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The GIScience Research Group of the Geographical Institute is delighted to announce an open position as a researcher in the project “Heterogeneity and Convergence in Shared Data Sources. The Importance of cognitive Coherence in Collective Decision Making”. Please find more information below.

Announcement of an open position at the Geographical Institute at Heidelberg University/Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities as a

researcher in GIScience

Heidelberg University invites applications for the position as a researcher at the Geographical Institute. The position is affiliated to the GIScience Research Group and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The successfull candidate will form part of the interdisciplinary project “Heterogeneity and Convergence in Shared Data Sources. The Importance of cognitive Coherence in Collective Decision Making” under the lead of Dr. Franz-Benjamin Mocnik. The offered position is limited to three years (65% position) and provides the possibility to start a PhD with a topic related to the project.

Applicants are expected to have an educational background in GIScience/geoinformatics/ geomatics, geography, natural sciences, mathematics, or similar. Further, applicants should be willing to work jointly with psychologists in an interdisciplinary mode. The following qualifications are desirable:

  • commitment to interdisciplinary research,
  • programming skills, and
  • strong analytical skills.

Applicants should include a cover letter (1 page max) describing their motivation, a CV, the MSc thesis, a list of publications (if yet existent), an example of self-written source code, and contact details for at least two references. Submit all documents in a single PDF file via email to mocnik@uni-heidelberg.de (subject: “HAoSaH Position”). Review of applications will begin 1 January, 2019 and will continue until the positions are filled.

Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is one of the world’s leading universities in Europe. The GIScience Research Group at the Institute of Geography offers a modern and interdisciplinary research environment. The group is both international and interdisciplinary in nature.

Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disablity, or age.

Further information about the project can be found on https://www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/gis/heterogeneity_en.html.

For more information, contact Dr. Franz-Benjamin Mocnik (mocnik@uni-heidelberg.de; subject: “HAoSaH Position”).

This month we kicked off our new project Waterproofing Data in São Paulo, Brazil together with partners from Warwick University and Brazilian stakeholders such as Cemaden (National Early Warning and Monitoring Centre for Natural DisastersCentro Nacional de Monitoramento e Alertas de Desastres Naturais) or local Universities, City of São Paulo, Fundacao Getulio Varga etc. We also visited colleagues at INPE (Brasilian Space Agency; Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais) in São José dos Campos for joint research and collaborations.

See some impressions from the intense week below where we had internal meetings and workshops as well as public Kick-off and presentations and interactive engagement with lokal stakeholders (including the local OpenStreetMap community), visits to some study sites and collaborative work in the centers of expertise.

The project investigates the governance of water-related risks, with a focus on social and cultural aspects of data practices. Typically, data flows up from local levels to scientific “centres of expertise”, and then flood-related alerts and interventions flow back down through local governments and into communities. Rethinking how flood-related data is produced, and how it flows, can help build sustainable, flood resilient communities.To this end, this project develops three innovative methods around data practices, across different sites and scales:

1) we will make visible existing flows of flood-related data through tracing data;

2) generate new types of data at the local level by engaging citizens through the creation of multi-modal interfaces, which sense, collect and communicate flood data, and;

3) integrate citizen-generated data with other data using geo-computational techniques.

These methodological interventions will transform how flood-related data is produced and flows, creating new governance arrangements between citizens, governments and flood experts and, ultimately, increased community resilience related to floods in vulnerable communities of Sao Paulo and Acre, Brazil.

The project will be conducted by a international team of researchers with multiple disciplinary backgrounds from Brazil, Germany and the UK, in close partnership with researchers, stakeholders and publics of a multi-site case study on flood risk management in Brazil. Furthermore, the methods and results of this case study will be the basis for a transcultural dialogue with government organisations and local administration involved in flood risk management in Germany (GIScience Heidelberg) and the United Kingdom (Warwick, J.Porto).

