u_Lecture Webinars


u_Lectures are presented by invited speakers from academia, the GI industry, public administration, NGOs and other actors in the field of Geoinformatics and GIScience. Available primarily to UNIGIS alumni and active UNIGIS students, this online lecture series serves as a professional and academic ‚updating‘ opportunity within a generic ‚lifelong learning‘ framework.


Upcoming u_Lectures:

Wednesday 1 February 2017, 5-6 PM (CET)       
Kevin D. Pomfret, Williams Mullen law firm

"Geospatial Information Licenses for Non-Lawyers" 
The geospatial community (government agencies, industry, universities, NGO's) are increasingly creating geospatial products and services by aggregating a wide range of datasets from a variety of sources. In many instances this data is licensed from one party to another, not sold. A geospatial information license does more than transfer rights in geospatial information from one party to another. It is a legal document that allocates operational and legal risks associated with geospatial information between the parties. This UNIGIS u_lecture is intended to help non-lawyers within the geospatial community better understand geospatial information licenses. It will describe the key provisions of a license and how they relate to geospatial information. The goal is to help geospatial professionals understand the rights and obligations that they are agreeing to abide by in entering into a geospatial information license.

Mr. Pomfret is a corporate partner at the Williams Mullen law firm and co-chair of the firm’s Unmanned Systems practice group and the Data Protection and Cybersecurity practice group. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy. He counsels businesses and government agencies on the policy and legal issues that impact the collection, use, storage and distribution of geospatial information, such as licensing, privacy and data protection, data quality and liability and regulatory matters. Mr. Pomfret regularly speaks on around the globe on these issues. He began his career as a satellite imagery analyst where he helped to develop imagery collection strategies and identify requirements for future collection systems. He is a member of the U.S. National Geospatial Advisory Committee. Mr. Pomfret is a graduate of Bates College and Washington, Lee School of Law.



Previous u_Lectures:
Wednesday 14 December 2016:
"Capture 3D data with LiDar" 
Christian Sevcik, Riegl Laser Measurement Systems

Wednesday 23 November 2016:
"Geo-Entrepreneurship: Using Location to Enhance Your Competitive Advantage"
Dr Ian Heywood, Condesys Consulting

Wednesday 9 November 2016:
"Smart City Information Modelling and Interoperability"
Dr Martin Huber, Condesys Consulting

Tuesday 31 May 2016:
"Assessing Land Degradation and Desertification using Vegetation Index Data: Current Frameworks and Future Directions"
Dr Elias Symeonakis - Senior Lecturer Manchester Metropolitan University & UNIGIS UK

Monday 25 April 2016:
"GIS approaches to mapping wilderness: quantifying the qualitative" 
Dr Steve Carver - Senior Lecturer, University of Leeds (recording)

29 March 2016:
"Examining the impact of climate change upon disease ecosystems in Tanzania"
Rachael Reynolds - PhD candidate Manchester Metropolitan University (recording)

6 Jan 2016:
"GI Capacity Building in Schools"
Willemijn Simon van Leeuwen - Director Geo Science Center GeoFort
Mark Opmeer - Researcher Digital Humanities (recording)

18 Nov 2015:
"A joint presentation by MSc graduates"
Vincent van Altena (recording)
Martijn van der Ende (recording)
Stefan Bruehlmann (recording)

21 Oct 2015:
"Smart Mobility and Geodata" 
Dr. Marianne Linde, member Board of Directors Geodan 
Gerrit Schipper, specialist in information science and automotive industry (recording)

23 Sept 2015:
"Platform 3DNL" 
Rob van de Velde, Director of Geonovum and Board Member of the Open Geospatial Consortium
Henk Scholten, Director UNIGIS Amsterdam, Professor Spatial Informatics at VU University Amsterdam and CEO Geodan
Sanne Hettinga, PhD Student VU Amsterdam (recording)

12 May 2015:
David O'Sullivan, Assoc. Prof. at the University of California, Berkeley
Spatial Simulation: Exploring Pattern and Process“ (abstract)

