Friday, September 15, 2017

Johannes Kapser defends his PhD Thesis "Modeling of thermal lifts"

Johannes Kapser, PhD candidate at Z_GIS successfully defended his PhD Thesis “Modelling of Thermal Lift: Techniques for Mining Thermal Eddies from Aerial Movement Data”.

Being a passionate glider pilot Johannes’ research was all centred around the core question “how to model thermal lift based on collectively sensed aerial trajectory data”. Therefore he approached this central research question through three main research themes: thermal lifts, trajectory parameters and patterns, and data-based deterministic and probabilistic modelling.

As one of his major results, Johannes came to the conclusion that there is great potential in the explict geospatial modeling of thermal eddies for better understanding of thermal processes in different environments. The successful modeling of the relation between environmental context and thermals can also accelerate research in the direction of thermal prediction for secure identification of thermal lifts.

A very international audience followed Johannes’ impressive and challenging presentation and actively participated in the lively discussion between after the evaluators, Dr. Josef Strobl and Dr. Robert Marschallinger, both from Z_GIS at the University of Salzburg were satisfied with all their questions. Dr. Thomas Blaschke as the main supervisor acted as the chair. 

Johannes works for a private company in the Munich aerospace industry. We wish him well on his road to a successful career in industrial research!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mobility award for "Urban Emotions" project

VCÖ Mobilitätspreis Salzburg 2017 © Land Salzburg/Mayer
Congratulations to Bernd Resch and the "Urban Emotions" project team! The project was awarded second at this year´s "VCÖ Mobilitätspreis Salzburg". The prize is awarded annually by the Austrian traffic organisation Verkehrsclub Österreich (VCÖ). 

The "Urban Emotions" project aims to establish a more citizen-centric view of urban planning through integrating emotional responses to their environment. Do they feel comfortable or are they scared in underpasses or at traffic hotspots?  

In the interdisciplinary project, Bernd Resch and his team capture information about user´s sensations from human-generated data: 
a) from human sensors: test persons wear sensors (wrist bands or chest belts) which measure physiological parameters, from which emotions and stress levels can be derived 
b) from social media: analysis of publicly accessible data from social networks like Twitter, Facebook , Flickr and Instagram using semi-supervised machine learning algorithms.

The project aims to promote climate-friendly mobility and citizen-centered urban planning. Field studies in Kaiserslautern and in Boston are already concluded. In the aftermath of the project, the city administration of Kaiserslautern already improved the infrastructure and security for its bikers and initiated awareness-building programmes for climate-friendly mobility. The next field study will be conducted in the city of Salzburg.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Z_GIS in Tajikistan: GIS in tourism and recreation management

Within the Erasmus+ “International Credit Mobility” programme (KA107), Sabine Hennig (Z_GIS) is currently lecturing and leading workshops and tutorials at RTS University in Dushanbe and subsequently at Khorog State University (Tajikistan).

Focusing on the benefits of applying Web GIS in tourism and  recreation planning and management, she is also providing students with an introduction to GIS and spatial analysis methods.

The KA 107 programme is key to academic mobility with (non-EU) partner countries.

Contact: Sabine Hennig

Monday, September 11, 2017

Successful Conclusion of Erasmus Mundus project 'gSmart'

We invite you to explore the 'gSmart' project's report brochure which provides comprehensive information on the Z_GIS coordinated Erasmus Mundus scholarship mobility project 'gSmart - Spatial ICT Infrastructures for Smart Places'. Today, the Joint Coordinators have submitted the Final Report to the EACEA office in Brussles, the project has been successully concluded on July 14, 2017.

These gSmart scholarships focused on all levels of study, with the anticipation that this study and research mobility will in turn create new job opportunities, contribute to the enhancement of quality in teaching and learning of Geoinformatics as well as advancing research activities in this interdisciplinary domain. Further information on mobility flows provide the scholar's e-portfolios and 'Success Stories'.

