GIS Colloquium – Talks (Summer Term 2017)

The Identification of Geographic Activity Contexts: Considering Behavioral Effects

Asher Yair Grinberger
Mon, April 3, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

Correctly identifying the contextual units that influence geographic phenomena is a fundamental issue within spatial analysis. As ‘true casually relevant’ activity-related geographic contexts vary at the level of the individual by time, space, and activity, they are prone to errors of misspecification, which affect the validity of results. The uncertainty related to this issue is reduced today when widely available high-resolution mobility data is used to reconstruct individual activity spaces. Yet, as activity is mediated by spatial cognition, knowledge, and preferences, delineating these spaces using only objective spatio-temporal constructs may hamper the effort, i.e. considering spaces based only on physical accessibility and not on their behavioral relevance may constrain the extent to which uncertainty may be reduced. To establish this argument, this presentation would rely on three studies: a field experiment studying changes in activity patterns within a tourist attraction when visitors are exposed to different spatial information and geographical layouts; a model predicting visit probabilities within a road network via the integration of non-Euclidean time-space constructs into models of Probabilistic Time Geography; a procedure formalizing topologies of time-space consumption behaviors represented by movement trajectories as well as delimiting the activity spaces related to them. The first study stresses the need to consider the cognitive-behavioral element when delineating geographical contexts, while the latter two studies constitute the means for this end.

3D city Models Beyond Visualisation - ENTFÄLLT / CANCELLED

Filip Biljecki
Mon, April 24, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

The first part of the talk will present the 3D geoinformation research group at the Delft University of Technology and cover current developments in 3D GIS in the Netherlands, such as standardisation of 3D geoinformation and applications. The second part will focus on the PhD research of the presenter. The research comprised several topics around the level of detail (LOD) in 3D city models. For example, it developed a method to benchmark the influence and value of different LODs in different spatial analyses, and the influence of the propagation of positional error. The method is supported by procedurally generated (synthetic) 3D data that may be automatically degraded thus simulating acquisition errors.

The role of Multimodal and Multitemporal Remote Sensing in Hazard and Disaster Monitoring

Prof. Dr. Christine Pohl
Mon, April 24, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

Natural disasters caused by geophysical, climatological, meteorological and hydrological events harm societies and create large damage. Within the disaster management cycle the four phases disaster event, response, recovery and risk reduction greatly benefit from geographical data. The observations of location, frequency and magnitude of the event as well as the information on the destruction of natural resources, infrastructure and settlements often originate from satellite sensors of different types. Remote sensing is a major source of relevant information to support the assessment of hazards as well as the mitigation of the disaster impact. Satellites provide images with different spectral coverage and spatial resolutions on a regular basis. Especially since the availability of Sentinel-1, -2 and -3 imagery large volumes of data are acquired and archived. This enables a very high temporal resolution creating new possibilities in time series and multitemporal image analysis but also poses new challenges. The data is free of charge and can be accessed through different portals. In the process of analyzing the multisensor data there are various options to add value to the data. There is a great benefit from observations with different scales and spectral bands. The combination of different sensors and the monitoring over time delivers valuable insights in the disaster extent and damaged objects, which would not be available from one source alone. The presentation introduces the aspects and benefits of multimodal and multitemporal remote sensing for hazard and disaster monitoring. It provides an overview on existing processing and fusion strategies and illustrates the results using various examples.

From Clouds to Crops: A Journey Through Various data Assimilation Showcases in Environmental Science - ENTFÄLLT / CANCELLED

Dr. Oliver Sus
Tue, May 2, 10.15 am (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

Data assimilation, or more generally phrased machine learning, has been gaining popularity in academia and industry in recent years. Today, affordable computing power and the immense availability of accessible data are fueling a data science boom. With the start of the EU's Copernicus programme, highly resolved satellite data will further push this development in the geosciences. Such recently emerging sources of spatial data provide new challenges and opportunities in geographic information technology. In this talk, I will summarize my own research activities in applied data science or assimilation throughout the last 10 years. To quantify the carbon balance of croplands, I have assimilated carbon flux and remotely sensed NDVI data (MODIS) into an ecosystem model. I trained the same model for an improved simulation of plant hydraulics and drought resistance through corroboration with transpiration data, and investigated statistical relationships between variables of forest inventory data. I finally applied an artificial neural network and a variational data assimilation algorithm within a cloud model to retrieve climatologies of cloud parameters from space (AVHRR, MODIS). These attempts are a mixture of success stories and failures, and both of which shall be given attention in this presentation. I will conclude with a brief outlook on the potential of the Copernicus programme to spark research activities and business ideas around the globe.

Investigating Tropical Forests with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and LiDAR

Harm Bartholomeus
Mon, May 8, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

Constant monitoring of tropical forests is important to increase our knowledge on effects of climate change. However, mapping aspects like forest structure, degradation and deforestation is time-consuming and expensive. Innovative high-tech approaches like Terrestrial Lidar Scanning (TLS) and Hyperspectral Sensing from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) may revolutionize the way we monitor our forests. In the last few years, we conducted a number of campaigns to investigate the use of innovative technologies for mapping the plant traits of tropical forest. These campaigns consisted of UAV data acquisition, TLS measurements, or combinations of both techniques. UAV based sensing allows for multi-scale observations and fills the gap between ground based sampling and satellite based observations. Our in-house developed Hyperspectral Mapping System observes both forest structural information, which can be derived from the 3D point cloud data, and the biochemistry of the tree canopy which can be characterized from the hyperspectral data cube. The structure of the forest is assessed with the TLS, where our research focusses on the 3D reconstruction of individual trees by using Quantitative Structural Models (QSMs). These can further be used to determine individual trees biomass and e.g. branch architecture. Upscaling these procedures to the plot level allow less biased biomass estimates than the currently used allometric equations. Finally, some first results of the newly acquired RiCopter UAV based Lidar system will be presented. This system will allow us to upscale our laser scanning activities over larger areas, preserving the high accuracy and point density required for accurate reconstruction of the tree shapes. I will show examples of our work across the tropics, with illustrations from field campaigns in Indonesia, Ghana and Guyana and describe our methods to derive individual tree-level plant traits and plot-level estimates of biomass.

