Tagged: AGIT

Active mobility at GI-Forum conference

Today, I had the honour to chair another special session that dealt with GIS and mobility research at this year’s GI-Forum conference internet. The session “Spatial Perspectives on Active Mobility” was the third in a series (see here internet for a review of the 2016 and here internet for the 2015 session).
Of course, we will have a “Spatial Perspectives on …” session in 2018 again – the call will be published in December this year. So, consider this as an option for your publishing and dissemination strategy (by the way, the GI-Forum journal internet is open access!)

This year’s special session was a paper session with four speakers, who all went through a rigorous review process. The diversity of the contributions was high, demonstrating the wide range of mobility research where GIS plays a crucial role:

  • Irene Fellner internet from Vienna University of Economics and Business opened the session at the very local scale. She presented her work internet on landmark-based indoor navigation. Although the applied ILNM (“indoor landmark navigation model”), an extended version of Duckham’s et al. (2010 internet) LNM, performed well, Irene pointed to two major challenges: first of all, the ILNM requires very detailed data, which are not always available and secondly, the visibility of landmarks from the perspective of the user is not always given or unknown.
    Irene’s paper emerged from her master thesis at the University of Salzburg, where she successfully finished the UNIGIS MSc study program. Dr. Gudrun Wallentin, UNIGIS program director, regarded this special session as perfect stage to hand over the UNIGIS International Association (UIA internet) award for excellent master theses. Congratulations!
  • Ulrich Leth internet (Vienna University of Technology) presented the findings of a recent study where they investigated the impact of a bike sharing system on public transit ridership in the city of Vienna, which is famous for its extensive and well-performing public transit system. In total, Ulrich and colleagues analysed 1 million Citybike internet trips from 2015. Different to the expectation the title provoked, they found that the bike sharing system virtually has no impact on PT ridership, simply because of the huge difference in size and capacity. However, some details in their results were interesting and probably of relevance for other BSS: a) Citybike trips primarily substitute short and inconvenient PT trips, b) most bike sharing trips are made when the travel time ratio compared to public transit is 0,5 and c) the most popular OD relations are typical student trips (between transport hubs and university and student dormitories and transport hubs or universities).
  • Tabea Fian, a student from Georg Hauger’s internet (lead author of the paper) group, also from Vienna University of Technology, presented a spatial analysis of urban bicycle crashes in Vienna. Interestingly, the data were very similar to those I’ve extensively used in my PhD (see this paper internet). In a purely exploratory study design Georg has tried to identify blackspots in the network and tested for their significance. However, as it became evident in the discussion, final conclusions are hard to draw without a statistical population.
  • The last presentation was given by Anna Butzhammer internet from RSA iSpace. She presented parts of her excellent master thesis, in which she analysed the inter-modal accessibility of central places. For this, she developed a model that facilitates door-to-door travel time calculations with different modes. Her findings are especially important for planning and optimizing public transit systems, which can be regarded as backbone for sustainable mobility.

Tomorrow, the German-speaking sister conference, AGIT internet, will host a special forum on autonomous driving internet and on Friday I will chair another session on advances in GIS-T. Well, there will be a lot to discover, learn and discuss; if you don’t have the chance to be there physically, follow me on Twitter internet and stay updated.

GI-Forum 2017: Spatial Perspectives on Active Mobility

Vienna's newly designed Mariahilfer-Straße gives priority to pedestrians and bicyclists (image source: Christian Fürthner/MA 28)

Vienna’s newly designed Mariahilfer-Straße gives priority to pedestrians and bicyclists (image source: Christian Fürthner/MA 28)

In 2015 internet we organized the first special session on GIS and transport at the GI Forum conference internet in Salzburg (Austria). Since the event was a full success in 2016 internet as well, we will prolong the series in 2017 and call for contributions.

Since the promotion of active mobility has become a central element of virtually any urban planning and development strategy, health issues force societies to get physically active again and the amount of research has skyrocketed, it is time to gain a “spatial perspective” on the topic.
Research on active mobility is of course a multi-disciplinary field and lots of, partly very specific studies contribute to the growing body of literature. However, it is interesting that a substantial share of recently published studies from non-spatial domains have geographical elements at their core. The latest series on urban design, transport and health in the medical top journal The Lancet internet is only one of several prominent examples.

