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Brussels became the global center for OpenStreetMap enthusiasts, humanitarians and researchers during the last week. The 2nd HOT Summit was held on the 22nd September and was complemented by a Missing Maps Mapathon in the evening. From 23rd - 25th September the State of the Map conference opened their doors for the global OpenStreetMap community. Finally, all core members of the Missing Maps Project gathered together for a two-day workshop and meeting on 26th and 27th September.

During the HOT summit Benjamin Herfort of the GIScience Research Group and Pete Masters (MSF UK) presented their work related to the concept and development of the MapSwipe App. The talk showed how crowdsourcing geographic information can support the work of humanitarian organisations. Specific issues on data quality, community engagement and the future of MapSwipe were discussed during the talk and the following days.

Besides technological innovations like MapSwipe or POSM (Portable OpenStreetMap), this years HOT summit also provided the attendees with insights in the OpenStreetMap related work of several community leaders from countries in South America and Africa. These inspiring talks e.g. on slum mapping in Colombia or about the Ramani Huria project, pointed out how important mapping and geographic information are for local communities.

Moreover, all these projects show that putting together ressources and connecting the work of humanitarian organisations, remote communities, researchers and local communities will not only help to improve the OpenStreetMap, but also to improve living conditions and foster sustainable economic development.

The HOT Summit Mapathon that was organized at MSF and Handicap International office Brussels provided a venue for further discussion and for doing what “Hotties” do best- creating maps of the vulnerable areas of the world. The150 attendees mapped Masisi in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help MSF to identify vulnerable populations, plan and manage medical interventions and provide better care for those displaced by violence in the region.

The presentations, workshops and “bird of feathers” in the State of the Maps conference covered a great variety of topics. These included technical issues and tools such as the OSM Analytics and Overpass Turbo, training, community building and integration of OSM in geography education. Further focus was laid on research in OSM also including OSM data quality. In this scope Martin Dittus of the University of London also cited the work of Melanie Eckle of the GIScience research group regarding the data quality in remote and local mapping.

On 26th and 27th September the Missing Maps Meeting was held in MSF Brussels Operation Center offices. The workshop was designed to strengthen the collaboration between the core members of the project American Red Cross, MSF UK, British Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross, CartONG, HOT, Georg Washington University, Cadasta and the GIScience Research Group Heidelberg. The latter organized a session on data quality issues to learn about data needs and requirements in the humanitarian practice. Altogether the workshop illustrated the potential of the diverse backgrounds of the Missing Maps team members regarding collaboration and support for projects within the Missing Maps Project. In the future the members of the Missing Maps Project will follow this path and extend their efforts to map the most vulnerable places in the world. The GIScience Research Group will support the Missing Maps by developing and improving tools like the Tasking Manager and MapSwipe and research related to the quality of crowdsourced geographic information and community engagement.

A special thanks to the MSF Brussels for providing us with a great venue and the community, attendees and Missing Maps partners for a very interesting couple of days in Brussels!

We are looking forward to meeting some of you soon at the GeONG in Chambery.

Our efforts related to the mapping of wheelchair accessible places at the Freiwilligentag 2016 in Heidelberg are now part of a short documentary movie made by the FreiwilligenAgentur Heidelberg. The movie focuses on 6 projects promoting social inclusion of disabled people and can be watched on YouTube.

this week sees the Kick-Off Meeting of a new EU Horizon 2020 project called LandSense at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IASA) Laxemburg Austria.

The overall aim of the LandSense project is to build an innovative citizen observatory in the field of LandUse LandCover (LULC), which collects data both actively (through citizens) and passively (from authoritative, open access, and other citizen-based initiatives) and integrates them into an open platform that provides valuable quality-assured in-situ data for SMEs, larger businesses, government agencies, NGOs and researchers. There is currently no single marketplace that brings together the demand for such in-situ data (i.e. ground-based data collection coupled with interpretation of remotely-sensed data) for LULC monitoring, and could potentially attract a vast community of users across numerous disciplines and sectors. LandSense will also provide multiple pathways for citizen empowerment that go beyond simple data collection by providing a range of engagement tools that will allow the voices of citizens to be heard.

