Feed on

The multisensor datasets acquired in the three field campaigns of the PermaSAR project have recently been published on the Open Access data library PANGAEA:

Anders, K., Antonova, S., Beck, I., Boike, J., Höfle, B., Langer, M., Marsh, P., Marx, S., (2018): Multisensor ground-based measurements of the permafrost thaw subsidence in the Trail Valley Creek, NWT, Canada, 2015-2016. Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, PANGAEA, DOI: 10.1594/PANGAEA.888566.

The study area of Trail Valley Creek (68° 44′ 17″ N 133° 26′ 5 26″ W) is located between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, far north of the Polar circle. The field camp is operated by the teams of Philip Marsh and Jennifer Baltzer (Wilfried Laurier University, Canada). Several members of the 3DGeo Research Group and the Periglacial Research Section of the Alfred Wegener Institute joined the PermaSAR field campaigns in June 2015, August 2015, and August 2016 to establish this powerful geo-dataset.

During each of the three field campaigns  ground-based data were acquired for two test sites by terrestrial laser scanning and GNSS. Furthermore, active layer thickness and thaw subsidence were measured manually at fixed benchmarks within the sites.

Find more information on the data acquisition, method development and associated permafrost research in this related publication:

Marx, S., Anders, K., Antonova, S., Beck, I., Boike, J., Marsh, P., Langer, M., & Höfle, B. (2017): Terrestrial laser scanning for quantifying small-scale vertical movements of the ground surface in Arctic permafrost regions. Earth Surface Dynamics Discussions, 2017, pp. 1-31. DOI: 10.5194/esurf-2017-49.

The PermaSAR project is funded by the BMWi/DLR in the framework “Entwicklung von innovativen wissenschaftlichen Methoden und Produkten im Rahmen der TanDEM-X Science Phase”.

Last week about 30 scientists from different insitutions from all across Germany came together in Heidelberg to conduct collaborative research. The research week is the result of an intense collaboration within the DFG Priority Programme VGIscience, which deals with the following topics

Information Retrieval and Analysis of VGI:
• information extraction (space, time, semantics)
• data aggregation and fusion of different sources and space/time scales
• identification of patterns and correlations in VGI
• new processing paradigms for large data streams
• search and exploration of VGI

Geovisualisation and Cartographic Communication:
• visualisation methods suitable for VGI (streaming, multivariate, metadata, quality)
• real-time visualisation and abstraction
• user feedback, collaboration and interaction
• theoretical frameworks for VGI visualisation

Social Context:
• interfacing subjective classification and common ontologies, preservation of consistency
• social context dependent data capture, use and dissemination
• reliability and trustworthiness, information quality
• motivation, participation, privacy

The research week has been organized by Franz-Benjamin Mocnik and René Westerholt.

The recent availability of user-generated geographic datasets allows gaining novel insights into otherwise hardly observable societal phenomena. Geosocial media forms one important source of user-generated information, which partly describes the everyday lives of people. The analysis of these kinds of data, however, requires new approaches. Geosocial media data—like those extracted from Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and others—differ from established sources in that they are largely inherently platial in nature. People provide their own subjective opinions or perceptions, and taken together these represent the digital social imagination of places. Crisp and objective geographic data primitives like points, lines or polygons are not necessarily the preferable units for analysing these kinds of information. Platial analysis approaches are thus needed to fully exploit the potential of geosocial media and related data. Yet, while human geographers and social scientists have been theorizing on the concept of place since a long time, and despite of invocations by leading GIScience researchers, we are still lacking a universal theory on the formalization of places and how to make them available to quantitative and other GIS-related analysis strategies. Partly, this lack has been due to the insufficient availability of platial data, but the appearance of geosocial media might change this condition. It is therefore time to rethink our geographical analysis strategies with a focus on “place” instead of “space”.

We accept short paper submissions of 3,000 words / 7 pages maximum length. All accepted short papers will be published with CEUR-WS, a community-driven publication outlet for workshop and conference proceedings from computer science and information systems. We further invite authors to extend their short paper contributions to long papers, which could then be submitted to an adjoint special issue to be published in Transactions in GIS after the workshop.

For more information check out http://platial18.platialscience.net. Stay tuned on Twitter: #platial18.

