Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Please support us in making GI/EO professionals ready for the future!

The Earth observation (EO) and Geoinformatics (GI) sector is rapidly evolving due to technological advances, growing collections of open data (e.g. Copernicus), and a broader user base. This evolution requires the adaptation of EO/GI training for matching the skills on demand most useful for the market and society. Z_GIS is part of the EO4GEO project, which is aiming at bridging the skills gap between supply and demand of education and training in the space/geospatial sector.Please dedicate your time and expertise and help building the future workforce in the space/geospatial sector. The estimated time required to fill the surveys is 10 minutes each.
Many thanks in advance!

Are you providing training courses related to Earth observation (EO) / Geoinformatics (GI)? Please fill in the training supply survey

Are you working in the EO and/or GI sector (in a private, public or academic organization)? Please fill in the workforce demand survey 

EO4GEO is an Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance project

Monday, April 16, 2018

'Lange Nacht der Geoinformatik' 2018

A successful Researchers' Night introduced the field of Geoinformatics to hundreds of visitors, including lots of kids. They joined the Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS) presentations and activities, for many a first contact with ‚Geoinformatics‘ at the iDEAS:lab on Friday 13, 2018 (

The evening started with a visit by the Salzburg governor Dr Wilfried Haslauer and councillor Martina Berthold, both impressed by the wide range of applied research topics on display. This event was organized jointly and with the support of Salzburg Research  and took place in Z_GIS' iDEAS:lab in the Science City Itzling, being operated in cooperation and with sponsorship from Bildungspreis Privatstiftung, eoVision, and wissen.stadt salzburg.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Minister explores analog-digital sandbox

Photo: ITG - Innovation Service for Salzburg
Heinz Faßmann, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research visited the iDEAS:lab established by the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS at the Science City Itzling. 

During his working visit to Salzburg, including meetings with the Governor of Salzburg and the Rectorate of the University of Salzburg, Minister Faßmann used the opportunity for a short visit bringing him back to his academic roots – the discipline of Geography. The 'virtual sandbox' is an attraction within the iDEAS:lab combining learning and fun. Changes in the sand surface are digitally scanned in real time and translated into a Digital Elevation Model. Elevation visualisations or analysis and modeling results, then are projected onto the sand, making this an  interactive 'playground'.

Z_GIS' iDEAS:lab has been opened in 2016, aiming at bridging education, research and the general public. Hundreds of pupils already had the opportunity to learn about geospatial technologies like remote sensing, interactive cartography, 3D printing and smart environments - sensor webs, applied across domains like community planning, humanitarian action, soft mobility and environmental issues.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

'Young Researcher Award in GIScience': 2018 Winners

The Austrian Academy of SciencesCommission for GIScience annually selects the winner of a 'Young Researcher Award' competition, based on an outstanding publication submitted by applicants. This year we had received a record number of submissions, the review-and-selection process identified two winners tied for first place.

We are glad to extend our congratulations to:

Min Chen from the Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment (Ministry of Education of PRC), Nanjing Normal University with the paper:

Min Chen, Hui Lin, Mingyuan Hu, Li He, Chunxiao Zhang. (2013): Real geographic scenario based virtual social environment: integrate geography with social research. Environment and Planning B - Planning & Design, 40(6): 1103-1121. doi:10.1068/b38160

Pablo Cabrera-Barona from Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales and Universidad San Francisco de Quito with the paper:

Cabrera Barona P., Blaschke T. and Gaona G. (2017): Deprivation, Healthcare Accessibility and Satisfaction: Geographical Context and Scale Implications. In: Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy.

Congratulations again - and we will soon be announcing details for the 2019 'Young Researcher Award in GIScience'!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Helena Mitasova awarded 2018 Waldo-Tobler GIScience Prize

The Austrian Academy of Sciences through its Commission for GIScience is awarding the GIScience Prize named after Prof Waldo Tobler to a scientist having demonstrated outstanding and sustained contributions to the discipline worthy of inspiring young scientists in Geoinformatics and Geographic Information Science, and having accomplished significant advances in research and education.

The received nominations were reviewed and assessed by an external panel of peers, who unanimously recommended to award the 2018 prize to Prof Helena Mitasova (North Carolina State University).

Congratulations to this recognition of innovation, leadership and excellence!

Prof Mitasova has made significant contributions to the methods and tools of Geographic Information Science over several decades documented by an excellent publication record. Geovisualisation, geostatistical and geospatial analyses, eg in the field of spatial interpolation and topographic methods today implemented in the GRASS open source environment are freely available for practitioners worldwide. She is an active member of the OSGeo Foundation, recognized by the 2010 Sol Katz award for exceptional Open source geospatial community service. 

