Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Netzwerk Itzling visit in the iDEAS:lab

Members of the Netzwerk Itzling, a representative interest group for the residents and different actors in the district, visited the iDEAS:lab for an exchange of thoughts and ideas. Visitors got an impression about media technology, methodology and different applications referring Geoinformatics. Technologies like GPS, Virtual Reality, Object Based Image Analysis and several Digital-Earth- Applications required the attention of the visitors.  

The overall aim is to establish a consistent exchange between scienctists from different faculties like the Center for Human- Computer Interaction, the faculty of chemistry and physics as well as the ideas:lab which belongs to the interfaculty department of Geoinformatics. Furthermore citizens and business representatives should have the possibility to get an impression about the different research areas which are located in the Science City Itzling.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

ASEA Uninet Workshop in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!

The Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS implemented a week-long Interdisciplinary Faculty Development Workshop on 'Integrated Spatial Management with GIScience' at University of Transport and Communications, Ho Chi Minh City campus (UTC-HCMC), Vietnam. The workshop was organised jointly by Z_GIS and UTC-HCMC from 23rd to 27th September, 2019 and it was co-funded by ASEA Uninet Austria.

Prof. Josef Strobl (Head of Z_GIS) had been guiding the design and implementation of various types of activities for enhancing geospatial capabilities at the cooperating Universities in Southeast Asia (i.e. Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) over the last one and half decades. This was the 15th GIScience capacity building workshop Z_GIS has conducted in the region and altogether trained about 500 university level young teachers and students.

Dr. Tran Xuan Hoa, Deputy Head of Science, Technology and International Cooperation Department, UTC-HCMC chaired the inaugural session of this workshop. The session opened with a welcome address delivered by Dr. Le Van Phuc, Vice Dean of Faculty of Civil Engineering and it was followed by introduction of the workshop and the the participants.

Dr. Shahnawaz from Z_GIS taught the concepts of GIScience and spatial analyses to the participants as well as trained them in generating and processing a range of data sets required for integrated spatial management using ArcGIS Pro software. Having background in civil engineering, 16 young teachers and students participated in the workshop and worked on group projects focusing on applications of GIScience in Building Information Management, Highway & Long Bridge Construction as well as their monitoring and Management during floods.

(participants displaying workshop completion certificates)

Prof. Dr. Nguyan Van Hung, Vice Rector (UTC-HCMC), congratulated the participants for having benefitted from this pioneering GIScience workshop in the campus. He also conveyed his gratitude to Z_GIS as well as to ASEA Uninet and extended invitation to Z_GIS faculty for strengthening and expanding institutional collaboration for longterm mutual benefits.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Erasmus+ EMJMD successfully launched

The new Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) programme funded under the Erasmus+ scheme has been successfully launched today at the University of Salzburg, Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS. The programme has been kicked-off with an 'Orientation Project' where students receive in-depth guidance regarding structure of entire curriculum and student life at Copernicus Master in Digital Earth - CDE partner universities. The highly diversified orientation includes scientific presentations, a conference keynote participation, several interactive sessions, as well as socialising in and around Salzburg.

Admission to EM CDE has been offered to twelve outstanding applicants after a qualification based selection process. A GeoData Science – Specialization Track @ University of South Brittany, Département Informatique and a Geovisualisation & Geocommunication – Specialization Track @ Palacky University Olomouc, Faculty of Science, Department of Geoinformatics offer candidates a pathway towards excellence in advanced Earth Obsveration / Geoinformatics addressing the Copernicus and Digital Earth missions and objectives. The first two semesters students study Earth Observation and Geoinformatics at the University of Salzburg, Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS.

Project and Joint Programme Co-ordinator:
Josef Strobl, University of Salzburg, Z_GIS
Programme Office:
Website: Sentinel-2 Semantic Data Cube Austria

On 9 September 2019, the consortium of the FFG-ASAP project held a user requirements meeting at ZAMG premises in Vienna and presented the first prototype of an operational Sentinel-2 semantic Earth observation (EO) data cube Austria.