Important Dates

1 June 2018: Call for short papers opens
1 June 2018: Registration opens
8 July 2018: Submission deadline for short papers
19 August 2018: Camera-ready papers are due
16 September 2018: Papers are available online
21 September 2018: VGIscience PLATIAL’18 workshop

Beginning of May the recently launched MAMAPA project reached yet another milestone. Four very successful MAMAPA mapathons were already organized in the Mannheimer Abendakademie, supported by CartONG, HeiGIT/ disastermappers heidelberg and local tandems, and there are hopefully many more to come… To build a sustainable future for the MAMAPA project, members of HeiGIT, CartONG and previous tandems met in the HeiGIT to found a registered non-profit organization MAMAPA e.V..

Pictures by David Jäger

Additionally, disastermappers heidelberg created a video about the great engagement of Robert Danziger, the project initiator, and the project itself, and recommended Robert for a current contest of a local civic foundation, the Bürgerstiftung Mannheim, namely “Mensch Miteinander“!

If you want to support MAMAPA and enable further events in and around Mannheim, please see the video and vote by click for “Mamapa - Integration fördern und Humanitäre Hilfe leisten auf Mannheimer Art“!

If you are interested to support the MAMAPA project as a volunteer or to become a member please also find more information here.

The effective monitoring of land-use and land-cover changes (LULCC) is a basic requirement for understanding socio-enviromental processes of local to global scales. Remote sensing data and methods have long been established as the most effective approach for monitoring LULCC. The potential for further increasing the effectiveness of this approach is proportional to the astonishingly large amount of satellite imagery provided, many times free-of-cost, by space agencies worldwide. However, scientists still lack of ways of organizing, structuring and analyzing this huge amount of remote sensing data in a way that leverages administrative and scientific LULCC monitoring. Hence, an efficient image data storage, query and processing architecture that manages different satellite specifications and climatic conditions is required for generating and sharing updated and area-extensive LULCC information.
Furthermore, because reliable LULCC monitoring with remote sensing data requires extensive training and validation analysis performed by humans, the
potential of big Earth Observation (EO) data for LULCC monitoring is still limited by the amount and time availability of the analysts involved in the project. In a recently accepted paper at the VGI-ALIVE Workshop at AGIlE, we will discuss the potential of Citizen Science for improving the feasibility and effectiveness of LULCC monitoring supported by big EO data architectures. We put forward general ideas on how to promote and stimulate an active involvement of citizens in EO data analytics for LULCC monitoring. For that, we briefly present and critically evaluate how existing approaches that allow citizens to contribute with up-to-date and detailed LULCC information mitigate the issue of exhaustive sampling required in LULCC monitoring with automatic remote sensing image classification.

Hear the results and full story at VGI-ALIVE Workshop at AGILE 2018 (Lund, Sweden) and join the discussion there!

De Assis, L. F.; K. R. Ferreira, L. Vinhas, T. Novack, A. Zipf (2018 accepted): A discussion of crowdsourced geographic information initiatives and big Earth observation data architectures for land-use and land-cover monitoring. VGI-ALIVE Workshop. AGILE 2018 Conference, Lund, Sweden.

Rochester NY, a small city located at Lake Ontario, became a gathering place for the international ISCRAM community last week. Researchers and practitioners from over 20 countries presented their latest work, ideas and needs related to crisis management at the 15th ISCRAM conference.

Crisis and humanitarian management being one of the main focuses of the HeiGIT/ GIScience Research Group, Melanie Eckle presented our work to the ISCRAM community focusing on the Ohsome framwork and its potential and applications for crisis management.

Furthermore, Melanie was chair of the “Geospatial technologies for Crisis Management” track that was revived by Prof. Alexander Zipf, Prof. João Porto de Albuquerque and Dr. Flávio Horita again this year.

We thank all participants for great exchange and discussions, and the local team for organizing a very successful ISCRAM conference- including an exceptional finale at the Niagara Falls.

We are looking forward to keeping these great conversations going and can´t wait to see you all again in Valancia for ISCRAM 2019!

Auer, M.; Eckle, M.; Fendrich, S.; Griesbaum, L.; Kowatsch, F.; Marx, S.; Raifer, M.; Schott, M.; Troilo, R.; Zipf, A. (2018): Towards Using the Potential of OpenStreetMap History for Disaster Activation Monitoring. ISCRAM 2018. Rochester. NY. US.

