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We are happy to hereby share latest information about the 5th HOT Summit- the annual gathering of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team community- which after great events in Washington, Brussels, Ottawa and Dar es Salaam, will next year come to the picturesque city of Heidelberg, September 19th and 20th.

View from Old Bridge to the Castle

HOT Summit 2019 as well as the immediately preceding State of the Map, the global OpenStreetMap conference, will be hosted by Heidelberg University. Therefore, members of the OSM and HOT community will have the chance to visit both events and spend a whole 5 days to mingle, share ideas, discuss current topics- and most importantly Bridge the Map, the theme for the State of the Map 2019. Find more about the Summit 2019 and get latest updates here.
Interested in supporting the Summit Working Group and/ or the local team and to help discuss, plan and develop ideas for HOT Summit 2019? There are different ways to support remotely as well as locally, and we are always looking forward to hearing your ideas. Just ping us on summit@hotosm.org.
Or are you interested in supporting the event through sponsorship? Please find further information here and in the Sponsorship Prospectus.

HOT Summit 2018 Participants in Dar es Salaam National Museum

A mechanistic understanding of human activity patterns lays a foundation for many applications. The majority of the current research aims to outline human activity patterns mainly from spatiotemporal perspectives (i.e., modeling human mobility patterns), lacking of understanding of the motivations behind behaviors. The aim of a recently published study is to model and understand human activity patterns within urban areas using both spatiotemporal and cognitive psychology methods to measure both human behavior patterns and the underlying motivations. We first propose a framework that enables us to analyze the spatiotemporal patterns of urban human activities, infer the associated semantic patterns that represent the motivations driving human mobility choices and behaviors, and measure the similarity between human activities. We then construct a human activity network based on the similarity to depict human activity patterns. The framework is applied to a case study of Toronto, Canada, where geotagged tweets are used as a proxy for human activities to explore activity patterns. The analysis of the human activity network shows that 61% of tweeter users follow similar activity patterns. Our work provides a new tool for better understanding the way individuals interact with urban environments that could be applied to a variety of urban applications.

Wei Huang & Songnian Li (2019) An approach for understanding human activity patterns with the motivations behind, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 33:2, 385-407, DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2018.1530354

Related earlier work:

Nowadays, several research projects show interest in employing volunteered geographic information (VGI) to improve their systems through using up-to-date and detailed data. The European project CAP4Access was one of the successful examples of such international-wide research projects that aimed to improve the accessibility of people with restricted mobility using crowdsourced data. In this project, OpenStreetMap (OSM) was used to extend OpenRouteService. However, a basic challenge that this project tackled was the incompleteness of OSM data with regards to certain information that is required for wheelchair accessibility (e.g. sidewalk information, kerb data, etc.). In the following article, we present our approach in awareness raising and using tools for tagging accessibility data into OSM database for enriching the sidewalk data completeness. Several experiments have been carried out in different European cities, and discussion on the results of the experiments as well as the lessons learned are provided. The lessons learned provide recommendations that help in organizing better mapping party events in the future. We conclude by reporting on how and to what extent the OSM sidewalk data completeness in these study areas have benefited from the mapping parties by the end of the project.

Illustrations of portable ramp mapped on Wheelmap

Illustrations of portable ramp mapped on Wheelmap

Further reading:

Mobasheri, A., Zipf, A., Francis. L. (2018). OpenStreetMap Data Quality Enrichment through Awareness Raising and Collective Action Tools – Experiences from a European project. Journal of Geo-spatial Information Science, 21:3, 234-246, DOI: 10.1080/10095020.2018.1493817

The article is part of a special issue on Crowdsourcing for Urban Geoinformatics of the Journal of Geo-spatial Information Science. Amongst interesting other papers this issue includes some more articles from our group:

Further selected publications on the topic of OSM/VGI for accessibility:

Conceptual compliance measures to what degree contributors of volunteered geographic information (VGI) are using proposed tagging-standards. Here, we look into OpenStreetMap (OSM) as the most well-known example for VGI. In OSM the most important tagging guideline is defined by its wiki. In addtion, OSM editors like iD or JOSM provide presets (default options to adhere to tagging standards).

This analysis is based on the paper “A Conceptual Quality Framework for Volunteered Geographic Information” by Andrea Ballatore and Alexander Zipf. By using the OpenStreetMap History Database (OSHDB), developed at the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology, we can analyze how compliant the tagging of highway objects of the OSM data is with these tagging-standards. The OSHDB allows us to further analyze the temporal evolution of these compliance values:

Figure 1: Conceptual Compliance of OSM history data of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania with the tagging-guidelines for highway-objects of the editors iD, JOSM and the OSM Wiki.

An example of such a data compliance evolution is shown in Figure 1, where in the time between mid of 2015 and 2016 we see a reduction of the compliance rate for the iD and the JOSM editor. A further investigation reveals that the decrease is mainly caused by one special OSM tag (de:strassenschluessel), which was then used in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania. That tag is not part of the iD and JOSM tagging-guidelines, leading to a decrease in the corresponding compliance values.