Before the background of our own research (see one of my last posts internet) and the relevance of the topic, we organize another special session – hopefully with your contribution!
During the 2017 GI Forum conference internet we will collect, present and discuss spatial perspectives on active mobility. The call for papers is also available on the conference website internet:

There are many good reasons to promote active mobility: road congestions, limited space resources, public health issues, air pollution and noise emission, just to name a few. Consequently, various institutions and research domains have active mobility at the core of their activities. The geographical space can serve as common denominator that brings together the multiple approaches towards active mobility. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) hereby serve as integrative platforms that combine, model and analyze the variety of perspectives and data. The overall aim is to facilitate holistic approaches and to extract relevant information for stakeholders and decision makers.

The 2017 GI-Forum special session will be the third of a series that deals with relevant research topics at the intersection of GIS and mobility. We invite researchers from any domain to submit original research, which has spatial information at its core. Relevant topics are (but not limited to):

  • Spatial data acquisition for active mobility research (OGD, VGI etc.)
  • Spatial models and simulations for pedestrian and bicycle traffic
  • Spatial analysis of barriers for active mobility (safety, accessibility, attitudes and behavior)
  • GIS in planning and decision support systems for active mobility promotion
  • Showcases from all disciplines (sports science, environmental psychology, transport science, planning etc.) that build on spatial information

Contributions can either be submitted as full paper, extended abstract or poster. Any contribution needs to be submitted via the conference submission website and will be object to the double-blind, peer-review process. Authors of accepted full papers are going to be invited to present and discuss their paper (15’+5’) in the special session. Authors of extended abstracts and posters are going to be invited for an elevator pitch (5’). Full papers and extended abstracts will be published in the GI-Forum journal (Open Access).

Besides the special session, which will be organized as paper session, we will provide opportunities for further exchange, project drafting or discussing potential joint publications in an informal workshop format.

Further information can be found on the session’s website: http://gi-forum.org/activemobility. The special session is organized by the GI Mobility Lab (Z_GIS). Any inquiries can be sent to gimobility@sbg.ac.at.

Geography in transport & mobility research

The twin conferences AGIT internet and GI-Forum internet took place in Salzburg three weeks ago, complemented by the German language FOSSGIS internet conference. This fully packed conference week had a lot to offer (see my Twitter diary internet) and definitely was an inspiring week. With a short time lag in between I’d like to reflect on a topic that popped up at various occasions and is very relevant to my PhD project: geography’s contribution to mobility and transport (research).

To make it very short, these are my key take home messages:

  1. The geo-space is very powerful in integrating various data/information layers and facilitating holistic approaches for research, planning and operation.
  2. Technology driven arguments are annoying. It’s always about people.
  3. Geography supports system thinking, which is required in any mobility and transport topic.


Harvey Miller internet from Ohio State University opened the GI-Forum conference with his keynote on “Big Data for Healthy Places”. Referring to Pollocks article in Nature internet, Harvey made a strong case for how the built environment affects mobility and subsequently public health. In his keynote Harvey identified two major challenges in the context of healthy cities: firstly, cities, which are human systems, are complex systems and secondly, policy interventions can have unclear or even counter-intuitive outcomes. In order to tackle these challenges, Harvey proposed what he termed Geographical Information Observatories (GIO), which facilitate opportunistic GIScience. A GIO is a way to constantly monitor certain areas or phenomena and link the sensed data to other data or information sources. Here, the geographical coordinate plays a central role as common denominator for all data or information layers (‘spatial index’). So called urban dashboards (such as CURIO internet), which are fueled by GIOs, are the basis for opportunistic GIScience, a framework for spatial science which is able to adapt to spontaneous events, combine real-time with historic data and to simulate planned interventions in a virtual environment. This way, complex systems can be studied, monitored and influenced in a naturalistic setting and intended measures can be tested for their effect on the whole system prior to implementation.

Some of the keynote’s topics had already been discussed before in an interesting panel discussion on the relation between GIScience and Data Science, organized by Peter Mandl internet. Besides Harvey, Petra Staufer-Steinnocher internet and Josef Strobl internet discussed as panelists.
Peter argued for the integration of recent developement in GIScience, namely linked data, open data and semantics, into “Spatial Data Science”.

