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Beginning of April, Amsterdam will become the gathering place for the global geospatial community. The Geospatial World Forum is organized for the 11th time and builds on previous successes that made it a leading event in sense of innovation, thematic focus and community engagement. The forum will enable geospatial professionals and leaders from public and national mapping agencies, private sector enterprises, multilateral and development organizations, scientific and academic institutions, and for sure also end users, to exchange latest ideas and experiences.

Melanie Eckle was invited to support the event as a panelist to represent HeiGIT as well as Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team in the Geo4SDGs session. In line with the main conference motto “Empowering billions”, the Geo4SDGs session is a platform that aims at bridging the gap between the geospatial and development community, policy makers, and the implementers of the Sustainable Development Goals. Sessions will share insights on current practice and how to best support current efforts - through the skills and experience of the geospatial community.

Melanie will share experiences and provide an overview of current related projects of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). Not only is HOT facilitating development of open source tools to be put to use for mapping, monitoring and modelling SDG related features as well as indicators, HOT has also launched an annual Microgrant Program to enable related community projects.

In line with HOT, HeiGIT conducts research and develops tools, services and innovative processes for new analysis methods to support humanitarian efforts, to improve making use of relevant data from multiple sources, and to help monitor and to achieve the SDGs. See some recent online examples here (from MapSwipe Analytics via the ohsome platform or Openrouteservice for disaster management to the OSM climate protection map).

A main aim of HeiGIT is to improve knowledge and technology transfer from the fundamental geoinformatic research to practical applications, and we are on that note also very looking forward to sharing experiences and to discuss and to explore further related ideas with the global geospatial community.

Pollination by animals is an important service for wild plant communities as well as for agricultural crops. The service is mainly provided by insects, especially honeybees and a wide range of wild bees but also butterflies. A large number of crops depends globally on this pollination service – examples are apples, oranges, cocoa, coffee, strawberries and many more. While the demand for pollination services has been increasing in the last decades pollinators have been exposed to increasing threads by land use change, pesticide use, invasive species and climate change related effects. Maps of the demand for the service and on the dependency of agricultural production on the service (Lautenbach, 2019) show that wide areas across most countries would be affected by a major hit to wild and dominated pollinators. These maps provide essential information for environmental management and land use planning since they indicate benefits provided by natural habitats and green linear elements such as hedgerows. Getting ecosystem services on the map does not solve the problem but is an important first step to think about consequences of human land use and how to create win-win situations between ecosystems and human well-being. This shows how GIScience contributes to sustainable development.

The map shows the benefits of pollination for global crop production. Values are expressed in international dollars (purchasing power corrected) per hectare agricultural area. Values have been assigned based on pollination dependency and producers prices.
The map shows the benefits of pollination for global crop production. Values are expressed in international dollars (purchasing power corrected) per hectare agricultural area. Values have been assigned based on pollination dependency and producers prices.
Lautenbach, Sven. „Provisioning Ecosystem Services at Risk: Pollination Benefits and Pollination Dependency of Cropping Systems at the Global Scale“. In Atlas of Ecosystem Services, herausgegeben von Matthias Schröter, Aletta Bonn, Stefan Klotz, Ralf Seppelt, und Cornelia Baessler, 97–104. Springer International Publishing, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-96229-0_16.

You can also use Openrouteservice via the self-service data analytics plattform alteryx, when you are a user of that data science product.

Pablo Sáenz de Tejada (The Information Lab) has shared some macros on the alteryx public gallery using the Openrouteservice API that allows you to geocode addresses, calculate routes and create isochrones using the alteryx environment.

https://gallery.alteryx.com/#!app/Calculate-Isochrones/5c1931b00462d724a455ae28

https://gallery.alteryx.com/#!app/Calculate-Route/5c193104826fd30084be8fa7

https://gallery.alteryx.com/#!app/Geocode-Addresses/5c1963f08a93370dc8e4de35

And what is your favourite environment for using Openrouteservice? Any scripts or libraries to share for further tools? Of course you can use e.g. our QGIS plugin or VROOM, as well as the libraries for python, R stats or JavaScript for developing your own solutions. Find the sources on GitHub/GIScience.

