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.


Monday, November 20, 2017

GIS Day: Gaining insight into the world of Geoinformatics

About 100 pupils  and 40 teachers from a variety of high schools from Salzburg and Upper Austria  attended the 2017 GIS Day event at the Z_GIS iDEAS:lab to explore geospatial technologies and  applications. After an initial talk on "Location as interface – geomedia in the 21st century" by Robert Vogler a wide range of topics and tools was presented and tested by the participants: sensors and smart buildings, microsimulations, learning with geomedia and rightwing extremism and geomedia, to name just a few.

The attendees actively participated in the programme, such as a group of pupils who shared its experience with the GI Learner programme. Some teachers attended the event in the course of a teacher in-service training.

More information on GIS Day Salzburg
Contact: Robert Vogler

Friday, November 17, 2017

FamoS project: Bicycle models as a planning tool for reorganization of the transport infrastructure

Cities are known as complex, densely populated environments with transport infrastructure playing a substantial role. With a new policy push to shift people’s travel behavior to healthy mobility, improved cycling routes may positively alter the comfort of travelers. A model of traffic flow can help city planners to delineate spots where road rearrangement is required. By means of a simulation approach the model can imitate disaggregated movements of a very large amount of travelers in a spatio-temporal manner. Characteristics of a built bicycle network and a natural environment influence the choice of every individual to use their preferred transport mode and route within a day. Thus, dynamic assignment of people’s daily activity schedules depends on a combination of their personal attributes, along with environmental conditions and interactions. These assumptions in transport modelling are supported by an agent-based approach, which allow unpredictable patterns to emerge. 
The FFG funded FamoS project develops such a bicycle traffic flow model for the city of Salzburg in the GAMA-platform simulation environment, using the agent-based modelling approach. A project partner, the Institute of Highway Engineering and Transport Planning from the Technical University of Graz, implements a classical 4-step transport modelling technique to develop a similar bicycle demand model for Graz.

Contact: Martin Loidl,  Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics  - Z_GIS

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Z_GIS team awarded 3rd place at the European Copernicus Masters University Challenge

Congratulations to Martin Sudmanns, Hannah Augustin, Christian Werner, Anna-Maria Cavallaro, Dirk Tiede and Stefan Lang! The Z_GIS researchers developed and submitted a web-application to the Copernicus Masters University Challenge 2017.

The tool aims to improve the conceptualisation, planning and feasibility assessment of earth observation (EO) projects by providing information about the suitability of data for known project specifications. Projects utilising European Sentinel satellite data can be approached more efficiently, saving time and initial planning costs. The tool will also aid less experienced users of EO-data towards more efficient and targeted project planning and execution.

The interactive Web-based tool visualises and analyses the metadata of the 2+ million currently accessible Sentinel-2 images, revealing spatio-temporal variability of acquisitions that inherently influence analyses. It allows querying spatially explicit aggregated information, such as average cloud cover, average time span between scene acquisitions, time gap between cloud-free scenes, etc. Analytical maps explore specific themes (e.g. cloud cover) improving the identification of suitable study areas, or retrieval of Sentinel-2 imagery for a use-case with specific data characteristics.

For example, a project team might be interested in monitoring deforestation in Indonesia based on change detection using a time-series. With the tool, the users can select an area-of-interest and immediately retrieve relevant information about the frequency of acquisition, historic information of the average time between cloud-free acquisitions, etc.

Contact: Martin Sudmanns 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Excellence Award for Z_GIS' Dr.Shahnawaz

Dr. Shahnawaz has been has been honoured with the ‘Excellency Award 2017’ by the Union of Geographic Information Technologists (UGIT) established at Bangalore University, India for his contributions in enhancing geospatial education, training and research in South and Southeast Asia over last fifteen years. He is Director of UNIGIS S/E Asia at the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, University of Salzburg, Austria and has established cooperations for Geospatial education between Z_GIS and a number of leading universities in S/E Asia and implemented a range of cooperation activities.

Dr. A. S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman - Indian Space Research Organisation conferred the award on Dr. Shahnawaz in Bangalore during the inaugural session of the 6th UGIT’s International Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Water Resource Management – Innovative Geospatial Solutions schedule from November 9 to 11, 2017.