Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Z_GIS at AHORN conference on challenges for the alps in orientation, navigation and exchange of information

Z_GIS participated in the 2015 AHORN conference in Wildhaus, Switzerland - focusing on "Web services for EO-based landslide information". Florian Albrecht, Z_GIS, discussed the needs and requirements of geological survey authorities, infrastructure providers and other stakeholders for a web service providing EO-based landslide information. The topic is currently researched in the project Land@Slide coordinated by Z_GIS.

Participants of the conference exchanged information on a variety of topics: They discussed technologies of orientation, positioning, remote sensing and communication in Alpine applications, e.g. for skiing areas, helicopter rescue and natural hazards.

Monday, November 23, 2015

GIS Day: School students experiencing real world-applications

More than 200 school students aged 12 to 18 attended this year´s GIS Day in Salzburg. All of them joined seven interactive workshops - offering insights into current developments in Geography, GIS and location-aware technologies. The funniest part of the game: experiencing real-world applications such as OSM. Cornelius Roth (Z_GIS) and Rares Rotar, masterstudent of Applied Geoinformatics at Salzburg University, encouraged them to become mappers themselves. Most impressing for the visitors: Seeing how as mappers they could help in crisis-situations. Such as Rares did in April 2015, when he first volunteered for HumanitarianOpenStreetMap (HOT) after the Nepal earthquake.

About 1.600 events were held at schools and organizations around the globe on this year´s GIS Day. The Salzburg event is organised by the departments of Geography and Geoinformatics (Z_GIS).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Spatial Services: Z_GIS Researchers and University Establishing Spin-off

Seven Z_GIS scientists and the University of Salzburg have established a spin-off called Spatial Services. It is the first time the University is acting as a partner in a company founded by its employees. Based on applied research results, the company will develop and launch products in the field of geoinformatics. Consultancy and R&D will also be part of the portfolio. More information

Thursday, November 5, 2015

ERASMUS+ 'GeoS4S' Project Launched in Salzburg!

Nineteen experts from Europe, China and Thailand gathered at the Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, University of Salzburg, Austria for the launch meeting of 'GeoServices-4-Sustainabilty' (GeoS4S) project from 30th October to 1st November, 2015. The GeoS4S project will be co-funded by the European Commission for three years (Oct. 2015 to Oct. 2018) within Key Action-2 of ERASMUS+ programme. Z_GIS is coordinating this international consortium consisting of 10 core partners and 3 associate partners. The nine core partner universities are located in the Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, China and Thailand, and the three associate partners are based in the Netherlands and Thailand (see partner details here).

The experts involved in the GeoS4S Consortium
The GeoS4S project aims at developing learning / teaching materials in the form of 20 innovative modules supporting post-graduate level geospatial study programmes at the partner institutions, to conduct international summer schools for training faculty and students in using and delivering these study modules; and at launching an online platform for disseminating the modules as free and open access learning / teaching materials worldwide.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ERASMUS: New technologies in Social Sciences Research

Focusing on PPGIS (Public Participation Geographic Information System) and VGI (Volunteered Geographic Information), Sabine Hennig (Z_GIS) held a seminar at the University of Ljulbjana, Faculty of Social Sciences. The lecture was part of the faculty´s course “New technologies in Social Sciences Research”.  It was supported by the ERASMUS teaching staff mobility programme. Discussion revealed several common research topics.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Z_GIS Landscape Lab: Experts on farming and water protection discussing environmental pollution during the snow melting period

How to secure nutrients remaining on the agricultural field rather being washed out to surface waterbodies? Collaborators from the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Salzburg and about 20 experts on water protection and farming from the regional governments of Salzburg and Upper Austria discussed environmental pollution during the snow melting period and extreme rainfall events. Hermann Klug, project leader of the Z_GIS Landscape Lab in Koppl close to Salzburg, provided a guided tour through the landscape lab. Automatically informing farmers before an extreme rainfall event would prevent applied liquid fertilizers being washed out during the event.

