Theses

Bachelor

ifgicopterUAV / UAS (Drohnen) Remote Sensing/GIS: Vegetationsspezifische Geodatenanalyse/Workflows

Thema: Im Rahmen der gemeinsamen IFGIcopter und ILÖK UAV Initiative werden  kontinuierlich vegetationsspezifische Fernerkundungsdaten unterschiedlichster UAV-Sensoren (Drohnen) aufgenommen und ausgewertet. Besondere Schwerpunkte sind die Erfassung und Analyse von Vegetationsmustern, Vitalitätsparametern und inversiver Arten mittels multispektraler UAS Daten. In diesem Kontext spielen die Datenverarbeitung und Visualisierung (auch 3D) mittels verschiedenster geoinformatischer Werkzeuge (GIS, kommerzielle Software, Web-Tools und Eigenprogrammierungen etc.) eine große Rolle. Wer Interesse an einer interdisziplinären Fragestellung in diesem Bereich hat, wende sich an die beiden Ansprechpartner [2017].

Ansprechpartner: Torsten Prinz / Jan Lehmann

Contact: Torsten Prinz

ifgicopterCrowd Managment, Geodaten Fusion und Dronen-Technologie: Möglichkeiten und Perspektiven

Thema: Im Rahmen von aktuellen IFGIcopter-Aktivitäten bietet das Spannungsfeld Drohnen/UAV und Geodatenfusion' interessante Schnittstellen hinsichtlich geoinformatischer Datenanalyse und Werkzeugentwicklung. Fernerkundungsdaten unterschiedlichster UAV-Sensoren können z.B. unterschiedlichste zeitabhängige Momentaufnahmen von 'Geo-Objektverlagerungen' erfassen und mittels Fusion mit Sekundärdaten zu Modellen einer dynamischen Entwicklung führen. In diesem Kontext spielen die Datenverarbeitung und Visualisierung (auch 3D) mittels verschiedenster geoinformatischer Werkzeuge (GIS, kommerzielle Software, Web-Tools und Eigenprogrammierungen etc.) eine große Rolle. Wer Interesse an einer interdisziplinären Fragestellung in diesem Bereich hat, wende sich an die beiden Ansprechpartner [2017].

Ansprechpartner: Torsten Prinz / Florian Hillen

Contact: Torsten Prinz

STMLEstimating population at risk in small areas using the EEA Fast Track Service Precursor on Land Monitoring dataset

Background

Many disciplines need detailed information data about the number of inhabitants residing in small geographic areas, e.g. for interventional/ preventional public health studies or in the field of disaster risk management. The aim of this BSc thesis is to disaggregate the population data at community level (LAU 2) from the Regierungsbezirk Münster (study area) with the EEA Fast Track Service Precursor on Land Monitoring raster data for spatial cancer surveillance. The epidemiological cancer registry of NRW supplies data of geocoded cancer cases with the aim of modeling a spatial cancer incidence surface. However, there is a lack of an appropriate spatial representation of the population at risk (or background population) from which the cancer cases arise. Therefore more precise estimates of the population in the Regierungsbezirk Münster should obtained with the approach of Steinnocher et al. (2011).

Methods

The EEA raster dataset is for built-up areas with a continuous degree of imperviousness ranging from 0-100% in spatial resolution of 1 ha (Aubrecht et al. 2013). Steinnocher et al. (2011) developed a method to estimate the population density based on the housing density from this raster data. The method is based on the assumption that the population density is proportional to housing density. In a first step all sealed surface areas without residential function must mask out with additional data (e.g. open street map and Corine Land cover data). The remaining areas are used together with the population data as input for Steinnocher’s disaggregating approach. Afterwards the obtained population estimates should be evaluated with population reference data (e.g. population data at census tract level).

This BSc thesis should implement and evaluate the approach of Steinnocher at al. (2011) in R. It is an interdisciplinary project between the Institute of Geoinformatics and the Institute for Epidemiology and Social Medicine (Medical Faculty).

Contact

Dorothea Lemke (dorothea.lemke@uni-muenster.de)

Edzer Pebesma (edzer.pebesma@uni-muenster.de)

References

Aubrecht C, Ozceylan D, Steinnocher K, Freire S: Multi-level geospatial modelling of human exposure patterns and vulnerability indicators. Nat Hazards 2013, 68(1):147-163.

Steinnocher K., Köstl M., Weichselbaum J. (2011): Kleinräumige Bevölkerungsmodellierung für Europa – Räumliche Disaggregation auf Basis des Versiegelungsgrades. Strobl J., Blaschke T., Griesebner G. (Hrsg): Angewandte Geoinformatik 2011, Beiträge zum 23. AGIT-Symposium, 6.-8. Juli 2011.

CORINE land cover data: http://www.epa.ie/soilandbiodiversity/soils/land/corine/ (last access 09/20/13)

Fast Track Service Precursor on Land monitoring: http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/eea-fast-track-service-precursor-on-land-monitoring-degree-of-soil-sealing (last access 09/20/13)


 

Contact: Edzer Pebesma

SITCOMBenutzerschnittschnittstellen für Raumzeitliche Suche

Zunehmend spielen bei der Suche nach Informationen Raum und Zeit eine wichtige Rolle.  Aktuelle Nutzerschnittstellen unterstützen dies jedoch oft nur per Schlüsselwort anfrage ("Finde ein Restaurant in meiner Nähe", "Finde ein Hotel in Paris"). Es sind jedoch deutlich mächtigere Schnittstellen denkbar, wo räumliche und zeitliche Kriterien intuitiver und feingranularer spezifiziert werden können. Zum Beispiel könnte der Suchbereich auf einer Karte markiert werden oder mittels einer Zeitleiste festgelegt werden, aus welchem Zeitintervall Ergebnisse gewünscht sind.

Ziel dieser Arbeit ist es, Anforderungen an solche Nutzerschnittstellen zu ermitteln, Ideen zur Realisierung zu erarbeiten und mittels einer prototypischen Implementierung die Eigenschaften der entwickelten Ideen zu evaluieren.

Ein Beispiel für eine solche Nutzerschnittstelle findet sich hier.

Contact: Christian Kray

SITCOMDialoge auf Karten: Die Dialog Map im Einsatz

In dieser Bachelorarbeit soll eine weiterführende Evaluation und kleinere Verbesserungen an der „Dialog Map“ vorgenommen werden. Die Dialog Map wird unter anderem als Karte der Nachhaltigkeit in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Soziologie im Rahmen des Arbeitskreises Gemeinschafts- und Nachhaltigkeitsforschung eingesetzt. Bis jetzt ist die Karte primär als Informationsplattform verwendet worden, auf der sich interessierte Bürger informieren konnten. In einem nächsten Schritt sollen die bereits vorhandenen Funktionen der Dialog Map genutzt werden, um im Rahmen einer Evaluation mit Studenten zu testen inwieweit Argumente ausgetauscht oder Diskussionen auf einer Karte geführt werden können. Die Dialog Map bietet dafür verschiedene bereits existierende Funktionen wie z.B. in ein räumliches Threadsystem, Suche, Kategorien, etc. .

Die Aufgabe des/r Bachelorkandidat/in liegt darin die vorhandene & bereits fertige Implementierung leicht zu verbessern und im Anschluss eine Nutzerstudie mit Studenten durchzuführen, die die Dialog Map nutzen um einen räumlichen Dialog zu führen. Die Implementierung der Dialog Map ist auf Github zu finden und basiert auf Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL & PostGIS mit Leaflet / mapbox.js.

 

Contact: Chris Kray

SIIA metadata label for the semantic sensor web

The semantic sensor web publishes sensor metadata and observations using linked data technologies, e.g. the Semantic Sensor Network Ontology (SSNO). The GEO label is a visual and interactive metadata summary to make complex standardized metadata (i.e. ISO 19xxx-based) more accessible to users by visualizing the most important aspects of metadata for discovering suitable datasets. Examples for these so called facets are producer information, quality information, and expert reviews.

This thesis will evaluate SSNO and related ontologies to create a mapping between data encoded in linked data documents and the facets of the GEO label. This mapping will be used to implement a partial prototype of the GEO label API that supports the generation of visual GEO labels based on references to sensor (meta-) data encoded in SSNO.

Contact: Daniel Nüst

SIIAssisted editing for geospatial metadata

Metadata editing is a cumbersome task. Editors of standardized metadata documents (such as ISO 19xxx or OGC standards) need in depth knowledge of the available possibilities, and often enough the standards are designed in a flexible manner so that there is more than one way to model the same piece of information. In practice, metadata are often copy and pasted based on existing datasets, or simple templates are used. Naturally, errors and bad practices are also copied this way. Thefore a common practice is to create subsets of the generic data models and standards, so called "profiles", which are suitable to specific user domains.

This thesis will assist the editor of geospatial metadata in new and more intuitive ways and show alternatives to the template-based approach and using profiles, because these are yet another standard document that users have to read.

Instead the student will create a concept for assited editing for geospatial metadata based on existing metadata records as well as a prototpye for a highly interactive user interface based on an existing open source metadata editor. The new UI will integrate a editing form and existing records in different ways, such as

  • displaying existing documents which are "related" or "similar" side by side so that users are always aware of them and can even take over parts of the information, or
  • a powerful and fast "autocomplete" functionality for every form field based on existing records (potentially using a document index database).

Based on the prototype, the new visualisation and interaction patterns are evaluated and requirements are derived for metadata manegement systems to answer the question: How can editors of complex geospatial metadata be supported based on existing metadata documents?

Contact: Daniel Nüst

STML100 Euro Reproducible Research Box

Kleinstcomputer wie der Raspberry Pi haben im Bereich der Bastler und Bildung eine enorme Verbreitung gefunden. Dank der konstengünstigen Produktion von Platinen hat sich ein Ökosystem verschiedener Anbieter (zum Beispiel Odroid) auf Basis unterschiedlicher ARM-basierten Prozessoren mit mehr oder weniger Leistung oder Steckanschlüssen entwickelt (zum Beispiel eMMC Massenspeicheranschluss).

Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit soll der Student auf Basis eines solchen Systems einen Prototypen entwickeln, der in der Lage ist, eine reproduzierbare wissenschaftliche Analyse durchzuführen und das Ergbnis mit der Ursprünglichen Analyse zu vergleichen. Eine solche reproduzierbare Publikation ist mitsamt Daten und Analyseskripten in R in Form eines Docker Containers vorhanden. Da Docker aber die ARM-Architektur offiziell nicht unterstützt müssen die verschiedenen Community-Projekte gesichtet werden um eine Basis für das reproduzieren einer wissenschaftlichen Analyse zu schaffen. Auch die Docker Images für R müssen für ARM-Architekturen erstellt werden.

Wie kann so ein abgeschlossener Kasten für geowissenschaftliche Analysen, der in 30 Jahren nur an einen Bildschirm und Stromanschluss angeschlossen werden kann, funktionieren?