A recent article on heigit.org explains the analysis in more details and showcases how the OSHDB API can be used to for doing (conceptual) quality analysis of OSM data:

heigit.org/conceptual-compliance-analysis-with-the-openstreetmap-history-database-oshdb/

Related work: Ballatore, A. ; Zipf, A. (2015): A Conceptual Quality Framework for Volunteered Geographic Information. In COSIT 2015 Conference on Spatial Information Theory XII October 12-16, 2015, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. UC Santa Barbara.

Understanding how citizens interact with transportation system is a key to solving a variety of urban issues in general and traffic congestion in particular. Recently, scholars have put efforts on the pertinent work ranging from developing traffic predictors to understanding human mobility and activity patterns. Multiple types of data have been used, of which crowdsourced data (e.g. social media data) plays an essential role. Due to the limitation of traffic information extraction from social media data raised in the existing work, a paper that recently has been published online (limited time free access) aims to develop an approach which allows us to explore the potential influence of human activities on daily traffic congestions through linking human activities derived from geotagged tweets to the daily traffic conditions.

The result of a case study of Toronto, Canada exhibits that entertainment related activities are more likely to appear during evening peak hours, while it seems that morning rush hours are less sensitive to human activities. In addition, it is learned that the activities involved in international events tend to have a long-term impact on urban traffic. This work provides a new tool for urban planners and policy makers to deal with complex urban issues effectively using low-cost social media data and sheds light on the research on analyzing urban traffic and urban dynamics based on crowdsourced data.

Wei Huang, Shishuo Xu, Yingwei Yan, Alexander Zipf (2018): An exploration of the interaction between urban human activities and daily traffic conditions: A case study of Toronto, Canada,
Cities, ISSN 0264-2751, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2018.07.001.

How does a sandy beach naturally restore after a storm event? Invaluable information on this process is provided by a highly temporal (hourly) time series of 3D point cloud data acquired over several months at the beach of Kijkduin (NL). The permanent LiDAR system is operated by a team of TU Delft researchers in the frame of the CoastScan project under lead of Sander Vos, Roderik Lindenbergh, and Sierd de Vries.

As part of the research in the Auto3Dscapes project, PhD student Katharina Anders of the 3DGeo Research Group is currently staying with the Optical Laser and Remote Sensing Research Group of Roderik Lindenbergh at TU Delft. Main objective is the development of methods, to quantify the 3D deformation over time from the 4D data and characterize the spatially and temporally variable morphological change processes on the beach.

This PhD research is funded 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.

The 10th “Fachaustausch Geoinformation“, a networking  event for professionals in the geodata and geoinformation domain organised yearly by GeoNet.MRN, took place in Heidelberg’s Print Media Academy on November 29th. GIScience research group at Heidelberg University and HeiGIT (Heidelberg Center for Geographic Information Technology) presented current research and projects at the event’s exhibition, including the latest developments in openrouteservice, our powerful and flexible routing service based on OpenStreetMap. In a keynote, Dr. Sven Lautenbach gave an overview of the application of geoinformation in environmental research. In the “Environment and Sustainabilty” session, a talk by  Dr. Tessio Novack presented progress in personalized pedestrian routing. The event provided the opportunity for many interesting discussions and new contacts.

The GIScience Research Group of the Geographical Institute is delighted to announce an open position as a researcher in the project “Heterogeneity and Convergence in Shared Data Sources. The Importance of cognitive Coherence in Collective Decision Making”. Please find more information below.


Announcement of an open position at the Geographical Institute at Heidelberg University/Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities as a

researcher in GIScience

Heidelberg University invites applications for the position as a researcher at the Geographical Institute. The position is affiliated to the GIScience Research Group and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The successfull candidate will form part of the interdisciplinary project “Heterogeneity and Convergence in Shared Data Sources. The Importance of cognitive Coherence in Collective Decision Making” under the lead of Dr. Franz-Benjamin Mocnik. The offered position is limited to three years (65% position) and provides the possibility to start a PhD with a topic related to the project.

Applicants are expected to have an educational background in GIScience/geoinformatics/ geomatics, geography, natural sciences, mathematics, or similar. Further, applicants should be willing to work jointly with psychologists in an interdisciplinary mode. The following qualifications are desirable:

  • commitment to interdisciplinary research,
  • programming skills, and
  • strong analytical skills.

Applicants should include a cover letter (1 page max) describing their motivation, a CV, the MSc thesis, a list of publications (if yet existent), an example of self-written source code, and contact details for at least two references. Submit all documents in a single PDF file via email to mocnik@uni-heidelberg.de (subject: “HAoSaH Position”). Review of applications will begin 1 January, 2019 and will continue until the positions are filled.

Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is one of the world’s leading universities in Europe. The GIScience Research Group at the Institute of Geography offers a modern and interdisciplinary research environment. The group is both international and interdisciplinary in nature.

Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disablity, or age.

Further information about the project can be found on https://www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/gis/heterogeneity_en.html.

For more information, contact Dr. Franz-Benjamin Mocnik (mocnik@uni-heidelberg.de; subject: “HAoSaH Position”).

This month we kicked off our new project Waterproofing Data in São Paulo, Brazil together with partners from Warwick University and Brazilian stakeholders such as Cemaden (National Early Warning and Monitoring Centre for Natural DisastersCentro Nacional de Monitoramento e Alertas de Desastres Naturais) or local Universities, City of São Paulo, Fundacao Getulio Varga etc. We also visited colleagues at INPE (Brasilian Space Agency; Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais) in São José dos Campos for joint research and collaborations.

See some impressions from the intense week below where we had internal meetings and workshops as well as public Kick-off and presentations and interactive engagement with lokal stakeholders (including the local OpenStreetMap community), visits to some study sites and collaborative work in the centers of expertise.




The project investigates the governance of water-related risks, with a focus on social and cultural aspects of data practices. Typically, data flows up from local levels to scientific “centres of expertise”, and then flood-related alerts and interventions flow back down through local governments and into communities. Rethinking how flood-related data is produced, and how it flows, can help build sustainable, flood resilient communities.To this end, this project develops three innovative methods around data practices, across different sites and scales:

1) we will make visible existing flows of flood-related data through tracing data;

2) generate new types of data at the local level by engaging citizens through the creation of multi-modal interfaces, which sense, collect and communicate flood data, and;

3) integrate citizen-generated data with other data using geo-computational techniques.

These methodological interventions will transform how flood-related data is produced and flows, creating new governance arrangements between citizens, governments and flood experts and, ultimately, increased community resilience related to floods in vulnerable communities of Sao Paulo and Acre, Brazil.

The project will be conducted by a international team of researchers with multiple disciplinary backgrounds from Brazil, Germany and the UK, in close partnership with researchers, stakeholders and publics of a multi-site case study on flood risk management in Brazil. Furthermore, the methods and results of this case study will be the basis for a transcultural dialogue with government organisations and local administration involved in flood risk management in Germany (GIScience Heidelberg) and the United Kingdom (Warwick, J.Porto).

Funding: EU, Belmont Forum and NORFACE joint programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S)

ER3DS Makes Cities Smarter

ER3DS makes cities smarter by emission reduction using 3D spatial sensing and analysis

In the new project on Emission Reduction in Smart Cities Using 3D Spatial Sensing and Analysis (ER3DS) the combination of energy modeling, highly detailed 3D geographic sensing and computation will allow us to reveal a completely new picture of the current energy situation in a city and how the potential of future emission reduction is distributed in space and time.

Renewable energy is a very important issue in the vision of smart city, especially applying the photovoltaic panels on the roof or façade of the building for the energy creation and carbon dioxide emissions reduction. Complex and dynamic shading effects on the building envelop can be accounted for using state-of-the-art 3D city models in order to calculate the hourly solar potential through the year in a dense urban area. Upscaling the computation to a city scale is, however, a demanding challenge as the preparation of 3D city model and ingenious computation algorithm need an efficient solution in terms of accuracy and computation efforts. As of now, there lacks 3D solar potential computation and carbon dioxide reduction on a city scale of more than 1 million inhabitants.

PV application in different context of climate and culture.

PV application in different context of climate and culture.

The main aim of this project is to integrate the knowledge of highly detailed 3D spatial sensing and analysis, building energy use, and urban climate from the Taiwan and Germany academics, to incorporate with SMEs and government authorities, and to promote the Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) by joint scientific initiatives and events.

ER3DS is a joint project between the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan (Prof. Wang and Prof. Lin) and the 3DGeo Research Group (Prof. Bernhard Höfle). Moreover, third parties both from Germany and Taiwan are involved and can be found on the project website. The project will focus on using highly detailed 3D city models obtained from airborne and UAV-borne laser scanning data by a sophisticated raytracing algorithm, implemented in the Heidelberg’s open source research software VOSTOK (Voxel Octree Solar Toolkit). Further advancement will be achieved by integrating meteorological data (Central Weather Bureau CWB of Taiwan and Deutscher Wetterdienst DWD of Germany). A more realistic PV potential will be computed by considering the building regulation for the roof and attached facilities which are differently implemented in Germany and Taiwan.

3D solar potential modeling in VOSTOK

3D solar potential modeling in VOSTOK

Our novel methodological approach is an important component for a universal smart city infrastructure. The result of our project is a flexible smart city service that can update the emission reduction estimations continuously.

Check out a more detailed description of ER3DS on the project website and stay tuned for latest news!

You might also be interested in reading joint publications of prior collaborations between Taiwan and Germany:

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Funding code: 01DO19001.

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