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Due to the advent of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), large datasets of user-generated Points of Interest (POI) are now available. As with all VGI, however, there is uncertainty concerning data quality and fitness-for-use. Currently, the task of evaluating fitness-for-use of POI is left to the data user, with no guidance framework being available which is why the research published in a recent paper proposes a generic approach to choose appropriate measures for assessing fitness-for-use of crowdsourced POI for different tasks.

POI are related to the higher-level concept of geo-atoms in order to identify and distinguish their two basic functions, geo-referencing and object-referencing. Then, for each of these functions, suitable measures of positional and thematic quality are developed based on existing quality indicators.

Typical use cases of POI are evaluated with regards to their use of the two basic functions of POI, and allocated appropriate measures for fitness-for-use. The general procedure is illustrated on a brief practical example using data from Facebook and Factual.

This research addresses the issue of fitness-for-use of POI on a higher conceptual level by relating it to more fundamental notions of geographical information representation. The results are expected to assist users of crowdsourced POI datasets in determining an appropriate method to evaluate fitness-for-use.

Jonietz, D., Zipf, A. (2016): Defining fitness-for-use for crowdsourced points of interest (POI). ISPRS Internat. Journal of Geo-Information. 2016. 5 (9), 149; doi:10.3390/ijgi5090149

REMINDER: Open Position:
Senior Wissenschaftliche
(r) Mitarbeiter/-in Geoinformatik (100%)

Research Coordinator Geoinformation Technology
VGI Services, LBS & Big Spatial Analytics
Aufbau des Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT)

In der Abteilung Geoinformatik der Universität Heidelberg ist baldmöglichst eine Stelle für eine(n) motivierte(n) und erfahrene(n) wissenschaftl. Mitarbeiter/-in (100%, TV-L), idealerweise promoviert, zu besetzen. Zur Förderung von Technologietransfer und angewandte Forschung wird derzeit das von der Klaus-Tschira Stiftung getragene Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) aufgebaut. Hierfür wird ein Research Coordinator gesucht.

Die Aufgaben beinhalten insbesondere:

· Konzeption neuer R&D-Aktivitäten, Dienste und Anwendungen auf Basis OpenStreetMap und weiteren nutzergenerierten Daten aus dem Social Web, v.a. in den Bereichen Datenqualität, Mobilität, Navigation & Transport, Smart Cities, Katastrophenmanagement und Crowdsourcing

· Auftrags- und Projektakquise, -durchführung und –management, Drittmittelerfahrung im nationalen und internationalen Umfeld, Zusammenarbeit mit den Wissenschaftlern GIScience HD

· Unterstützung bei der Koordination von Forschungs- und Entwicklungsarbeiten der beteiligten Teams (LBS/Mobilität, Big Data Analytics, Disaster Management)

· Kommunikation und Präsentation intern und mit externen Partnern und Anwendern

Wir bieten eine attraktive Stelle in einem interdisziplinär ausgerichteten dynamischen Team und in einem hochaktuellen Forschungsgebiet. Die Abteilung ist u.a. Mitglied im Interdisziplinären Zentrum für Wissenschaftliches Rechnen (IWR) & Gründungsmitglied des Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE). Die Exzellenz-Universität Heidelberg bietet in besonderem Maße ein anregendes interdisziplinäres Forschungsumfeld mit vielen persönlichen Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten.

Wir erwarten ein überdurchschnittlich abgeschlossenes Universitätsstudium in einem der Fächer Geoinformatik, Informatik, Geographie oder ähnlichen Disziplinen, idealerweise mit Promotion. Erforderlich sind neben ausgeprägtem Teamgeist, Selbständigkeit und hoher Motivation, ausgezeichnete Methoden- und Technikkompetenz im Bereich Geoinformatik, v.a. in den genannten Gebieten, und insbesondere die Fähigkeit zum Projektakquise und –durchführung, Marketing und Vertrieb, Koordination und Administration, sowie ausgezeichnete Fähigkeiten zu interner und externer Kommunikation und Präsentation auf Deutsch und Englisch.