At the station Plainfelderbach Hermann Klug demonstrated an applied method for detecting phosphorus concentrations in the river. Measurements were triggered using real-time information from a rainfall sensor installed next to the station. Computer driven interaction between human and the phosphorus analyzer also allow the determination of measurements for certain time periods.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Kids presented YouthMap5020 at the EUC in Salzburg

They were the youngest speakers at the 2015 ESRI European User Conference: four young people presenting the YouthMap5020 to the audience. And they did a great job in showing their own achievements.
Hundreds of young people had contributed to the map. It includes special information for young people such as skate parks, chill out places and much more. Also on stage: project leaders Sabine Hennig and Robert Vogler (both Z_GIS), who had initiated the project in 2013.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Z_GIS awarded winner of Copernicus Masters 2015 - T-Systems Big Data Challenge

Z_GIS is one of the winners of the Copernicus Masters 2015! The prize was awarded to Dirk Tiede from Z_GIS at the Awards Ceremony in Berlin on October 20. Congratulations to the laureates Dirk Tiede, Andrea Baraldi, Stefan Lang, Mariana Belgiu and Martin Sudmanns 

Z_GIS is this year's winner of the T-SYSTEMS BIG DATA CHALLENGE implementing a service idea during a four-week sandbox exercise. The award-winning idea is a real-time image analysis & querying system called ImageQuerying (IQ). IQ is an innovative near real-time image understanding and querying system for big Earth data. Built upon an expert system for low-level computer vision, IQ provides each image stored in the database with at least one (or more) fully automatic generated thematic map(s). Image objects can be tracked by the IQ inference engine through time, resembling symbolic human reasoning. Information layers can be generated by users interactively by querying and combining thematic maps stored in the underlying database. 
from left: A. Baraldi (3rd) and D. Tiede (4th) 
This work was supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) as part of the project AutoSentinel 2/3, ID 848009.

Copernicus Masters – The Earth Monitoring Competition is awarding prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data. More information

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Successful completion of 'civil-GIS' workshop in Vietnam!

The Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS concluded a week-long international capacity building workshop on 'GIScience for Civil Protection Management in Southeast Asia (civil-GIS)' at the University of Transport and Communications (UTC), Hanoi, Vietnam. The workshop was organised jointly by Z_GIS and the Faculty of Civil Engineering (FCE), UTC from 5th to 9st October, 2015 followed by a field excursion on 10th October. The civil-GIS project was co-funded by ASEA Uninet, Austria.
civil-GIS participants rejoicing the successful completion of the workshop
Dr. Shahnawaz (Z_GIS) and Dr. Thi Lan Huong HO (Vice Dean, FCE) conducted the workshop at UTC. Prof. Dac Su Tran (Rector, UTC) and Prof. Ha Phi THAI (Director International Relations, UTC) inaugurated the workshop. The logistical organisation of the workshop was intensively supported by Mr. Khanh Giang LE and International Relations Office of UTC.

Dr. Thi Lan Huong HO

Focusing on interdisciplinary faculty development, 31 teachers and postgraduate students from 12 universities in 5 countries (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) participated in the workshop. The participants worked on individual projects covering a range of aspects related to civil-protection in Southeast Asia using ArcGIS Desktop and ENVI software, and presented the outcomes in the concluding session.

Prof. Ngoc Long NGUYEN (Vice Rector, UTC) and Dr. Thi Lan Huong HO conferred the certificates of successful completion on the workshop participants and congratulated them for having benefited from this international workshop. Both the high level university officials conveyed their thankfulness to Z_GIS as well as to ASEA Uninet, Austria and expressed their willingness to host anther such workshop either in Hanoi or at the UTC campus in Ho Chi Minh City in the near future.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Recovery from disasters: Successful PhD Defense

Over the last five years Diana Contreras developed new measures based on remote sensing and GIS for the monitoring of recovery processes after disasters and successfully defended her Thesis “Spatial indicators of recovery after Earthquakes"

The methodology was developed for the case of the Italian city of L’Aquila, which was struck by an earthquake in 2009. For l’Aquila, she could prove that the construction of new houses and their location and their connectedness to the city center is a major factor for the satisfaction of the residents. The indicators developed physical aspects and socio-economic aspects while the spatial dimension is the connector of the variety of indicators used. 

We wish Diana all the best for her future career.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Z_GIS department outing to the National Park Berchtesgaden

A full day of information and edutainment, including outdoor activities and of course socializing and networking – this was the Z_GIS department outing to the National Park Berchtesgaden. In the almost 30 years of Z_GIS there has always been a strong relationship and cooperation between the National Park administration and Z_GIS. The director of the National Park, Michael Vogel, started the guided tour in the Haus der Berge, the National Park Centre in Berchtesgaden. After that we got an interesting insight into the research and monitoring activities. Last but not least we enjoyed the unique alpine fauna and flora of the Wimbachtal.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

UN-SPIDER supports efforts to manage landslide risk in Bhutan. Z_GIS contributes to workshop on risk and vulnerability assessment.