Funding: EU, Belmont Forum and NORFACE joint programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S)

ER3DS Makes Cities Smarter

ER3DS makes cities smarter by emission reduction using 3D spatial sensing and analysis

In the new project on Emission Reduction in Smart Cities Using 3D Spatial Sensing and Analysis (ER3DS) the combination of energy modeling, highly detailed 3D geographic sensing and computation will allow us to reveal a completely new picture of the current energy situation in a city and how the potential of future emission reduction is distributed in space and time.

Renewable energy is a very important issue in the vision of smart city, especially applying the photovoltaic panels on the roof or façade of the building for the energy creation and carbon dioxide emissions reduction. Complex and dynamic shading effects on the building envelop can be accounted for using state-of-the-art 3D city models in order to calculate the hourly solar potential through the year in a dense urban area. Upscaling the computation to a city scale is, however, a demanding challenge as the preparation of 3D city model and ingenious computation algorithm need an efficient solution in terms of accuracy and computation efforts. As of now, there lacks 3D solar potential computation and carbon dioxide reduction on a city scale of more than 1 million inhabitants.

PV application in different context of climate and culture.

PV application in different context of climate and culture.

The main aim of this project is to integrate the knowledge of highly detailed 3D spatial sensing and analysis, building energy use, and urban climate from the Taiwan and Germany academics, to incorporate with SMEs and government authorities, and to promote the Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) by joint scientific initiatives and events.

ER3DS is a joint project between the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan (Prof. Wang and Prof. Lin) and the 3DGeo Research Group (Prof. Bernhard Höfle). Moreover, third parties both from Germany and Taiwan are involved and can be found on the project website. The project will focus on using highly detailed 3D city models obtained from airborne and UAV-borne laser scanning data by a sophisticated raytracing algorithm, implemented in the Heidelberg’s open source research software VOSTOK (Voxel Octree Solar Toolkit). Further advancement will be achieved by integrating meteorological data (Central Weather Bureau CWB of Taiwan and Deutscher Wetterdienst DWD of Germany). A more realistic PV potential will be computed by considering the building regulation for the roof and attached facilities which are differently implemented in Germany and Taiwan.

3D solar potential modeling in VOSTOK

3D solar potential modeling in VOSTOK

Our novel methodological approach is an important component for a universal smart city infrastructure. The result of our project is a flexible smart city service that can update the emission reduction estimations continuously.

Check out a more detailed description of ER3DS on the project website and stay tuned for latest news!

You might also be interested in reading joint publications of prior collaborations between Taiwan and Germany:

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Funding code: 01DO19001.

ISCRAM is a forum where researchers and practitioners from all around the world meet to share experiences and raise challenges in all the aspects related to the design, development, and use of information systems to improve the management of crisis and disaster situations. The 16th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management will be held in Valencia (Spain) from May 19 to 22, 2019.

We invite you to submit papers to the rack T6 – Geospatial Technologies and Geographic Information Science for Crisis Management (GIS)

Chairs: João Porto de Albuquerque, Alexander Zipf, and Flávio E. A. Horita


ISCRAM2019 invites two categories of papers:

  • CoRe: Completed Research (from 4000 to 8000 words).
  • WiPe: Work In Progress (form 3000 to 6000 words).
The Deadline for CoRE (Full) Paper has just been extended to 08.12.2018 !

Paper submission guidelines: https://iscram2019.webs.upv.es/submissions/call-for-papers/

Geospatial Technologies and Geographic Information Science for Crisis Management (GIS)

With disasters and disaster management being an “inherently spatial” problem, geospatial information and technologies have been widely employed for supporting disaster and crisis management. This includes SDSS and GIS architectures, VGI, spatial databases, spatial- temporal methods, as well as geovisual analytics technologies, which have a great potential to build risk map, estimate damaged areas, define evacuation routes, and plan resource distribution. Collaborative platforms like OSM have been also employed to support disaster management (e.g., near real-time mapping). Nevertheless, all these geospatial big data pose new challenges for not only geospatial data visualization, but also data modeling and analysis; existing technologies, methodologies, and approaches now have to deal with data shared in various formats, different velocities, and uncertainties. Furthermore, new issues have been also emerging in urban computing and smart cities for making communities more resilient against disasters. In line with this year’s conference theme, the GIS Track particularly welcomes submissions addressing aspects of individual-centric geospatial information in disaster risk and crisis research. This includes SDSS, near-real-time mapping, situational awareness, VGI, spatiotemporal modeling, urban computing, and other related aspects. We seek conceptual, theoretical, technological, methodological, empirical contributions, as well as research papers employing different methodologies, e.g., design- oriented research, case studies, and action research. Solid student contributions are welcome.


