Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Focus: Copernicus Ecoystem Brussels

At the Copernicus-related multi-event at Brussel’s prestigious Docks Dome venue (9-11 October 2018), Z_GIS presented its broad range of Copernicus-related activities. 
Passing all relevant milestones during the week, the Copernicus Ecosystem workshop, the Copernicus Academy/Relays General Assembly, and the joint Kick-off meetings of two projects funded under the H2020 SPACE “Copernicus Hub” call, Z_GIS, represented by Dr Stefan Lang, used this unique opportunity to network with relevant peer actors and stakeholders and showcase our contributions to the Copernicus Academy via the CopHub.AC project. 
Peter Zeil from Spatial Services Ltd, one of the ‘fathers’ of the Academy, co-moderated a workshop on skills and training perspectives arising from new Copernicus businesses.  

Contact: Stefan Lang

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

GeoS4S headed towards completion!

GeoServices-4-Sustainability (GeoS4S), an ERASMUS+ project, co-funded by the European Commission is completing its duration after 3 years covering the period from 15 October 2015 to 14 October, 2018. The last months have been quite busy for the consortium members due to a number of concluding and dissemination events being organised at different locations.

(GeoS4S consortium members at the concluding meeting)

The concluding meeting of the GeoS4S project was conducted from 10th to 12th September, 2018 at King Mongkut's University of Technology, Thornburi, Thailand. The consortium members summarised their contributions and shared their experiences as well as envisioned the paths of future collaborations.

It was followed by GeoS4S Dissemination Conference-2 on 13-14 September at the Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumthani, Thailand.

(Participants of GeoS4S Dissemination Conference-2)

About 60 academics, researchers and decision makers from 26 universities in Austria, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Thailand participated in the GeoS4S-DC-2. The GeoS4S consortium members introduced Teaching-Learning materials for the 20 modules developed within the project, integrated in an ePlatform for free and open access worldwide. The participants from other universities presented the study programmes related to Geospatial education at their respective universities and assessed that how can they potentially benefit from the outcomes of GeoS4S project.

(Participants of GeoS4S Dissemination Conference-3)

Further to this, the GeoS4S Dissemination Conference-3 was organised at the School of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China on September 19th and 20th. It attracted about 50 participants from 42 universities in Austria, China, Netherlands and Thailand. After the presentation of Teaching-Learning materials by GeoS4S consortium members and study programmes offered by different universities, the conference concluded with a round-table session. The discussion was largely focussed on how university level students at various universities in China could benefit from the Teaching-Learning materials of GeoS4S modules. It was clarified that all materials will be integrated in an ePlatform for free and open access worldwide.

For this 3-year ERASMUS+ project 'GeoS4S' the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS of the University of Salzburg, Austria served as coordinator of a consortium of 10 universities from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, China and Thailand. The GeoS4S Consortium is pleased to disseminate the Teaching-Learning materials of 20 innovative modules on a Moodle Cloud Platfrom benefitting Geospatial teachers and learners around the world!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Predicting crime locations

Philip Glasner successfully defended his PhD Thesis “Spatial and temporal analysis of crime and the impact of rhythmic cycles to predict future crime locations: Studies from the city of Vienna, Austria” within the Doctoral College “GIScience” at the University of Salzburg.

Based at the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS and supervised by Prof. Michael Leitner who’s primer affiliation is with Louisiana State University, USA and GIS industry, Philip Glasner developed algorithms and methods to predict where crimes such as burglaries are likely to happen next or again. 

He started from existing methods in predictive crime mapping and advanced methods for series events or near repeat victimization including hotspot techniques utilizing retrospective data. As a result, predictions where crime is more likely to occur based on past patterns of crime could be improved. In particular, repeated and near repeated patterns of street robberies in the city of Vienna were continuously analyzed in order to forecast where street robberies are more likely to occur. In addition, temporally imprecise crime events were reviewed and a new method was discussed to overcome limitations to exclude temporally imprecise data in spatiotemporal pattern analysis such as repeat and near repeat victimization. 