Big data for Detecting Human Activities

Prof. Bo Huang
Mon, May 15, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

Recent years have witnessed a dramatic increase in our ability to collect data from various mobile devices, sensors and the Internet. This has created an opportunity to capture human activities, which were, however, difficult to obtain. In this presentation, I will give a brief introduction to big data including an analysis of their pros and cons. Subsequently, I will discuss our recent work on using big data to detect urban structure and urban vibrancy and to estimate population-weighted air pollution exposure. Gathering the dynamic distribution of population, our studies are expected to gain more insights into the human behavior in relation to space and time, thereby facilitating the development of more informed spatial plans and designs.

Terrestrial laser scanning for Geomorphometry - Some remarks on pitfalls and widespread opinions

Dr. Daniel Wujanz
Mon, June 19, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

Ever since its emergence, terrestrial laser scanners (TLS) have proved to be a valuable addition to the toolbox of Geodesists, Geographers and Geologists, especially for the sake of monitoring geometric changes over time. Even though TLS stands in the scientific spotlight for about two decades, vital questions are still not answered to a satisfactory degree. An obvious issue is linked to the detectability of deformations which directly influences all geomorphometric measures that are computed based on the acquired datasets. The detectability of geometric changes is, amongst others, directly correlated to the precision of the applied sensor as well as all required post-processing steps. These steps involve the so called registration into a reference coordinate system as well as the actual quantification of deformation. In this talk, a close look will be taken at the entire processing chain of deformation measurement and their individual influence onto the final outcome. At first, the focus will be set on some popular misconceptions regarding the precision of terrestrial laser scanners followed by some thoughts on referencing point clouds. Finally, a brief review on algorithms for quantification of deformation will be given.

Semantic Signatures for Social Sensing in Smart Environments

Prof. Dr. Krzysztof Janowicz
Mon, July 3, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

In this talk we will introduce the framework of semantic signatures in the context of social sensing and illustrate how its combination of deductive and inductive methods provides new insights into key questions of geographic information retrieval, reverse geocoding, place name disambiguation, similarity reasoning, and so forth. We will discuss these topics in the context of bottom-up, sensor-rich environments.

Heatmapping: Accessing Geodatabases of Building Stocks for the Development of Spatial Energy System Models

Sebastian Blömer
Mon, July 10, 2.15 pm (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

To evaluate the technological and economic feasibility of the use of different heat sources, conversion and supply structures, the development of high-resoluted GIS-Models of the long term energy demand for floor heating and hot water in residential and non-residential buildings became an important field of research in recent years. In this talk, I will give an overview of spatial energy system models of the German building stock from my work at the ifeu - Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg. First, I will present the main requirements of spatial heat demand models of buildings with regard to the leading research questions and set them in relation with available geodatabases. As an insight into the development of nationwide heat atlases, I will present the procedure of a nationwide GIS-model of the development of the long term heat demand in the German residential building stock based on proprietary building footprint data. I will conclude with an overview of my recent work on integrating 3D-data and information on non-residential buildings into GIS-based heat demand models. As an Input for discussion, I will present the results of an evaluation of different machine learning algorithms for the automatic classification of settlement structures to enrich building footprint data.

Adaptive Trip Planning

Dr. Thomas Liebig
Tue, September 12, 10.00 am (Venue: INF 348, Room 015)

Route planning makes direct use of geographic data and provides beneficial recommendations to the public. In real-world the schedule of transit vehicles is dynamic and delays in the schedules occur. Incorporation of these dynamic schedule changes in multi-modal route computation is difficult and requires a lot of computational resources. We present an approach that extends the state-of-the-art for statictransit schedules, Transfer Patterns, for the dynamic case. Therefore, we amend the patterns by additional edges that cover the dynamics. Our approach is implemented in the open-source routing framework OpenTripPlanner and compared to existing methods in the city of Warsaw. Our results are an order of magnitude faster then existing methods. In Addition, urban areas are increasingly subject to congestions. Most navigation systems and algorithms that avoid these congestions consider drivers independently and can, thus, cause novel congestions at unexpected places. Pre-computation of optimal trips (Nash equilibrium) could be a solution to the problem but is due to its static nature of nopractical relevance. In contrast, we present an approach to avoid traffic jams with dynamic self-organizing trip planning. We apply reinforcement learning to learn dynamic weights for routing from the decisions and feedback logs of the vehicles. In order to compare our routing regime against others, we validate our approach in an open simulation environment (LuST) that allows reproduction of the traffic in Luxembourg for a particular day. Additionally, in two realistic scenarios: (1) usage of stationary sensors and (2) deployment in amobile navigation system, we perform experiments with varying penetration rates. All our experiments reveal that performance of the traffic network is increased and occurrence of traffic jams are reducedby application of our routing regime.

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