Die Stelle ist baldmöglichst zu besetzen und zunächst auf 3 Jahre befristet mit der Option auf langfristige Verlängerung. Aussagekräftige Bewerbungsunterlagen (CV, Zeugnisse, Referenzprojekte, etc.) senden Sie baldmöglichst bis spätestens 05.09.2016 - bzw. solange bis die Position besetzt ist elektronisch an zipf@uni-heidelberg.de. Schwerbehinderte werden bei gleicher Eignung vorrangig eingestellt.

GIscience Research Group

Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology

Institute of Geography ·Im Neuenheimer Feld 368 · 69120 Heidelberg · Germany

https://www.facebook.com/GIScienceHeidelberg http://twitter.com/GIScienceHD

Time: Monday, 5 September 2016, 09:00 – 17:00h
Venue: Seminar Room 5.104, Im Neuenheimer Feld 205, Mathematikon

No fees: Attendance of the scientific program is without costs.

Objective and Scope

The main objective of this public workshop is to bring together experts from Geosciences and 3D Earth observation / Geomatics, from academia and industry, as well as from Europe and Asia. The specific thematic focus is the development of automatic methods to extract geoinformation for improved management of forests and natural hazards in Asia and Europe. Multiple sources of 3D remote sensing data (e.g., LiDAR, photogrammetry; mobile mapping on ground and with drones) and methods to integrate these data will be presented by international experts from universities in Germany and Taiwan, and from leading companies for 3D data acquisition.

Detailed Program (PDF)

09.00-09.15 Opening by Dean Prof. Linti and Jun.-Prof. Höfle

09.15-10.00 The General Geology and Natural Hazards of Taiwan (Prof. Wu, NCKU)

10.00-10.45 LiDAR Investigation of Landslide and Forests in Taiwan (Prof. Wang, NCKU)

10.45-11.15 Coffee/Tea Break (Common Room Mathematikon 5/303)

11.15-12.00 New LiDAR Monitoring Paradigm of Natural Hazards and Forests (JProf. Höfle, Heidelberg)

12.00-14.00 Lunch Break (Mensa: Directions: http://tinyurl.com/3dtaiger)

14.00-14.45 An Overview on Unmanned Aerial Photogrammetry and Applications (Seitz, Heidelberg)

14.45-15.45 Mobile Mapping in Rough Terrain (Prof. Nüchter, Würzburg)

15.45-16.00 Coffee/Tea Break (Common Room Mathematikon 5/303)

16.00-17.00 UAV-based and Multispectral LiDAR Sensors (Dr. Pfennigbauer, Riegl)

17.45-19.30 Guided Tour in Old Town of Heidelberg (Meeting at Old University, Löwenbrunnen)

19.30- Dinner in in Old Town of Heidelberg, Brauhaus Vetter (by invitation only!)

This workshops is a central part of the 3-day Summer School of the 3D-TAIGER international research collaboration between the Institute of Geography of the Heidelberg University (HU) and the Department of Geomatics and Department of Earth Sciences of the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan.

Studies based on information acquired by participative geographic approaches have sought to cope with emergency situations and disasters such as floods. However, the impact of these approaches to flood risk governance systems in order to understand these types of events as a complete risk cycle is still not clear. In a recent paper, we analyse the governance possibilities of using participative geographic information like volunteered and public participatory geographic information for flood risk reduction in the case of Santiago de Chile, a city which regularly experiences urban floods during rainy seasons. Based on in-depth interviews and document analysis, our study indicates that a relevant part of the current information used for flood risk reduction efforts is provided to local and regional authorities by the affected population. Though, local actors are not recognized by central agencies as valid agents for the production of official information. Moreover, there are neither instances of communication or deliberation with the community, which reduces the capacity of local actors to discuss possible solutions. Participative geographic instruments are seen as potential mechanisms to strengthen work relations among local actors and authorities, by enhancing new logics for producing and sharing information. The impacts for the current risk governance system though can be diverse depending on the participants’ level of commitment and the political relations between actors and agencies. Considered as merely data acquisition and analysis mechanisms, participative instruments reproduce the existing hierarchical top-down structures. Furthermore, local-based approaches can enhance local work, support local diagnostics and increase the decision capacity of citizens.

