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Geo-spatial Information Science
Special Issue Call for Papers on
Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)-Analytics

Deadline: 9 June 2017

Geo-spatial Information Science (GSIS) invites you to submit your paper
to this forthcoming special issue on:
Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)-Analytics.
Aims and Scope
Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and social media data have become part of our everyday lives over the past few years.
Individual platforms and contribution patterns are now beginning to be more intertwined both at the application level and at the user side.
This means that crowd-sourcing applications nowadays begin to offer opportunities to share data between them during data collection and contribution processes, for example, by tweeting an Instagram image or by viewing a Mapillary image layer while editing OpenStreetMap data.
The advancement on the application side can lead to novel analysis methods of user contribution patterns. Furthermore, the number of VGI and social media platforms is continuously growing, providing new data sets to be analysed.
We organize the Special Issue for the international journal Geo-spatial Information Science (GSIS) in order to share ideas and findings on cross-platform data contributions, innovative analysis approaches, current data fusion methods, real-world applications using cross-linked data, and novel crowd-sourcing and social media platforms.
The topics will include, but not be limited to, the following themes:
  • Joint analysis of crowd-sourced VGI/social media data originating from different data sources
  • Technical aspects of crowd-sourced data fusion
  • Spatio-temporal analysis of activity patterns for individual users across multiple VGI and/or social media platforms
  • Quality assessment of VGI/social media data
  • Analysis of cross-linked data and cross-link editing methods in VGI and social media platforms and its applications
  • New sources of VGI and social media data
  • VGI across different regions and cultures
  • Semantic issues arising from the conflation or cross-linkage of several different sources of VGI
  • Tailoring VGI for different applications
Submission Guidelines
Manuscripts should be submitted online: here.
Submitted articles should not have been published previously, or be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. All accepted manuscripts will be published open access in GSIS.
All article publishing charges (APC) will be covered by Wuhan University, so you can enjoy the benefits of publishing open access at no cost.
Authors are recommended to prepare their manuscript by following the full instructions for authors: here.
Important Dates
  • Deadline for submission of full paper manuscripts: June 9, 2017
  • Expected inclusion in an issue: October, 2017
Editorial information
  • Special Issue Guest Editor: Peter Mooney, Maynooth University, Ireland (Peter.Mooney@nuim.ie)
  • Special Issue Guest Editor: Alexander Zipf, University of Heidelberg, Germany (zipf@uni-heidelberg.de)
  • Special Issue Guest Editor: Jamal Jokar Arsanjani, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark (jja@plan.aau.dk)
  • Special Issue Guest Editor: Hartwig H. Hochmair, University of Florida, United States (hhhochmair@ufl.edu)

Publication Cover

NEOHAZ team members Carolin Klonner and Tomás Usón were teaching at the Heidelberg Center for Latin America (HCLA). The block module GIS 2 for the “research methodologies” seminar was attended by students of the international Master “Governance of Risks and Resources”. The master is a joined project of the Heidelberg University, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad de Chile, supported by the DAAD. The programme seeks to provide tools and profound knowledge regarding the management of natural resources and risks for the territorial planning process as well as the governance of related institutions. During the course, conceptual discussions related to VGI, crowdsourcing and implicit knowledge as well as tools for collecting and analysing data such as Kobocollect, OSM, OSM Field Papers, uMap and Overpass turbo were presented and applied by the students for mitigation, response and recovery of natural hazards. Theoretical background information as well as the use of such new tools during the sessions enabled the students to gain deeper understanding of factors influencing disaster risk management. In a final session with a disaster scenario, the students could choose from these tools and apply them for a field campaign.

The programme of the AGIT Symposium 2017 in Salzburg is online now and it includes a first paper about the work at GIScience Heidelberg on OSMlanduse.org. It will be presented 6 July in the afternoon at AGIT Salzburg.

The talk is entitled “OSMLanduse Version 1″ while the full titel of the paper is:

Voß, J., M. Auer, M. Schultz und A. Zipf (2017): Einsatz von OpenStreetMap Daten zur Erstellung von Landnutzungsprodukten am Beispiel von OSM Landuse Landcover . Symposium für Angewandte Geoinformatik AGIT 2017. Salzburg

The paper presents the current version of the developed Web platform as well as an empirical quality evaluation of an test area around Heidelberg. The LULC data from OSM covered there > 91,8%. Based on high resolution reference data (imagery) the expert classification described in a confusion matrix resulted in a thematic accuracy of 87,9% within the test area. Of course this will differ in other regions.

OSMlanduse.org is a WebGIS application to explore OSM data in terms of landuse and landcover information. It was developed by Michael Auer and Janek Voss with support of the GIScience and HeiGIT team.
There exist well known Landcover/Landuse (LULC) data sets generated from remote sensing imagery such as CORINE, Urban Atlas or GlobeLand30. These are available for different areas, time stamps, and offer different LULC classifications. So it is an interesting question if and to what degree OpenStreetMap can complement, add to, or refine these sources. We want to evaluate the overall possibility and suitability of OpenStreetMap (OSM) for these purposes, identify ways for improvement and provide this information globally to the interested communities. As a first step we categorised the OSM data similar to the classification level 2 of the CORINE Landcover classes. The map is still under development, so stay tuned for further updates!

