful information to follow-up mobile applications.

Li, M., Sagl, G., Mburu, L., Fan, H. (2016): A contextualized and personalized model to predict user interest using location-based social networks. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. Vol. 58, July 2016, pp. 97–106, doi:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2016.03.006.

The session “3D Point Clouds in Geosciences: Capturing, Analysis and Visualization” at the EGU 2016 General Assembly achieved high interest and active participation: the lecture room was fully crowded with peopling standing; intensive and lively discussions took place at the posters. Furthermore, the quality of the contributions (oral as well as posters) was high and innovative approaches were presented.

GIScience Heidelberg contributed three papers to the session:

It was a very successful event (thanks to everybody) and the conveners are already looking forward to next year - EGU 2017. Your contributions are warmly welcome!

The GIScience Research Group at Heidelberg University is offering a position as senior researcher or Postdoc (100%, TVL) in Geoinformatics with a specializion in quality analysis, mining, improvement and integration of data from VGI data sources such as OSM or Social Media.

The candidate shall contribute to at least one of the following projects:

http://www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/gis/dfg_en.html (DFG)
http://www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/gis/wegovnow.html (EU HORIZON2020)
http://www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/gis/land_sense.html (EU HORIZON2020),

The relevant topics include at least one of the following:

- Design and development of new methods and tools to investigate and improve the quality and suitability of geographic information, esp. wrt Crowdsouring/VGI/OSM
- Design and development of new methods and tools for combining, integration and enrichment of heterogeneous sources of spatial data, in particular VGI/OSM & Location-based Social Media
- Data Mining in VGI, esp. OSM and Location-based Social Media / Networks
- Machine Learning and Data Fusion in VGI/OSM and Location-based Social Media / Networks
- Geocomputation, Agent-Based Modeling and Spatial Statistics wrt VGI
- Location Based Services (LBS) & Navigation with VGI/OSM (Special Needs, Indoor/Outdoor etc.)

We offer an attractive job in an interdisciplinary dynamic team with excellent possibilities for research and further qualification. The Chair of GIScience is also member in the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) and Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE). The University of Excellence Heidelberg belongs to the internationally top ranked universities and offers an especially stimulating research environment.

We expect a PhD in either Geoinformatics, Geography, Computer Science or related fields, as well as profound research experience, technical and methodological expertise in Geoinformatics / GIScience, paired with the ability for independent scientific work and the acquisition of third party funding, as well as teamwork and leadership.

The position is initially funded for up to 3 years with options for further extension (depends on specific project above). Please apply as soon as possible with the relevant information (cv, grades, papers, references etc.) electronically to bettina.knorr@geog.uni-heidelberg.de - preferred in April and May. Payment is according to official schemes (TV-L).


Last Thursday students and researchers of the GIScience group and the Geographical Institute, members of the OSM community and Open Data supporters gathered to support the Ecuador activation of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).

In response to the severe earthquake last Saturday, the HOT team had launched several mapping projects to enable the creation of a base map of the affected regions. These projects have then been complemented through post-disaster tasks in which the level of destruction is assessed to help to coordinate the relief efforts. We wanted to support these efforts in a mapping event at our institute.
The event started with a short introduction in which the disastermappers provided background information about the activation and mapping itself. Then the 30 participants started to become active themselves in the mapping projects.

Mapping Event

Mapping Event

A group of experienced mappers gathered information about damaged roads and bridges using post-event imagery. This data is needed to enable emergency routing e.g. via the direct use within the OpenRouteService Ecuador.
The other participants gathered information about the road network, building structures and residential areas in the affected area to provide information about possibly affected settlements and access routes.
In only 3 hours a whole task was finalized covering one of the most affected regions. The detailed map material can be directly utilized now for relief operations on the ground.

Mapping Event Statistics

Mapping Event Statistics

A big thank you to all participants of our Ecuador mapping event by your disastermappers and the HOT Ecuador team!

The topic of the open colloquium series by the Heidelberg Geographic Society (HGG) for this summer semester is “Global Understanding“. The programme has been published here. The first presentation is given by Prof. Alexander Zipf (GIScience Heidelberg).
On Monday May 2nd, 19.00 pm he will talk about user generated geoinformation for disaster management.
(Location: INF227, HS2)


everybody is invited to join our OpenStreetMap Mapathon this evening (Thursday April 21st) at 18pm in the auditorium of the Insitute of Geography Heidelberg University, in the Berliner Straße 48, 69120 Heidelberg.

Further information here.

Also check our Disaster OpenRouteService for Ecuador
at http://openls.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/disaster

In order to provide emergency and rescue forces in Ecuador with the latest information concerning infrastructural conditions of roads and buildings the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (H.O.T.) as part of the OpenStreetMap Community coordinates the crisis mapping activities for the Ecuador earthquake.

As a first support of these activities the GIScience Heidelberg team set up a OpenStreetMap disaster routing (based on OpenRouteService) and crisis map collecting an visualizing latest OSM information.

The OpenRouteService Disaster Map: http://openls.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/disaster/ and the routing graph will be updated daily.

Most important, as in earlier cases for the disasters in Nepal or Haiti the additional OpenRouteService SOS - route profile currently considers passable and impassable tagged ways (impassable=yes or status=impassable) and dynamically adjusts the graph weights of OSM streets accordingly.

ORS also provides an Accessibility Analysis Service for a given location, the possibility to export GPS tracks to be used offline in mobile device and the interactive Avoid Feature Area Tool (in case areas are severely effected by debris and not accessible at all). These features are thus potentially valuable for Search and Rescue (SAR) units.

Please have a look at OSM taginfo and the OSM Nepal earthquake wiki to see which disaster related OSM tags and informations are currently edited.

Please share and donate your data to OSM in order to provide NGOs like the UN, Red Cross, THW, MSF and all others with lifesaving information on the ground.

This Thursday we organize a Mapathon for Ecuador at Heidelberg University.

In the next release the map will also provide additional layers which show important emergency related POIs like hospitals, camp sites, rescue stations etc. as well as damaged and collapsed buildings (once the OSM community have tagged these).

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