The taks of GIScience Heidelberg will mostly deal with realizing the following objectives

- To implement the LandSense Citizen Observatory and its services in demonstration cases such as cost reduction and data conflation in monitoring land change
- To acquire and consolidate feedback from citizens and user-groups for the demonstration cases
- To evaluate (lessons learned and guidelines) on the uptake and engagement of citizens and determine upscaling potential of the demonstration cases
- To assess the quality control/assurance methods available for the demonstration cases,
- To source and process authoritative data for each demonstration case for validation purposes including authoritative ground reference data against which citizen-contributed data can be compared
- To source and process additional, complementary crowdsourced data streams from citizens (e.g. Flickr, OpenStreetMap) using openly available data mining methods, which could benefit each demonstration case
- To adapt and advance the COBWEB quality assurance service and quality workflows to fit the requirements of the demonstration cases
- To apply and iteratively refine the LandSense quality control and assurance service in order to validate citizen contributed data arising from the three demonstration cases
- To establish operational workflows for integrating data contributed by citizens into authoritative systems
- To establish protocols and benchmarking standards for quality assurance of citizen-contributed data in the area of LULC monitoring

We are happily looking forward to working together with a great team of 16 further partners led by IASA!
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 689812. Project Name: LandSense

recently the first few members of the Navigation Intelligence and Location Based Services group of the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) - which is currently being established based on core funding from the Klaus-Tschira Foundation Heidelberg - moved into their new offices at Mathematikon Heidelberg. The group works on services like OpenRouteService and related apps. Further colleagues from the Big Spatial Data Analytics and the VGI for Humanitarian Support groups are still located at the GIScience Research Group Heidelberg University and waiting for joining the team at Mathematikon soon. There we are happy to be in close proximity to our colleagues at European Media Laboratory (EML), a group of the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) and Heidelberg Mobil International (HDMI) on the same floor.


The new address is:
Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT)
Berliner Straße 45 (4th floor)
D-69120 Heidelberg

today Dr. Ahmed Loai Ali successfully defended his Phd on “Enhancing Data Classification Quality of Volunteered Geographic Information” at Bremen Spatial Cognition Center with Prof. Freksa (Bremen) as first and Prof. Zipf (Heidelberg) as second reviewer. We congratulate Ahmed to his good results!
The groups collaborated also earlier (see ref. below) and Ahmed Loai Ali visited the GIScience Research Group Heidelbrg as a visiting scientist earlier.

Later today, Prof. Alexander Zipf will give a presentation about “Mapping the Urban Crowd” at the Spatial Cognition Colloquium at Bremen University.

Ali A.L., Sirilertworakul, N. , Zipf, A., Mobasheri, A. (2016). Guided Classification System for Conceptual Overlapping Classes in OpenStreetMap. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(6), 87; doi:10.3390/ijgi5060087

Do you want to learn a lot about geodata acquisition and sensing, in a beautiful and challenging high mountain environment, enjoy the evenings with colleagues and professors above 2000m altitude?

If yes, here you can find the answer: Join our summer school in 2017 (16-22 July)!

https://www.uibk.ac.at/geographie/summerschool (Flyer)

This summer school is designed for any well-motivated PhD student, post-docs and young researchers from any field, provided they have interest in these type of techniques.

Here you can find some impressions from 2015.

The Call-for-Papers is available for the Annual Meeting 2017 of the German Society for Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Geoinformation (DGPF) in Würzburg-Schweinfurt, 8-10 March 2017.

Featured topic of the conference is Cultural Heritage.

Deadline of submission is 31 October 2016!

