Tagged: Salzburg

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.

When it’s worth teaching …

Teaching obligation – doesn’t sound very attractive. Why? Because generally it means much work for little money and almost no reward. Apply for a job in academia. What are the metrics of your qualification? Publications. Impact points.
Don’t worry, this is not another discussion about quality metrics in academia, but a very clear statement, that teaching can be a great experience. Even if it’s a teaching obligation.

Together with university officials and the other three awarded lecturers. More fotos are available at the university's Flickr stream

Together with university officials and the other three awarded lecturers. More pictures are available at the university’s Flickr stream (click on the image).

It is true, that the effort for good teaching is huge; even more in an interactive setting. It is further true that the payment is not worth to talk about and that most of the time your work is unseen. But on the other side it is an unpayable experience to grab your student’s hand and take them for a few steps on your journey. I love the skeptical looks in the first lesson, the chance to generate interest and, in some cases, enthusiasm in the end. Of course, there are students who remain bored and uninterested, but nevertheless they get an idea that there might be something interesting beyond the horizon … Apart from trying to equip students with a basic set of skills in thematic cartography and geovisualization, teaching is a good training for myself. I have to question and reflect my own knowledge and break the – sometimes blurry – concepts in my head down to something 3rd semester students can understand. Maybe it’s beneficial to have children who are in the “WHY?!-age”.

I’ve been teaching the introductory course for thematic cartography and geovisualization together with my dear colleague Christoph internet for 4 years now. Yesterday was a great day for both of us. We were nominated by our students (this is a really big honor!) for the university’s excellence in teaching award. After a competitive two-stage process with an extensive student evaluation and a distinguished jury which judged our course concept, we were among the four highest ranked courses of the summer semester 2014 and winter semester 2014/15. These four candidates were invited to present their course at the university wide “Tag der Lehreinternet, a special interest day dedicated to academic teaching, which took place yesterday. Fortunately the jury liked our presentation (we performed a fictitious dialog between two students who were talking about the course) and ranked us in the first place. To make it short, we are enormously happy winners of the award for excellence in teaching.

This award is more than a compensation for the numerous late night hours we’ve invested. It’s an encouragement and mandate to further invest in our teaching. Such awards bring unseen work to the surface and affirm that there are more ways to make an impact than publishing in high-ranking journals! In this sense, thanks to the university’s department for Quality Management internet for this initiative.

Spatial perspectives on transportation modelling

Workshop at GI-Forum internetcall for submission

Transportation is a dynamic spatial phenomenon by its very nature. Thus transportation modelling requires explicit integration of time and space. This workshop intends to bridge disciplines to provide a spatial perspective on transportation modelling: mobility research, traffic planning, telematics, GIScience, geography, maths and physics. The goal is to identify methodological overlaps and potential synergies and to foster trans-disciplinary networking.

Date: July 7th-10th 2015. Exact day of the workshop will be announced in March or April.
Submission deadline: February 1st 2015
Venue: GI-Forum conference in Salzburg (Austria)
Organizers: Dr. Gudrun Wallentin & Martin Loidl (Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS internet, University of Salzburg)


Scope of the Workshop

We seek to bring together a bunch of young and experienced researchers and professionals dealing with any kind of transportation modelling. Fresh ideas often emerge from such transdisciplinary collaboration, which in turn cross-fertilize current research approaches and everyday practice. Using the physical space as a common denominator and thus promote an integrated view on the system, we provide a format to seek collaborations outside the bounds of professional settings or experiences, make new discoveries, explore different perspectives, develop and exchange ideas, and, of course, gain new insights.

Workshop organizers

Modelling the complexity of any transportation system requires strong methodological and thematic competence. This interplay is reflected by the organizers of this joint workshop, coming from two different research groups at the Department of Geoinformatics, Z_GIS (University of Salzburg), namely “Multidimensional Modelling & Simulation across Scales internet” and the “GI Mobility Lab internet”.

Workshop format

Providing an appropriate context for the above described goals, we are open to any kind of presentation mode. We expect the workshop to be held in a rather informal setting with enough opportunities to discuss and further develop presented approaches. Depending on the number of submissions the workshop organizers will coordinate the framework with prospective participants in detail.

Submission guidelines

All participants need to submit their original work either as extended abstract or as full paper via the conference’s submission portal. For formal details please refer to the author’s guidelines internet. The workshop is also open for poster presentations. Guidelines for this can be found here internet.
Extended abstracts and full papers will be published in the GI-Forum journal as hardcopy and online. All contributions will be reviewed according to the general procedure of GI-Forum. Students can participate in the best student paper contest (AGIT/GI-Forum Trophy).
All workshop presentations and documents will be made available online.