This year AGILE celebrated its 20th birthday and conference from May 10 - 12 at Wageningen University, Netherlands. The conference organizers chose “societal geo-information” to be the main theme of the research presented. The GIScience Research Group Heidelberg was represented by its members Tessio Novack, Franz-Benjamin Mocnik and Benjamin Herfort.

On Tuesday, the day before the opening of the conference, several workshops were held. The VGI-Analytics workshop, which was co-organized by the GIScience Research Group Heidelberg ,tackled current research topics related to Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), in particular the integration of different VGI data sources and data analysis. Six (short) papers were presented, amongst them a paper about the inevitability of calibration in VGI quality assessment by Franz-Benjamin Mocnik. The participants even discussed in break-out groups legal issues of VGI, data quality aspects of VGI, as well as current technologic challenges. Complementing the workshop there is still an open call for journal publictions in the international open access journal 2 Geo-spatial Information Science (GSIS)” (Taylof & Francis) free of charge. The extended final Submission Deadline is 9th June 2017.

Benjamin Herfort presented our recent work on the analysis of MapSwipe data and development of the MapSwipe Analytics platform. The talk highlighted how intrinsic parameters can help to understand VGI data better. For MapSwipe data, especially the agreement among volunteers is a good predictor of correct or wrong crowdsourced classifications. In the next weeks we will continue our activities to improve the MapSwipe App and to develop methods to improve the overall data quality. Stay tuned and have a look at http://mapswipe.geog.uni-heidelberg.de.

Tessio Novack presented an analysis and method to match point of interest from different VGI sources based on work in the corresponding DFG project . The matching of features across different VGI projects may serve to assess and improve the reliability and completeness of VGI data. We propose a matching strategy based on a graph using several combinations of spatial and semantic similarities and string similarities and evaluate the quality of the different combinations.

Franz-Benjamin Mocnik presented a poster about how data quality and fitness for purpose relate. While both concepts are well known to be mutually dependent, they have not yet been properly defined in common terms. The poster presents an approach to define data qualit in terms of fitness for purpose, which renders possible to translate between them and to derive data quality by the computation of fitnesses for purpose. The work is part of a DFG project, with the aim to calibrate intrinsic quality assessment of VGI and OSM in particular.

We are looking forward to the next AGILE conference at Lund University in 2018. :)


Herfort, B., Reinmuth, M., Porto de Albuquerque, J., Zipf, A. (2017): Towards evaluating the mobile crowdsourcing of geographic information about human settlements. 20th AGILE conference 2017, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Novack, T., Peters, R., Zipf, A. (2017): A graph-based strategy for matching points-ofinterests from different VGI sources. 20th AGILE conference 2017, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Mocnik, F.-B., Zipf, A., Fan, H. (2017): The Inevitability of Calibration in VGI Quality Assessment. 4th Workshop on Volunteered Geographic Information: Integration, Analysis, and Applications (VGI-Analytics), Wageningen, Netherlands.

Mocnik, F.-B., Zipf, A., Fan, H. (2017): Data Quality and Fitness for Purpose. Poster. 20th AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science, Wageningen, Netherlands.

It is #Bike2Work Week ! (*) Time to think about some more nice bicycle tours in BikeMonthMay (any beyond ;-) OpenRouteService.org does assist you with a set of nice options for different types of bicyclist, such as Safest Tour, Touring Bike, Mountain Bike or Road Bike. This includes also an E-Bicycle profile which especially comes in handy for accessibility analyses (isochrones) considering elevation information.

Further OpenRouteService bike profiles supports Fitness Categories. By combining OpenStreetMap data with elevation information you may now plan your routes according to your level of fitness (Novice, moderate, amateur or pro), in addition to many other options.

Recently an easier share functionality of routes and shorter permalinks have been added. You will be able to down- and upload more formats (gpx, tcx, kml and geojson) than before and even export computed isochrones as geojson files. The route instructions list now includes toggle functions to keep the list neat and clear for your needs.

Also the list of languages for the route instructions is growing - keep us informed about your needs!

OpenRouteService was the first Online Routing Service based on OpenStreetMap data (online since 2008), that offered specific Routing-Options for pedestrians, several bicycle types, heavy vehicles, wheelchairs and now E-Bikes internationally.

We do thank the Klaus Tschira Stiftung Heidelberg for their support to establish the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT), which provides further resources for extending OpenRouteService in a more sustainable way.
(*) BikeWeek/Bike2WorkWeek/Bike2WorkDay et al. are at slightly different dates around the globe each year from May to early June.