Track topics are therefore focused on but not limited to the following list.

  • Geospatial data analytics for crisis management

  • Location-based services and technologies for crisis management

  • Geospatial ontology for crisis management

  • Geospatial big data in the context of disaster and crisis management

  • Geospatial linked data for crisis management

  • Urban computing and geospatial aspects of smart cities for crisis management

  • Spatial Decision Support Systems for crisis management

  • Individual-centric geospatial information;

  • Remote sensing for crisis management

  • Geospatial intelligence for crisis management

  • Spatial data management for crisis management

  • Spatial data infrastructure for crisis management

  • Geovisual analytics for crisis management

  • Spatial-temporal modeling in disaster and crisis context

  • Crisis mapping and geovisualization

  • Empirical case studies

After the release of the new OpenRouteService dashboard the team has worked on a new interactive API documentation application named API Playground , that allows the users to explore all the OpenRouteService API services, parameters and responses in an intuitive and easy way. It is possible run requests, see the response in a map, table or navigable JSON document, according the response type, or even download the response.

Directions request result

Directions request result

The API Playground is fully integrated with the new ORS Dashboard so that once the user is authenticated the valid API token linked to the account is automatically loaded in the request forms.

A first key aspect of the API Playground Web App is that it is actually a dynamic API documentation parser and builder. The elements of the interactive documentation are built based on an OpenRouteService API documentation fileThe app can also handle multiple versions of API documentations so that when a new API version is released it is available to be selected by the user, being possible to explore the playground and easily switch between versions.

Notwithstanding the fact of having the API resources, endpoints and forms being dynamically built the app was designed to deliver also an intuitive and responsive interface, keeping the polished look and feel found in the dashboard. To achieve this solution we have created new modules to our single page application using the Vue.js framework and Leaflet.

JSON response view maximized

JSON response view maximized

A second important aspect is that the API Playground is completely responsive and adapts its elements according the available resolution, cascading the columns and navigable elements based on available space.  In addition it was created also a custom box component that allows the users to “maximize/minimize” sections of the Web App so that the user can focus on what is important for a given interaction.

Directions form maximized with param help open

Directions form maximized with param help open

What is new?
  • New interactive documentation web app.
  • Integration with the dashboard to load user’s token key
  • Results in table, JSON, GPX or map
  • Navigable json response display
  • Download the response as a JSON document
  • Code samples updated on the fly for different languages
  • Map component with support to display routes, places/points and isochrones
  • Support for Makdown describing fields’ help and responses
  • Beautified code, GPX, JSON and code inside markdown documents
  • Selectable/restricted parameters input avoiding providing wrong values
  • Parameter input fields and help accessible in in the same view
  • Maximizable form, help, map and other responses results view
  • Colorized URL, param and values, making it easier to distinguish them
  • Single click to copy action URL
  • Response time for each request
  • Explore multiple versions of the API
API Playground:

We’re pleased to announce the next version of our QGIS plugin to access the most popular functions of openrouteservice. in QGIS.

OSM Tools is the only QGIS plugin to access advanced features like dynamic routing, isochrones or origin-destination matrices with a few mouse clicks.

You can choose to either use point layers from your QGIS project or choose a point dynamically from the map. If the request was successful, a new layer will be created with extensive attributes set.You can use the configuration file at $PLUGIN_HOME/config.yml to use higher request limits or even another base url if you’re hosting your own version of openrouteservice.

