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

Sen2Cube.at: Sentinel-2 Semantic Data Cube Austria

On 3 July 2018, the FFG-ASAP project Sen2Cube.at 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 Sen2Cube.at 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 > http://schools.njnu.edu.cn/geog/
MSc Applied Geoinformatics @ PLUS > http://msc-agi.zgis.at/ | www.uni-salzburg.at

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.


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