The “Dresdner Flächennutzungssymposium” is an annual event aimed at fostering the discussions about current devolepment regarding land use changes in Germany. During two days experts from government agencies, private companies and research institutions come together and elaborate the latest trends in different session. This years symposium took place from May 3-4. Almost all presentations covered the topics volunteered geographic information and crowdsourced geo data to some extend.

Our group member Benjamin Herfort gave a talk in the session “user generated geo data” on the results of the 3D-MAPP project. Within the 3D-MAPP project we explored the potential and challenges related to the crowdsourcing of geo information from 3D point cloud data. Our results show that even for 3D data sets crowdsourcing can be a promising approach to capture information that is difficult to derive using automated methods alone. The findings may contribute to the development of further crowdsourcing applications to support land use change monitoring. Also the assessment of 3D building geometries and parameters such as building function are possible use cases.

For further information take a look at the project page.

Figure: Volunteers can solve 3D micro mapping tasks in a short time (less than 10 seconds).

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

on Mon, May 15, 2.15 pm,

at the Department of Geography, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 348, Lecture Hall, Room 015.

The presentation will be given by Prof. Bo Huang (The Chinese University of Hong Kong).

The topic is:

Big data for detecting human activities

Recent years have witnessed a dramatic increase in our ability to collect data from various mobile devices, sensors and the Internet. This has created an opportunity to capture human activities, which were, however, difficult to obtain. In this presentation, I will give a brief introduction to big data including an analysis of their pros and cons. Subsequently, I will discuss our recent work on using big data to detect urban structure and urban vibrancy and to estimate population-weighted air pollution exposure. Gathering the dynamic distribution of population, our studies are expected to gain more insights into the human behavior in relation to space and time, thereby facilitating the development of more informed spatial plans and designs.

OpenStreetMap has become a huge source for any kind of geographic information. In OpenStreetMap you now find not only street information, but also information related to buildings, shops, sights and in Heidelberg even to individual trees.

Furthermore, OpenStreetMap data is open data – everyone is free to edit and to download the data to create own maps and analysis. In our workshop we want to explore this potential together with you.

When: Thursday, 18.05.2017, 6 pm
Where: PC-labs + Seminarraum, Berliner Straße 48, Heidelberg University, Institute of Geography

Depending on you pre-knowledge, we plan to have different groups. Please sign up using this link until wednesday (17.05.):


  • no/ little knowledge about OpenStreetMap and GIS
  • download and visualize OSM data in ArcGIS or QGIS
  • easy queries and styling


  • some knowledge and experience with OSM data
  • select and export only specific OSM objects
  • queries related to different timestamps, users and other parameters


  • already good experience with OSM data and keen to analyse “big data”
  • store OSM data in a database
  • advanced queries for large regions containing many objects

See you soon,

your disastermappers heidelberg

PS: We booked the PC-labs, however it may be worth to bring the own laptop.

Our research member Jiaoyan Chen attended the HPI Future SOC Lab Day – Spring 2017 in Potsdam, in April 25, 2017. The HPI Future SOC (Service-Oriented Computing) Lab Day is a cooperation of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and the industrial partners Dell EMC, Fujitsu, SAP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Its mission is to enable and promote exchange and interaction between the research community and the industrial partners.

The video of Jiaoyan’s presentation “DeepVGI: Deep Learning with Volunteered Geographic Information” is available online: http://www.tele-task.de/archive/lecture/overview/9607/. Other presentations include topics like in-memory processing, knowledge graphs, NLP, deep learning, etc. Meanwhile, our project DeepVGI received a grant to freely use the Lab’s hardware resources including high performance servers.

Tourism is a economically highly important industry. It is, however, vulnerable to disaster events. Geotagged social media data, as one of the forms of volunteered geographic information (VGI), has been widely explored to support the prevention, preparation, and response phases of disaster management, while little effort has been put on the recovery phase. A recently published study develops a scientific workflow and methods to monitor and assess post-disaster tourism recovery using geotagged Flickr photos, which involve a viewshed based data quality enhancement, a space-time bin based quantitative photo analysis, and a crowdsourcing based qualitative photo analysis. The developed workflow and methods have also been demonstrated in this paper through a case study conducted for the Philippines where a magnitude 7.2 earthquake (Bohol earthquake) and a super typhoon (Haiyan) occurred successively in October and November 2013. In the case study, we discovered spatiotemporal knowledge about the post-disaster tourism recovery, including the recovery statuses and trends, and the photos visually showing unfixed damages. The findings contribute to a better tourism rehabilitation of the study area. Future work mainly includes investigating the qualitative metadata of Flickr photos, photo classification based on user behaviors, and developing methods to minimize user sampling bias.

Yan, Y., M. Eckle, C.-L. Kuo, B. Herfort, H. Fan and A. Zipf (2017): Monitoring and Assessing Post-Disaster Tourism Recovery Using Geotagged Social Media Data. International Journal of Geo-Information, ISPRS IJGI. 6(5), 144; doi:10.3390/ijgi6050144

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