13 participants from stakeholder organisations in Bhutan attended a training-workshop on landslide risk and vulnerability assessment in Timphu, Bhutan in August. Stefan Kienberger, Z_GIS, led a practical session and discussion on landslide risk and vulnerability analysis.
Stefan Kienberger, Z_GIS, led a practical session and discussion.
Landslide is one of the most prominent hazards in Bhutan. The workshop was conducted by the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs in Bhutan. The capacity building workshop was conducted as a follow-up to the UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Bhutan. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Recommendations for sustainability in the Mondsee area

Hermann Klug, Z_GIS, presented his recommendations for a sustainable development in the area around the lake Mondsee. The team "Frischer Wind für St. Lorenz” had invited him to an event on September 10, 2015. This is a group of inhabitants of St. Lorenz making determined efforts on environmental protection and sustainability in the region. About 40 participants were discussing topics such as sustainable agriculture and forestry, biodiversity and renewable resources. 
Recommendations for a sustainable development in the Mondsee area 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Science goes public: The Z_GIS Landscape Lab

How do scientists measure specific weather characteristics? And what about soil conditions and water parameters? At the autumn festival in Koppl close to Salzburg more than 200 visitors received answers to these questions. 

Hermann Klug, Z_GIS (left), at one of the guided tours through the observation station 
Hermann Klug, project leader of the Z_GIS Landscape Lab in Koppl, offered guided tours through the research field to visitors. He presented the single sensors used for analyzing the changing environmental conditions. The Landscape Lab from a bird´s eye view was another highlight: Sebastian d'Oleire-Oltmanns demonstrated how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used for analyzing the terrain from above. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Summer Hackademy on 3D Rapid Mapping

During the months of August and September, four University of Salzburg students are working on a smartphone-based solution for 3D rapid mapping. In this "Summer Hackademy", the students try to extract a high-density point cloud from a series of images from uncalibrated cameras ("Structure from Motion") in a joint effort at the intersection of Geoinformatics and Computer Science.

The highly skilled and ambitious students working on the project are Clemens Havas, Nikolai Janakiev, Jakob Miksch and Salman Muhammad, supervised by Dr. Bernd Resch and Prof. Dr. Thomas Blaschke.

The long-term goal is to develop a system for indoor navigation through the identification of key points in the point cloud by an intelligent fingerprinting algorithm.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

PhD Defense in the field of crime analysis

Today, scholars and visitors at the University of Salzburg could witness another impressive PhD defense within the Doctoral College GIScience. Ourania Kounadi, who worked over the last four years on the topic “Geospatial Privacy Framework for Confidential Discrete Data with Emphasis on Spatial Crime Analysis & Visualisation” defended successfully her research work.
Her main supervisor, Prof. Michael Leitner who has his main affiliation with Lousiana State University acted as the chair. Prof. Francis Harvey from Leibnitz Institut für Länderkunde and Prof. Thomas Blaschke, head of the DK GIScience, served as discussants. 

In her research work Rania aimed to understand the risks, trends, and opinions on location privacy. Existing protection methods for confidential discrete location data as well as published warnings about disclosure risk were reviewed. Furthermore, the public’s perception on location privacy in the particular context of crime mapping was collected through interviews and further analyzed. Also a basis was created to achieve the second aim of this thesis, which is to offer cartographic display guidelines when crime data are presented on public maps or disseminated among stakeholders. The results are scientifically innovative and highly relevant for the work of Law enforcement agencies like the Bundeskriminalamt.

We wish Rania all the best for her future career and endeavours.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Christoph Mayrhofer receiving 'Young Scholar Award'

At the annual ESRI conference in San Diego, 'Applied Geoinformatics' MSc student Christoph Mayrhofer represented Austria as a recipient of the 'Young Scholar Award' among a select group of distinguished young researchers from around the world. His work on 'Autocorrelation - based Regioclassification' was showcased to a huge audience, generating the opportunity to interact with fellow young scientists and the global geospatial research community.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eva Haslauer defended her PhD thesis successfully

Yesterday Eva Haslauer defended her PhD Thesis, entitled “GIS-based backcasting: An innovative method for parameterization of sustainable spatial planning and resource management”. Prof. Dr. Thomas Blaschke acted as the chair of the examination committee. The three discussants were: Dr. Gudrun Wallentin from the University of Salzburg, Dr. Peter Mandl  from University of Carinthia and Dr. Norbert Bartelme from the University of Graz.