Harvey made two crucially important points: Data scientists tend to go for correlations (predicting and control paradigm) instead of focusing on causalities in complex systems; for the latter domain experts are needed who interpret correlations in the respective (spatial) context and transform data into information. Conceptually related to this observation, Harvey pointed to the fact that not all decisions should be made quick and purely data- or algorithm-based (the reference to the Jevons paradox internet is highly interesting in this context). This critical statement is often missing in Smart Cities debates!
Similar to Harvey, Josef made a few conceptual statements, which are often overlooked in “data-positivistic” discussions. In his opinion, correlations and pattern detection are only ways to make sense of massive data (streams); they have little value for themselves but act as filters and hypothesis generators. Again, he underpinned the role of domain experts, who are indispensable when exploratory studies are lifted to explanatory ones. In analogy to this conceptual difference and referring to the relation of GIScience and Data Science, Josef stated, “Data leads to explorations, science leads to findings”.
Being affiliated with the Vienna University of Economics, Petra put a focus on Business Analytics (which has, of course, a lot in common with Data Science!) and called for a tight coupling of data driven approaches to theory-based science. In her opinion, Business Analytics is currently too often only about dehumanizing people (clients) and turning them into data.

On Wednesday Anita Graser internet kicked-off the German language AGIT conference with her keynote on “OpenSource, OpenData and OpenScience”. In the afternoon I first attended a session on Urban Geoinformatics (I co-authored one of the presented papers internet), which was nicely wrapped up by Joao Porto internet. He stated very clearly that Urban Geoinformatics is the intersection of people (urban), technology (informatics) and place (geo). This rather simple definition is blanked out ways to often in current discussions!

After that, this year’s special session on GIS-T (“Spatial perspectives on transport systems” internet) took place with three excellent presentations and lots of discussion. The session was opened with a session keynote by Harvey Miller, who provided an overview of the role of GIS in transport (research). Referring to his article internet from 2015, Harvey talked about the fast changing environment of our discipline (presentations slides are available here internet):

  • Data availability and computational power have been increasing constantly over the last years.
  • Despite the predicted abolition of space through the Internet, progressive urbanization is changing the human sphere radically (urban metabolism internet).
  • The success of the smart phone, which is constantly connected to the Internet, facilitates new applications, methods for data capturing and business models; most of them are location-based.

The other two contributions to the session were rather technical: Mario Dolancic, the winner internet of this year’s student paper award, presented an approach for lane detection from floating car data. Mario’s motivation for his work, which is part of the LaneS internet project, was humorous, “I’m a student and don’t have the money. But I want a realistic road graph.”
Anita Graser provided insights in current algorithms for realistic pedestrian routing across open spaces and presented an efficient approach for OpenStreetMap data (for more information visit the PERRON internet project website).

Thursday was like a roller coaster ride. The day started and closed with sessions on authoritative spatial (transport) data. I had never expected to attend a GIP internet forum where the majority of contributions discussed how authoritative data can be made available to the public. The digital road graph can be completely downloaded via data.gv.at internet. This rich dataset can be nicely coupled with national address data that were made available internet just recently. In the afternoon OGD strategies on various administrative levels were discussed in a GeoTalk (the presentation slides have been made available on the organization’s website internet, scroll to GeoTalk #10), organized by the local GIS cluster.

Wasting time on congested roads. Is this all autonomous driving has to offer?

Wasting time on congested roads. Is this all autonomous driving has to offer?

In between these sessions I attended a special forum on autonomous driving. Although some of the contributions where innovative and relevant (for instance Benno Bock’s internet presentation on car sharing patterns internet), the forum was dominated by automotive lobbyists who demonstrated a very narrow perspective on mobility. It was a bit frustrating to see how much money is put into R&D with an exclusive focus on the car. There is little effort to completely re-think mobility as a system. Here is just one example: Graham Smathurst from VDA internet was asked how to understand BMW’s slogan “Freude am Fahren” (pleasure in driving) in times of autonomous vehicles. His answer spoke volumes: On Monday when he drives to work and roads are congested (!) he prefers the autonomous mode, while on a sunny Sunday afternoon he enjoys to drive himself. There was not a single trace of rethinking commuting patterns or mobility behavior. Nothing. Similarly, Christian Kleine from Here presented the company’s ambitions and technology, illustrated with a picture of a self driving car in a massive congestion.