The exploration of the history of OpenStreetMap data presents an important step to uncover semantic connections, regions of interest and their contiguity in time and space at varying scales. Therefore, the HeiGIT Big Spatial Data Analytics team presents a first beta version of the new OpenStreetMap History eXplorer (ohsomeHeX). It resembles the idea of the OSMatrix¹, but resolves its technological shortcomings and transforms it using current big data technologies for parallel processing in the cloud.
For that we use the ohsome OpenStreetMap History Data Analytics Platform to aggregate data of a first small set of selected features into a set of world spanning hexagonal grids² in a configurable temporal resolution. The first version uses monthly time bins. New features, more tags and further modules are currently being implemented and tested. So stay tuned!

You want to learn more about our open source ohsome framework (see here for the intro to the idea and general architecture) and it’s different layers (e.g. the OpenStreetMap History Database OSHDB) and APIs, e.g. the ohsome API? Then please take a look at the ohsome blog posts about different examples of usages of the framework (123456).

¹: The original OSMatrix was developed at the GIScience working group between 2011-2013. For more information see Roick, O.; Loos, L.; Zipf, A. (2012): A Technical Framework for Visualizing Spatio-temporal Quality Metrics of Volunteered Geographic Information. Geoinformatik 2012, Braunschweig, March 2012 and Roick, O.; Hagenauer, J.; Zipf, A. (2011): OSMatrix - Grid based analysis and visualization of OpenStreetMap. State of the Map EU. Wien, July 2011.

²: To generate the hexagonal grids we use DGGRID version 6.4. Thanks to Kevin Sahr and contributors.

Recent publications about the oshome framework:

We are organizing a workshop at the AGILE 2019 conference which will be held this June in Limassol, Cyprus. The workshop is titled as “VGI HATcH – Using Volunteered Geographic Information for Help and Assistance in Transport and Humanitarian operations”. Consider submitting your contributions. Looking forward to seeing you there!

This full-day workshop provides an opportunity for interested researchers and practitioners to share ideas and findings on innovative methods for the spatio-temporal analysis of crowd-sourced data, to demonstrate real-world applications using data from different crowd-sourcing platforms, and to discuss technical questions and innovations on data access and data fusion. The first portion of the workshop consists of short paper presentations under the general workshop theme. The second portion focuses on showcasing practical applications of VGI and social media. This includes but is not limited to: demonstrations of successful examples of using VGI/social media for humanitarian operations; use of VGI/social media for decision support in government on health societal or transport issues; use of VGI/social media or Open Data for improvement of base maps; short tutorials or demonstration of VGI/social media data analysis methods and data extraction from various online resources. Accepted papers and abstracts will be uploaded to the workshop Website. The workshop editors plan to host a special issue in the ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information journal as a follow up to the workshop. Workshop presenters will be invited to submit full papers.

We are looking for short paper or demo submissions in this domain.

VGI HATcH Workshop Topics

The principal topics for consideration in the workshop are outlined as follows:

  • Use of VGI/social media in emergency/crisis detection and humanitarian operations
  • Mobility analysis, green transportation, and health in the context of big data
  • Real world applications of VGI/social media in crisis management, health, urban and transportation planning
  • VGI/social media and decision support and government
  • VGI/social media and open data
  • Activity patterns for individual users across multiple VGI/social media platforms
  • Introduction of novel VGI or social media data sources
  • Recent developments in spatial data access from VGI/social media platforms (e.g. APIs, frameworks)
  • Joint analysis and data fusion of VGI/social media from different sources
  • Data privacy and accessibility

VGI-HATcH: Call for Contributions

This workshop welcomes two types of contributions:
1) Short paper: Submission format is a workshop short paper (2000 to 3000-word manuscript). Authors are requested to follow the formatting guidelines for short paper submissions on the AGILE 2019 call for papers page and use theWord .doc template or the Word .docx template.
(2) Abstracts for demonstration/short tutorial: Provide an abstract (up to 250 words) describing the proposed VGI/social media application showcase, or software/analysis/programming demo or tutorial.

Short papers and abstracts should be submitted directly via e-mail to Dr. Levente Juhász at ljuhasz AT fiu DOT edu.

VGI-HATcH Important Dates

  • 15 April 2019: Submission deadline for workshop papers
  • 29 April 2019: Notification of acceptance for workshop papers
  • 06 May 2019: Early Registration Ends
  • 07 June 2019: Camera ready copies of workshop papers due
  • 17 June 2019: VGI-HATcH Workshop at AGILE 2019

More info can be found on the workshop website at http://www.cs.nuim.ie/~pmooney/vgi-hatch2019/. Any questions, feel free to ask.

Workshop organizers:

We are proud to organise VGI-HATcH as another AGILE pre-conference workshop which is part of series of successful previous workshops. Indeed we as workshop organisers have been working together in this research area for several years now.