Die Arbeit kann auf Deutsch oder Englisch verfasst werden.

Contact: Daniel Nüst

STMLR as an orchestration engine for the model web

The model web envisions the publication of standardized processes as web services. These services can be combined, i.e. chained or orchestrated, to integrate distributed resources, such as specific knowledge, data, or computing infrastructure. The most common standard for executing processes operating on geospatial data is the OGC Web Processing Service (http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/wps). Besides being a language for statistical computing an graphics, i.e. a GIS, R (http://r-project.org/) can also be used as a programming environment for scripting and data mangement. Therefore in this thesis, a concept shall be created how to integrate a WPS client application into R to call server-based WPS processes from R scripts. This task comprises a mapping of WPS concepts to R. These concepts at least comprise the WPS operations for process description and control as well as the input and output data structures, which have to be represented by appropritate R objects and functions. The concept is implemented in a prototypical R extension package (http://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-release/R-exts.html) and demonstrated with two partially WPS-based orchestrated workflows: (i) a classical GIS algorithm for vector data manipulation (e.g. buffering three non-overlapping polygons, creating the intersection, calculating the center of the created intersection) of at least three steps, where the first and last are executed via a WPS and the second within R; and (ii) a raster-based hydrological model based on locally available netCDF files. The workflows serve both for the formulation of the requirements and the evaluation of the concept for a WPS client in R.

 
Supervisors: Daniel Nüst (daniel.nuest@wwu.de), Edzer Pebesma (edzer.pebesma@wwu.de), Wouter Buytaert (w.buytaert@imperial.ac.uk)
 

Contact: Daniel Nüst

STMLVorbereitung eines räumlichen Evaluierungsdesigns für das Brustkrebs-Screening Programm im Raum Essen

Seit Ende 2005 gibt es in Deutschland ein bundesweites, organisiertes und bevölkerungsbezogenes Brustkrebes-Screening-Programm (MSP). Jede Frau im Alter zwischen 50 und 69 Jahren erhält dabei alle zwei Jahre eine Einladung zum Screening, mit dem Ziel, Brustkrebs in einem frühen Stadium der Erkrankung zu entdecken, um die Heilungschancen zu erhöhen und idealerweise die Brustkrebs-
Sterblichkeit zu senken. Dennoch erreichen die bundesweiten Teilnehmerraten nur 50 bis 55% und variieren dabei erheblich zwischen Bevölkerungssubgruppen. Für eine räumliche/intra-urbane Evaluierung der Teilnahme am MSP wird daher eine BSc-KandidatIn gesucht, die im Vorfeld die Datenbeschaffung und das Datenmanagement übernimmt. Dabei sollen epidemiologische, demographische und sozioökonomische Daten im Zeitraum 2006-2014 für den Raum Essen zusammengestellt werden.
 
Die Aufgaben umfassen:
-
-
Aufbau einer Geo-Datenbank mit den Daten:
o Räumliche Verknüpfung der Brustkrebsdaten mit den Stadtteilen
o Datenbeschaffung und Bereinigung demographischer und
sozioökonomischer Daten auf Stadtteil-Ebene
Deskriptive Auswertungen der Daten
 
Diese Arbeit findet in Kooperation mit der Hochschule für Gesundheit in Bochum statt. Vom Kandidaten wird erwartet, dass er/sie Treffen mit Hochschule für Gesundheit wahrnimmt und teilweise „vor Ort“ in Bochum arbeitet. Weiterhin wird von dem/r KandidatIN erwartet, dass eine Datenschutzerklärung unterschrieben wird zur Wahrung des Datenschutzes. Des Weiteren wird ein routinierter Umgang mit GIS, R und den Office-Programmen vorausgesetzt.
 
Ansprechpartner:
FB 14/WWU
Dr. Dorothea Lemke
Tel: 83 30003
dorothea.lemke@wwu.de
 
Dept. of Community Health/ hsg-Bochum
Dr. Shoma Berkemeyer
Tel: 0234 77727-720
shoma.berkemeyer@hs-gesundheit.de

Contact: Edzer Pebesma

STMLMonitoring Violent Conflicts: Web-mapping platform to combine automatic and manual image analysis

Deutsch:

Die große Zahl gewaltsamer Konflikte weltweit und das Ausmaß, zu dem Menschenrechte hierbei verletzt werden, machen eine genaue Überwachung und Dokumentation von Konflikten unabdingbar. Da eine ausführliche bodengebundene Überwachung des Kriegsverlaufes und seiner Auswirkungen jedoch -insbesondere in abgelegenen Regionen- häufig kaum möglich ist, werden Fernerkundungsmethoden und GI-Technologien immer häufiger dazu eingesetzt, Kampfhandlungen in Kriegsgebieten zu dokumentieren. Satellitenbilder können zum Beispiel visuellen Zugang zu schwer erreichbaren Regionen ermöglichen und lokale Berichte über Gewalt und Zerstörung bestätigen. Die meisten praktischen Anwendungen verlassen sich dabei bisher vor allem auf die manuelle Bildanalyse und Identifikation von verdächtigen Objekten (z.B. zerstörte Gebäude). Der Zeit- und Kostenaufwand solcher Analysen ist jedoch erheblich. Eine Möglichkeit, mit dem immensen Aufwand umzugehen, ist die Verteilung der Arbeit auf verschiedene Analysten in sogenannten crowd-sourcing Netzwerken (mit Hilfe von micro-tasking Anwendungen, siehe z. B. http://www.tomnod.com/). Hierbei werden die Fernerkundungsdaten in kleinere Ausschnitte eingeteilt und individuell von Freiwilligen auf z.B. zerstörte Gebäude untersucht. Eine andere Strategie ist die Verwendung (semi-) automatischer Bildanalyse- und Klassifikationsmethoden zur Identifikation von Zerstörungen, um den manuellen Aufwand zu verringern. Momentan konzentrieren sich die verschiedenen Ansätze entweder auf die web-mapping/crowd-sourcing Ansätze oder die Methoden zur automatischen Bildanalyse.

Ziel der Bachelorarbeit ist es, ein prototypisches web-mapping/crowd-sourcing Werkzeug zu entwickeln, dass beide genannten Strategien verbindet. Hierbei sollen bereits vorhandene Ergebnisse aus automatischen Bildanalysen integriert werden, indem sie als Basis für die Erstellung und Priorisierung der Bildausschnitte für die manuelle Analyse dienen. Bildausschnitte mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit/Dichte von Zerstörungen (gemäß der Ergebnisse der automatischen Methoden) sollen automatisch höhere Priorität im folgenden manuellen Analyseprozess bekommen. Die zu verarbeitenden Eingabedaten können dabei in unterschiedlichem Detaillierungsgrad vorliegen, z.B. Polygone mit unterschiedlichen Wahrscheinlichkeiten/Dichten von Zerstörung oder einzelne Punkte, die die Position von zerstörten Gebäuden anzeigen. Das zu entwickelnde Werkzeug sollte eine Methode enthalten, um mit Hilfe dieser Daten sinnvoll kleinere Ausschnitte aus den vorliegenden Fernerkundungsbildern zu erstellen und diese zu priorisieren. Zusätzlich sollten Werkzeuge bereitstehen, um Nutzer/innen eine sinnvolle Visualisierung bi-temporaler Daten (vor und nach angeblicher Attacken)  und das Markieren von Zerstörungen zu ermöglichen. Optional können natürlich weitere Methoden oder Schnittstellen für die Kombination automatischer und manueller Analyse erdacht und entwickelt werden.

English:

The high number of violent conflicts worldwide and the extent to which human rights are abused during acts of war stress the need for close monitoring and documentation of conflict areas to strengthen public international law. As a comprehensive ground‐level documentation of combat impacts is often hardly possible in conflict areas, satellite imagery and geospatial technology are increasingly being used to document and communicate human rights issues. Satellite images can for example provide visual access to remote or insecure areas as well as visual evidence to corroborate on-the-ground reports on human rights violations. Most of the practical applications rely on the manual image interpretation and identification of objects of interest. However, the time consumption of such analyses is substantial. One strategy to cope with the immense workload is to make use of a decentralized approach and distribute the work among several analysts e.g. within crowd-sourcing networks (by use of micro tasking tools, see e.g. http://www.tomnod.com/). Here the images are divided into subsets and individually investigated by volunteers. Another strategy is to use computer assisted methods for (semi-) automatic information extraction to reduce the analysis workload. Current approaches focus on either web-mapping for collaborative monitoring of violence or on image analysis and classification methods for automatically detecting structural damage in conflict areas.

The aim of this thesis is to develop a prototypical web-mapping and micro-tasking tool for collaborative conflict monitoring which combines both abovementioned fields. It should integrate existing results from automatic classification methods by using them as a basis for the automatic creation and prioritization of areas of interest. Areas with a high probability/density of destruction get a higher priority for the subsequent manual analysis by volunteers. The input data can be in different levels of detail, e.g. polygons of areas with different probabilities of destruction or even point data indicating the location of destructed buildings. The web application should include a method to create and prioritize image subsets based on this input data and contain tools for a meaningful visualization of bi-temporal image data (pre- and post-conflict image) as well as for manually tagging destructed buildings. Optionally, further methods and interfaces combining automatic and manual image analysis can be developed.

Contact: Christian Knoth

SIIRich Data Interface for Copernicus Data

Copernicus is a European Earth observation programme with the goal “to provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and en-sure civil security” (ESA 2015). Within Copernicus, a series of new satellite mis-sions will be executed to gather new satellite data. The first mission acquiring ra-dar data, called Sentinel-1, and the second mission gathering multi-spectral high-resolution data have already been launched.
In order to derive higher-level information products, the data needs to be pro-cessed, e.g. by using segmentation algorithms. In former times, the workflow in-cluded downloading the data, pre-processing it by selecting the spatial and/or temporal extent, and then running the actual segmentation process. The idea of rich data interfaces is that these processing facillities for deriving new information products are directly provided with the data in order to avoid downloading large raw datasets.
The aim of this bachelor thesis is to investigate how the OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) standard (Mueller & Pross, 2015), which defines a web service in-terface for geoprocessing functionality, can be utilized for such a rich data inter-face for the Copernicus. The expected outcomes are
(i) architecture patterns for coupling WPSs with copernicus data interfaces (ii) a prototypical implementation (iii) an evaluation of the concepts developed.
In order to successfully work on the thesis, good knowledge in Web technologies and Java programming is required as well as interest in remote sensing and EO-analysis. The work will be done in cooperation with the 52°North Open Source ini-tiative.
Literature:
Mueller, Matthias, and B. Pross. “OGC WPS 2.0 Interface Standard”. OpenGIS Implementation Standard, Version 2.0, OGC 14-065. (2014).
ESA. “Overview/Copernicus”. Available online at http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Overview3. (2015) Accessed 29/05/2015.
Contact:
Prof. Dr. Albert Remke (a.remke@52north.org) Dr. Christoph Stasch (c.stasch@52north.org)

Contact: Prof. Dr. Albert Remke

SITCOMOpening Reproducible Research (o2r)

Die Veröffentlichung reproduzierbarer Forschung ist ein wichtiges Thema in der Wissenschaft. Darunter verstehen wir, dass die Forschungsergebnisse in einer wissenschaftlichen Publikation wiederholbar sind. In diesem Kontext fokussieren wir uns auf computergestützte Analysen (z.B. R) in den Geowissenschaften. Darauf aufbauend wollen wir auf verschiedenen Wegen "mehr Wissen" aus Publikationen rausholen, welches in traditionellen PDF Publikationen verborgen bleibt.