During her PhD studies at the Department of Geoinformatics  at the University of Salzburg Eva was employed at the Research Studio iSpace. In her PhD work, Eva developed a GIS-based, spatially explicit backcasting model. This novel approach was implemented with the programming language Python and applied to a case study of urban sprawl in the province of Salzburg. The results of the model yield back-casting of land use classes from a future state back to the present, in 8 year time steps. This can be utilized to counteract urban sprawl and its negative consequences by supporting spatial planners to derive long-term strategies for sustainable spatial developments in the case study area.

We wish Eva all the best for her future career!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Nominations welcome for Waldo Tobler GIScience Prize

The Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) is inviting nominations for this year's Waldo-Tobler Prize, which has been established through the ÖAW Commission for GIScience!

This distinguished prize recognizes the work of Professor Waldo Tobler, who introduced innovative methods based on digital technologies into geographic research since the 1960s, with an emphasis on theory, mathematical modeling and dynamic visualization. Since 1982, Prof. Tobler has been a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Well known through his extensive publication record, he formulated the "First Law of Geography" in 1970 with the phrase “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things" which inter alia justifies analysis of spatial dependencies, metrics for spatial autocorrelation and spatial organisation in general.

Nomination letters for the Waldo Tobler GIScience Prize shall be sent to no later than August 31, 2015. Candidates shall be introduced with a cover letter justifying the nomination, a full scientific CV and list of publications.

The prize will be awarded to an individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the discipline worthy of inspiring young scientists in Geoinformatics or Geographic Information Science, and has accomplished significant advances in these fields. Qualifications should ideally include achievements in research as well as in education.

>>> Complementing this prize for scientists with outstanding stature within the Geoinformatics and Geographic Information Science communities, the ÖAW Commission for GIScience is announcing a top paper competition as the Young Researcher Award in GIScience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Z_GIS invited to participate in the “International Workshop on Supporting Future Earth with Global Geo-information”

Based on an official invitation of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), Dr. Michael Hagenlocher (Z_GIS) participated in the “International Workshop on Supporting Future Earth with Global Geo-information” in Beijing, China.
The workshop aimed at presenting and discussing (1) the latest developments related to production and sharing of global spatial data, (2) successful applications of global geo-information, (3) examining user requirements and key gaps, and (4) identifying major challenges. It was attended by several high-level experts, including among many others the glaciologist and climatologist Prof Dahe Qin, who was a key contributor to the IPCC team that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Invited experts (from left to right: Dr. David Ganz, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC); Dr. Michael Hagenlocher, University of Salzburg (Z_GIS); Mr. Chandra Mohan Bhatt, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)) and OOSA/UN-SPIDER officials (from left to right: Dr. Shirish Ravan (Head of the UN-SPIDER office Beijing); Mr. Luc St-Pierre (Senior Programme Officer from United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs ); Longfei Liu (UN-SPIDER, Beijing office).
At the workshop, Dr. Hagenlocher contributed to the session “Disaster Risk Reduction and Global Geoinformation” by delivering an invited talk entitled “From geo-data to geo-information: lessons learnt from applications throughout the disaster management cycle”, showcasing the outcome of several years of collaborative work at Z_GIS in the disaster management area.
The workshop concluded with the preparation of an International Declaration calling on communities to work together and promote multi-disciplinary collaboration towards providing reliable geo-information to support Future Earth, which shall be approved at the 2016 ISPRS Congress in Prague, Czech Republic

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Prof Josef Strobl elected to EUROGI executive committee

At the recent general board meeting of the European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information (EUROGI) in Lisbon, Prof Josef Strobl was unanimously elected and confirmed as a new member of the executive committee. Prof Strobl has led the Austrian Umbrella Organisation AGEO for several years and will support the European education and research communities within EUROGI.