Capturing and quantifying the world in three dimensions (x,y,z) using light detection and ranging (lidar) technology drives fundamental advances in the Earth and Ecological Sciences (EES). However, additional lidar dimensions offer the possibility to transcend basic 3-D mapping capabilities, including i) the physical time (t) dimension from repeat lidar acquisition and ii) laser return intensity (LRIλ) data dimension based on the brightness of single- or multi-wavelength (λ) laser returns. The additional dimensions thus add to the x,y, and z dimensions to constitute the five dimensions of lidar (x,y,z, t, LRIλ1… λn). This broader spectrum of lidar dimensionality has already revealed new insights across multiple EES topics, and will enable a wide range of new research and applications. Here, we review recent advances based on repeat lidar collections and analysis of LRI data to highlight novel applications of lidar remote sensing beyond 3-D. Our review outlines the potential and current challenges of time and LRI information from lidar sensors to expand the scope of research applications and insights across the full range of EES applications.

Eitel, J.U., Höfle, B., Vierling, L.A., Abellán, A., Asner, G.P., Deems, J.S., Glennie, C.L., Joerg, P.C., LeWinter, A.L., Magney, T.S., Mandlburger, G., Morton, D.C., Müller, J. & Vierling, K.T. (2016): Beyond 3-D: The New Spectrum of LiDAR Applications for Earth and Ecological Sciences. Remote Sensing of Environment. Vol. 186, pp. 372-392.

The publication was created within the project 4DEMON - 4D Near Real-Time Environmental Monitoring, which is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts, Baden-Wuerttemberg.

On the occasion of the Freiwilligentag 2016 (September 17th), organised by the MRN GmbH to realize charitable projects based on volunteer engagement, the CAP4Access team from GIScience group of Heidelberg university contributed by leading a Wheelmap mapping event at Heidelberg. Wheelmap.org is a map for finding wheelchair accessible places and it is run by one of our CAP4Access project parnters, the nonprofit organization Sozialhelden e.V.. The map is based on OpenStreetMap and works similar to Wikipedia which means that anyone can contribute and mark public places around the world according to their wheelchair accessibility.

For the mapping event, a total number of 32 volunteers, including the whole under-17 soccer team of SG Heidelberg-Kirchheim, performed mobile mapping using the Wheelmap App on their smartphones. Before the mapping started, the participiants were taught the Wheelmap traffic light system, a simple and easy to understand way to rate the accessibility of public places („green“ = fully, „orange“ = partially, „red“ = not and „grey“ = unknown wheelchair accessible). After that, the volunteers where divided into groups of 2-4 and chose parts of town that had many unmarked places.

Overall, a total number of 150 public places were marked by volunteers during the mapping event (cf. figures below). Additionally more than 100 already marked places were checked for their up-to-dateness.

In sum, this mapping event was a great success! We would like to thank all of the volunteers for their social engagement and the team of the FreiwilligenAgentur Heidelberg for supporting our project within the framework of the Freiwilligentag 2016. Furthermore we would like to thank the nonprofit organisation Anpfiff ins Leben e.V. for connecting the CAP4Access team with the SG Heidelberg-Kircheim.

The 7th PCC meeting for CAP4Access project took place on September 8th in Bonn. The meeting was focused on presentations and discussions regarding the works that have been progressed since the last meeting and more importantly, clarifying and planning on what remains to be done for the final deliverables by end of the year. From GIScience Heidelberg, Adam Rousell and Amin Mobasheri attended the meeting and presented the works on routing & navigation and data quality assessment, respectively.

Furthermore, on the next day (Sep 9th), the 2nd expert workshop for the project was hosted by Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) in the beautiful venue of Schloss Birlingoven.

Presentations from all project partners were given for the advisory board members. The list of attendees of the advisory board included:  Dr. David Banes (UK), Ms. Emilie Goffin (European Network for Accessible Tourism), Ms. Tatiana Alemán Selva (Confederación PREDIF, Spain), Prof. Antonio Luis Martínez Pujalte (University Miguel Hernández of Elche, Spain), Ms. Stephanie Schwarz (Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Austria) and Mr. Michiel Desmet (On Wheels, Flanders, Belgium).

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