Tuesday, June 12, 2018

EO4HumEn+: Humanitarian GIS fair at the Austrian Red Cross in Vienna

On June 5th a Humanitarian GIS fair was organized by the Austrian Red Cross. It was the last big dissemination event of the FFG-funded research project EO4HumEn+ Extended EO-based Services for Dynamic Information needs in Humanitarian Action, where Z_GIS and other research partners developed innovative Earth observation (EO) and GIS-based solutions to meet the diverse information needs of the humanitarian community.

At the fair, new user-tailored solutions, digital innovations and organization-specific applications were presented by seven exhibitors: University of Salzburg Z_GIS, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of the Red cross (IFRC) Doctors without borders (MSF), SOS-children´s village, Wonderwerk and the Austrian Red cross (ÖRK) to an interested audience composed of NGO´s and governmental officials.

Not only stimulated this event cross-fertilizing among early adaptors of GIS and EO tools in operations, but also it showed best practice examples to newcomers aiming to use geospatial technology in in the humanitarian aid domain.

Contact: Stefan Lang, Barbara Riedler, Lorenz Wendt

Monday, June 11, 2018

EO4GEO: Workshop on future demands in the GI/EO sector in Castellon, Spain

On May 30, a workshop on (future) demands in GI/EO profiles and skills needs in this sector was carried out at the University of Jaume, in Castellon, Spain. In a breakout session, organised by Barbara Hofer and Stefan Lang, three expert groups were discussing the current gaps in the workforce, specific needs in vocational and lifelong learning, and future trends in both society and technology and their likely impacts on job markets.  

A panel discussion with a.o. John Wilson (UCGIS), Mike Gould (ESRI), and Steven Ramage (GEO), widened the international perspective with viewpoints from academic networks, industries, and global associations. The suggestion from Z_GIS and the University of Basilicata, to design curricula for trans-EQF Copernicus expert profiles based on existing and adapted ESCO skillsets, was greatly supported by DG GROW.


Friday, June 1, 2018

EO-Compass Launch @ Z_GIS.at

'Have you ever spent a lot of time developing an Earth observation (EO) project without exactly knowing whether the intended data source is suitable or not?', is a central issue investigated by Martin Sudmanns and Hannah Augustin from the Z_GIS' OBIA research group (http://obia.zgis.at/).

Today, they are very pleased to announce their first version of EO-Compass. Please visit http://eo-compass.zgis.at to check out what it is and how it works!

EO-Compass aims to improve the conceptualisation, planning and feasibility assessment of EO-projects by providing information about the data coverage of the European Sentinel-2 satellites. It also projects future acquisitions, offering available weather forecast data to help you decide if you can use upcoming acquisitions in applications that are time-sensitive.

The interactive Web-based tool visualises and analyses the metadata of the nearly 4 million currently accessible Sentinel-2 scenes, revealing the spatio-temporal variability that inherently influences analyses.

Three modules are available:
  1. granule maps
  2. granule statistics
  3. satellite status
The module "granule maps" allows you to visualise the spatio-temporal distribution and density of Sentinel-2 acquisitions, as well as quality information (e.g. cloud cover). 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. using the "granule statistics" module. The "satellite status" module allows you to see the current position and predicted acquisitions within the next few days, enriched with available weather data.

EO-Compass is currently a participant in the second Copernicus Accelerator Programme (2017/2018). Get more information @ https://twitter.com/eo_compass and @ https://www.facebook.com/eo.compass/

Contact: martin.sudmanns@sbg.ac.at; hannahlucille.augustin@sbg.ac.at

Friday, May 18, 2018

E2mC Review Meeting with the European Commission

The interim review meeting of the project "E2mC - Evolution of Emergency Copernicus services" took place at the premises of the company e-GEOS, Rome, Italy. At the review meeting, The European Commission welcomed the extensive developments in the project, integrating social media and crowdsourcing in the Copernicus EMS. PLUS researchers showed the improvements generated by the Witness component by validating the results of the latest uses cases with official authority datasets. Besides discussions about methodological developments and dissemination activities, the project partners agreed to test the developed algorithms and software packages in the next months in the case of an EMS activation in real time. The next upcoming events in the scope of E2mC have been planned, one of the highlights being the special session at the GI_Forum “Participatory Disaster Management” with an interactive user workshop where the functionalities of the Witness component can be tested.  