This is your first blog of the ohsome series? Before you might be confronted with any potential spoilers, you should better check out the first and the second part of this blog series (or the intro to the idea and general architecture) to be on the safe side and up to date with the current content.

So here we are again, back with a new blog of the how to become ohsome series. As promised last time, we will take a look at different mapping/tagging schemes. Therefore, we will query OpenStreetMap (OSM) history data from two different cities and compare the usage of the building tag. The chosen cities are both of similar size (roughly 150k inhabitants), but situated in two different European countries: Salzburg in Austria and Oxford in Great Britain. We will use the elements/count/groupBy/tag resource of the ohsome API to get our results grouped on different tags. Speaking of tags, we use the four most frequent building tags from taginfoyeshouseresidential and garage. The requests are built with the following parameters:

bpolys=[respective GeoJSON FeatureCollection]
time=2010-01-01/2018-07-01/P6M
format=csv
types=way
keys=building
groupByKey=building
groupByValues=yes,residential,house,garage

Our two requests contain the spatial component bpolys, having the two GeoJSON boundaries from our two regions, one for each request. You can derive these boundaries, or any other boundary from this website.

The temporal parameter time describes a time frame from 2010-01-01 to 2018-07-01 in a half-year interval (P6M stands for 6 months). This means we will get 18 results, two for every year at the first of January and the first of July respectively.

The format=csv parameter tells the API that we are interested in getting a csv file as a response, which we want to load directly into a spreadsheet program, e.g. Excel.

The types and keys parameters are our first two attributive filters, explaining that we want to query OSM way features that have any building tag assigned to them. Via the last two attributive parameters groupByKey and groupByValues, we define on which tags the grouping should be based.

Please also notice the naming of the parameters in respect to singular vs. plural: Parameters like format, or groupByKey can only contain zero or one value, whereas others like keys, or groupByValues can contain zero or more.

To make your life tweaking the API easier, we’ve created another snippet that includes the cURL requests, the parameters, as just described, as well as a view on one of the returned responses.

After the responses are returned, we can load the content into our spreadsheet program and create the following two diagrams:

The first one shows the number of buildings having the requested tags for Oxford. Additionally to the 4 tags, we see a category called remainder, which represents the number for all other building tags. Looking at the results, the most used building tag since 2012 is building=house, where it surpassed the second most frequent building=yes tag.

The second diagram gives us the numbers for Salzburg. What probably jumps into one’s eyes at first sight are the long orange bars referring to the tag building=yes. This generic tag takes by far the biggest margin of the visualized tag distribution, having between 1300 and 26000 occurrences at the requested timestamps. In comparison to that, building=house only has between 0 and 132 occurrences.

In this 3rd part of how to become ohsome, we’ve demonstrated how you can take a look at different tagging schemes through using the ohsome API to query OSM’s history. You want to learn more about how to use our ohsome framework? Take a look at other blog posts (12345).

You want to give us feedback? Just write an email to info@heigit.org. You want to know something about the next blog post? Subscribe to our ohsome blog posts using this link to the rss feed. The next episode might tell you how to analyze historical OSM data on a global scale. So stay tuned ;-)

Last week, Michael Schultz (GIScience Research Group) attended the Humanitarian Technology Days 2019 that was organized by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) as a representative of the GIScience Research Group/ HeiGIT and of our collaboration with German Red Cross.

For two days, around 80 scientists, humanitarian actors and funding organisations gathered in Oberpfaffenhofen to discuss and exchange latest research and technologies, all with the focus on supporting humanitarian practice. The main aim of the event was to connect and facilitate exchange of academia, tech providers and developers, humanitarian organisations and funding agencies- to enable the development of innovative solutions to current challenges and to improve current workflows and approaches.

Michael Schultz presented the work of the HeiGIT/ GIScience Research Group and the collaborative projects with the German Red Cross around the use of open geodata for international humanitarian practice in the World Cafe. Due to the great interest of the participants, he furthermore lead one of the Demo sessions the following day to further discuss potential collaborative project ideas. See the full program here.

During the event, DLR and representatives of the World Food Program signed a Memorandum of Understanding to “develop and implement key technologies in order to defeat global hunger by 2030.” and “to establishing a common ‘Thought Leadership’ to connect research and development activities with the development of new, future-oriented projects.”(DLR 2019)

These aims are very much in line with objectives of the HeiGIT and GIScience Research Group in Heidelberg and we are looking forward to seeing further exchange and collaboration of humanitarian actors, academia and decision makers - and to be part and to support through our expertise, skills and experience.