During the meeting, the academic partner (University of Salzburg, Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS) and the university spin-off Spatial Services GmbH presented the newly developed prototype to the project partners AMA (Agrarmarkt Austria) and ZAMG (Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik). In the afternoon session, the meeting was open to a wider audience and other interested users.

The presented prototype is the worldwide first semantic EO data cube for Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission data. It provides new and innovative features, including semantic content-based image retrieval and image analysis of all captured Sentinel-2 data through space and time in user-selected areas of interest (AOI) and user selected time intervals.
A semantic EO data cube was defined as a spatio-temporal data cube containing EO data, where for each observation at least one nominal (i.e., categorical) interpretation is available and can be queried in the same instance (see Augustin et al, 2019).

This approach allows 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) directly in the data cube. A unique Web-interface allows interactive human-like queries based on spatio-temporal and semantic relationships. The requirements of different target user groups are met by explicitly specifying spatio-temporal models as semantic queries and storing & sharing them in a knowledge base. The semantic queries are translated by an inference engine into data cube queries and executed on-the-fly on the server-side against the data cube, where the new information is inferred. Results depend on the semantic query and include (1) analysis maps for online use or as download option for integration in any GIS, (2) time series curves for aggregated results per AOI, or (3) the selection Sentinel-2 data sets that match user-defined criteria for downloading and further analysis

The semantic EO data cube is generic, meaning it is useful for multiple thematic domains. Its potential is demonstrated in the project by developing different services in a proof-of-concept environment for Austria.

Already implemented services include:
*Semantic content-based image retrieval, e.g. for cloud-free image retrieval based on user-defined AOIs instead of image wide statistics, which is not possible in any other Sentinel-2 image database worldwide. 

*Spatio-temporal analysis through time analysing the semantic categories through time for any user-defined AOI and/or time span.               
In the second half of the project more services are developed. They will allow the generation of cloud-free mosaics for user-specified time intervals and the development of a mobile App for location-based queries through time. The prototype will be scaled up to the entire country of Austria, covering all available Sentinel-2 images since the launch of Sentinel-2A in 2015. The semantic EO data cube is implemented at EODC infrastructure; since July 2019, Z_GIS is also an associated partner of the EODC.

The Web-interface prototype serves as graphical inference engine and allows interactive human-like queries based on spatio-temporal and semantic relationships. Requirements of different user groups can be met by explicitly specifying and sharing spatio-temporal models in a knowledge base (here: analysis of water occurrence through time)

Semantic content-based image retrieval in user defined areas and user defined time intervals covering all available Sentinel-2 data within Austria, here: cloud-free image retrieval for a user selected AOI for July 2018 (image IDs of cloud free images are returned and a statistic of the cloud cover of the AOI for all analysed images).  

Contact:  Dirk Tiede, Martin Sudmanns

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

PhD defense about permafrost phenomena in artic and alpine environments

Helena Bergstedt impressively defended her PhD Thesis “Spatial and temporal patterns of microwave scattering mechanisms across scales in cold terrestrial environments”.

Over the last four years, Helena investigated permafrost phenomena in artic and alpine environments. These landscapes undergo annual thawing and refreezing of the ground surface. These freeze/thaw cycles occur at different time scales from daily variations to seasonal changes in surface state. Helena’s research focused on spatial heterogeneity within grid cells of satellite scatterometer data in highly complex terrain in cold regions. She identified and quantified different microwave scattering mechanisms that negatively influence the accuracy of surface state information derived from satellite based microwave sensors.

Through five major publications, she mainly addressed landscape type specific differences between surface state information, dependencies of frozen and thawed season backscatter variations, possibilities of deriving mean annual ground temperature and permafrost extent from freeze/thaw information and the possibility of deriving a frozen fraction capable of describing gradual freeze-up and thaw processes on a landscape scale.

This research work contributed to the improvement of accurate representation of freeze/thaw processes in complex landscapes within future surface state data sets, especially with respect to permafrost applications. Here you can find more about her research.

We wish Helena all the best on her future road of life!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Z_GIS Initiates Cooperation with University of Yangon!

Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatis - Z_GIS has initiated academic cooperation with University of Yangon (UoY), Myanmar supported through a KA107 project within ERASMUS+ programme of the European Union. The project focusses on 'enhancing GI-competences' through exchange of faculty members and post-graduate students and between the two institutions. Launching the first activity, Dr. Shahnawaz (Director, UNIGIS S/E Asia) conducted a week long workshop on 'Interdisciplinary Applications of GIScience' at the Department of Geography (DGeog) at UoY from August 19th to 24th, 2019. Twenty post-graduate students and young faculty members attended the workshop and took intensive hands-on practical training for processing and analysis of optical satellite images, digital terrain analysis and advanced geospatial modelling. Keeping in mind that Myanmar faces swear floods frequently, a full day was devoted to the processing and analysis of atmospheric and climatic datasets generated through various censors aboard TERRA and AQUA satellite platforms.

(Participants celebrating completion of the workshop)

Expressing his thanks to Z_GIS, Prof. Htun Ko (Head, DGeog) stated that this is the first ever intensive GIScience workshop organised at the department and he would appreciate more such contributions of Z_GIS in future. He also recommended one professor and one PhD scholar for academic stay at Z_GIS during academic year 2019-20.

Prof. Josef Strobl (Head, Z_GIS) welcomed the gesture of Prof. Htun Ko and assured continued support for 'enhancing GI-competences' at UoY. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Successful PhD defense within the Doctoral College "GIScience"

Within her four years stay as a PhD candidate in the Doctoral College "GIscience" at the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, Alina Ristea impressively defended her PhD Thesis “Integration and Evaluation of Social Media in Crime Prediction Models”.
In her research, Alina investigated the relationship between crime, social media and sporting events. Her work contributes to the research on environmental crime analysis and prediction by pursuing two objectives: The first one is to uncover spatial relationships between crime occurences and nearby social media activity, whereas the second one to estimate the possible influence of social media posts on crime prediction models. The focus of her thesis was therefore on sporting events, suggesting that spatial crime patterns and people’s social posts are similar on event days and more dissimilar on non-event days.

Alina will start her Post-Doc career at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs of the Northeastern University. We wish Alina all the best on her future road of life!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

CopHub.AC - Adressing an International Audience

At the 39th EARSeL Symposium we welcomed Romana Kofler from UNOOSA / UN 2030 to our panel discussion "The future uptake of space – ready for the future?". Together with representatives from ESA and the Copernicus Academy she provided interesting insights and experiences to the future developments of Copernicus and Earth observation programs.   

A technical presentation on behalf of Austria for the Working Group on the Space2030 Agenda was given by Barbara Riedler at the 62nd session of the Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS) in June in Vienna.  Entitled “The Copernicus Academy – space hub for knowledge exchange, innovation and outreach” the presentation raised awareness and will hopefully lead to more registration to the Copernicus Academy!

Contact: Barbara Riedler

Monday, July 29, 2019

In Retrospect: Summer School Copernicus for Digital Earth 2019, Salzburg

The Summer School Copernicus for Digital Earth “Benefit from the potential of freely available Satellite data and Copernicus services for your domain” – organized by Z_GIS, UNIGIS and

CopHub.AC brought together international students and practitioners from 11 countries. The intense program explored the potential of freely available satellite data and derived information products with a focus on the European Earth observation programme Copernicus and its various service domains. Best practice examples were shown and practical experiences shared. In combination with international key speakers, hands-on sessions and field trips participants had the opportunity to discuss with experts. Finally  the summer school participants presented their group work in form of story maps at a Special Session the EARSeL Symposium and earned a lot of positive feedback!

Contact: Stefan Lang, Barbara Riedler

Friday, July 19, 2019

THE spatial view - from GI_Forum 2019 towards 2020 ...

Dear symposia attendees,
dear colleagues and friends,
after a busy, successful and highly interactive geospatial conference week in Salzburg, I’d like to summarize a few resources and highlights helping to ‘dig deeper’ and review some of the conference results and impressions.
Papers again have been published in online proceedings under an open access license:
If you want to check in with any exhibitors, please refer to this list - 
Special thanks go to our sponsors and partners listed on,  we appreciate and recognize their assistance making AGIT and GI_Forum possible!