The results of this thesis suggest that there is considerable potential for law enforcement in the city of Vienna to employ concepts of predictive policing to forecast future crime events. Based on the findings, law enforcement agencies can optimize tactical and strategical planning of police resources in combating crime. 

We wish Philip all the best for his future career.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

VCÖ-Mobilitätspreis 2018 Österreich - Kategorie Wissenschaftliche Forschung und Studien

Der VCÖ Mobilitätspreis gilt in Österreich als wichtigste Auszeichnung im Bereich nachhaltiger Mobilität. Er wird jährlich in verschiedenen Kategorien verliehen. Im Rahmen einer feierlichen Preisverleihung wurde das Forschungsprojekt GISMO in der Kategorie „Wissenschaftliche Forschung und Studien“ prämiert.

'The GISMO project estimated effects of environment and mobility on a health of an individual with a help of a developed platform serving as innovative solution for evidence-based planning, consulting and information.'

VCÖ-Mobilitätspreis 2018
> GISMO project | TW
Salzburg ORF | ORF-Mediathek

Contact: Martin Loidl, GI Mobility Lab, Department of Geoinformatics - ZGIS, University of Salzburg

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

PhD defense within the Doctoral College "GIScience"

Bartosz Hawelka successfully defended his PhD Thesis “Collective Sensing and Human Mobility Analysis” within the Doctoral College “GIScience”.

The thesis focused on human mobility, a broad field dedicated to extracting and understanding patterns that govern human movements. It considered three Collective Sensing Probes that relate to human mobility, specifically to the time-space dimension of mobility, in particular telecom data, social media data and bank card transactions. A significant portion of the work referred directly or indirectly to tourism and international travel. 

The results were presented in five research papers. P1 explored several examples of collective human behavior based on telecom and social media data. P2 studied international travels reflected in geo-located Twitter and compared detected patterns with traditional datasets and mobility models. P3 exploited bank data in the context of mobility at multiple spatial scales. P4 studied individual mobility traces of tourists based on their telecom footprint. Finally, P5 combined social media data and migration statistics to study short- and long-term mobility in a global scale.
For his future career Bartosz is going to join Naspers Limited as a Senior Data Engineer.
We wish Bartosz all the best!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

MORPH project: second field trip to Iceland

During a second field trip to Iceland in June 2019, the MORPH project team visited the northern parts of the country, which are characterized by mass displacements, surface deformation and volcanic activity. Also, a great variety of geomorphological features is present in this area.

The field trip focused especially on the validation of remote sensing based mapping results in the field, the acquisition of field photos for the generation of 3D models using SfM (Structure from Motion) technique as well as GPS measurements for specific points of interest, e.g. landslide-affected areas. In addition, achieved results and ongoing project activities were presented and discussed with the collaboration partners from the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.

For more information on the project, please visit the webpage @ or contact Daniel Hölbling / Barbara Friedl

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Successful PhD defense of Ovidiu Csillik

Ovidiu Csillik successfully defended his PhD Thesis “Spatio-temporal object-based image analysis for land-use/land-cover mapping”. He started his PhD research in October 2015 within the framework of the Doctoral College “GIScience” and finished his PhD research incredibly fast within 2 years and 10 months.

Ovidiu’s research aimed to develop efficient, fast and accurate OBIA workflows for single and time series satellite images for land-use/land-cover mapping, with a special focus on mapping agriculture. First, he integrated the concept of superpixels into multiresolution segmentation workflows. Subsequently, the incorporation of the temporal domain of the satellite images into the analysis led to the development of object-based workflows for crop mapping from time series of Sentinel-2 satellite images. Finally, an object-based time-constraint dynamic time warping (DTW) workflow was developed in an object-based software environment, the first implementation of DTW in an OBIA framework.
This research has a significant potential to enable automation and objectivity of OBIA workflows for time series data analysis and was documented by six major publications.

Ovidiu will start his Postdoc career at the Department of Global Ecology of Stanford University in the research group of Greg Asner in August 2018.