Please feel free to spread this call among your colleagues and partners. We are looking forward to a variety of spatial perspectives on transportation modelling!
Further information can be found at the conference website: http://gi-forum.org internet

Lot’s of activity behind – more ahead

As this year inevitably comes to an end, it’s time to summarize my personal bicycle-related highlights of 2013 and try to sketch what lies ahead.

First things first: I’ve officially started my PhD project last summer and I’m very thankful to those who make this next step possible. During the last few years I’ve loosely worked on several mobility-related topics. Primarily on bicycle routing applications. Now the time has come to bundle up all the findings and developments and to focus on concrete research questions.
My PhD project has the working title “Analyzing, modeling and assessing bicycle road safety with GIS” and can be split up into three sub-topics:

  • Systematic analysis of bicycle accidents in an explicitly spatial context.
    For this I use bicycle accident data for the years 2002-2011. The 3,096 incidents in the city of Salzburg/Austria are georeferenced and contain all details reported by the police. The biggest challenge in this context is the absence of any statistical population. Hence it won’t be possible to calculate any risk exposure. But still, for anomaly detection the data seem to be very promising.
  • Development of an road network assessment model.
    Based on previous research, I’m going to refine the indicator-based assessment model (Loidl & Zagel 2013 internet, in German). This approach makes use of the power of geographical information systems and allows for a global assessment of road network quality.
  • Application of the assessment model in a planning context.
    The indicator-based assessment model should be adapted in a way that it can be employed in a traffic planning context. The idea is to use it for weak-point analysis and for simulation purposes.

The research conducted for this PhD project is widely triggered by funded projects. Thus the ideas as such are rooted in real-world problems. In turn, all generated results can be tested and applied immediately in practical environments. Just like this project …

radlkarte.fwA very nice application which was launched in 2012 has been extended this year. The web-based bicycle routing application “radlkarte.eu” is now available for the city of Salzburg and its neighboring municipalities in Bavaria. The application primarily addresses commuters who use their bicycles as an efficient, flexible and healthy mobility alternative. Funded by the city administration of Salzburg, the federal state of Salzburg and the EU Interreg IV program, the routing application is an integral part of the regional long-term bicycle policy.
 Z_GIS’ contribution to the application comprises the data management and the provision of the routing network (the web services has been developed by a partner company, TraffiCon internet). The innovative part of the routing application is the explicit consideration of bicycle safety as a routing criterion. For the calculation of this safety index the indicator-based assessment model has been used. Here the challenge was to apply the model for different data sources and data models. Above that, the model had to be adapted for urban and rural environments. With several lines of code we managed to process the whole workflow automatically. This made it possible to run fast calibration cycles.
The result of this project is a seamless, cross-border routing application for bicyclists who are not only interested in the shortest but also in the safest route.

As my department, the department of geoinformatics, Z_GIS internet, has been established as an independent department just recently, this year has been a time of consolidation. In this context I’m very happy that one of the eight, newly defined working groups has been dedicated to mobility and transportation research. In this institutional context research on bicycle safety will play a significant role. This directly brings me to a brief outlook …

At the moment we are waiting for the definite start of a project which will allow us to further improve the bicycle routing application “radlkarte.eu”. The national funding agency (Klima- und Energiefond) has already allocated funds, but one of the two institutional sponsors still needs to manage some internal ambiguities. Anyway, we are hopeful to kick-off the project in early spring.
Beside this we are currently writing on research proposals and – of course! – hope to be successful!

I’m planning to publish a first journal paper about the accident analysis in the first half of the year. Together with two brilliant colleagues I need to finish the spatio-temporal analysis and wrap up the methodological context. Depending on how much project work is to be done, I’d like to start with smaller papers about some aspects of our last projects (e.g. harmonization of different data models for routing purpose).
The indicator-based assessment model is planned to be reconfigured. At the moment the result of the assessment model is static. This means for example for the routing application that user inputs cannot be considered; the safety-index is preprocessed. In a next version the assessment model should allow for user inputs and do the processing during runtime. In this context the standardization of the index values and the balancing of the indicator weights will be the major challenges.

During my first (half) year as PhD student I tried to figure out how I can manage my daily work for UNIGIS, all the project work and my own research/publishing. In some respects I definitely need to improve my routines! But I hope that the wheels – not only of my bicycle – keep turning and significant progress can be made in 2014.