In diesem Bereich bieten sich viele verschiedene Themen an:

  • Wie kann man aus statischen Abbildungen in wissenschaftlichen Publikationen dynamische, interaktive Abbildungen generieren?
  • Wie lassen sich originale Abbildungen mit reproduzierten oder möglicherweise veränderten Abbildungen vergleichen (Slider, Peephole, Überlagerung). Hier bietet sich eine Mischung aus Implementierung und Evaluation (z.B. Nutzerstudie) an.
  • Falls ihr an Studien interessiert seid, könnt ihr euch bei uns austoben. Unsere Plattform bietet viele Möglichkeiten mit je nach Bedarf mehr oder weniger Implementierungsarbeit. Möglich sind sowohl quantitative als auch qualitative Studien. Zielgruppen sind in der Regel Forscher und Studenten. 

Die Herangehensweise ist zunächst offen. Abhängig vom genauen Thema kann man den Fokus auf technische oder nutzerorientierte Aspekte legen. Die Implementierung kann in der Regel auf unsere bereits bestehende Infrastruktur aufbauen. Dadurch trägt jede Arbeit produktiv zu unserem Projekt bei und wird daher in enger Zusammenarbeit mit den o2r-Mitarbeitern durchgeführt. Die Arbeiten können auf Englisch oder Deutsch verfasst werden.

Contact: Markus Konkol

ifgicopterRe-Design des Geodatenportals StudMap14

Das ZDM/IVV sucht ab sofort in Zusammenarbeit mit dem IFGI eine/n BSc-Kandidaten/in aus der Geoinformatikzwecks innovativen "Re-Designs" des Geodatenportals StudMap14 (http://gdione4all.uni-muenster.de/joomla/index.php/studmap14

Kenntnisse/Einarbeitung in die GeoServer-Umgebung und Interesse an modernen GDI-Lösungen sind Voraussetzungen für dieses BSc-Projekt (ggf. ist eine Finanzierung mit 5 SHK-Stunden für 6 Monate möglich).

Bei Interesse direkt mit Dr. Torsten Prinz in Kontakt treten!

Contact: Torsten Prinz

SILEntwicklung eines Statistikportals zur Visualisierung und Auswertung von Umweltdaten aus dem Citizen Science Kontext

Die openSenseMap ist eine Plattform für Umweltsensordaten von Messstationen jeglicher Art. Zur Zeit werden nur Rohdaten von senseBoxen gespeichert und die Daten können sich nur pro senseBox angezeigt werden lassen. Zudem gibt es die Möglichkeit sich die gesammelten Daten für einen Zeitpunkt interpoliert darstellen zu lassen.

Ziel der Arbeit ist es, für die openSenseMap ein Portal zu entwicklen, in dem der Benutzer die Möglichkeit hat mehrere senseBoxen und Sensoren mit statistischen Methoden zu vergleichen und externe Datenquellen, wie zB. vom DWD, einzubinden.

Contact: Thomas Bartoschek

SITCOMRunning with Technology: How To Use Computer Devices and Location Based Services while Moving

Runners often use technology to accompany their activities with tracking, navigation, communication or entertainment. They use MP3 players, watches, and smartphones, which require interaction for using an application or changing the current music track. However, using a device can become a challenge for the runner because manually controlling it and running interfere.  Such momentary interferences include the physical movement of the running activity and requesting and receiving services. Even if interacting is possible, the movement required for the interaction will disturb the running. To address this, understanding how to design interaction with minimizing interferences is the overall theme of this project.

Various options for theses contributing to this theme exist.

  • A radically new idea aims to using the runners' GPS-data to trigger actions (e.g. in a game). To explore this idea, a thesis can develop and evaluate a geo-based game that uses defined route segments (cf. Strava Segments) or shapes (cf. GPS art) as triggers. For example, running an extra circle near the Aasee in Münster may trigger 'fight a Pokemon' in the game.
     
  • One approach can develop and evaluate applications for the use while being in motion. A navigation App may provide Instructions for Running in the Unknown; a Context-Note App may be able to sense, store, and represent context cues to help to remember thoughts one had during running.
     
  • Another approach can define and evaluate interaction techniques for the use while being in motion. For example, Novel Interaction Techniques for the Runner's devices can be defined by users. This approach allows for identifying appropriate behaviors that interaction techniques can instrumentalize.
     
  • Finally, movement based interaction techniques are natural to runners as they are in movement already. A  thesis can aim to implement and test new input techniques. Examples may be Body Area-Based Touch Input, or Gesture Control for the Runner's devices.

To contribute to this project, you will propose your own idea and optionally refer to one of the examples above. Your thesis should also contribute to a follow-up publication.

1st Supervisor: Matthias Seuter
2nd Supervisor: t.b.a.

 

Contact: Matthias Seuter

SITCOMRemote Controlling Humans: A novel feedback method for remote pointing

Communication overall is not limited to verbal exchanges; other modalities also play an essential role. In particular, facial expressions and gestures are often crucial to understanding our communication partner – be it a human or a computer. In face-to-face communication, we frequently use deictic gestures such as pointing to express or describe the location or shape of an object to support the spoken language. For example, a person might utter "Please pass me that" to someone else while pointing to a cup of tea on the table. Without adequately perceiving the pointing gesture, it will be difficult for the other person to correctly identify what the speaker means. Spatial pointing permeates everyday life, and it is instrumental to successfully exchanging information. However, communicating gestures, pointing, in particular, are challenging when two parties communicate across distances.


Electric muscle stimulation (EMS) is a state-of-the-art technology emerging in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. EMS use low signal to voluntary move the limbs of an user. With EMS designers can provide haptic feedback to users ranging from a subtle tactile feeling on their fingers when touching an object in Virtual Reality to a sudden movement of their muscles to design movement [1].  


In this thesis, the student will investigate and evaluate the potential of EMS as a mean for communicating spatial gestures to a remote recipient.


A Bachelor’s thesis student would develop an app that, in a communication scenario, would be capable of detecting the pointing pose of the sender and then designing and applying an EMS response to a remote receiver.


A Master's thesis student, in addition, will have to perform an user study in order to evaluate and compare this communication technique with a traditional face-to-face scenario.


In both cases, the student should have a strong background in programming and computer science. Prior knowledge of techniques as machine learning, computer vision, Android, and Arduino is recommended.


[1] Oliver Beren Kaul, Max Pfeiffer, and Michael Rohs. 2016. Follow the Force: Steering the Index Finger towards Targets using EMS. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2526-2532. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2851581.2892352

Contact: Max Pfeiffer

SITCOMGeoCollages

Für traditionelle Karten existiert das Schichtenmodell (Layer), das den Nutzern von GIS, WebGIS und anderen kartenbasierten Diensten viele Funktionen an die Hand gibt. Damit ist es beispielsweise möglich selektiv nur bestimmte Aspekte zu visualisieren, unterschiedliche Versionen der selben Geo-Daten vorzuhalten und verschieden Szenarien zu vergleichen.  Terrestrische Bildinformation wie Panoramabilder oder 360 Grad Videos sind eine alternative Möglichkeiten zu Karten um die Welt darzustellen, die für Nicht-Experten möglicherweise einfacher zu verstehen ist als Karten.  Allerdings gibt es für Photos oder Videos von räumlichen Featuren kein klar definiertes Konzept ähnlich den Layern bei Karten, dass eine vergleichbare Menge von Funktionen unterstützen würden.  Ziel dieses Projektes ist es daher ein solches Konzept von “GeoCollagen” zu entwickeln, zu implementieren und zu evaluieren.  Dabei kann das Thema von verschiedenen Richtungen angegangen werden und das Bearbeiten unterschiedlicher Forschungsfragen ist möglich:

 

  • Datenmodelle und grundlegende Operation für GeoCollagen
  • Benutzerschnittstellen für das Erstellen von GeoCollagen
  • Interaktionsmechanismen und Benutzerschnittstellen für die Exploration von GeoCollagen
  • Entwicklung und Evaluierung einer prototypischen Anwendung von GeoCollagen für die Stadtplanung

 

Die grundlegende Infrastruktur für die Darstellung, das Speichern und Verwalten von Videos, Photos und Overlays existiert bereits, so dass Arbeiten an diesem Thema nicht von Null starten würden.  Dieser Themenbereich bietet die Option für mehrere Personen parallel an unterschiedlichen aber komplementären Teilthemen zu arbeiten.

Contact: Christian Kray

SITCOMInteractive Design Space of Positioning Systems

Positioning systems are used to obtain positioning information such as location, orientation, speed, etc of a person. Thus, they provide an essential service for Location Based Systems (LBS). Over the years, different types of positioning systems have been built, with different capabilities. We analyzed these existing positioning systems and created a design space as a systematic approach for representing positioning systems in general.

 

This thesis will develop and evaluate an application to represent this design space. This application will,

 

  • Let users to input information about the positioning systems they develop (Technology, Measurements used, Accuracy, etc.)
  • Let users to input metadata about the positioning systems they develop (year, authors, paper title, link to source code, etc.)
  • Generate summaries/ valuable information from existing data (eg. what are the positioning systems with accuracy > 1m?, percentage of systems that use WiFi, etc.)
  • Visualize the design space
  • etc.

 

Contact: Champika Manel Epa Ranasinghe

SITCOMForce feedback patterns for smartphones through electrical muscle stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), adapted from the medical field is used to generate force feedback on humans in the field of human-computer interaction. This approach enables performing simple movements such as raising or lowering the hand or the arm of a human user. The resulting movements depend on the EMS signal parameters as well as on the position where the signal is applied. The EMS signal can be controlled by a PC or an other mobile device. The goal of this Bachelor’s thesis is to identify different patterns of EMS signals to generate force feedback and implement a simple Android App to control and configure these signal patterns. For the Android App programming skills in Java are required. The earliest possible start date for this thesis is September 2017.

Contact: Max Pfeiffer

GeoSimFuture water footprint of sugar cane for ethanol in Brazil

Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from biological sources, such as crops. One type of bioenergy is ethanol made from sugar cane, used as a biofuel for cars. Although ethanol is renewable for sure, there have been concerns whether it is also sustainable, because of the potential impacts of the sugar cane plantations, for example on deforestation, socio-economic conditions of the workers and water use.