The sessions I attended on Friday nicely demonstrated the potential of the spatial perspective and GIS technology in models, applications and participatory planning processes:

  • Enrico Steiger internet gave an update of the excellent OpenRouteService internet.
  • Nikolaus Krismer gave a presentation on his PhD project about multimodal isochrone internet calculation.
  • Stefan Herbst demonstrated the Mobility Optimizer internet, a multi-layer information and analysis tool for evidence-based (planning) decisions.
  • In the very last presentation of the conference, Dennis Groß presented his thesis internet where he combined bio-physical sensor data with locations and produced maps of increased stress for cyclists.

What all these contributions have in common, is the added value of an explicit consideration of spatial information. And because transport systems and mobility are spatial by their very nature, geography has a lot to contribute to a better understanding of these complex and dynamic systems. This is why we will definitely organize another GIS-T session for the GI-Forum conference next year. It would be great if you could consider this in your publication and dissemination plans for 2017 (the CfP will be published in December 2016).

P.S.: all papers are published as open access: AGIT internet, GI-Forum internet


Spatial perspectives on transport – conference preview

Last year’s GI-Forum internet special session on “Spatial Perspective on Transportation Modelling” (read a brief review here internet) was a kind of trial balloon, as we weren’t able to foresee the demand for transdisciplinary exchange at the interface of GIScience and transport research in the context of GI-Forum.
Traditionally, GIScientist gather at GIS conferences and transport researchers at transport conferences. Actually there is not as much overlap between the two domains as there could be – think of groundbreaking contributions from geographers (Hägerstrand internet) to transport research and vice versa. Maybe this is the reason for why I enjoyed the session and all the successive conversations so much. Actually, several participants from this special session worked hard to condense the contributions and discussions into a review/position paper which will be (hopefully!) published soon – the manuscript is currently under review; this is why I’ll provide more information on a later occasion.

In succession of last year’s premiere we are going to organize a GI-Forum special session dedicated to GIS and transport again. Both keynote speakers (Harvey Miller and Anita Graser), from GI-Forum and AGIT internet (German language twin conference) will contribute to the special session “Spatial Perspectives on Transport Systems” on Wednesday afternoon (July 6th, 5pm internet)! Here is what is planned for the session:

1. Harvey Miller (Ohio State University): Geographic Information Systems for Transportation in the 21st Century
The session will be opened with a session keynote by Harvey Miller internet, who currently holds the Reusche Chair in Geographic Information Science at Ohio State University. Harvey will provide a comprehensive overview of GIScience in transport research, similar to his latest paper on the topic (Miller & Shaw 2015 internet).

2. Johannes Schwer (University of Augsburg): Spatial Decision Support: Small-Scale Site Selection Model for Carsharing Services
Johannes internet, who is currently writing his dissertation at the University of Augsburg, will present a spatial decision support system for the selection of car sharing pods. In his analysis he combined demand and supply parameters, such as public transit connections, central facilities, population distribution, socio-demographic and behaviour criteria.

3. Mario Dolancic (University of Salzburg): Automatic lane level road network graph generation from Floating Car Data
Mario is on his last mile of his Master’s studies (Applied Geoinformatics internet, University of Salzburg) and works for an innovative traffic consulting company in Salzburg. He will present an approach that derives lane center lines from GNSS trajectories using KDE and distance relations. With this method, very detailed road graphs can be generated, which are a prerequist for ITS-applications and autonomous driving.

4. Anita Graser (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology): Integrating Open Spaces Into OpenStreetMap Routing Graphs for Realistic Crossing Behavior in Pedestrian Navigation
Anita internet will start and finish this conference day. After her AGIT keynote in the morning (“Offen und dynamisch – OpenSource, OpenData & OpenScience”), she will give a presentation on two more Open* aspects. Anita is going to provide a brief review of common algorithms for dealing with open spaces in routing and navigation applications, before she introduces a visibility graph approach, which is capable to model realistic routing behaviour based on OpenStreetMap data.

Of course, there will plenty of time for discussion during the session and for further exchange and networking afterwards. As this special session is the last one on this conference day, we will have the chance to smoothly fade into the AGIT Expo Night with snacks and beverages.

