Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Nachwuchsförderpreis GI" to Jan Kinne for his master thesis

Jan Kinne is the winner of the 2017 „Nachwuchsförderpreis Geoinformatik” (category ‘master thesis’) which is awarded annually by the “Runder Tisch GIS” to honour outstanding research in Geoinformatics.

Ass.Prof. Bernd Resch, Z_GIS, supervised the thesis on “The Geographic Dispersal of the German Software Industry – Geospatial Analysis and Location Pattern Modeling”.

The objective of the thesis carried out at Heidelberg University was to analyse the geographic dispersal of software companies in Germany. Jan Kinne identified location determinants and developed a model predicting the local occurrence of software companies within each square kilometer of Germany. He showed that the relationship between the number of software companies and the predicting location factors can be adequately estimated.

More information

Abstract (German)

Contact: Bernd Resch

Monday, April 3, 2017

Emergency Management: New Austro-Polish Project on Cross-border Cooperation in Logistical Support after Natural Disasters

© CC: BY – Harald Weber
Cross-border emergency management are of utmost importance in the case of natural disasters. The project „Cross-border Cooperation in Logistical Support in Crisis Situations” aims to enhance collaboration and information exchange in the field of logistical support for rescue operations after natural disasters. The logistical support provides necessary services to support the affected population and to improve rescue services or preventive measures.
The project is funded by the German-Polish Science Foundation (DPWS) and carried out by researchers of University of Szczecin, Poland and University of Salzburg, Austria. The project team will evaluate the current state of the governmental cooperation in crisis situations and identify improvable procedures. The results will be presented at a conference in December 2017 at University of Szczecin and in a book published by Springer.

Contact: Bernd Resch 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Martin Loidl awarded PhD degree

Yesterday, Martin Loidl, member of the Z_GIS team, successfully defended his PhD Thesis  „Spatial Information and Bicycling Safety". In his thesis Martin investigated the potential contribution of spatial information towards a better understanding of bicycling safety and to the mitigation of bicycling safety risk. 

On the one hand spatial models are developed and conceptually described to assess the network’s quality in terms of bicycling safety level and to estimate traffic flows. On the other hand spatial and temporal analyses aim to gain insights in patterns and dynamics of bicycle crash occurrences. Finally, both approaches are used in conjunction in order to estimate the bicycle crash risk on the local scale level, while spatial implications, such as spatial heterogeneity and the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP), are made explicit. 

Around 30 attendees listened to Martin’s impressive and challenging presentation which was followed by a fruitful discussion between Martin and the evaluators, Dr. Thomas Blaschke from Z_GIS and Dr. Andreas Koch from the Department of Geography at the University of Salzburg. Dr. Josef Strobl as the main supervisor acted as the chair. 

In addition to his work in the UNIGIS distance learning programme, Martin is currently involved into two projects. The interdisciplinary project GISMO, led by Z_GIS,  aims to support healthy mobility in the application context of corporate mobility management initiatives: https://gismoproject.com/ .
 The target of the project FamoS is to establish a sound data basis for user-group specific traffic models and planning tools, with a focus on active mobility: http://www.zgis.at/index.php/de/research/research-projects/14-ffg-asap/215-famos-2016-2018
More information about Martin’s work can be found here: https://gicycle.wordpress.com

We wish Martin all the best for his future career! 

Urban Emotions II: Identifying Emotion Hot-Spots in the City

Based on the scientific findings of the highly successful first phase of the Urban Emotions project, its second phase, funded by DFG and FWF, is just being kicked off.

The promising transdisciplinary approach bridging the fields of Urban Planning and Geoinformatics will be developed further to address new scientific goals.

In close cooperation with emotion psychologists, the project aims to leverage wearable sensors to support the extraction of emotion information in the urban context. Urban Emotions will analyse diverse spatial and temporal data from calibrated technical sensors, as well as subjective human observations and social media to identify and classify emotion hot-spots in the city.

Therefore, a comprehensive "Privacy by Design" guideline will be established to account for ethnic, legal and social implications.
Several field studies (Boston, Sao Paolo, Salzburg) aim to reveal hidden insights into urban processes by coupling tests in real-world cities with virtual reality environments.

The project is led by Ass.-Prof. Dr. Bernd Resch (University of Salzburg, Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS) and Dr. Peter Zeile (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Planning), and carried out in cooperation with the Centre for Geographic Analysis – CGA (Harvard University).

Contact: Bernd Resch 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Interpreting digital information is one key to information society

Digital skills are one of the keys to cope with chances and risks of our digital world. Prof. Thomas Blaschke, Z_GIS, discussed the impacts of digitisation on society with participants of the “Montagsrunde” at the "Robert-Jungk-Bibliothek für Zukunftsfragen" in Salzburg.

The ability of understanding and interpreting digital information is essential. This also applies to digital geographic information, which is increasing: more than 250 Google location-based service apps were identified which are penetrating our daily life based on geographic information – public transport, routing and car-sharing to name just a few. Above all, new technologies allow the user to participate. Civic involvement increasingly makes the user a ‘prosumer’ of information.

Nevertheless questions of data security and privacy make us feel uncomfortable, which was also obvious in the discussion. Another issue: Whilst companies like Google offering Internet services, are prospering, the benefit for the user is sometimes doubtful. Whereas consumers benefit from the sharing economy, the situation of employees sometimes deteriorates: Badly-paid drivers of companies offering delivery services feel increasing pressure by being monitored whenever they are on their way. Last but not least the risk of a digital divide within our society requires counteraction.

The participants agreed that overall society benefits in many ways from this technological development. And there are ways to influence what is about to come: the next few years will provide chances to actively steer this process. What is needed is education in ‘citizenship’ beyond commercial usage of technology but on how digital connectivity for everyone to everything, anywhere and at anytime can be used constructively within and for society.