One way to assess the latter impact is the water footprint. The water footprint is an indicator of freshwater use for making a certain product or delivering a service (Hoekstra et al. 2011). The vast expansion of sugar cane in Brazil in the last decades, mainly for ethanol production, was an incentive for Rodriguez et al. (2016) to assess the water footprint of the suitable expansion areas in Brazil. Yet, the fact that an area is suitable for sugar cane expansion does not mean that expansion will take place, because expansion is also driven by market demand.

The aim of this BSc thesis is to use a set of existing sugar cane expansion scenarios for 2030 from a demand-driven land use change model (Verstegen et al., 2016, van der Hilst et al., in review) to re-assess the future water footprint of sugar cane for ethanol in Brazil. This will be done using the methodology from Rodriguez et al. (2016) and the high-resolution maps of water-related variables developed by Xavier et al. (2016).

 

References:

Van der Hilst, F., Verstegen, J.A., Woltjer, G., Smeets, E., Faaij, A.P.C. (in review). Mapping direct and indirect land use changes resulting from biofuel production and the effect of LUC mitigation measures. In review at Global Change Biology Bioenergy.

Hoekstra, A. Y., Chapagain, A. K., Aldaya, M. M. & Mekonnen, M. M. (2011). Water Footprint Assessment Manual: Setting the Global Standard. http://waterfootprint.org/en/resources/publications/water-footprint-assessment-manual-global-standard/

Rodriguez, R., Scanlon, B.R. and King, C.W. (2016). Sugarcane water footprint in the suitable areas for crop in Brazil. CLIMA Policy Brief #1, Centro Clima/COPPE/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, 6 p. http://testsite1.hospedagemdesites.ws/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CLIMA-PolBrief-1-Water-footprint-cane.pdf

Verstegen, J.A., van der Hilst, F., Woltjer, G., Karssenberg, D., de Jong, S.M., Faaij, A.P.C. (2016). What can and can't we say about indirect land-use change in Brazil using an integrated economic – land-use change model? Global Change Biology Bioenergy 8(3), 561-578.

Xavier, A. C., King, C. W. & Scanlon, B. R. (2015) Daily gridded meteorological variables in Brazil (1980–2013). Int. J. Climatol. 36, p. 2644-2659. doi:10.1002/joc.4518

Contact: Judith Verstegen

SITCOMSpatial Query Interface for an Open City API

Various open data portals are currently emerging as catalogs for data being made open by public institutions. Enabling an efficient access to, and searching of these open datasets is still not fully understood. [1] proposed semantic APIs as a way of improving access to open data. The purpose of this thesis is to design and implement functionalities to enable spatial search through this API.

The thesis will involve two basic tasks:
  - addition of curated spatial datasets to the Open City Toolkit
  - development of an intuitive interface for the spatial query of these spatial datasets
 
The intuitiveness of the Spatial Query Interface could be tested, for example, through (sample) usability tests.

[1] Degbelo, A., Trilles, S., Kray, C., Bhattacharya, D., Schiestel, N., Wissing, J. and Granell, C. (2016) ‘Designing semantic APIs for open government data’, JeDEM - eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 8(2), pp. 21–58.

 

Contact: Auriol Degbelo

SITCOMOpen City Toolkit Recommender System

The Open City Toolkit has been suggested in [1,2] as a way of improving data re-use in the city context. This thesis will develop and test a module which suggests
relevant datasets for a new Open City Toolkit app. The development may follow user-centered design principles.

The thesis will involve two basic tasks
 - modelling of (spatial) datasets and apps in the context of the Open City Toolkit
 - specification of an annotation strategy of both apps and datasets, based on open data formats (e.g., RDF, JSON, JSON-LD)
 - design and implementation of recommendation functionalities (i.e., which datasets could be re-used in which apps)  
 
The feasibility of the ideas suggested is expected to be demonstrated through a prototypical implementation.


[1] Degbelo, A., Granell, C., Trilles, S., Bhattacharya, D., Casteleyn, S. and Kray, C. (2016) ‘Opening up smart cities: citizen-centric challenges and opportunities from GIScience’, ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 5(2), p. 16. doi: 10.3390/ijgi5020016.

[2] Degbelo, A., Trilles, S., Kray, C., Bhattacharya, D., Schiestel, N., Wissing, J. and Granell, C. (2016) ‘Designing semantic APIs for open government data’, JeDEM - eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 8(2), pp. 21–58.

 

Contact: Auriol Degbelo

SITCOMMap-Enhanced Reading on the Web

Place-names are important entities of texts on the Web. Currently, most websites still treat them as names of non-spatial entities from the user interaction perspective. This thesis will explore the use of interactive map elements to enhance the overall experience of place names reading in texts.  


Tasks envisioned include:

- Automatic extraction of place names from text (e.g., wikipedia articles)

- Implementation of a map-enhanced reading tool

 

The evaluation will involve aspects such as:

   - Usability of the map-enhanced reading tool

   - Impact of the tool on reading experience (e.g., text reading speed)

   - Impact of the tool on spatial learning (e.g., recall and/or recognition)

   - Impact  of the tool on user experience (e.g., user satisfaction, degree of visual overload perceived by participants)

Contact: Auriol Degbelo

SILVisual and Over-the-air (OTA) programming of senseBox/Arduino

Die senseBox:edu ist ein auf Arduino basierender Citizen Science Bausatz zum Bau und zur Programmierung von Umweltmessstationen im MINT-Unterricht. Mit  www.sensebox.de/blockly wurde ein webbasierter Prototyp für eine visuelle Prorgammierumgebung für die senseBox entwickelt, der auf Ardublockly basiert.

Ziel dieser Arbeit ist es vorhandene Systeme zur visuellen und OTA-Programmierung zu evaluieren und den bisherigen Prototypen in eine native App für Tablets umzusetzen und einen neuen Workflow der drahtlosen Übertragung (über WiFi) von Programmcode zur senseBox zu implementieren und zu evaluieren.

Contact: Thomas Bartoschek

SITCOMEnabling Deictic Pointing Interactions with Public Displays

Communication overall is not limited to verbal exchanges; other modalities also play an essential role. In particular, facial expressions and gestures are often crucial to understanding our communication partner – be it a human or a computer. Previous research has shown that a considerable segment of the population points with their mobile devices in order to interact with space or communicate spatial information using technology. However, deictic communication and pointing, in particular, is still not a common way of interaction with nowadays technology, forcing people to relay to less natural means of interaction with technology. Enabling device pointing would be the first step for allowing users to interact and communicate spatial information in a naturalistic way, whether it be to another person or a machine.

The goal of this Bachelor’s thesis is to develop an app that would enable to interact with the spatial information shown in a public display by pointing with a mobile device. Skills in programming languages such as Javascript or Android SDK are required.
 

Contact: Samuel Navas Medrano

STMLopenEO Hub

openEO develops an open API to connect R, Python and Javascript clients to big earth observation cloud back-ends in a simple and unified way. Back-ends process user-defined algorithms on remote sensing data sets within their cloud infrastructure. Although the communication between clients and back-ends is standardized by the openEO API, each back-end will implement the API to a different extent and will differ with regards to available processes and data sets. Therefore users should be able to search on a central platform for back-ends that fully support the users requirements. This includes the ability to search for back-ends by

  • data sets, e.g. temporal extent, spatial extent, platform, sensor, bands or name,
  • processes, e.g. by a process graph provided by the user,
  • other back-end related metadata, e.g. API version, capabilities or costs.

Additionally, it could be useful for users to publish and share their algorithms as process graphs or user-defined functions (UDFs) on this central platform.

This thesis should explore, implement and evaluate one or multiple of these aspects. The scope of the thesis is designed to fit the requirements of a bachelor thesis. More information can be found in the openEO Hub GitHub repository.

Contact

Contact: Matthias Mohr

STMLValidation of Earth observation cloud-processing services

openEO develops an open API to connect R, Python and Javascript clients to big Earth observation cloud back-ends in a simple and unified way. Back-ends process user-defined algorithms on remote sensing data sets - usually image-based - within their cloud infrastructure. An important aspect is to facilitate users to switch between back-ends easily while still getting consistent and comparable processing results. Back-ends use different IT infrastructure and software to process data although they share the same specification for processes and for communication between clients and back-ends: the openEO API. It is still necessary to ensure that processes comply to the specification. As a consequence, the results from back-ends are often not comparable by default and need to be checked for compliance with the specification. One way to ensure compliance is by processing a certain standardized, reference data sets and validating the results. The openEO project still has to select such data sets. Additionally, the differences in infrastructure and software may eventually lead to at least small differences in the processing results, either due to rounding in floating point arithmetic or implementation details. Therefore there needs to be a certain threshold that the results are allowed to differ. This thesis aims to solve the issues raised by

  • defining which aspects an image-based data set need to fulfil for our validation purposes,
  • selecting suitable image data sets for validation purposes,
  • defining the concrete rules and a workflow for validation,
  • and implementing a prototype for the specified workflow.

The scope of the thesis can be adapted to to fit the requirements of either a bachelor thesis or a master thesis. Some more information can be found in the corresponding openEO API GitHub issue.

Contact

Contact: Matthias Mohr

STMLMore flavours of geospatial R

The R community maintains the Comprehensive R Archive and Network (CRAN), an infrastructure for building and testing more than 12000 R extension packages. The CRAN Task Views Spatial and SpatioTemporal (https://cran.r-project.org/view=Spatial, https://cran.r-project.org/view=SpatioTemporal) comprise around 220 packages for geospatial data modelling, analysis, and visualisation. At the heart of R's success lie CRAN's testing procedures, which constantly ensure functionality and compatibility. These procedures are crucial for core packages of R communites of practice, such as the geospatial community (R-Sig-geo/R-spatial). R-spatial's core packages provide geospatial data structures and data import/export, such as sp (https://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_results_sp.html), sf (https://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_results_sf.html), and raster (https://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_results_raster.html). The datastructures are used by large number of packages. While CRAN checks different "Flavours" of operating systems and compilers, it does not check alternative implementations of the R language.
 
This thesis is a first exploration of the handful of new and still uncommon R implementations (such as fastr, MRO, Renjin, cf. http://bit.ly/docker-r) and their capabilities for geospatial analysis. It builds upon existing prototypical Linux containers for rare R distributions and should use them for (a) building and running tests for geospatial packages and (b) running benchmarks for typical geospatial workflows across different implementations of R.
 
The R-hub builder (https://builder.r-hub.io/advanced; already packaging platforms as containers, see https://github.com/r-hub/rhub-linux-builders), build systems like Travis or Appveyor, and benchmarking packages (http://www.alexejgossmann.com/benchmarking_r/, e.g. http://bench.r-lib.org/) should be evaluated and if possible extended.
 