Disaster mapping activations that are supported by many volunteers with various levels of experience raise questions related to the quality of the provided Volunteered Geographic Information. Learning about the data quality that can be expected in a disaster activation helps to evaluate the quality and fitness for purpose of the OSM data.

At the ISCRAM 2018 we presented how the recently introduced ohsome OpenStreetMap history analytics platform, developed at HeiGIT, facilitates an exploratory analysis of the evolution of the OSM street network in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake 2015.

Find out more about the ohsome platform and its ability to assess the topological correctness of the OSM street network in:

Auer, M.; Eckle, M.; Fendrich, S.; Griesbaum, L.; Kowatsch, F.; Marx, S.; Raifer, M.; Schott, M.; Troilo, R.; Zipf, A. (2018): Towards Using the Potential of OpenStreetMap History for Disaster Activation Monitoring. ISCRAM 2018. Rochester. NY. US.

The Ohsome Nepal Dashboard has new features to enhance its usability and functionality. The user can now easily select administrative areas of interest through a new map interface. Different administrative levels can be selected by zooming in and out and afterwards just clicking or tapping on that specific region. This convenience feature makes it much faster to express a spatial interest during an analysis of disaster relevant features. The underlying border data originates from OpenStreeMap and has been provided by OSM Boundaries Map. Alternatively areas of interests can still be expressed as bounding boxes, circles or polygons.

Another new option is now available, which allows the user to download the results of an analysis for further usage. The user can choose between different formats (JSON or CSV).

The Ohsome Nepal Dashboard uses the Ohsome OSM History Analytics Framework, especially the Ohsome API currently developed at HeiGIT to query spatio-temporal aspects of disaster related data. (Find further information in the release post here: A preview of the Ohsome Nepal dashboard)

Ohsome Dashboard with boundary selection

Ohsome Dashboard with boundary selection

Result view with download option

Result view with download option

As a founding member of Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE) we want to share this important date of the HCE’s “Heidelberg Bridge” Colloquium series.

This semester the Institute of Geography is involved with two presentations and one of these is from the GIScience group with Dr. Sven Lautenbach talking about his work on ecosystem services.

Feel cordially invited to join this interesting presentation!

When: Monday 28 May 2018, 17pm

Where: Im Neuenheimer Feld 360, Hörsaal lecture hall

What: Ökologische Dienstleistungen und Zielkonflikte von Landnutzungsentscheidungen
Lecture and discussion with

Who: Dr. Sven Lautenbach, Heidelberg University, Institute of Geography, GIScience Research Group


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

The speaker is Dr. Jack Williams
Department of Geography, Durham University

When: Monday 28.05.2018, 2:15 pm

Where: INF 348, room 015 (Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University)

Near-continuous monitoring of rockfalls and insights into post-seismic landslide patterns

This talk focuses on two strands of research that are both partially underpinned by the importance of using monitoring strategies tailored to the geomorphic change that is under examination. The first section focuses on the improved understanding of rockfall occurrence gained from near-continuous (c. 1 h) LiDAR monitoring of an actively failing coastal rockslope. Current understanding of the nature of rockfall and their controls stems from the capabilities of slope monitoring. These capabilities are fundamentally limited by the frequency and resolution of data that can be captured. An overview of the workflow and, in particular, the practicalities of 4D monitoring is provided. Monitoring at this resolution captures the importance of small rockfalls that ordinarily fail to be discretised due to their superimposition and coalescence, which has important implications for our understanding of the underlying failure mechanisms. Insights into the influence of sub-aerial drivers and the presence of accelerated deformation prior to failure are also presented. The second part of the talk focuses on patterns of landsliding in the years after an earthquake, here the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal. In addition to triggering ~25,000 coseismic landslides, the earthquake resulted in extensive and pervasive cracking on many hillslopes that did not undergo full coseismic collapse. Monitoring both new and existing landslides is critical for understanding rates of sediment mobilisation, the role of coseismic damage accumulation in driving post-seismic slope failure, and the evolving nature, extent, and severity of landslide risk. Here, initial results are presented from both ground-based monitoring and mapping from medium-resolution satellite imagery. Topographic distributions of new and developing landslides from 2014-2017 are drawn upon to suggest that a return to pre-earthquake landsliding is ongoing.

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