At the same time Prof Henning Sten Hansen from Aalborg University has taken the helm at EUROGI for the next office period, leading this unique association as an interface of the geospatial communities in academia, business and public administration with the European Commission and other European agencies.

EUROGI's Vision is that 'Geographic Information with all its aspects should become a fully integrated component of the European knowledge-based society'.

Its mission states 'in order to ensure good governance, economic and social development, environmental protection and sustainability, and informed public participation, the mission is to maximise the availability, effective use and exploitation of GI (geographic information) throughout Europe. This requires EUROGI to stimulate, encourage and support the development and effective use of GI and relevant technologies and policies, and to act as channel of the voice for the European GI community, private and public sectors alike'.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Young Scholar Award for Christoph Mayrhofer

Christoph Mayrhofer - an Applied Geoinformatics MSc student-  has been selected for the 2015 Esri Young Scholar Award for Austria, earning him a trip to the San Diego Esri user conference with the opportunity to showcase his work - great to see this prize again won by a Z_GIS student!

The Young Scholar distinction is awarded to Mr Mayrhofer to highlight his ongoing implementation work of a specific classifier leading to an ArcMap Add-In using ArcObjects. (Proceedings AGIT Symposium - | ArcMap Add-In | see also paper).

  • Christoph Mayrhofer states: “Conventional methods for cartographic classification are often solely based on underlying attribute values. There are numerous algorithms to determine the resulting classes, such as Jenks Optimal classification, but they do not account for the spatial patterns that are inherent to spatial data. This can cause a visual disruption of areas that would normally be considered a cluster, thus making the overall message of a map harder to grasp. With a method called “Autocorrelation-Based Regioclassification” (TRAUN, C. & M. LOIDL, 2012. Autocorrelation-Based Regioclassification – A self-calibrating classification approach for choropleth maps explicitly considering spatial autocorrelation. International Journal of Geographical Information Science: iFirst 1-17.) an alternative approach was introduced that takes spatial properties into account and classifies data values in respect to their statistical and spatial properties. My work builds upon their method and shows how their approach has been implemented for ArcMap using ArcObjects in C#. The main objectives of the Add-in are to (a) decrease visual noise, (b) emphasize statistically relevant outliers, (c) deal with overlapping classes that result from the method and (d) provide visual tools to aid the understanding and interpretation of the classification. Distinct time steps of a dataset can be additionally considered to extend the concept of “neighborhood” with the temporal dimension. This allows to apply aforementioned benefits to time-enabled visualizations in ArcMap.” 

Research on this advanced and highly innovative cartographic method is currently continuing, with Christoph again leading the parallel software development efforts. His track record includes multiple other contributions to significant geospatial research efforts (e.g. a Python Tool to automatically calibrate Landsat 8 imagery into Top of Atmosphere reflectance values, including automatic parsing of different Landsat metadata files, calibration and stacking of the different bands).

Christoph’s work at the interface of advanced geospatial methods and solid implementations serve as a role model for Geoinformatics students, helping us to emphasize and illustrate the need for computational competences in Z_GIS’ study programs.

Friday, May 29, 2015

2nd place for Z_GIS in the 2015 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest

Congratulations to Dirk Tiede, Sebastian d'Oleire-Oltmanns and Andrea Baraldi! They won second place in the 2015 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest, category 3D.

The Awards Committee had to choose and rank contributions from 31 groups participating from all over the world. The Z_GIS team convinced the jury with an open topic manuscript on "Geospatial 2D and 3D object-based classification and 3D reconstruction of iso-containers depicted in a LiDAR data set and aerial imagery of a harbor”.

More information:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Congratulations to Bernd Resch for receiving Theodor-Körner Award

At a ceremony at the University of Vienna Bernd Resch (Z_GIS and Heidelberg University) on May 11 received the Theodor-Körner Award in the category of medicine, natural sciences and technology. The Price was awarded by the Austrian Ministry of Transportation, Innovation and Technology (bmvit).
In his work, Bernd Resch focuses on assessing human emotions with a variety of sensors. He aims at finding out how human emotions can be used for urban planning.

The Theodor-Körner Award is bestowed annually as recognition on outstanding scientific work of young scientists. After the ceremony the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Dr. Heinz  Fischer, invited the laureates to the Wiener Hofburg.