The new contribution of this work is adding alternative R distributions as a further dimension to the test matrix. This work can provide a better understanding of the state of the art for geospatial tools in alternatives to the mainstream R ecosystem.
This thesis requires experience with R and Linux, and provides a great opportunity to master the latest container technologies. The following research questions should be answered:
 
  • What R-spatial packages be installed in alternative R implementations?
  • What are the main obstacles to a comprehensive geospatial toolset in alternative R implementations?
  • What is the role system libraries play in the R-spatial ecosystem from the perspective of alternative R implementations?
  • How can containers support transparent benchmarking across R versions and implementations?

 

Contact: Daniel Nüst


Master

SITCOMAdaptive visualisation of directions

Various sensors are available to determine where a person is located (GPS, GSM, WiFi, Beacons etc.) but in practice it is rarely the case that information about the user's location is perfectly precise, accurate and recent.  Various interfere with location sensing, for example, reflections might cause problems for GPS and the presence of many people might cause issues for WiFi-based positioning.  When the location (and orientation) of a person is subject to these problems, then it becomes difficult for a system to provide good navigation support, i.e. to give directions that a user can easily follow

The goal of this MSc thesis is thus to design and evaluate different visualisation strategies for giving directions depending on the quality of the location information available.  Based on an existing classification of typical problems and errors, this thesis will identify existing means to visualise directions, analyse their dependency on the quality of location information and develop new visualisation strategies.  In order to evaluate these strategies, they need to be tested with actual users.

Contact: Christian Kray

ifgicopterUAV / UAS (Drohnen) Remote Sensing/GIS: Vegetationsspezifische Geodatenanalyse/Workflows

Thema: Im Rahmen der gemeinsamen IFGIcopter und ILÖK UAV Initiative werden  kontinuierlich vegetationsspezifische Fernerkundungsdaten unterschiedlichster UAV-Sensoren (Drohnen) aufgenommen und ausgewertet. Besondere Schwerpunkte sind die Erfassung und Analyse von Vegetationsmustern, Vitalitätsparametern und inversiver Arten mittels multispektraler UAS Daten. In diesem Kontext spielen die Datenverarbeitung und Visualisierung (auch 3D) mittels verschiedenster geoinformatischer Werkzeuge (GIS, kommerzielle Software, Web-Tools und Eigenprogrammierungen etc.) eine große Rolle. Wer Interesse an einer interdisziplinären Fragestellung in diesem Bereich hat, wende sich an die beiden Ansprechpartner [2017].

Ansprechpartner: Torsten Prinz / Jan Lehmann

Contact: Torsten Prinz

ifgicopterCrowd Managment, Geodaten Fusion und Dronen-Technologie: Möglichkeiten und Perspektiven

Thema: Im Rahmen von aktuellen IFGIcopter-Aktivitäten bietet das Spannungsfeld Drohnen/UAV und Geodatenfusion' interessante Schnittstellen hinsichtlich geoinformatischer Datenanalyse und Werkzeugentwicklung. Fernerkundungsdaten unterschiedlichster UAV-Sensoren können z.B. unterschiedlichste zeitabhängige Momentaufnahmen von 'Geo-Objektverlagerungen' erfassen und mittels Fusion mit Sekundärdaten zu Modellen einer dynamischen Entwicklung führen. In diesem Kontext spielen die Datenverarbeitung und Visualisierung (auch 3D) mittels verschiedenster geoinformatischer Werkzeuge (GIS, kommerzielle Software, Web-Tools und Eigenprogrammierungen etc.) eine große Rolle. Wer Interesse an einer interdisziplinären Fragestellung in diesem Bereich hat, wende sich an die beiden Ansprechpartner [2017].

Ansprechpartner: Torsten Prinz / Florian Hillen

Contact: Torsten Prinz

SILExploring orientation information in human wayfinding instruction (+ External Semester)

Maps are the fundamental source of providing configurational knowledge, while sketch maps reduce the complexity of map information and maintain a cognitively sufficient resource of spatial knowledge for wayfinding. In this study, sketch maps are cooperated with landmarks to achieve the goal of facilitating wayfinding and acquisition of spatial knowledge.

Tasks in this study include, but not limited:

1. Drawing from literature and previous research, an ideal level of details/complexity of sketch maps shall be derived;

2. Choosing landmarks at both local and global scales that could be integrated in the derived sketch maps;

3. Evaluating the effectiveness of integrated sketch maps.

This master thesis topic is intended to be combined with an external semester at the University of Albany (Prof. Rui Li).

 

Contact: Angela Schwering

STMLOne-Click-Reproduce

Researchers face an increasing need to share the input data, data created, and analysis steps along with published papers, in order to allow readers to reproduce their analysis. This MSc thesis will explain to journals how they can enable this, with focus on the R environment (http://www.r-project.org/).

Reproducibility is an important aspect of geoscientific research, because the credibility of science is at stake when research is not reproducible.  A mature and growing community relies on the R software environment for carrying out geoscientific research, and numerous R extension packages have been published for geoscientific analysis. Geoscientific data often have complex structures (variety in reference systems for space and time, high dimensionality, complex phenomena need be represented by appropriate data structures), and concensus on data file formats is lacking. R Data files can represent data of arbitrary complexity in a direct-to-use form.  To reproduce the work presented in scientific publications, the open source  R environment only requires R Data files and R analysis scripts. The One-Click-Reproduce button makes reproducing research simple.

Most papers describe analysis procedures but do not allow readers to reproduce the results (numbers, tables, figures) presented exactly the way the researchers did this. Data repositories such as PANGAEA encourage users to publish data in simple form (ascii, table), which makes it time-consuming to import and analyse --
analysis scripts or software are usually not posted.  By publishing data and procedures in a simple-to-reproduce form alongside the  paper, readers are more motivated to carry out reproduction, and are more inclined to adopt a similar approach and/or cite the paper. Besides transparency, increasing citation is an
incentive for researchers to provide reproducibility.
 
The One-Click-Reproduce application enables readers of the paper to reproduce the analysis done in the paper by a single mouse click, and see the results, tables and figures being generated. In addition, readers get access to the R Data file and R script needed for the reproduction. Initial output as generated by the authors documents the software versions used, permitting differences arising as the underlying software is updated to be highlighted. A solution that requires no software installation from the reader runs the reproduction on the server side or in a cloud, and returns an html document. Readers that have R installed can opt for reproducing on their own computer, making it easier to study and modify the
analysis and data, and checking the robustness of the results. The application contains a link to a document explaining how all this works. Author instructions explain researchers how to write readable scripts that work on different operating systems.
 
At the right hand side of the paper web site, a box is added with a button called "Click-To-Reproduce", which visually hints at the R logo (http://www.r-project.org/Rlogo.jpg). Clicking this button gives access to the options: "One-Click-Reproduce" reproduces the analysis in the cloud and returns an html page (see
e.g. http://rpubs.com/edzer/ for examples), "Reproduce locally" gives access to the R Data file and R script that allow reproduction on a local computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, other). For those unfamiliar with R, a link is added to a document explaining how remote and local reproduction work. A link for authors explains how R Data
files and R Scripts are created cleanly.
 
 
 
 

Contact: Edzer Pebesma

SITCOMInteraction with research papers in Geoinformatics

Currently, the outcomes of research in Geoinformatics are usually reported in papers that are published in journals or conferences. These papers are inherently static, i.e. they only afford reading.  In particular, it is not possible to question the assumptions underlying the results (e.g. the thresholds or constraints used in a simulation study).  However, the research often is the result of applying well-defined procedures (or programs) to a particular dataset. In principle, it would be easy to change the value of threshold variables or constants in such a program to see what the result of this change would be.  If this was realised, new opportunities for interaction with research 'papers' would open up.

This thesis will investigate these new opportunities.  The topic could be approached from different directions, e.g. identifying and prototyping functionality that reasearchers would want, developing a model and system to enable novel interactions, or focussing on a specific paper to explore what would be possible.

Contact: Christian Kray

SITCOMBenutzerschnittschnittstellen für Raumzeitliche Suche

Zunehmend spielen bei der Suche nach Informationen Raum und Zeit eine wichtige Rolle.  Aktuelle Nutzerschnittstellen unterstützen dies jedoch oft nur per Schlüsselwort anfrage ("Finde ein Restaurant in meiner Nähe", "Finde ein Hotel in Paris"). Es sind jedoch deutlich mächtigere Schnittstellen denkbar, wo räumliche und zeitliche Kriterien intuitiver und feingranularer spezifiziert werden können. Zum Beispiel könnte der Suchbereich auf einer Karte markiert werden oder mittels einer Zeitleiste festgelegt werden, aus welchem Zeitintervall Ergebnisse gewünscht sind.

Ziel dieser Arbeit ist es, Anforderungen an solche Nutzerschnittstellen zu ermitteln, Ideen zur Realisierung zu erarbeiten und mittels einer prototypischen Implementierung die Eigenschaften der entwickelten Ideen zu evaluieren.

Ein Beispiel für eine solche Nutzerschnittstelle findet sich hier.

Contact: Christian Kray

SITCOMOpening Reproducible Research (o2r)

Publishing reproducible research is a key topic in science. In our understanding, research results are reproducible if researchers other than the author are able to rerun the analysis and achieve the same results. In this context, we focus on computational analysis (e.g. R) in the geosciences. However, reproducible research is rarely the case. Our main goal is to assist scientists in publishing reproducible research. On top of that, we want to reveal knowledge hidden in traditional publications, i.e. published as PDF files.

There are several topics in this field:

  • How can we (semi-)automatically compute dynamic and interactive figures out of static figures?
  • How can we facilitate readers to compare research components (datasets, code, figures) within/between scientific papers?
  • If you are interested in studies, you can do a couple of things with our platform. Depending on the needs and your interests, we can adapt the amount of programming. It is possible to conduct quantitative and qualitative studies. The target groups are usually scientists and students.
  • Scientific papers usually contain numeric results in the text computed with code and data. What happens if we change the parameters underlying the results? These changes affect several locations within the text which must adapt accordingly. Such "reactive documents" are principle already possible but require a lot of effort from the author. We would like to find ways which facilitate this task.

The approach is left open. It depends on the specific topic can focus on technical or user-related aspects. The implementation can build on top of our existing infrastructure. The thesis has to be written in English language.

Contact: Markus Konkol

STML100 Euro Reproducible Research Box

Kleinstcomputer wie der Raspberry Pi haben im Bereich der Bastler und Bildung eine enorme Verbreitung gefunden. Dank der konstengünstigen Produktion von Platinen hat sich ein Ökosystem verschiedener Anbieter (zum Beispiel Odroid) auf Basis unterschiedlicher ARM-basierten Prozessoren mit mehr oder weniger Leistung oder Steckanschlüssen entwickelt (zum Beispiel eMMC Massenspeicheranschluss).

Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit soll der Student auf Basis eines solchen Systems einen Prototypen entwickeln, der in der Lage ist, eine reproduzierbare wissenschaftliche Analyse durchzuführen und das Ergbnis mit der Ursprünglichen Analyse zu vergleichen. Eine solche reproduzierbare Publikation ist mitsamt Daten und Analyseskripten in R in Form eines Docker Containers vorhanden. Da Docker aber die ARM-Architektur offiziell nicht unterstützt müssen die verschiedenen Community-Projekte gesichtet werden um eine Basis für das reproduzieren einer wissenschaftlichen Analyse zu schaffen. Auch die Docker Images für R müssen für ARM-Architekturen erstellt werden.

Wie kann so ein abgeschlossener Kasten für geowissenschaftliche Analysen, der in 30 Jahren nur an einen Bildschirm und Stromanschluss angeschlossen werden kann, funktionieren?

Die Arbeit kann auf Deutsch oder Englisch verfasst werden.

Contact: Daniel Nüst

GeoSimInvasive plant species modelling with cellular automata

Ecosystem services can be altered dramatically when the ecosystem is invaded by invasive plant species. Such species often facilitate their own invasion through a change of the local ecosystem conditions around them that is beneficial for their spread. This is called a self-reinforcing feedback effect. To avoid undesirable ecosystem shifts, management strategies aimed at stopping the invasion have to be developed in an early stage. To this purpose, one needs: 1) information on the current distribution of the invasive species, and 2) projections of the expected spread of the species under different future conditions.
 
Dr. André Groẞe-Stoltenberg has done his PhD on the detection and impact of the invasive species Acacia longifolia (Andrews) in a Mediterranean dune system in Portugal. A. longifolia is an N2-fixing woody plant, which increases the nitrogen level in its surroundings in the originally nutrient-poor dune system. Dr. André Groẞe-Stoltenberg has developed methods to distinguish A. longifolia from other species, using field spectroscopy and remote sensing techniques. Furthermore, he has applied spatial statistics to identify the factors that are of importance for the change in the local ecosystem conditions. Although this work has delivered many valuable insights in the spatial distribution of A. longifolia and the factors that might influence the spread, it did not yet deliver a simulation model that can be used to make future projections of the invasion under different conditions.
 
A cellular automaton (CA) is a model for simulating discrete changes over space and time.  A CA consists of: a grid of cells, a neighborhood definition, a finite set of discrete states, a finite set of transition rules, an initial state, and discrete time. The unique property of a CA is that the state of a cell at time t is a function of only the states of the cell itself and its neighbors at time t-1. Because of this property, cellular automata are suitable for modelling systems in which discrete entities (such as plants) spread by means of neighborhood effects (such as seed dispersal and self-reinforcing feedbacks).
 
The aim of this thesis is to develop a CA to project the past and future spread of A. longifolia in the described dune ecosystem in Portugal. You can build upon existing literature on cellular automata for vegetation modelling in arid Mediterranean ecosystems (e.g. by Sonia Kéfi and co-authors) and you can use the maps classified by Dr. André Groẞe-Stoltenberg. 
 

Contact: Judith Verstegen

SILDeveloping a Collaborative GeoGame

OriGami is a GeoGame fostering spatial literacy: The player has to solve several wayfinding tasks to various locations and answer questions at these locations. At the current state, it is a single-player game.

As part of this thesis, you would have to extend the concept of OriGami for a multi-player version, where players can compete or work together to solve tasks. After the conceptual development, you should implement a user management + implement the collaborative games and evaluate your game.

More information on OriGami can be found on our project website http://enable-project.eu/origami/.

Requirements:

You should have some experience in android programming and interest in location-based games.

Contact: Thomas Bartoschek, Angela Schwering

SIIEvaluating WPS Interoperability

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has published the Web Processing Ser-vices (WPS) specification, which defines a standard interface to geoprocessing re-sources.
A typical WPS use case is to provide functional views on very large data sets such as filter algorithms or aggregations. I.e. in those cases it is not necessary to download large data volumes and to do the processing locally but to invoke the processing capabilities of the data store remotely and to download just the re-sults, which are typically of smaller size.
Aim is to achieve plug-and-play interoperability between Client software and re-mote processing engines, as to ease access to arbitrary geocomputing capabili-ties.
The standard is intentionally kept generic to cover a variety of geoprocessing functionality ranging from simple geometric operators, such as buffering, to com-plex environmental models. But this generic nature also imposes challenges to achieving full interoperability between client and server software implementing the WPS standard.
A comprehensive study that evaluates the interoperabilty between different WPS software components is currently missing and is the core aim of this thesis. Therefore, a survey of related literature and projects on WPS should be done, in-cluding a review of the software available. Afterwards, concepts and methods for testing the pragmatic interoperability between geoprocessing web services and clients need to be developed. In a third step, the test environment has to be set up and tests have to be executed. Finally, the test results have to be evaluated.
The student will cooperate with 52°North staff, who is also active in the WPS standardization activities at OGC. Results of the thesis will be presented at an in-ternational conference and should help to improve the interoperability of geopro-cessing services. Interested students should have at least basic knowledge of Web technologies and OGC standards (SII lecture) as well as basic knowledge about testing methods (e.g. as taught in software engineering lectures).
Contact:
Prof. Dr. Albert Remke (a.remke@52north.org) Dr. Christoph Stasch (c.stasch@52north.org)

Contact: Prof. Dr. Albert Remke

SILUncertainty of sketch maps

Sketch maps are commonly used to study how well people know the environment. Traditionally, sketches are analysed to (a) check for information which is (or is not) included in them, and (b) to check the accuracy with which spatial relations from the real world are preserved in the sketch. However, people's spatial knowledge differs in certainty - we are sure of some facts, more than we are of others. Sketch maps do not preserve this information.

In this project, you will use an already existing sketch map drawing tool (Kraft, 2018) which allows participants to indicate how certain they are about the correctness of elements they are drawing.

The aim of the project is to find out if elements that are indicated as certain, are drawn with higher spatial accuracy than elements indicated as uncertain. This would question the traditional methods of assessing sketch maps, which analyse all its elements with equal weight.

 

Potential method for the data analysis:

Wang, J., & Schwering, A. (2015). Invariant spatial information in sketch maps — a study of survey sketch maps of urban areas. Journal of Spatial Information Science11(11), 31–52. doi:10.5311/JOSIS.2015.11.225

Additional reading:

Blades, M. (1990). The reliability of data collected from sketch maps. Journal of Environmental Psychology10(4), 327–339. doi:10.1016/S0272-4944(05)80032-5

Contact: Jakub Krukar

GeoSimAnimal tracks for simulation modelling

Geosimulation models can help to better understand animal behavior, such as their movement patterns. Although some geosimulation models of animal (e.g. ant, deer, bird) movement have been developed, they have remained rather conceptual: applications of these models to real-world case studies are rare. Such applications were mainly hindered by data availability.

In a recent presentation in the GI forum, Benjamin Risse has shown his state-of-the-art methods derive animal tracks from camera images. One of his main current problems are ‘gaps’ in the tracks, which exist because the animal disappears from the camera image through obstruction by another object (tree, leaf, man-made structure, etc.).

This thesis aims to use (part of) Risse’s data for constructing an agent-based model of animal movement and (the other part) to compare how well this model can reproduce the animal tracks. Which particular animal is studied can be decided by the student in consultation with the supervisors. Depending on the attained model accuracies in this thesis, the developed model might be used to fill in the gaps in the animal track data at a later stage. The challenges in this thesis include:

  • To translate the animal track data, built up form a moving camera, to the (static) spatial scale of the agent-based model;
  • To derive the required agent-based-model inputs, especially the landscape, from the camera data;
  • The model development itself; and
  • To compare the stochastic output of the agent-based model with the deterministic track data.

This thesis will be supervised by Judith Verstegen and Benjamin Risse (Computer Science Department, Münster).

Contact: Judith Verstegen

SITCOMRunning with Technology: How To Use Computer Devices and Location Based Services while Moving

Runners often use technology to accompany their activities with tracking, navigation, communication or entertainment. They use MP3 players, watches, and smartphones, which require interaction for using an application or changing the current music track. However, using a device can become a challenge for the runner because manually controlling it and running interfere.  Such momentary interferences include the physical movement of the running activity and requesting and receiving services. Even if interacting is possible, the movement required for the interaction will disturb the running. To address this, understanding how to design interaction with minimizing interferences is the overall theme of this project.

Various options for theses contributing to this theme exist.

  • A radically new idea aims to using the runners' GPS-data to trigger actions (e.g. in a game). To explore this idea, a thesis can develop and evaluate a geo-based game that uses defined route segments (cf. Strava Segments) or shapes (cf. GPS art) as triggers. For example, running an extra circle near the Aasee in Münster may trigger 'fight a Pokemon' in the game.
     
  • One approach can develop and evaluate applications for the use while being in motion. A navigation App may provide Instructions for Running in the Unknown; a Context-Note App may be able to sense, store, and represent context cues to help to remember thoughts one had during running.
     
  • Another approach can define and evaluate interaction techniques for the use while being in motion. For example, Novel Interaction Techniques for the Runner's devices can be defined by users. This approach allows for identifying appropriate behaviors that interaction techniques can instrumentalize.
     
  • Finally, movement based interaction techniques are natural to runners as they are in movement already. A  thesis can aim to implement and test new input techniques. Examples may be Body Area-Based Touch Input, or Gesture Control for the Runner's devices.

To contribute to this project, you will propose your own idea and optionally refer to one of the examples above. Your thesis should also contribute to a follow-up publication.

1st Supervisor: Matthias Seuter
2nd Supervisor: t.b.a.

 

Contact: Matthias Seuter

SITCOMRemote Controlling Humans: A novel feedback method for remote pointing

Communication overall is not limited to verbal exchanges; other modalities also play an essential role. In particular, facial expressions and gestures are often crucial to understanding our communication partner – be it a human or a computer. In face-to-face communication, we frequently use deictic gestures such as pointing to express or describe the location or shape of an object to support the spoken language. For example, a person might utter "Please pass me that" to someone else while pointing to a cup of tea on the table. Without adequately perceiving the pointing gesture, it will be difficult for the other person to correctly identify what the speaker means. Spatial pointing permeates everyday life, and it is instrumental to successfully exchanging information. However, communicating gestures, pointing, in particular, are challenging when two parties communicate across distances.


Electric muscle stimulation (EMS) is a state-of-the-art technology emerging in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. EMS use low signal to voluntary move the limbs of an user. With EMS designers can provide haptic feedback to users ranging from a subtle tactile feeling on their fingers when touching an object in Virtual Reality to a sudden movement of their muscles to design movement [1].  


In this thesis, the student will investigate and evaluate the potential of EMS as a mean for communicating spatial gestures to a remote recipient.


A Bachelor’s thesis student would develop an app that, in a communication scenario, would be capable of detecting the pointing pose of the sender and then designing and applying an EMS response to a remote receiver.