If you are not registered internet for the conference yet, early bird rates are available until May 25th. By the way, this special session is only one highlight for those who are interested in GIS and transport/mobility research (for instance a whole-day track on autonomous vehicles is scheduled for Thursday).
If you won’t make it to the conference, have a look at the conference’s social media channels internet to stay updated or follow me on Twitter internet. Research papers of the conference will be published in GI-Forum Journal internet for GIScience (open access) – you will find Johannes’, Mario’s and Anita’s contribution there.

A very brief AGIT & GI-Forum 2015 review

Last week the twin conferences AGIT internet and GI-Forum internet took place in Salzburg, Austria. Once again it was a very intensive but stimulating event with great conversations, new contacts, nice social events and of course the everlasting struggle to choose the right session from an extensive offer of attractive parallel tracks. Whereas the general tenor of the keynotes was the increasingly tight relation between GIS and IT, my personal conference focus lay on spatial modelling and analysis in the context of transportation.

Searching the web you’ll find lots of personal reviews (this one internet by Anita is a great example!) and social media snippets (#AGIT2015 internet #GIForum2015 internet). Nevertheless here is a list of links you might find useful:

My conference week was dominated by the impressions from two keynotes I could attend (unfortunately I missed the other ones due to overlaps in the program) and my involvement in a double-session on transportation modelling (have a look at my recent post internet), the OpenStreetMap special forum internet and the track on Austria’s harmonized road graph, GIP internet.

simonisIn Tuesday’s keynote Ingo Simonis internet from OGC talked about the role of standards in the context of smart cities. His motivation to argue for establishing geospatial intelligence (… and with this standards) in enormously fast growing urban agglomerations is the correlation between size and opportunities/challenges: “The bigger a city, the more of everything is there.” A geospatial framework of connected devices is thereby regarded as part of sustainable solutions that turn these vibrant, urban hot spots into smart cities. As in nearly every presentation on smart cities Songdo in South-Korea served as role model and poster child of Ingo’s argumentation (a reference I personally find not that convincing – but this would be an entirely different discussion on liveable vs. smart cities).
What I found really intriguing was Ingo’s elaborations on the “social” aspect of standards. Until recently standards were more a bone dry threat than anything else to me. But Ingo made a very important notion on that: he illustrated how standards are, as he put it, the distilled wisdom of people with expertise in their respective field. In other words, standards don’t necessarily define in advance how things have to be done, but are recommendations or a framework for activities that are already established … Standards are about a common understanding and language of domain knowledge and practise.

privacy_twitter_strobl The second keynote on Wednesday morning came right from the opposite spectrum of the handling of large data amounts, or better data stream. Manfred Hauswirth internet gave an inspiring overview of what is currently going on in the field of linked data and what’s the role of GIS in the never-ending stream of data, semantic relations and interdependencies. He spoke of the internet of everything where the most relevant thing (above all in terms of business models) is to extract useful information from data; something Manfred called a rather untapped resource. Four take home messages made it into my notepad:

  1. Linking is the new (Is it really new? Actually this is how our human brains have worked for millennia) paradigm in the handling of data sets/streams.
  2. Data are increasingly dynamic. This is why the whole processing needs to be designed adaptable.
  3. As geonames are central to the semantic web, geospatial data and knowhow are of great importance.
  4. Privacy is gone. The latter point was of course not revolutionary or new. But it was the first time I heard this statement explicitly and without any dilution in a keynote on a GI conference (probably because the keynote speaker has a background in computer science) – normally we hear bloomy mantras such as: “GIS helps to make the earth a better place.” blablabla. Maybe the organizers of next year’s GI-Forum could invite a philosopher as keynote speaker, talking about the responsibility we have in science and IT!