We wish Ovidiu all the best for his future career and endeavours!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

GeoS4S International Summer School-3 in Germany!

The consortium of the GeoServices-4-Sustainability (GeoS4S) project consisting of 10 universities from Europe, China and Thailand conducted its 3rd International Summer School (ISS-3) for 2 weeks at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE), Germany from 9th to 20th July, 2018.

Student and Teacher participating in GeoS4S-ISS-3

The GeoS4S-ISS-3 has been designed to enhance geospatial competences of postgraduate level students and young faculty from all the consortium members. The consortium selected 48 participants hailing from 18 nationalities but studying / working at the 10 partner universities in Europe, China and Thailand. The experts from the GeoS4S consortium taught 5 modules during the first week and 5 modules during the second week of the ISS-3 and each module had about 10 participants.

The teachers from the consortium universities taught the concepts and methods of the modules they have developed within GeoS4S framework and trained the participants in implementing those concepts and methods using geospatial data and GIS software.

The Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics-Z_GIS of the University of Salzburg, Austria serves as project coordinator assisted by co-funding from the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 CBHE (Capacity Building in Higher Education) from October 2015 to October 2018.

This is the last International Summer School planned within GeoS4S project and the consortium will organise two dissemination conferences, one in Thailand and one in China during the next months.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 Sentinel-2 Semantic Data Cube Austria

On 3 July 2018, the FFG-ASAP project held its kick-off meeting in conjunction with the AGIT/GI_Forum conference in Salzburg.

Aside from the academic partner (University of Salzburg, Z_GIS), the project involves AMA (Agrarmarkt Austria), ZAMG (Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik) and the university spin-off SpatialServices.

The project will be taking very relevant steps towards building an Austrian data & information cube. It will exemplarily show that semantic content-based image and information retrieval (SCBIR) is possible in big Earth observation (EO) databases. This innovation will allow human users to query and analyse EO data on a higher semantic level (i.e. based on at least basic land cover units and encoded ontologies). Planned tasks include:

  • developing algorithms for systematic and automated semantic enrichment for Sentinel-2 images to reach a semantic level up to land cover types, ready for semantic content based querying
  • identifying suitable database technologies to develop spatio-temporal modelling and querying techniques in semantically enriched EO databases using encoded ontologies to decrease the complexity of queries for human user interaction
  • developing a Web interface for human-like queries based on spatio-temporal relationships and explicitly specifying spatio-temporal models for different envisaged user groups.

The data & information cube is generic, meaning it can be useful for multiple thematic domains. The potential will be demonstrated by developing different services in a generic, proof-of-concept environment for Austria. These services include enabling semantic content-based image retrieval, generating cloud-free mosaics for user-specified time slices and developing an App for location-based queries through time.

Contact: Dirk Tiede, Z_GIS

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Nanjing Normal University <> PLUS dual degree extended

Today we were honoured to welcome Prof HU Minquiang, Chancellor of Nanjing Normal University, for a signing ceremony with PLUS Vice Rector for International Relations, Prof Sylvia Hahn. Based on the renewed cooperation agreement, students from NJNU continue to attend the PLUS Geoinformatics MSc programme with an opportunity to simultaneously earn degrees from both universities.

School of Geographical Science at the Nanjing Normal University >
MSc Applied Geoinformatics @ PLUS > |

Monday, July 2, 2018

EO4Alps Summer school

On June 24th the UNIGIS EO4Alps summer school - jointly organized by Z_GIS and GEO - has started. The event is dedicated to the topic “Earth observation and geospatial information: supporting a sustainable use of alpine ecosystems and water resources”. It brings together international students and practitioners from 9 countries and is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Copernicus Academy. The intense program deals with the key environmental challenges in alpine regions as well as the potential of remote sensing techniques to meet these needs. The combination of international key speakers with hands-on sessions and field trips offers the opportunity to discuss with experts and get first hand experiences. Next week the summer school participants will present their group works in form of posters at the GI_Forum Expo night on Wednesday July 4th.

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.