Contact: Bernd Resch, Clemens Havas
For further information, please visit E2mC project website.   

HUMAN+ Project Kick-off

The HUMAN+ project, led by Ass.-Prof. Dr. Bernd Resch at Z_GIS, aims to improve the humanitarian situation of refugees through analysing and predicting the movement of larger groups of people, with a strong focus on ethical, legal and sociological aspects (https://giscience.zgis.at/human). The Austrian and German project partners (scientific, rescue organisations, and industry) met in Salzburg to kick off the project in mid April. The project is funded in the frame of the Austrian security research programme (FFG KIRAS) by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit), and in the German Federal Government’s “Research for civil security 2012-2017” framework programme by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).  

Contact: Bernd Resch
For further information, please visit Z_GIS HUMAN+ website.   

Walk&Feel Project Started

The Walk&Feel project has recently been started, aiming to evaluate and improve urban
walkability. In a novel approach, the walking conditions for pedestrians are examined by combining human sensor data from wearable sensing devices with eDiary app entries and qualitative surveys (https://giscience.zgis.at/walkfeel). The two-year project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) in the “Mobility of the Future” programme. The Walk&Feel project has recently been started. In a novel approach, the project aims to evaluate the walking conditions for pedestrians by combining data from wearable sensors with eDiary app entries and qualitative surveys. The two-year project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) in the “Mobility of the Future” programme. 

Contact: Bernd Resch
For further information, please visit Z_GIS Walk&Feel website. 

Der 19. Österreichische Klimatag fand an der Universität Salzburg statt

Von 23. bis 25. April versammelten sich mehr als 250 WissenschaftlerInnen sowie MultiplikatorInnen, und Personen aus der Verwaltung erstmalig in Salzburg, um beim 19. Österreichischen Klimatag über die Herausforderungen des Klimawandels zu diskutieren und wissenschaftliche Fortschritte zu besprechen.

Die Klimatage widmeten sich mit rund 90 Vorträgen und Postern der Präsentation der neuesten Forschungsergebnisse des letzten Jahres. Relevante Erkenntnisse zur Zukunft des Tourismus in den Alpen, Chancen und Risiken einer an den Klimawandel angepassten Mobilitätsstrategie oder den fiskalischen Implikationen von potentiellen Schäden durch die veränderten Bedingungen spannen den inhaltlichen Bogen der Konferenz. Der Austausch zwischen Wissenschaft und Verwaltung bildete auch in diesem Jahr einen zentralen Programmpunkt, so wurde mit Ingmar Höbarth (Klima- und Energiefonds), Helmut Hojesky (BMNT), Birgit Bednar-Friedl (Universität Graz), Markus Kottek (Klimaschutzkoordinator Kärnten), Gerhard Pausch (Regionalverband Salzburger Seenland) und Stefan Kienberger (Universität Salzburg, Z_GIS) unter dem Titel „Spannungsfeld Klimaforschung – alle wollen das Beste, bekommen alle was sie brauchen?“ diskutiert.

KLIMA-WAAGNIS hieß die Intervention, die der Künstler Hermann Josef Hack auf dem Mozartplatz in Salzburg durchführte. Hundert gelbe Wasserwaagen verteilte der Künstler an Passanten und TeilnehmerInnen. „Try to be balanced and connected - versucht, ausgewogen und verbunden zu sein.“, so Hack. „Dieses treffende Motto sollte unsere Forschungsarbeit begleiten,“ kommentierte Prof. Hartmut Graßl, Pionier der Klimaforschung und Berater der Bundesregierung, der gemeinsam mit Prof. Helga Kromp-Kolb, bekannteste österreichische Klimaforscherin, an Hacks Performance teilnahm, die Aktion.