28 April 2015:
Martin Lechner, CTO at Wikitude and Chair of the international ARML 2.0 Standards Working Group
"Augmented Reality ML (ARML 2.0): An Introduction“ (abstract)


31 March 2015:
Daniel Huffman, Proprietor somethingaboutmaps.com
"Design is Human" (abstract)

27 January 2015:
Locating and positioning solar panels in a 3D city model - a case study of Newcastle, UK
Emma Lewinson, UNIGIS UK Graduate
Analysing British wildlife distributions using a mobile GIS app for data capture (abstract)

16 December 2014:
Muki Haklay, University College London
What geographic information science got to do with citizen science? (abstract)

25 November 2014:
Geospatial Technologies and Urban Resilience: Building a Better World (abstract)

21 October 2014: 
Ed Parsons, Google
Google Maps: Reinventing Cartography... (abstract)

30 September 2014:  
Joseph Kerski, ESRI
5 Converging Forces:  A World Stage for Geography? (abstract)


Capture 3D data with LiDAR
Christian Sevcik, Riegl Laser Measurement Systems
This talk is a about LiDAR technology and its various applications: gain insights how pointcloud data is acquired and derived with Waveform LiDAR sensors. We will shed some light on what it takes from sending out a laser pulse to a point with 3D coordinates. Learn about the latest trends in the LiDAR industry, from UAV operation, to multichannel and multispectral LiDAR and see some of the industries where LiDAR systems are operational today.
Mr Sevcik is Manager, Strategic Software Alliances at RIEGL Laser Measurement Systems GmbH, Austria. He graduated with an MSc in Surveying and Geoinformation from Graz University of Technology and held various positions in the geospatial industries before joining Riegl in 2011.

Geo-Entrepreneurship: Using Location to Enhance Your Competitive Advantage

Dr Ian Heywood, Condesys Consulting
The importance of geography, or specifically ‘location’, is firmly back on the agenda as a business development opportunity for many companies. Knowing where customers, assets or employees are located has always been important, but with the growth in ‘location aware’ mobile devices, that can monitor location in real time and share this information across social networks, new disruptive business opportunities are possible. 
During this webinar Ian will be exploring, why now more than ever, new ‘Startups’ are leading the way in using Geographic Information to add value to their business models. Ian will conclude the webinar by talking about the new UNIGIS module he is working on with the Salzburg team to blend the tools and techniques used by ‘Startups’ with the technical specialisms of Geo-professionals.

Smart City Information Modelling and Interoperability
Dr Martin Huber, Condesys Consulting
Using a tool called 'Geographic Information System' one would expect to get support to model, analyse and control the dynamic phenomena of a geographic region like a city or a country. The mainstream GIS technology delivered in the last 20 years, however, does hardly live up to this expectation. The information concept of GIS is map-centric and maps are static by nature. Information, on the other hand, is a dynamic piece of knowledge exchanged between different actors to solve problems or to control processes. Even a movie of map sequences only visualizes dynamics, but does not provide hooks to manage dynamic real world systems. 

Assessing Land Degradation and Desertification using Vegetation Index Data: Current Frameworks and Future Directions
Dr Elias Symeonakis - Senior Lecturer Manchester Metropolitan University & UNIGIS UK
Land degradation and desertification has been ranked as a major environmental and social issue for the coming decades. Thus, the observation and early detection of degradation is a primary objective for a number of scientific and policy organisations, with remote sensing methods being a candidate choice for the development of monitoring systems. This paper reviews the statistical and ecological frameworks of assessing land degradation and desertification using vegetation index data. The development of multi-temporal analysis as a desertification assessment technique is reviewed, with a focus on how current practice has been shaped by controversy and dispute within the literature. The statistical techniques commonly employed are examined from both a statistical as well as ecological point of view, and recommendations are made for future research directions. The scientific requirements for degradation and desertification monitoring systems identified here are: (I) the validation of methodologies in a robust and comparable manner; and (II) the detection of degradation at minor intensities and magnitudes. It is also established that the multi-temporal analysis of vegetation index data can provide a sophisticated measure of ecosystem health and variation, and that, over the last 30 years, considerable progress has been made in the respective research.