Usón, T.J., Klonner, C., Höfle, B. (2016): Using participatory geographic approaches for urban flood risk in Santiago de Chile: Insights from a governance analysis. Environmental Science & Policy, 66, p.62-72.

recently Prof. Zipf gave an radio interview in German about some of the activities of the GIScience Research Group and the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technologies (HeiGIT); which is currently being established with core funding by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung Heidelberg.

The short radio broadcast (mp3) covers e.g. work on improving and generating Geographic Information through crowdsourcing or the usage of this data in applications such as OpenRouteService.

Campus-Report is the radio feature of the Universities Heidelberg, Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Freiburg.

today MapSwipe is featured in “Product Hunt”, a kind of reddit for products. https://www.producthunt.com/tech/mapswipe
Learn more about the smartphone App that helps you to put a family on the map.
It is so simple even children can use it but helps humanitarian organisations like the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders to better plan and perform their humanitarian activities.
In many developing countries actual maps are missing but are urgently needed for effectively providing humanitarian aid to those in need.

When Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) responds to major disease outbreaks with mass vaccination campaigns, hundreds of teams have to cover enormous areas (as happened in the measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year). Now, with MapSwipe, we can give vaccination campaign coordinators a super-fast snapshot of where the population clusters are, helping them to send their teams to the locations where they are most needed to achieve maximum vaccination coverage.


Following up on the “Heidelberg Process” developed by the disastermappers heidelberg/ GIScience Research Group in collaboration with the MissingMaps team, the app enables collecting information regarding the location of residential areas using satellite imagery and a microtasking approach.
A first implementation as Web-Application using the Pybossa Framework and the Evaluation of the results through the GIScience Research Group Heidelberg established the foundation of the development of this mobile app.

The disastermappers heidelberg/ GIScience Research Group are supporting the MissingMaps project with Mapathons and by conducting research on the use of OpenStreetMap data for humanitarian aid. The app is a result of this collaboration which provides an example on how research, practice and humanitarian aid can be combined to develop more efficient workflows (see also: Herfort et al 2016).

Contributors are asked to mark map tiles and to thereby provide information regarding inhabited regions.
One tap hereby signifies that residential features could be identified, a second tap indicates the likeliness of features. A third tap flags tiles with bad image quality. If no features are visible you can just swipe to the next tile and go on with the task.
The App allows you to contribute online as well as offline, using satellite imagery that can be downloaded beforehand. Therefore the app allows you to contribute from home just as easy as on the commute. The provided information can be utilized by mappers to furthermore digitize building structures, roads and other individual features. That way base maps that support the work of MSF, the Red Cross and other organizations are developed in a collaborative workflow.
Interested in becoming active yourself?

Learn more about MapSwipe at mapswipe.org, get the app and swipe and tap away!

MapSwipe is as of now available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store!

Herfort, B., Eckle, M., de Albuquerque, J. P., (2016): Being specific about geographic information crowdsourcing: a typology and analysis of the Missing Maps project in South Kivu. 13th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management. ISCRAM 2016. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Similar work is the core of the new unit disaster management and VGI for humanitarian aid of the to be established Heidelberg Institute of Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) which is core funded by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung Heidelberg.

The official video of the research project “Multidimensional Perceptibility of Cultural Heritage (MUSIEKE)” has been released and can be watched here: https://youtu.be/s3-4Rzye22U

The project MUSIEKE aims at analyzing interrelations between perceptions and experiences of cultural heritage: in (1) museum environments, in (2) urban spaces and their spatio-temporal entanglements with the surrounding (cultural) landscape and in (3) virtual spaces. This comprises possibilities and limits of screening, viewing, projecting and experiencing cultural heritage. At the same time, the process of historic-archaeological research will be documented. The following steps and their interlock will be analyzed: assessment, measuring, vision, perception, and understanding. The basis of this work is the acquisition and processing of physical evidence into 3D-models, which requires their storage in interoperable file formats as well as enabling their access by the internet. Various fields in applied research and humanities rely on this technical process of preparing data and rendering it accessible. In turn, applied and basic research on the analysis of measured and evaluated data provide a deeper understanding of contexts, interpretations, meanings, and conflicts connected to the identification, analysis, processing and uses of cultural heritage. The Jupiter Column (Iupittergigantensäule) of Ladenburg will be used to test the interdisciplinary practices of making the various dimensions of cultural heritage perceptible. The Jupiter Column is an exemplary and representative object important for the rich cultural history of Ladenburg, a town with an impressive Roman history. Lessons learnt in this case study will be gathered in a joint research concept.