Antonia Osberger - Z_GIS was awarded 3rd place in the poster competition! Congratulations!
Der 20. Österreichische Klimatag wird 2019 in Wien stattfinden. 
Contact: Climate Change Center Austria

Friday, May 11, 2018

All's well that ends well: finalizing two Z_GIS-led humanitarian projects

Two Z_GIS-led projects in the humanitarian action domain were successfully completed with final project meetings held May 8-9 at the Earth Observation Center of DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. Representatives from major humanitarian organisations, including Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF), Austrian Red Cross, ICRC, and SOS Children’s Villages were discussing the outcome of the FFG-ASAP funded projects and their potential uptake in operational service scenarios. While the EO4HumEn+ project has further elaborated monitoring techniques for displaced population and environmental resources, employing new technologies such as semantic time-series analysis and high-res Radar imagery, the X3D4Pop project has investigated methods for improving 3D reconstruction and disaggregation of population figures in urban areas. Both projects had strong international components being carried out in the framework of the cooperation with DLR and the Swiss Space programme. 
For further information, please visit Z_GIS Humanitarian Services website. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

PhD Students and Alumni festival

The common field of Geoinformatics and GIScience – one term more technical, one more social sciences oriented -  is interdisciplinary, bridges various research topics and human dimensions. To account for the human dimensions of the research the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS organized the first PhD Students and Alumni festival on Friday, April 27, 2018.

More than 70 attendees were fascinated by the inspiring keynote presentation “Manage work, not workers. Now to organize for complexity” given by Eric-Jan Kaak which was followed by two different moderated discussion sessions. They addressed aspects of PhD education in general, PhD supervision and societal questions.

The aim was to connect current PhD candidates and PhD alumni and to create a network in the field of Geoinformatics and GIScience.  Both, young researchers at the Department as well as our alumni are not only important ambassadors, but they can continue to benefit from the scientific, social and cultural exchange of ideas with colleagues and teachers.

The reunion was a unique opportunity to reminisce old times, to meet up with colleagues, professors and staff, and to be informed about the developments at the University and in particular the Department of Geoinformatics, Z_GIS.

Monday, April 23, 2018

'Klimatag 2018' @ University of Salzburg

The conference 'Aktuelle Klimaforschung in Österreich' has been kicked-off today at the University of Salzburg. The 19. Austrian Climate Day takes place at the University of Salzburg, Faculty of Natural Sciences, from 23 to 25 April 2018.
Link to the programme.

Stefan Kienberger and Bernhard Zagel are representing 'Z_GIS' at this event co-organized by the CCCA – Climate Research Network Austria, Universität Salzburg, Land Salzburg, Salzburg 2050, Bundesministerium für Nachhaltigkeit und Tourismus (BMNT), Alpenkonvention: Ständiges Sekretariat, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (BOKU), Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geo-dynamik, (ZAMG), Umweltbundesamt (UBA), Weatherpark.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Please support us in making GI/EO professionals ready for the future!

The Earth observation (EO) and Geoinformatics (GI) sector is rapidly evolving due to technological advances, growing collections of open data (e.g. Copernicus), and a broader user base. This evolution requires the adaptation of EO/GI training for matching the skills on demand most useful for the market and society. Z_GIS is part of the EO4GEO project, which is aiming at bridging the skills gap between supply and demand of education and training in the space/geospatial sector.Please dedicate your time and expertise and help building the future workforce in the space/geospatial sector. The estimated time required to fill the surveys is 10 minutes each.
Many thanks in advance!

Are you providing training courses related to Earth observation (EO) / Geoinformatics (GI)? Please fill in the training supply survey

Are you working in the EO and/or GI sector (in a private, public or academic organization)? Please fill in the workforce demand survey 

EO4GEO is an Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance project

Monday, April 16, 2018

'Lange Nacht der Geoinformatik' 2018

A successful Researchers' Night introduced the field of Geoinformatics to hundreds of visitors, including lots of kids. They joined the Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS) presentations and activities, for many a first contact with ‚Geoinformatics‘ at the iDEAS:lab on Friday 13, 2018 (https://zgis.at/lndf2018).