A Master's thesis student, in addition, will have to perform an user study in order to evaluate and compare this communication technique with a traditional face-to-face scenario.


In both cases, the student should have a strong background in programming and computer science. Prior knowledge of techniques as machine learning, computer vision, Android, and Arduino is recommended.


[1] Oliver Beren Kaul, Max Pfeiffer, and Michael Rohs. 2016. Follow the Force: Steering the Index Finger towards Targets using EMS. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2526-2532. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2851581.2892352

Contact: Max Pfeiffer

SITCOMGeoCollages

For traditional maps, the concept of layers enables many feature for the users of GIS, WebGIS and other map-based systems. For example, it allows for selectively visualising certain aspects, for managing different versions of the same geo-data and for comparing different scenarios. Terrestrial pictorial information (e.g. panoramic or 360 degree photographs or videos) is an alternative way to maps that facilitates depicting the world that is arguably more accessible to lay people.  For videos or photographs of spatial features there is however no well-defined concept of layers that would facilitate all the features that map layers support. This aim of this thesis project is thus to explore, develop and evaluate this concept (GeoCollages).  Different approaches and questions can be tackled in this area, including:

 

  • data models and basic operations for such GeoCollages
  • interfaces for the creation of GeoCollages
  • interactive and interaction mechanisms for exploring GeoCollages (single-user, multi-user)
  • developing and evaluating a prototypical application for urban planning based on GeoCollages

 

Basic infrastructure for displaying, storing and managing videos, photos and overlays already exists so that work would not have to start from scratch.  This topic also provides the opportunity for multiple people to work on complementary yet separate subtopics simultaneously.

 

Contact: Christian Kray

SILInferring Spatial Knowledge

Studies in psychology and spatial technologies traditionally assume that people (participants, users) do or do not have knowledge of particular parts of space (e.g. buildings or cities). But in our everyday life we don't really need exact spatial knowledge in order to make correct spatial choices. We turn into streets we haven't visited before because we infer where they might lead us. This process is also known as spatial reasoning but has rarely been studied in the applied navigational setting.

In this work, you will explore what we know about what people don't know (!). Few different ways of completing this thesis are possible, such as designing a research tool for studying real-time inference of spatial knowledge or conducting user studies documenting such a process.

 

Some reading (not necessary to have an informal chat with me):

Tversky, “Spatial cognition: Embodied and situated,” in The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition, M. Aydede and P. Robbins, Eds. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 201–216. (important is the 'situated' part)

Tversky, “Cognitive maps, cognitive collages, and spatial mental models,” in Spatial Information Theory A Theoretical Basis for GIS: European Conference, COSIT’93 Marciana Marina, Elba Island, Italy September 19--22, 1993 Proceedings, A. U. Frank and I. Campari, Eds. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 1993, pp. 14–24.

Hoelscher, C., Tenbrink, T., & Wiener, J. M. (2011). Would you follow your own route description? Cognitive strategies in urban route planning. Cognition121(2), 228–247. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.06.005

Contact: Jakub Krukar

SITCOMSimulating variations in the quality of location and orientation information

Variations of the quality of location and orientation information can greatly affect the mobile applications that rely on them. This affects user experience, e.g. when directions given by a mobile guide system are based on the measured location, which differs from their actual location in the real world. The objective of this thesis is to develop a system that could control the quality of location and orientation information in multiple dimensions to simulate quality variations in mobile applications (for example, a pedestrian navigation system). This enables conducting user studies to evaluate how the mobile application and its users behave in situations where the quality of location and orientation information vary. This thesis also includes running a user study to show the effectiveness of the system.

 

Contact: Champika Manel Epa Ranasinghe

SILValidity of sketch maps under varied tasks

Sketch maps are drawings which represent human spatial memory of an area of interest. Sketch maps, however, are commonly distorted - even when the knowledge of a certain area is well established. There are two contrary models that describe the relation between human spatial memory and the drawn sketch map. Model (1) assumes that the relation between human memory and the map drawn is relatively stable - i.e., that the quality of the sketch map is directly linked to the quality of spatial knowledge. Model (2) assumes that the quality of a drawn map can differ depending on the task at hand. This would imply that the number and type of errors is different on two maps drawn subsequently if the task changes (even if the map represents a well-known area).
 
This thesis will involve designing an experiment in which participant draw two maps of the same area for two different tasks / reasons / motivations. You will then be required to analyse the type of errors (and the type of correct drawn information) on these sketch maps in order to verify whether model (1) or (2) better explains your data.
 
 
Reading:
 

Blades, M., 1990. The reliability of data collected from sketch maps. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 10(4), pp.327–339.

 
Tversky, B. (1992). Distortions in cognitive maps. Geoforum, 23(2), 131–138.
 
Wang, J., & Schwering, A. (2015). Invariant spatial information in sketch maps — a study of survey sketch maps of urban areas. Journal of Spatial Information Science, 11(11), 31–52.
 
Tversky, B. (2009). Spatial cognition: Embodied and situated. In M. Aydede & P. Robbins (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition (pp. 201–216). New York: Cambridge University Press.      (section “Space of Navigation”)

Contact: Jakub Krukar

SITCOMA system to quantify and classify the quality of location information to support adaptive Location Based Services

This thesis will,

  1. identify the parameters (available from a smartphone's OS) that could be used to represent the quality of location information (such as the error, signal strength,.. some work is already available)

  2. use those parameters to attribute different aspects of location quality (eg. what parameters could be used to represent accuracy? what parameters used represent coverage, etc. - some part of this work has already being done)

  3. Present the level of quality to an LBS (you can use an LBS of your choice, even a third party application)

  4. change the UI/ functionality of the LBS  depending on the quality (for example, in the case of a navigation application, if the accuracy is very low, animate/ highlight nearby landmarks so that they are clearly visible to the user)

Contact: Champika Manel Epa Ranasinghe

SITCOMDeictic pointing gestures through electrical muscle stimulation

Deictic information is a core element in our language. Words like "here", "there" or "that" describe positions of objects or individuals. We learn them in the very early stage of our childhood, sometimes even before we start to speak. This shows the importance of such information in our communication. In face-to face communication, deictic gestures are necessary to give words such as ("here", "there" or "that") a meaning. For example "I like that toy" has no meaning without a gesture if there are many options to choose. In remote communication, these gestures and the corresponding information often are lost. With electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), it is possible to let a person perform gestures by actuating the user's muscles. In this thesis, you will investigate which deictic gestures could be performed through EMS. In a first step, typical deictic gestures should be identified and tested if they can be performed through EMS. Then a typical scenario for deictic communication should be created and evaluated with the EMS-based gestures.
This thesis requires programming skills in Java and skills in user study design. The earliest possible start date for this thesis is September 2017.

Contact: Max Pfeiffer

GeoSimA spatially explicit global model of population growth

The global population grows with about 1.1% each year. Yet, this growth is not distributed uniformly over space. The spatial distribution of the future population determines the impact of natural hazards on the population (e.g. volcanic eruptions, floods, droughts) as well as the impact of the population on the natural system (e.g. erosion, industrial hazards, forest fires). To quantify and minimize future risks, it is important to have spatially-explicit projections of the future world population.

In the GI forum (July 18th 2017) and in a conference paper (http://carsten.io/agile-2017-short-Kessler-Marcotullio.pdf), Carsten Kessler, Associate Professor at the Aalborg University Copenhagen, has presented a geosimulation model to simulate the spatio-temporal patterns of population growth. The model is implement in Python, using the NumPy library on a 1x1 km raster. The rules of the model are relatively simplistic. The main reason for this is that more complex rules would increase the (already long) computation time too much. So, before the model can be improved, computation times need to be reduced.

The aim of this thesis is to assess how much computation time can be reduced by:

  1. Implementing the model in PCRaster Python instead of NumPy;
  2. Parallel processing; and/or
  3. Using different cell sizes (it should also be assessed how this affects the model outputs).

Input data and the current model are provided to you. This thesis is supervised by Judith Verstegen and Carsten Kessler. There is an opportunity for a research stay at Aalborg University Copenhagen during the work on this thesis.

Contact: Judith Verstegen

SITCOMKinesthetic notification for mobile and wearable devices through Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Generating force feedback through electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is a contemporary topic in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). The goal of this work is to investigate movements and sequences of movements that can be generated through EMS to notify the user about the current state of a mobile and wearable device.


In a first step, muscle positions to apply EMS signals to generate force feedback should be identified. Then, mobile notifications such as from smart phones or smart watches should be analyzed from literature and mapped to the force feedback. These kinesthetic notifications should be implemented in a mobile app and finally, evaluated in a small user study.


This thesis involves the implementation of a mobile app for Android that requires programming skills in Java. Moreover, a technical understanding of hardware such as about Arduino would be very helpful. The earliest possible start date for this thesis is September 2017.

Contact: Max Pfeiffer

SITCOMSpatial Query Interface for an Open City API

Various open data portals are currently emerging as catalogs for data being made open by public institutions. Enabling an efficient access to, and searching of these open datasets is still not fully understood. [1] proposed semantic APIs as a way of improving access to open data. The purpose of this thesis is to design and implement functionalities to enable spatial search through this API.

The thesis will involve two basic tasks:
  - addition of curated spatial datasets to the Open City Toolkit
  - development of an intuitive interface for the spatial query of these spatial datasets
 
The intuitiveness of the Spatial Query Interface could be tested, for example, through (sample) usability tests.

[1] Degbelo, A., Trilles, S., Kray, C., Bhattacharya, D., Schiestel, N., Wissing, J. and Granell, C. (2016) ‘Designing semantic APIs for open government data’, JeDEM - eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 8(2), pp. 21–58.

 

Contact: Auriol Degbelo

SITCOMOpen City Toolkit Recommender System

The Open City Toolkit has been suggested in [1,2] as a way of improving data re-use in the city context. This thesis will develop and test a module which suggests
relevant datasets for a new Open City Toolkit app. The development may follow user-centered design principles.

The thesis will involve two basic tasks
 - modelling of (spatial) datasets and apps in the context of the Open City Toolkit
 - specification of an annotation strategy of both apps and datasets, based on open data formats (e.g., RDF, JSON, JSON-LD)
 - design and implementation of recommendation functionalities (i.e., which datasets could be re-used in which apps)  
 
The feasibility of the ideas suggested is expected to be demonstrated through a prototypical implementation.


[1] Degbelo, A., Granell, C., Trilles, S., Bhattacharya, D., Casteleyn, S. and Kray, C. (2016) ‘Opening up smart cities: citizen-centric challenges and opportunities from GIScience’, ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 5(2), p. 16. doi: 10.3390/ijgi5020016.

[2] Degbelo, A., Trilles, S., Kray, C., Bhattacharya, D., Schiestel, N., Wissing, J. and Granell, C. (2016) ‘Designing semantic APIs for open government data’, JeDEM - eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 8(2), pp. 21–58.