As the years before, a highlight of the German-speaking conference, the AGIT, was the OpenStreetMap special forum, organized by TraffiCon internet. This year I had the chance to contribute actively; it was a great honor to got invited for a presentation on the suitability of OSM and OGD data for network modelling and analysis. Here are the slides of my presentation (sorry, German language), which I think are self-explanatory and don’t need any further comments:


gipday2015Speaking at the OSM special forum the day before, it was a somehow exotic experience to give another presentation in a session dedicated to authoritative road data on Thursday morning. Since 6 years (with several more years with preparatory projects) all administrative bodies in Austria edit and manage their road-related data in the so called Graphenintegrationsplattform, GIP (engl. harmonized road graph). This standard allows for nationwide applications and prevents from cost-intensive data redundancies within administrations.
We’ve been working for quite a while with GIP data in the context of bicycle routing. Currently the web application http://www.radlkarte.info internet is based on authoritative road data. Over the last two years the quality of the GIP data has been significantly increased. But still, there are some critical issues that become evident when the data are used in an operative environment. This is why we have developed several quality control routines considering above all topology and attributes. The latter is important for (spatial) modelling approaches with which the data are interpreted and fitted into the specific application context. With this parallel approach – quality testing plus modelling – the reliability and robustness of the data could have been significantly increased, as I demonstrated in my presentation:


Any comments and questions? I’m looking forward to read and learn from you!

This was really a lot!

After a week fully packed with interesting presentations, workshops and conversations it’s time to briefly reflect what has actually happened the last few days.

First of all, for me personally this was the most intensive AGIT/GIForum week I’ve ever experienced. But I don’t know if this is because the conferences have changed or my interests and involvements. Anyway, I’ve learnt a lot, got interesting inputs and was able to establish new contacts. Let’s see what will have the biggest impact on my research and project work …

The last conference day provided interesting lessons on GIS education. Diana Sinton internet gave an inspiring keynote talk about how to decide what should be taught, how it should be taught and, most important, how we can assess and ensure the quality of what we are doing; both, in educational research and in education itself. Two aspects, she mentioned in her talk, especially intrigued me:

  • Diana plead for sound research, pointing to the fact that much educational research is based on anecdotes and case studies. I was a little bit surprised by her unambiguous diagnosis, because my (of course biased) impression was, that most researchers from the edu corner are proud of their “soft” approaches. I expected them to think that every quantitative, or at least representative research would be evil. Anyway, I think, Diana’s request for sound (and maybe honest) research can and should be transferred to science in general. I just need to reflect how data in my research context are sometimes used … (this can really be close to voodoo).
  • She explained the challange of how to define what should be the core competences in the field of GIS? Who sets the standards, goals and minimum-requirements. Diana gave an overview of what is going on right now in the revision of the BoK for GIS&T. The main question there is, whether the process of defining the “canon” should be organized top down (as it was the last time) or bottom up. Independently from this organizational question Diana emphasized that the BoK will always be a shopping list and not a guide for how to teach GIS or how to write a curricula.

During her talk Diana provided lots of interesting resources. I tried to capture some of them:

Right after the keynote a great session was organized by Anthony Robinson internet from PennState. In an introductory talk he shared his experiences with the first MOOC internet on mapping which was offered the first time in 2013. What the audience got to hear was really astonishing. The numbers of registered students (50,000+), their participation in discussion forums and quizzes are tremendous. At the end of the course after all 4,400 students passed the final exam (Anthony would need 50 years to teach the equivalent number of students in classroom).
What became obvious immediately was the great value of the data and metadata generated through this course. For example the gender ratio of students in different countries of the world or the relevance of certain topics can be nicely analyzed with the data set.
After the lighting talk 4 panelists – Josef Strobl, Francis Harvey, Diana Sinton and Adrijana Car – were asked to share their thoughts on strategic issues connected to education and MOOC. Anthony decided to choose an integrated panel discussion format were he actively involved the audience. This turned out to be very productive as many experienced educators joined the session. What can be summerized from the panel discussion as essence is the following:

  • It is important to address the right people for participating in MOOCs. Decision makers, teachers and parents seem to be promising as they have the biggest influence on how geography and spatial thinking is integrated in curricula and daily processes and businesses. That MOOCs won’t democratize education was already made clear by Anthony in his talk: the majority of the participants of the first run already hold a degree.
  • Students must be motivated for active participation from the very beginning. Different ideas for how to do this were exchanged, but basically it turned out that attaching the learning activity to the personal lifes (“awareness”, “curiosity”, “relevance” …) and making it an explicitly social experience are the keys for high motivation among students.
  • The sustainability of MOOC offers heavily depends on the overall context. It is very difficult to establish a business model for a region where university education is free from any fees. Additionally the setup and offer of a MOOC must also fit into the overall structure of a university. For PennState the MOOC turned out to be a real revenue booster. It has led to an increase of enrolled on-site students of 24%!