Z_GIS and Taiwanese partners: Joint efforts in landslide research

Z_GIS and the Disaster Prevention Research Center (DPRC) at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan City (Taiwan) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The cooperation focuses on joint research and activities in the field of landslide research by using Earth Observation (EO) data. Both partners have agreed to exchange knowledge and share methodological developments.

An additional MoU has been signed by Z_GIS and the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research at the National Central University (CSRSR) in Taoyuan. Both partners are considering research collaboration in the fields of remote sensing and GIS with a focus on landslides.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Z_GIS joins project supporting European Commission´s Biodiversity Strategy

The European Union´s Horizon 2020 cooperation project ESMERALDA (“Enhancing ecosystem services mapping for policy and decision making”) started with a kick-off meeting at Kiel University. The results of the three-and-a-half-year joint project will be implemented in the European Commission´s Biodiversity Strategy 2020.
Focusing on WP3 mapping methodology, Z_GIS will contribute standardized (near real-time) environmental data distribution, but also data harmonization processes for standardized WebGIS ecosystem services mapping. Z_GIS links to the LTER Austria platforms in Austria and involves the Environment Agency Austria. More Information:

"Generations" of GIS-academics met at the GIScience Doctoral College

Three "generations" of GIS academics met at an event at the GIScience Doctoral College in Salzburg – professors, PhD students of the current college and candidates for the next phase starting in October 2015.
The event was a farewell and a welcome at the same time: After four years the PhD students of the first phase of the Doctoral College GIScience will defend their work within the next months. Being prepared for the next step in their career, they will then leave the University. 

At the event the current PhD students presented their research results and shared their experience with PhD candidates for the next phase (2015-1019).

The candidates also had the chance to get in contact with those people who might be their professors soon and gained insight into current and future projects. This week the PhD candidates are undergoing their interviews.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Brown bag seminars

Date: Tuesday, April, 28th, 2015; 12:30 – 13:00
Place: Techno-Z, Z_GIS meeting room: SC30EG0.E07 (Schillerstraße 30, building 15, ground floor)
Presenter: Lars Wirkus (Senior Researcher and Head of Section Data and GIS, BICC - Bonn International Center for Conversion)
Title: Conversion studies for a more peaceful world

As an independent, non-profit organization, BICC (Internationales Konversionszentrum Bonn—Bonn International Center for Conversion) deals with a wide range of global topics in the field of peace and conflict research centering on Conversion Studies. Our vision is a more peaceful world. Our mission is to conduct critical, problem-oriented, policy relevant research in response to the problems posed by organized violence. To do so, we engage in active exchanges with scholars and politicians as well as stakeholders in everyday practice and civil society. As a think tank, BICC seeks to engage in a dialogue with NGOs, governments, private organizations, research institutes and universities and well as with interested individuals. The talk will give an overview about research themes and projects conducted at BICC.

Date: Wednesday, April, 29th, 2015; 12:00 – 12:30
Place: Techno-Z, Z_GIS meeting room: SC30EG0.E07 (Schillerstraße 30, building 15, ground floor)
Presenter: Florian Albrecht (PhD candidate, Researcher, Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, Salzburg University)
Title: Indoor navigation and 3D modelling with the Google Project Tango tablet Recently,

Google has come up with a tablet called “Project Tango” that integrates different sensor technologies by using concepts from robotics and visual perception. The resulting tablet improves its location measurements from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) by correcting them with motion tracking information from its fisheye camera view. Additionally, the tablet’s RGB camera has been enabled to perform depth perception which allows to generate textured 3D indoor models by filming all surfaces that shall be represented in the model. More details about the technology can be found on At the Department of Geoinformatics, we intend to explore a variety of research and development topics with the Developer Tablet including: API programming, Image Analysis/Point-Cloud Analysis, Indoor Navigation, Augmented Reality, Facility Management and other application domains. The talk will present the already identified potential of the technology and will discuss opportunities for involvement in its further exploration.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Prof Thomas Blaschke elected to Austrian Academy of Sciences

Prof Blaschke on April 17 was elected as a corresponding member into the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). This is a significant recognition of the impact of his scientific work on the highest level, and a huge honour for Z_GIS, the Doctoral College and the University of Salzburg to have Prof Blaschke among its leaders.

Due to the strictly limited number of national Academy of Sciences members only few scientists are elected into its ranks every year, as every nominee needs to be confirmed on multiple levels, listed within the available places, and is required to receive a majority of votes by the current membership.