Helena Mitasova is a graduate of the Slovak Technical University in Geodetic Cartography and serves as a professor at the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS), and a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, NC. She has received numerous awards and actively contributes to the 'geospatial' community, as an editor, reviewer and most importantantly as a supervisor directing young scientists.

Prof Mitasova is an outstanding role model for next generation leaders in the geospatial sciences, and we are honoured to highlight her contributions in particular in the spirit of Open Science!

Monday, March 26, 2018

GeoS4S-ISS-2 and Dissemination Conference-1 concluded successfully in China!

The GeoServices-4-Sustainability (GeoS4S) project consortium consisting of 10 universities from Europe, China and Thailand conducted International Summer School-2 (ISS-2) at the School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University (NJNU), Nanjing, China from March 5 to 16, 2018. It also included a Dissemination Conference on 10-11 March.

GeoS4S Dissemination Conference Participants pausing after the inaugural session.

The GeoS4S-ISS-2 was designed to enhance geospatial competences of postgraduate students and junior faculty from all the project partners. It attracted 49 participants from 17 different nationalities studying / working at the partner universities in Europe, China and Thailand. The consortium taught 10 modules during these 2 weeks, with about 10 participants attending each module. The teachers from the consortium universities taught the concepts and methods of the modules they had developed and trained the participants in implementing those concepts and methods using geospatial data and GIS software.

The GeoS4S Dissemination Conference-1 was held on 10-11 March which attracted more than 100 participants. Several special guests adorned the conference who include Prof. Guoxiang Chen (President, NJNU), Prof. Guoan Tang (Director, Education and Dissemination Committee of China Association for Geographic Information Society), Professor Lv Guonian (Director, Key Laboratory of Virtual Geography) and Prof. Josef Strobl (Head, Z_GIS).

Dr. Shahnawaz (Coordinator, GeoS4S) convened the ISS-2 and the conference, Prof. A-Xing Zhu hosted the opening ceremony of the conference and Prof. Tao Wang (Dean, School of Geography, NJNU) presided the closing ceremony of GeoS4S-ISS-2.

The consortium had conducted GeoS4S-ISS-1 at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand in May-June 2017 and GeoS4S-ISS-3 will be organised at University of Sustainable Development, Eberswalde, Germany in July 2018. The GeoS4S project will conclude with Dissemination Conference-2 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in September, 2018. 

The Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics-Z_GIS of the University ofSalzburg, Austria serves as project coordinator assisted by co-funding from the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 CBHE (Capacity Building in Higher Education) from October 2015 to October 2018.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Willi Mann successfully defended his PhD

Willi Mann successfully defended his PhD Thesis “Efficient Techniques for Set Similarity Join Queries”. While being a student at the Department of Computer Science Willi was associated with the Doctoral College “GIScience” at Z_GIS. 

The DK GIScience has profited from this in-depth research in database science. In particular the focus is to efficiently store and query very large volumes of data. The combination of database research and Geoinformatics will provide  a deeper understanding of fundamental problems in bridging the gap between database systems and GIS software.

In his Thesis, Willi focused on techniques for set similarity join queries. The join is a fundamental operation in databases. A growing number of problems require joins with fuzzy predicates. A class of frequently applied fuzzy predicates is the similarity of two sets. Typical set similarity functions include Jaccard, Cosine, dice, and Overlap, and the Hamming distance. The set similarity join can be executed in offline settings where the input is known up front and online settings, like on streams of timestamped sets. 

Willi’s work resulted in three high level publications which correspond to the three chapters of his thesis:  Willi proposed a new filter, PEL, for offline set similarity join algorithms. Then he extensively compared offline set similarity algorithms and finally he proposed a new algorithm, SWOOP, for set similarity joins on streamed data sources.

We wish Willi all the best for his future career and endeavours!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Z_GIS Annual Report 2017 Published

Again at this time of the year we are proud to present Z_GIS' annual report, please get your online copy at >

This brochure introduces our new research projects, documents progress in study programs and outputs from our conferences in 2017. Enjoy reading - and we're glad to hear your comments and inputs!

 Open pdf version >>>

Monday, March 19, 2018

How to improve water management by using space technology

This issue was addressed by the 4th International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management, which recently took place in Islamabad, Pakistan. More than 100 experts from all over the world discussed cutting-edge tools and findings to better understand, describe and quantify water-related issues using space technology. The conference was organised by the the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, the National Space Agency of Pakistan SUPARCO on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, and the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water.