 

Contact: Auriol Degbelo

GeoSimModelling visitors in a museum as animals

Visiting a museum is a leisure activity which is approached in different ways by different people. Some visitors try to know as much as possible by studying all individual artifacts, others are more selective and spend time on artefacts that embody certain characteristics while neglecting the others, and some attempt to get a general idea of the exhibition by strolling through the museum (Dean, 1994).

Veron and Levasseur (1983) suggest that visitors’ movements are comparable to the behavior of four types of animals: ants, fish, butterflies and grasshoppers. They propose a classification of museum visitors based on these animals. For example, the ant-visitor follows a distinct path and spends much time observing all artifacts closely, but avoids empty spaces, while the fish-visitor prefers to move and stop at empty spaces in the center of the exhibition room, but does not come close to individual artifacts and thus does not observe details. In the decades after this initial idea, others (e.g. Dim & Kuflik, 2015; Zancanaro et al., 2007) have extended the classifications to, for example, pairs of visitors, and have developed methods to derive the visitor type from trajectory data. However, the visitor-type behaviors have never been formalized into a model.

The aim of this thesis is to build an agent-based model (ABM) of the distinct visitor types in a museum. Such a model can help us to better understand how museum visitors respond differently to different exhibition layouts and how density patterns in the museum emerge from this. A scenario approach can be used to test, e.g. if certain layouts may generate a better spread of visitors throughout the museum.

This thesis is supervised by Judith Verstegen and Sergey Mukhametov. A ground plan of a museum in Münster and visitor trajectories for this museum are available to you, for potential use as model input, calibration and validation data.

 

References

Dean (1994). Museum Exhibition: Theory and Practice. London, Routledge.

Dim & Kuflik (2015). Automatic Detection of Social Behavior of Museum Visitor Pairs. ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems 4(4), 17, doi:10.1145/2662869.

Veron and Levasseur (1983). Ethnographie de l’exposition, Paris, Bibliothèque Publique d’Information, Centre Georges Pompidou.

Zancanaro, Kuflik, Boger, Goren-Bar & Goldwasser (2007). Analyzing Museum Visitors’ Behavior Patterns. User Modeling 2007: 11th International Conference, UM 2007, Corfu, Greece, July 25-29.

Contact: Judith Verstegen

SILVisual and Over-the-air (OTA) programming of senseBox/Arduino

Die senseBox:edu ist ein auf Arduino basierender Citizen Science Bausatz zum Bau und zur Programmierung von Umweltmessstationen im MINT-Unterricht. Mit  www.sensebox.de/blockly wurde ein webbasierter Prototyp für eine visuelle Prorgammierumgebung für die senseBox entwickelt, der auf Ardublockly basiert.

Ziel dieser Arbeit ist es vorhandene Systeme zur visuellen und OTA-Programmierung zu evaluieren und den bisherigen Prototypen in eine native App für Tablets umzusetzen und einen neuen Workflow der drahtlosen Übertragung (über WiFi) von Programmcode zur senseBox zu implementieren und zu evaluieren.

Contact: Thomas Bartoschek

GeoSimEvaluating a computational landmark approach for predicting pedestrian movement

Researchers have been studying how people learn and generate a route between two destinations and what criteria they use to complete this task (Golledge 1997). Pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and public transport users’ movements have indeed assumed a growing relevance when tackling city dynamics. Knowing how people formulate a route within the street network may improve the realism in pedestrian movement simulations and, thereby, support urban design decisions, traffic planning, mobility demand analysis and land-use/service allocations.

In this context, landmarks (or points of reference) have been identified as environmental features that affect spatial behaviour (Richter & Winter 2014). Yet, little work has been done to understand how they shape the actual decisions in pedestrian movement. In order to realistically reproduce and understand pedestrian movement in cities, a computational approach that combines known routing algorithms with landmark salience measures has been developed in a project at the Geosimulation lab of IFGI.

The aim of the research is to study the ability of this computational approach to predict how people identify and readjust their routes. The first phase consists of collecting qualitative data regarding pedestrian movements (e.g., asking people to draw their paths in the city). The second phase is comparing the collected data with the routes predicted computationally. In the last phase, the computational approach may be recalibrated according to the discrepancies emerged, manipulating the weights used to compute the landmark salience, so as to obtain more satisfying computational estimates.

This thesis is supervised by Gabriele Filomena (gabriele.filomena@uni-muenster.de) and Judith Verstegen (j.a.verstegen@uni-muenster.de).

 

References

Golledge, R.G., 1997. Defining The Criteria Used In Path Selection. In D. F. Ettema & H. Timmermans, eds. Activity-based approaches to travel analysis. New York, NY: Elsevier, pp. 151–169.

Richter, K.-F. & Winter, S., 2014. Landmarks: Giscience For Intelligent Services, Cham: Springer.

Contact: Gabriele Filomena

STMLValidation of Earth observation cloud-processing services

openEO develops an open API to connect R, Python and Javascript clients to big Earth observation cloud back-ends in a simple and unified way. Back-ends process user-defined algorithms on remote sensing data sets - usually image-based - within their cloud infrastructure. An important aspect is to facilitate users to switch between back-ends easily while still getting consistent and comparable processing results. Back-ends use different IT infrastructure and software to process data although they share the same specification for processes and for communication between clients and back-ends: the openEO API. It is still necessary to ensure that processes comply to the specification. As a consequence, the results from back-ends are often not comparable by default and need to be checked for compliance with the specification. One way to ensure compliance is by processing a certain standardized, reference data sets and validating the results. The openEO project still has to select such data sets. Additionally, the differences in infrastructure and software may eventually lead to at least small differences in the processing results, either due to rounding in floating point arithmetic or implementation details. Therefore there needs to be a certain threshold that the results are allowed to differ. This thesis aims to solve the issues raised by

  • defining which aspects an image-based data set need to fulfil for our validation purposes,
  • selecting suitable image data sets for validation purposes,
  • defining the concrete rules and a workflow for validation,
  • and implementing a prototype for the specified workflow.

The scope of the thesis can be adapted to to fit the requirements of either a bachelor thesis or a master thesis. Some more information can be found in the corresponding openEO API GitHub issue.

Contact

Contact: Matthias Mohr

STMLMore flavours of geospatial R

The R community maintains the Comprehensive R Archive and Network (CRAN), an infrastructure for building and testing more than 12000 R extension packages. The CRAN Task Views Spatial and SpatioTemporal (https://cran.r-project.org/view=Spatial, https://cran.r-project.org/view=SpatioTemporal) comprise around 220 packages for geospatial data modelling, analysis, and visualisation. At the heart of R's success lie CRAN's testing procedures, which constantly ensure functionality and compatibility. These procedures are crucial for core packages of R communites of practice, such as the geospatial community (R-Sig-geo/R-spatial). R-spatial's core packages provide geospatial data structures and data import/export, such as sp (https://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_results_sp.html), sf (https://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_results_sf.html), and raster (https://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_results_raster.html). The datastructures are used by large number of packages. While CRAN checks different "Flavours" of operating systems and compilers, it does not check alternative implementations of the R language.
 
This thesis is a first exploration of the handful of new and still uncommon R implementations (such as fastr, MRO, Renjin, cf. http://bit.ly/docker-r) and their capabilities for geospatial analysis. It builds upon existing prototypical Linux containers for rare R distributions and should use them for (a) building and running tests for geospatial packages and (b) running benchmarks for typical geospatial workflows across different implementations of R.
 
The R-hub builder (https://builder.r-hub.io/advanced; already packaging platforms as containers, see https://github.com/r-hub/rhub-linux-builders), build systems like Travis or Appveyor, and benchmarking packages (http://www.alexejgossmann.com/benchmarking_r/, e.g. http://bench.r-lib.org/) should be evaluated and if possible extended.
 
The new contribution of this work is adding alternative R distributions as a further dimension to the test matrix. This work can provide a better understanding of the state of the art for geospatial tools in alternatives to the mainstream R ecosystem.
This thesis requires experience with R and Linux, and provides a great opportunity to master the latest container technologies. The following research questions should be answered:
 
  • What R-spatial packages be installed in alternative R implementations?
  • What are the main obstacles to a comprehensive geospatial toolset in alternative R implementations?
  • What is the role system libraries play in the R-spatial ecosystem from the perspective of alternative R implementations?
  • How can containers support transparent benchmarking across R versions and implementations?

 

Contact: Daniel Nüst

GeoSimFuture land abandonment in the former Soviet Union

Although agricultural land expansion is taking place in many parts of the world, some regions are experiencing the reverse trend: cropland abandonment. This potentially leads to a restoration of the native vegetation, often resulting in an increase in biodiversity and in net carbon storage. This has been happening for example in Western Siberia (Wertebach et al., 2017) and Northern Kazakhstan (Dara et al., 2018) since the breakdown of the Soviet Union. A remaining question is to what extent cropland abandonment will continue into the future and which locations will be abandoned. This is important to know if one wants to estimate the impacts on biodiversity and carbon storage, as these depend on the abandonment location characteristics (e.g. soil type, moisture regime).

Land use change models are designed to answer such questions about the amount and location of land use changes. The aim of this thesis is to apply the PCRaster Land Use Change model (PLUC) (e.g. Verstegen et al., 2012) to one of the two above-mentioned regions to simulate 1) historic cropland abandonment to quantify the calibrate and validate the model, and 2) multiple scenarios of future cropland abandonment to analyze how the land use system might develop. The latter results can be used to quantify the potential amount of carbon storage.

This thesis is supervised by Judith Verstegen and Norbert Hölzel (or someone else from his group). The time series of land use maps for the chosen region will be made available to you, to serve as model input, calibration and validation data. Challenges in this thesis topic are conceptual (defining driving factors of abandonment, outlining scenarios, etc.) as well as technical (implementing the driving factors into PLUC, employing a calibration algorithm, etc.). Knowledge of PCRaster Python is strongly recommended.

 

References

Dara, Baumann, Kuemmerle, Pflugmacher, Rabe, Griffiths, Hölzel, Kamp, Freitag and Hostert (2018). Mapping the timing of cropland abandonment and recultivation in northern Kazakhstan using annual Landsat time series. Remote Sensing of Environment 213, p. 49-60, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.05.005.

Verstegen, Karssenberg, van der Hilst and Faaij (2012). Spatio-temporal uncertainty in Spatial Decision Support Systems: A case study of changing land availability for bioenergy crops in Mozambique. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 36, p. 30-42, doi: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2011.08.003

Wertebach, Hölzel, Kämpf, Yurtaev, Tupitsin, Kiehl, Kamp and Kleinebecker (2017). Soil carbon sequestration due to post-Soviet cropland abandonment: estimates from a large-scale soil organic carbon field inventory. Global Change Biology 23, p. 3729-3741, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13650.

Contact: Judith Verstegen