We at Z_GIS are proud of this achievement - congratulations!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

New Journal Paper on ABIA now available

The article Towards a framework for agent-based image analysis of remote-sensing data has been published by the International Journal of Image and Data Fusion in March.

The article introduces a framework for agent-based image analysis (ABIA) of remote sensing data. Robust and transferable object-based solutions for automated image analysis, capable of analysing sets of images or even large image archives, are still rare. Object-based image analysis (OBIA) rule sets bear a high potential of transferability. The high complexity of image content however often makes human interaction necessary.
In order to automate the adaption and adjustment procedures, the authors (Hofmann, Lettmayer, Blaschke investigated the coupling, extension and integration of OBIA with the agent-based paradigm of ABIA. They show that even with simple designed image object agents (IOAs) enabling agent-based control and simulation, an improvement of the initial classification is possible. The authors demonstrate the potential of ABIA to autonomously adapt image objects to unknown imaging situations. Link to article

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Award for Excellence in Teaching @ Z_GIS | Congratulations!

Christoph Traun and Martin Loidl from Z_GIS have received the 'Award for Excellence in Teaching' for their class 'Geo-Communication'.
The 'Award for Excellence in Teaching' of the University of Salzburg has been presented to the 4 finalists from the summer semester 2014 and winter semester 2014/15 - with Christoph and Martin taking the top spot with their final presentation. Initial nominations for this award come from students, leading up to an assessment by an expert jury. On April 15, the prize was awarded at the "Day for Teaching 2015".


They follow in the footsteps of Z_GIS’ Dirk Tiede, who previously had won this prize for his 'Design and Development of Applications' class.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Special Issue: Earth Observation for monitoring NATURA 2000 Habitats

A special issue of Elsevier´s "International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation" provides insights into how Earth Observation (EO) technology supports authorities in monitoring NATURA 2000 habitats.

This Special Issue is a joint outcome of the two complementary EU projects MS.MONINA and BIO_SOS. Both projects have prepared the ground for establishing multi-scale services for habitat and biodiversity mapping based on satellite information.

MS.MONINA, coordinated by the Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS at the University of Salzburg fosters the use of Copernicus space and in-situ data infrastructure for supporting NATURA 2000 monitoring and management. From a multi-scale perspective it provides on-demand geospatial information to users such as local, national and European authorities.

The compilation of 17 original papers demonstrates the multi-faceted advantages of EO data in support of biodiversity, ecosystem and habitat monitoring. This is achieved especially with respect to the time and cost effectiveness of the tools. The published papers also show the multi-temporal/multi-scale capabilities for monitoring conservation targets. The journal special issue provides an overview of the state-of-the-art and challenges in remote sensing for mapping natural habitats and their conservation status.

The articles are accessible under open access for six months:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Z_GIS presented HEALTHY FUTURES results at IECID conference

From 23-25 March 2015, the Impact of Environmental Changes on Infectious Diseases conference (IECID) took place at the Melia Sitges hotel in Sitges, Spain. The conference covered areas like the impact of current and predicted future environmental changes on infectious disease dynamics in people, wildlife, and livestock across the globe, and what actions need to be taken.

At the conference, the EC FP7 project HEALTHY FUTURES sponsored a session entitled “Assessing the health impacts of environmental changes in eastern Africa - spatial modelling tools for integrated risk assessment”, where the project as such as well as some of the main outcomes of the project were presented by the scientific coordinator Prof. David Taylor and further members of the project consortium.

Z_GIS was represented by Dr. Michael Hagenlocher who gave the talk at the conference (S. Kienberger, M. Hagenlocher and A. Tompkins on “Risk to malaria infection in East Africa – integration of environmental and socioeconomic factors”) and presented three posters at two dedicated poster sessions:
·        Mapping malaria risk and vulnerability in the United Republic of Tanzania (Hagenlocher & Castro)
·        Spatial variation and factors associated with dengue fever outbreaks in an urban environment of Colombia (Delmelle et al.)
·        A web-based risk and vulnerability atlas for vector-borne diseases in eastern Africa (Kienberger et al.)

The talk of Michael was attended by approximately 150 people and triggered interesting discussions, while the poster presenting the HEALTHY FUTURES Atlas was highlighted as particularly interesting by The Lancet Infectious Diseases (the leading clinical infectious disease journal) on their Twitter account.