The evening started with a visit by the Salzburg governor Dr Wilfried Haslauer and councillor Martina Berthold, both impressed by the wide range of applied research topics on display. This event was organized jointly and with the support of Salzburg Research  and took place in Z_GIS' iDEAS:lab in the Science City Itzling, being operated in cooperation and with sponsorship from Bildungspreis Privatstiftung, eoVision, and wissen.stadt salzburg.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Minister explores analog-digital sandbox

Photo: ITG - Innovation Service for Salzburg
Heinz Faßmann, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research visited the iDEAS:lab established by the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS at the Science City Itzling. 

During his working visit to Salzburg, including meetings with the Governor of Salzburg and the Rectorate of the University of Salzburg, Minister Faßmann used the opportunity for a short visit bringing him back to his academic roots – the discipline of Geography. The 'virtual sandbox' is an attraction within the iDEAS:lab combining learning and fun. Changes in the sand surface are digitally scanned in real time and translated into a Digital Elevation Model. Elevation visualisations or analysis and modeling results, then are projected onto the sand, making this an  interactive 'playground'.

Z_GIS' iDEAS:lab has been opened in 2016, aiming at bridging education, research and the general public. Hundreds of pupils already had the opportunity to learn about geospatial technologies like remote sensing, interactive cartography, 3D printing and smart environments - sensor webs, applied across domains like community planning, humanitarian action, soft mobility and environmental issues.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

'Young Researcher Award in GIScience': 2018 Winners

The Austrian Academy of SciencesCommission for GIScience annually selects the winner of a 'Young Researcher Award' competition, based on an outstanding publication submitted by applicants. This year we had received a record number of submissions, the review-and-selection process identified two winners tied for first place.

We are glad to extend our congratulations to:

Min Chen from the Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment (Ministry of Education of PRC), Nanjing Normal University with the paper:

Min Chen, Hui Lin, Mingyuan Hu, Li He, Chunxiao Zhang. (2013): Real geographic scenario based virtual social environment: integrate geography with social research. Environment and Planning B - Planning & Design, 40(6): 1103-1121. doi:10.1068/b38160

Pablo Cabrera-Barona from Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales and Universidad San Francisco de Quito with the paper:

Cabrera Barona P., Blaschke T. and Gaona G. (2017): Deprivation, Healthcare Accessibility and Satisfaction: Geographical Context and Scale Implications. In: Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy.

Congratulations again - and we will soon be announcing details for the 2019 'Young Researcher Award in GIScience'!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Helena Mitasova awarded 2018 Waldo-Tobler GIScience Prize

The Austrian Academy of Sciences through its Commission for GIScience is awarding the GIScience Prize named after Prof Waldo Tobler to a scientist having demonstrated outstanding and sustained contributions to the discipline worthy of inspiring young scientists in Geoinformatics and Geographic Information Science, and having accomplished significant advances in research and education.

The received nominations were reviewed and assessed by an external panel of peers, who unanimously recommended to award the 2018 prize to Prof Helena Mitasova (North Carolina State University).

Congratulations to this recognition of innovation, leadership and excellence!

Prof Mitasova has made significant contributions to the methods and tools of Geographic Information Science over several decades documented by an excellent publication record. Geovisualisation, geostatistical and geospatial analyses, eg in the field of spatial interpolation and topographic methods today implemented in the GRASS open source environment are freely available for practitioners worldwide. She is an active member of the OSGeo Foundation, recognized by the 2010 Sol Katz award for exceptional Open source geospatial community service. 

Helena Mitasova is a graduate of the Slovak Technical University in Geodetic Cartography and serves as a professor at the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS), and a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, NC. She has received numerous awards and actively contributes to the 'geospatial' community, as an editor, reviewer and most importantantly as a supervisor directing young scientists.

Prof Mitasova is an outstanding role model for next generation leaders in the geospatial sciences, and we are honoured to highlight her contributions in particular in the spirit of Open Science!