The range of applications covered the entire water cycle - extending from precipitation estimation from satellite data to glacier mapping, run-off estimation, erosion and water quality assessment, evapotranspiration calculation and beyond.

In his keynote presentation within the session on case-studies, Lorenz Wendt (Z_GIS) gave insight into the lessons learned by Z_GIS from developing water-related information products and services and providing those to humanitarian actors within the EO4HumEn+ project.

The key to success in many water-related applications of space technology is the integration of remote sensing data with information collected in situ, by experts or measurement systems on the ground, which is both a technical and an organisational challenge. No the less, space technology bears a great potential to tackle the many water-related challenges the world is facing.

Contact: Lorenz Wendt

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Remixed Speeddating with Z_GIS @ BeSt Salzburg

As one of seven experts, Z_GIS researcher Sebastian d’Oleire-Oltmanns participated in a bmvit (Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology) initiative at the BeSt Salzburg event. The annual fair addresses pupils on the edge of deciding what to do after high school. Students from the Christian-Doppler High school as well as from the Werkschulheim Felbertal participated in the event in order to learn from and exchange with experts from various disciplines.

Source:fti remixed
The field of UAS-based remote sensing was of high interest for the participating students and generated a broad range of questions and a lively discussion. The exchange provided a detailed view beneath the surface of Geoinformatics to the students.

Contact: Sebastian d’Oleire-Oltmanns

For more information and more pictures see:
FTI remixed blog and  pics 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Stefan Zimmer - winner of 2018 EDC "Student of the Year" Award

As an ESRI Development Center, Z_GIS every year has the opportunity to nominate one top student based on his or her software development competence. This year this special honour is awarded to Stefan Zimmer for work leading to his University of Salzburg "Applied Geoinformatics" MSc Thesis "An Efficient Algorithm for Computing Space-Time-Linguistics - Similarities and Labelling Social Media Posts" supervised by Dr Bernd Resch.

Stefan Zimmer has recently completed his master's thesis at Z_GIS. Through his exceptional software development skills, he was able to develop and implement a number of geospatial applications using a variety of software technologies, including the extensive use of Esri technology for spatial data analysis and visualisation.

Spatial distribution of Boston tweets indicating
anger/disgust (red), fear (blue), and sadness (yellow)
In his thesis, Stefan developed a machine learning-based algorithm called TwEmLab (Twitter Emotion Labeller) that assigns emotion categories to social media posts like tweets. The workflow comprises a self-designed, multi-dimensional, similarity-based graph creation algorithm and the Junto engine that implements a graph-based labelling algorithm called Label Propagation. In addition to the methodological developments, he was able to convert the complex algorithm in a high-performance implementation that is able to process about 1,000 more datasets than comparable systems in a parallelised algorithm, both for CPU- and GPU-based operations:

Apart from that, Stefan developed a web-based real-time visualisation using Mapbox technology for physiological sensor data and social media posts for use in urban planning and management. Finally, in one of his course projects, he conceived and implemented a location-based game, in which a spaceship can be controlled using a mobile EEG device and voice commands - just using "the power of thought" without manual interaction. The application combines a variety of technologies using Unity, the Emotive SDK, Mapbox, Google Cloud Search API and Open Street Map.

Stefan Zimmer was a member of the successful team winning the first Copernicus Hackathon with the ‘ShareCropper’ concept >

Congratulations to this distinction, and to continuing a tradition of excellence established by previous recipients of this award like Azmat Arif in 2017!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Cornelia Schneider's successful PhD defense within the DK GIScience

Cornelia Schneider successfully defended her PhD Thesis “Methods for recording, processing and evaluating human movement data in the context of Active and Assisted Living”. While working for the “Salzburg Research” (SR), a research institution owned by the provincial Government of Salzburg, Cornelia has been associated PhD to the Doctoral College “GIScience”. At SR, she is the head of the competence field e-Health.

In her PhD, she contributed to tackle a major problem Europe aging Western societies are facing: The aging population will lead to a growing number of older people suffering from various ailments and consequently will be in need of support. Thus, the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) based assistance systems is of increasing importance. These so-called “Active and Assisted Living (AAL) solutions support older people to live independently as long as possible by maintaining and improving their quality of life.

In particular, the Thesis is based on research projects dealing with the development of a mobility assistance system and addressed research questions such as where patients typically stay, where they have been or where they most likely are going. This is answered by means of movement analysis together with complex spatio-temporal analyses. Next to technical and methodological issues of recording, processing and evaluating human movement data, usability of systems and how to deal with privacy concerns were major foci in this work which builds a significant contribution to the future development of mobility assistance systems.

We wish Cornelia all the best for her future endeavours!