Social innovations are increasingly being seen as a way of compensating for insufficiencies of both, state and market to create inclusive and accessible environments. In a recent paper, together with researchers from Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (Vienna) and Polibienestar Research Institute (Valencia), we have explored crowdsourcing accessibility information as a form of social innovation, requiring adequate engagement strategies that fit the skills of the intended group of volunteers and ensure the needed levels of data accuracy and reliability. The tools that have been used for crowdsourcing included printed maps, mobile apps for collective tagging, crowdsourcing platforms on the web and blogs for reflection and visualizations of changing mapping statuses.

Voigt, C., Dobner, S., Ferri, M., Hahmann, S., & Gareis, K. (2016): Community Engagement Strategies for Crowdsourcing Accessibility Information. In: K. Miesenberger, C. Bühler, & P. Penaz (Eds.), Computers Helping People with Special Needs: 15th International Conference, ICCHP 2016, Linz, Austria, July 13-15, 2016, Proceedings, Part II. p. 257-264. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-41267-2_35

some time ago we deployed OpenFloodRiskMap (OFRM) at http://ofrm.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/

OpenFloodRiskMap (OFRM) is a prototype web application to assist decision makers in developing alarm and operation plans for flood risk management. The OFRM hereby provides support in accessing critical infrastructure (CI) information in the OpenStreetMap (OSM) data base and to furthermore add this information to an emergency routing service based on OpenRouteService.
In a disaster scenario decision makers need to be able to identify asset types of critical infrastructures as these objects are of specific interest for the community and thus, deserve special attention. While there are various frameworks containing definitions and categorizations regarding this concept, these documents do not contain object type catalogues listing these infrastructures on an object level. For this purpose, a catalogue of asset types of CI was already developed by Herfort et al. (Herfort, Eckle, Porto de Albuquerque, Zipf, 2015). In the OFRM, this catalogue serves as a preselection that enables identifying CI in OSM. In a flood scenario, decision makers have to moreover navigate to the CI objects, e.g. for evacuation or to provide security measures, while considering flood related road conditions. This kind of information cannot be considered in a general navigation system, nor can these systems detect CI objects.

Therfore ORS provides some specific functionality, such as:
- List of critical objects in OSM, sorted according to critical sector
- Print function for field use
- Direct transfer of critical objects to emergency routing query
- OSM Id editor link: editing of object in OSM data base
- Storage function for further use of query
- Define areas to avoid in routing through
…. a) Individual area, specified by user with drawing too
…. b) Integrated Flood Hazard Map layer to assist identifying bypass areas


The work has been funded though the Landesanstalt für Umwelt, Messungen und Naturschutz Baden-Württemberg (LUBW) within the “Klimopass” program.

Herfort, B., Eckle, M., Alberquerque, J. P., Zipf, A. (2015): Towards assessing the quality of volunteered geographic information from OpenStreetMap for identifying critical infrastructures. ISCRAM 2015 – 12th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management. Kristiansand, Norway

Eckle, M., Herfort, B., Alberquerque, R. Leiner, R. Wolff, C. Jacobs, J. P., Zipf, A. (2016): Leveraging OpenStreetMap to support flood risk management: A prototype decision support system for the identification of critical infrastructure. 13th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management. ISCRAM 2016. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In June, the State Key laboratory of Information Engineering and Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS, http://www.lmars.whu.edu.cn/en/) launched their 2016 Geoinformatics Summer School at Wuhan University, China. This year’s courses treated topics ranging from technologies and paradigms for web mapping and online GIS to night-time remote sensing and GNSS. Participants from Africa, Europe and Asia, including three participants from Heidelberg University (two members of the Geoinformatics research group and one student of Geoinformatics), enjoyed ten days of excellent lectures, hands-on practice, and group project work in a highly innovative and multicultural setting. Geoinformatics Summer School at LIESMARS is held every year. It is a great opportunity to meet with students from all over the world, work together on new ideas, and widen your scientific as well as cultural perspective.

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