This interactive and dynamic maps on gSmart mobilities from Central Asia to Europe are showing all project scholarship mobility flows >>

gSmart at a Glance
2013 – 2017, Erasmus Mundus funded mobility scholarship project for Central Asian students and staff. 106 reported scholarships. Bachelor to PhD and Post-Doc levels, and Faculty. Short visits as well as completion of full degree programs. 6 partner universities in Europe. 13 Central Asian Higher Education Institutions. State of the art education in Geoinformatics.

Barbara Brunner-Maresch, University of Salzburg, Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, gSmart Project Coordinator,

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Erasmus+ Mobility in the KA107 Program

KA107 - this sounds like a mysterious code providing secret access to something highly desirable, and it is exactly that: this EU programme is key to academic mobility with (non-EU) partner countries.

Z_GIS has a long tradition of facilitating (predominantly) incoming mobility by students and faculty. More than 100 mobility scholarships were the core element of the recently completed gSmart project, and play an important role in the current GeoS4S initiative.

The ongoing KA107 scheme is entirely focussed on academic mobility, with Z_GIS successfully participating with our partner institutions across a wide range of partner countries: these include the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well as Bhutan, Nepal, India, Thailand, China, New Zealand and Australia.

Prof Josef Strobl, Head of Department @Z_GIS states: "We are looking forward to welcome programme participants from universities in these countries and expect them to enrich the international character of our department as well as study programmes, and vice versa take home valuable knowledge, experiences and friendships."

From a broader perspective, Paris-Lodron University Salzburg (PLUS) clearly is a leading university in cooperation with partners worldwide. Compared to other Austrian Higher Education Institutions, PLUS within KA107 organizes a dominant share of Austrian student and faculty mobilities with partner institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Through highly rated and successful applications within the Erasmus+ 'International Credit Mobility' (KA107) program PLUS already has secured 1.6 million Euro in funding, available to attract excellent students and faculty from leading institutions worldwide, as well as opening doors for Salzburg students and academics at these partners.

"This raises the international visibility of Salzburg, increasingly being recognized not only as a cultural highlight, but also as an academic hub for higher learning and cutting-edge research" says Peter Mayr, Director for International Relations.

For details regarding International Credit Mobility (KA107) funding across Austrian institutions, please refer to

Sunday, September 3, 2017

agri-HIMAL workshop completed in Nepal.

The GIScience Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, University of Salzburg, Austria and Tribhuvan University (TU), Kathmandu, Nepal jointly organised a regional workshop on 'GIScience Assessing the Feasibility of Agricultural Diversification in the Himalayas (agri-HIMAL)' in Kathmandu, Nepal from 27 to 31 August, 2017.

 (agri-HIMAL organisers and participants at the workshop conclusion)

Dr. Shahnawaz (Z_GIS) and Prof. Krishna Poudel (CDE) coordinated this workshop hosted by the Central Department of Education (CED-TU). The Eurasia-Pacific Uninet (EPU), the event brought together 23 teachers, students and practitioners from Nepal, Bhutan and Austria.

The opening ceremony attended by the workshop participants and dignitaries from various academic and administrative departments of TU was chaired by Prof. Krishna Prasad Gautam (Dean, Faculty of Education). He expressed appreciation of the ongoing cooperation between the GIScience Commission, Z_GIS and TU as well as conveyed thanks to the EPU for supporting such joint activities. The participants learned about the physical, climatic and socio-economic specifics of the Himalayas through a series of lectures. They did 'hands-on' practical exercises on ArcGIS and MaxEnt software to process and analyse various geospatial datasets for assessing the feasibilities of agricultural diversification in the Himalayas.

The Rector of TU, Prof. (Ms). Sudha Tripathi, conferred the 'certificates of successful completion' on the participants. All participants appreciated the organisation of the workshop and expressed a high level of satisfaction about their learning outcomes within the short period of one week, and envisaged to expand academic cooperation between their respective institutions and Z_GIS.