In the afternoon I attended the FOSSGIS Q/A session with Arnulf Christl (see his slides internet), which reminded me a little bit of the GIP-Day a day before (just mirrored). Most of the attendees had more or less experience with OpenSource Software and OpenData and thus the discussion was more an encouragement to further use FOSSGIS than a discussion in the literal sense. Anyway, it was definitely worth to share experiences and views on particular problems.

Ok, now the show is over. The weekend lies ahead and I’ll enjoy to days for recovery. If you would ask me which session I liked most, I’d say the OpenStreetMap Forum which was really brilliant and today’s panel discussion on MOOCs … right, these were two favorites.

Thanks to the publisher of the proceedings (yes, GI-Forum is published as journal), all the papers are already available online:

If you are interested in what I contributed to the conferences, feel free to leave a comment, use the contact form or simply check back to my blog.

It’s all about mobility – my conference day at AGIT/GIForum

Today’s conference day at the AGIT/GIForum was like a home game – I attended only mobility related sessions and workshops.

I started the day with the special forum about Austria’s harmonized road graph, the so-called GIP. This is a nationwide standard for how to capture, store and manage road-related data for administrative purposes. One can question several aspects of this standard and its implementation, but the fact is, that it is a de-facto standard. This means, that factually all national research grants in the mobility domain oblige the consortia to work with this data basis.
The forum was more a user group meeting; most of the attendees were more or less part of the GIP community. But still, some really interesting aspects and figures were published in the presentations (especially Andreas Unterluggauer’s facts & figures talk contained a lot of useful and useless details!):

  • The GIP was originally not meant to be the basis for services but a referencing  system for administrative tasks. I found this aspect very interesting, because I estimate the potential for prospective services to be huge! The problem so far is the accessibility of this data treasure.
  • The “GIP” (meaning the whole environment) was and is mainly funded by research grants. Thus it is currently organized as a temporal project and needs to be transferred to a regular operation in the near future.
  • The first setup of the GIP and the connected clients costed all together 2.6 million €.
  • The operation of the platform and the service for the tools costs 0.6 million € per year. In both cases labor costs are not (!) included.
  • For an area-wide data capture of the whole road network (except the highways and primary roads, but still 80.000 km) in lower Austria, the federal government spent 1.8 million € (half of it comes from EU EFRE fundings). What you can learn here: there is quite a lot of money in it and OSM is invaluable!
  • The net length of the nationwide GIP is 285.996 km. That’s quite a huge number.

After this session I spent the rest of the morning with projects partners of our current Radlkarte 2.0 (here is the test portal internet). One nice feature of this recently launched version is, that precipitation data, in a resolution and timeliness which is normally not publicly available, are directly integrated as overlay. Check back to the portal when the weather is not that good as today. You will love the level of detail and timeliness.

In the afternoon I gave a presentation at the GIForum conference about assessing bicycle safety in multiple networks with different data models. For those who could not attend the session, here are the slides:

In the same session Gerhard Navratil from the technical university of Vienna presented the conceptual framework of Andreas Partusch’s work (I gave some details in my last blog). Anita Graser then showed very interesting results of her evaluation of different DEMs for energy estimations. And finally Lucy Mburu gave insights in her current PhD work on crime analysis in Nairobi/Kenya.

Before I enjoyed the wonderful conference dinner at the NaWi terrace, I attended a workshop organized by the Austrian Institute of Technology about the planned mobility labs. These labs are intended to be so-called “living labs” where efficient, integrated mobility solutions should be developed by multiple regional stakeholders. Although the workshop was very well prepared and the organizers are competent, still several important questions remained open. It is, for example, yet unclear how to design the funding scheme for prospective consortia; especially how to deal with public administrations is unclear.

Tomorrow will be the last conference day. And it will be a great day. At 8:30 Diana Sinton will give a keynote talk on GIS education. Afterwards Anthony Robinson from PennState University is going to share his experiences with MOOCs and will subsequently moderate a panel discussion with education experts. Those of you who don’t know what MOOCs are … come and learn from the experts! In the afternoon a open Q/A session about FOSSGIS is organized by Arnulf Christl. There, all the questions which remained unanswered so far can be asked – and hopefully answered.