To catch up on the poster exhibit you will find all at
Best poster awards went to:

  1. „Visualising Vienna’s Underground - to the Core” - Kira Lappé, University of Vienna
  2. „Geovisualisierung mit immersiven virtuellen Umgebungen – eine empirische Studie zum räumlichen Präsenzerleben in VR-Applikationen“ - Robert Ahm, University of Vienna
  3. “combineOBUS: Eine Potenzialanalyse für Mobility Hubs für die Stadt Salzburg und ihre Nachbargemeinden” - Eva Missoni-Steinbacher and Philip Straßer, University of Salzburg – Z_GIS
Best student paper awards this year went to:

Traditionally, the Salzburg GI-Week serves as the platform to recognize outstanding theses, with winners of > and > given an opportunity to present their work. Congratulations to all awardees!

Every attendee had the chance to test their competitive spirit and geographical orientation in the satellite image quiz, if you missed this and want to check yourself > - no prizes to be won anymore now, though 😉

Finally, to review visual impressions from the conference week, explore and enjoy this online album >, or check your twitter feeds with hash tags #AGIT2019 and #GIForum2019.
Numerous special events of all kinds happened around AGIT/GI_Forum, just to highlight one directed at a wider public audience: a ‘ground control point’ for checking everyone’s smartphone location accuracy was inaugurated at >, > documented by BEV >,3129510&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL 

I am confident that you’ve not only had a great time in Salzburg but also had a chance to develop and update insights, knowledge and skills in our rapidly evolving domain of geospatial methods and technologies reaching across so many fields of applications. Looking forward to staying in touch, and to hearing about your ideas and suggestions for #AGIT2020, scheduled for July 8-10 and GI_Forum 2020 starting on July 7.
On behalf of everyone at Z_GIS and in particular our ‘Team AGIT’,
Josef Strobl

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Success Story of the Doctoral College@Z_GIS

Dr. Pablo Cabrera-Barona has been appointed as Full Professor at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO), one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America and the Caribbean dedicated to research, teaching and spreading of social sciences. 

Pablo has graduated from the Doctoral College in GIScience@Z_GIS in 2017 with a dissertation on Multidisciplinary Spatial Frameworks for Health Inequalities Analysis with Emphasis on Deprivation and Healthcare Accessibility

This professorship is within the Department of Public Affairs, with main teaching duties in the programmes of Urban Studies and Climate Change.

Congratulations and all the best for your continuing academic career!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

EO Summit – Trends, Curricula, Skills Strategy for the EO*GI Sector

The EO Summit has been held together with the OGC Technical Committee Meeting in Leuven, Belgium between June 25 and June 27, 2019. The EO Summit was a dissemination event of the EO4GEO project, organized by KU Leuven. Three main topics have been in the center of discussion:

•    technological trends and the potential of a trends watch,
•    curriculum design rooted in work processes,
•    the space/geospatial sector skills strategy.

As Z_GIS leads the activities related to curriculum design, the provision of input for the discussions around this topic was in the hands of Z_GIS team members: Barbara Hofer, Jochen Albrecht and Florian Albrecht. Curriculum development in the EO4GEO project builds on illustrations of work processes that name performed tasks and involved stakeholders. From these illustrations, key occupational profiles are derived that require modest or comprehensive skills and competencies linked to the EO*GI domain. Curricula – for various qualification levels and for various forms of training – can then be designed taking the requirements of job profiles into consideration. Jochen Albrecht emphasized the potential for organizations of making work processes explicit as this may provide insights on the efficient use of resources. Florian Albrecht talked the audience through the specific work process example of landslide mapping.

In a break-out session, participants discussed work processes that EO4GEO should focus on with specific emphasis on the sub-sectors of the project: climate change, smart cities, integrated applications.

Stay tuned about updates from the EO4GEO project by subscribing to the EO4GEO newsletter or following the twitter channel EO4GEOtalks.