Monday, December 4, 2017

"Shifting approaches to landslides" - LIDAR and American Surveyor magazines report on landslide research activites at Z_GIS

The LIDAR Magazine highlights the landslide research activities at Z_GIS in its October/November 2017 issue. The cover story “Shifting approaches to landslides
reports on the development and application of object-based image analysis (OBIA) methods for semi-automated landslide mapping using optical and SAR remote sensing data. Both the complexities in efficiently and accurately identifying, mapping and inventorying landslides as well as the potentials of powerful methods such as OBIA coupled with results from synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) are described and discussed.

Quotations from Daniel Hölbling are exemplified by several examples from his and his colleagues’ research on landslides in Taiwan, New Zealand and Iceland, including field photos from past field trips. The article also emphasizes the ongoing research carried out in the MORPH (Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Land Surface Morphology) project.

The article by freelance writer Mary Jo Wagner was compiled based on interviews with and material provided by Daniel Hölbling, who coordinates the landslide related research at Z_GIS. The story was also published in the November issue of the American Surveyor Magazine.

Contact: Daniel Hölbling

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Z_GIS Invited to ERASMUS+ Conference in Myanmar!

Z_GIS was invited to the Regional Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education organized by the European Commission's offices in Brussels and Myanmar on 29th and 30th November, 2017 in Yangon. The main aim of the conference was to foster cooperation among various Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Europe and the ASEAN region (especially from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) as well as motivate the ASEAN HEIs to apply for various types of projects within the ERASMUS+ framework. Altogether, the conference attracted about 150 participantsk.

(Conference participants)

The conference was adorned by high level delegates, i.e. Mr. Kristian Schmidt (Ambassador of the European Union to Myanmar), H.E. Prof. Dr. Myo Thein Gyi (Myanmar Union Minister for Education), Ms. Milvia van RIJ-BRIZZI (Head of Department - Erasmus+ & EU Aid Volunteers, European Commission, Brussels), a large number of Rectors, Vice Rectors and Professors from various HEIs in the region.

Dr. Shahnawaz represented Z_GIS in the conference and gave a presentation about an ongoing ERASMUS+ KA2 project 'GeoServices-4-Sustainability (GeoS4S)'. The organisers also asked him to lead a group of the participants from various HEIs aspiring to submit a project proposal. He explained to them various steps from designing an innovative project idea to developing a competitive project proposal and submitting complete documents. Later he was invited for a meeting at the Department of Geography, University of Yangon for exploring the opportunities of cooperation with Z_GIS.

The conference concluded with the demonstration of a lot of enthusiasm and motivation for enhancing cooperation among the HEIs in Europe and ASEAN.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Danubius Young Scientist Award 2017 to Z_GIS researcher Sebastian d'Oleire-Oltmanns

Z_GIS researcher Sebastian d’Oleire-Oltmanns has received the Danubius Young Scientist Award 2017 at a ceremony at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. Congratulations!

The approach, which was provided by the awardee together with the EC Joint Research Center (JRC), aimed to apply and transfer the S3 benchmarking tool. The method should enable EU regions to identify its competitive advantages through systematic comparison with other regions. It was developed as part of the McIndicator project which is coordinated by Z_GIS researcher Stefan Kienberger.

The annual Danubius Young Scientist Award seeks to highlight the scientific work and talent of young researchers and enhance the visibility of the scientific community in the region. Moreover, the award encourages young scientists to engage themselves in the scientific examination of the multifaceted issues and questions specifically related to the Danube Region.

Contact: Sebastian d’Oleire-Oltmanns

More information on the McIndicator project:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Climate smart coffee and cocoa: PhD focusing on GeoCitizen platform to train farmers and to connect them to new markets

The context of climate smart coffee and cacao is in the focus of a PhD carried out by Mona Bartling (supervisor: Prof. Thomas Blaschke). The PhD topic is based on the BMZ (German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) funded project “Climate smart coffee and cacao: from theory to practice” (CSCC), carried out from January 2017 until December 2019. The CSCC project seeks to improve coffee farmers’ income level while increasing the coffee systems resilience against climate change by mainstreaming climate-smart adaptation and mitigation practices.

Capacity will be built throughout the sector to deliver site-specific information by using the GeoFarmer application which is based on the GeoCitizen platform. These ICT tools will be further developed and used for ‘real-time’ delivery and monitoring of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) package implementation, collection of feedback from all actors and in all stages of the project.

The GeoCitizen platform is the English version of the Bürgercockpit application which is being further developed by the Z_GIS spin-off Spatial Services. Therefore, the enhancement of ICT tools within this project is of use not only to the GeoFarmer application, but all derived application versions of the GeoCitizen platform.

In her PhD Mona Bartling focuses on improving the usability of these ICT platforms by studying the implementation of gamification elements for enabling a higher level of participation, in particular of marginalised user groups with a low level of digital literacy. Partnering institutes in this project are the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). 

Contact: Mona Bartling

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2nd place to Z_GIS graduates and team at first EU Datathon

©2017 EU Open Data Portal
Z_GIS graduates Jakob Miksch and Martin Sudmanns (who is now part the scientific team at Z_GIS) and their colleague Karina Krampf got second place at the first EU Datathon in Brussels for their web application LightOnEurope. Congratulations!

Web application LightOnEurope
The web application allows users to explore any region within Europe by simply drawing it on the map – regardless of administrative boundaries. Based on the user-defined region, the app renders an infographic which conveys relevant and easy to comprehend information on it. Currently, open data on population, landcover, mountains and climate are included. An extension with other datasets such as infrastructure and lakes, but also real-time information on the weather, etc. is envisaged. The app aims to support citizens in exploring regions and in understanding their spatio-temporal dynamics. It is also relevant for other domains such as tourism and transportation and it supports enterprises in finding attractive business sites.

The EU Datathon 2017 – Reusing European Union open data for jobs and growth – EU Open Data Portal Datathon was jointly organised by the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Publications Office of the European Union.

Presenting the LightOnEurope app, the jury emphasised the use of geospatial location to combine datasets across the borders of EU states – an approach which is familiar to the team as all three members are geographers.

More information and news on the app - including the launching date - is available on Twitter and the LightOnEurope-Website. For more information on the app take a look at the presentation and the demo video.