We thank all participants for their interest and great exchanges and are hoping to start turning the discussed ideas into action soon!

HeiGIT members Melanie Eckle and Martin Hilljegerdes were invited to the “Digital in civil protection” congress of the Landesverband Westfalen-Lippe in Münster to share insights and to present current activities all around “Potentials of Open Data and Digital Humanitarians for civil protection“. They shared experiences and impacts of the collaborative efforts of the Missing Maps project and related work of the GIScience/ HeiGIT team, including openrouteservice for disaster management and ohsome osm analytics.

The presentation was supported by Stefan Scholz of the General Secretariat of the German Red Cross (GRC) who shared experiences about the collaboration with the GIScience/ HeiGIT Team and the impact of open geoinformation, geo technologies and humanitarian mapping for the international and national GRC operations.

The HeiGIT and GRC representatives furthermore showed how national and regional GRC volunteers can get involved in these international efforts, and how they can support as well as benefit from them. Moreover, participants learned how they can make use OSM data, the presented workflows and services for their regional activities.

The event was attended by different members of regional and local German Red Cross entities as well as representatives from universities and research institutes. Participants discussed current developments around the use of digital technologies and data, as well as related challenges and potentials. Find further information about the event here.

The event already lead to several ideas around further collaboration in practical activities and research and we are very looking forward to taking these first impulses further.

DRK goes Digital

From their beginnings some 4,000 years ago to their decadence around 400 b.c., the Olmec people achieved a high level of sociopolitical complexity and dominated their native geographic territory, the southern Gulf Coast of Mexico. The first Olmec capital of San Lorenzo, Veracruz, was the only site in Mesoamerica that produced imposing monumental stone sculpture and architecture between 1800 and 1000 b.c. These characteristics reflect the capabilities of its centralized political system headed by hereditary rulers with divine legitimation. Key issues regarding the development of San Lorenzo Olmec culture center on subsistence and environment. The present study focuses on a portion of the landscape located immediately north of the first Olmec capital of San Lorenzo, Veracruz, that has been proposed as a key resource area during the development of the first civilization in Mesoamerica. We calculate the surface, volume, and water depth of this area based on archaeological data and a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) derived from an airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey. The expected minimum and maximum area, local minimum altitude, and the DTM of 5-m spatial resolution provide a basis for inferences regarding the characteristics of the wetland ecosystem during Olmec times. The goal is to quantify and qualify the potential of this resource zone relying on LiDAR topography. Our models validate the observations in the field and, when combined with algorithms, they confirm the archaeological conclusions. We affirm that the northern plain in Olmec times was deeper than it is today and would have been a source of abundant aquatic resources for the primary subsistence of the early Olmec society.

Ramírez-Núñez, C., Cyphers, A., Parrot, J.-F. & Höfle, B. (2019): Multidirectional Interpolation of LiDAR Data from Southern Veracruz, Mexico: Implications for Early Olmec Subsistence. Ancient Mesoamerica. Cambridge University Press.

Three invited speakers are now joining the compact course and workshop STAP19 on Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Geographic Phenomena organized by the 3DGeo and FCGL at IWR in Heidelberg.

Dr. Gottfried Mandlburger (Institute for Photogrammetry, University of Stuttgart) will give a talk on methods of feature and information extraction from geographic 3D point clouds. He is a main developer of the point cloud processing software OPALS (GEO Department, TU Vienna). A hands-on introduction to geographic point cloud analysis with OPALS will follow up his talk.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Nüchter (Institute of Computer Science, University of Würzburg) is joining for a session on state-of-the-art methods of 3D point cloud processing. He is head of the open source project 3D-Toolkit (3DTK), a powerful package of algorithms and methods for 3D processing. A practical exercise using 3DTK will complement this session.

Jorge Martínez-Sánchez (CiTIUS, University of Santiago de Compostela) is joining STAP19 as core developer of the LiDAR simulation framework HELIOS. He will present recent developments in the software project as well as its versatile application possibilities, which will further be part of the Programming and Research Challenge of the workshop.

Details and the most recent program can be found on the STAP19 website. There are still a few spots available – register for participation until 15th February 2019!

Follow STAP19 updates on this blog and Twitter: #STAP19

STAP19 is in part supported by the Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences (HGS MathComp), founded by DFG grant GSC 220 in the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

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