OSM Tools v3.2 fixes a lot of long-time bugs and improves the user experience significantly, especially for Linux and Mac users. Get your key and start routing:)

In an upcoming version, we’ll add support for integration into QGIS Processing module, so that it will be possible to use our APIs in the model builder.

See the project homepage here, together with the issue tracker.

Data quality and fitness for purpose can be assessed by data quality measures. Existing ontologies of data quality dimensions reflect, among others, which aspects of data quality are assessed and the mechanisms that lead to poor data quality. An understanding of which source of information is used to judge about data quality and fitness for purpose is, however, lacking. We have introduced an ontology of data quality measures by their grounding, that is, the source of information to which the data is compared to in order to assess their quality. The ontology is exemplified with several examples of volunteered geographic information (VGI), while also applying to other geographical data and data in general. An evaluation of the ontology in the context of data quality measures for OpenStreetMap (OSM) data, a well-known example of VGI, provides insights about which types of quality measures for OSM data have and which have not yet been considered in literature.

A general depiction of groundings of quality measures of data

A general depiction of groundings of quality measures of data

Further reading:

Mocnik, F. B., Mobasheri, A., Griesbaum, L., Eckle, M., Jacobs, C., & Klonner, C. (2018). A grounding-based ontology of data quality measures. Journal of Spatial Information Science (16), 1-25.

Relevant Publications on the topic of OSM/VGI data quality:

The deadline for registration for our Innsbruck Summer School of Alpine Research 2019 is approaching (deadline: 30 November 2018). If you are PhD or Master student and you want to learn most recent close-range sensing technology from leading experts in an amazing environment and venue, the Ötztal Alps in Austria, you should definitely consider to apply for participation.

All details regarding learning objectives, keynote speakers, contents and program, registration and deadlines are given on the Summer School website: https://www.uibk.ac.at/geographie/summerschool/2019/

Confirmed keynotes:

  • Bas Altena, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Fabio Remondino, 3D Optical Metrology, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy
  • Francesco Pilla, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Georg Wohlfahrt, Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • Heather Viles, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Norbert Pfeifer, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, TU Vienna, Austria
  • Simon John Buckley, Centre for Integrated Petroleum Research, Uni Research AS, Norway

Impressions from previous summer schools and field trips can be found in our blog.

The 3DGeo Group Heidelberg will be co-organizing the summer school and will lead the 4D glacier and rock glacier monitoring assignment (4D rocks!).

Melanie Eckle (HeiGIT/Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) was invited to join the 12. Vermessungsingenieurtag, 5. Geodätentag of HFT Stuttgart tomorrow, this year´s topic being “Open Source, Open Data and Open Standards”. In this vein, she will provide an overview on the use of open geo data in the humanitarian context and the related work of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Missing Maps and for sure our HeiGIT team.

We are looking forward to learning more about recent developments around the use of open data and open-source applications all around Baden-Württemberg.

The Jupiter Column (”Jupitergigantensäule”) is now available as miniature made of chocolate!

The very well-preserved Jupiter Column from the antique LOPODUNUM belongs to the most important archaeological exhibits of the Lobdengau museum. The Jupiter Column is a representative object important for the rich cultural history of Ladenburg, a town with an impressive Roman history.

Three years ago, the Jupiter Column was scientifically examined in the frame of the interdisciplinary project MUSiKE (Multidimensional Perceptibility of Cultural Heritage) as part of the Heidelberg Karlsruhe Research Partnership (HEiKA). The aim was to develop an interdisciplinary methodology to optimize measuring, viewing and understanding of cultural change in real and virtual spaces. The GIScience Research Group and the 3DGeo Research Group also participated in the project. The FCGL group, led by Hubert Mara, of the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) delivered a full 3D scan of the Jupiter Column. This scan served as a basis for subsequent archaeological analyses. Find further information about the MUSiKE project on our project website and watch our Youtube video clip.

Last week, the sweet artwork from chocolate was presented to the public and is now also in the media.

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