GIS approaches to mapping wilderness: quantifying the qualitative 
Dr Steve Carver - Senior Lecturer, University of Leeds
Throughout early human history, wilderness has been a place of fear and dread, of wild beast and wilder people, often shown on old maps as “Parts Unknown” or “Hic Svnt Dracones” (Here be dragons). More recently these blank spots have acquired a certain romance and the word wilderness has become more closely associated with unspoilt nature and the sublime. In the modern world there are no remaining blank spots on our maps as satellites have surveyed every last inch of the earth’s surface so that all is now “known”. This paper will consider the questions of what is wilderness and how we can map this largely qualitative concept to ensure its protection from the worst excesses of human development, and even identify areas that may be returned to the wild through habitat restoration and reintroductions of missing species. This is a journey that takes us from “parts unknown” through to modern high resolution datasets and complex spatial modelling tools informing policy development and the physical and ethical challenges of rewilding. Examples will be given from global to local including institutional mapping exercises in Scotland, Europe and the US followed by some thoughts on where we go next.

Examining the impact of climate change upon disease ecosystems in Tanzania
Rachael Reynolds -  Phd Candidate Manchester Metropolitan University
Climate is a key determinant affecting a number of disease pathogen lifecycles and transmission. Over recent decades, climatically related diseases have shown increasing change in spatial location, both re-emerging in areas and expanding beyond previously known boundaries. Diseases such as Malaria, Chikungunya and Bacterial Meningitis. These changes in location are attributed to a number of factors, but predominantly associated with a mix of social, environmental and climatic changes. The unpredicted change in disease distribution has placed a significant burden upon health systems and available resources, proving particularly high risk in less economically developed countries where the ability to effectively manage outbreaks is already limited. 

GI Capacity Building in Schools
Willemijn Simon van Leeuwen - Director Geo Science Center GeoFort
Mark Opmeer - Researcher Digital Humanities 
Is Minecraft a useful teaching tool? Researchers at SPINlab (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) are trying to find the answer to this question. Their focus group are teachers who use Minecraft in the classroom in three Dutch schools in Lelystad, Zaandam and Amsterdam. These teachers can provide valuable feedback about whether Minecraft is an effective teaching tool. 

Parallel to this, the project GeoCraft NL is developed: a Minecraft world with the whole of the Netherlands on a scale 1:1. The project, initiated by the Dutch Geo Science Center GeoFort, delivers a map with all the trees, roads, rivers and buildings in the Netherlands. In this project, many public and private stakeholders participate: the 3D Minecraft objects are generated by the company Geodan using maps and public data from Kadaster and Rijkswaterstaat. All Dutch Minecraft players were asked to help finish the Netherlands in GeoCraft NL. 

In this webinar we invited Willemijn Simon van Leeuwen (Director GeoFort) and Mark Opmeer (PhD Student Digital Humanities at SPINLab Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) to reflect on the GeoCraftNL project. Mark focusses his story on enriching secondary education with geo-information tools and provides useful lessons learned while implementing these tools in the school curriculum. Willemijn shares her experiences in acquainting children, parents and teachers with the fascinating world of geo and the importance and succes factors of stakeholder involvement. 

This webinar is moderated by Dr. Niels van Manen, Coordinator UNIGIS Amsterdam. Although there is a geo-ict focus in every webinar topic, you don’t necessarily have to be familiar with geo-ict. These webinars target a broad audience. The webinars are free to attend.
This webinar is moderated by Dr. Niels van Manen, Coordinator UNIGIS Amsterdam.

A Joint Presentation by MSc Graduates
Stefan Bruehlmann - “Measuring and Mapping Light Pollution at a Local Scale”
Vincent van Altena - "Improvement of automatic generalisation of manmade water networks for topographic maps by context-dependent pruning"
Martijn van der Ende - “Spatial ecology and prey choice of feral cats on Schiermonnikoog”

Stefan graduated in 'Economics' and gained experience of more than 10 years as (data)analyst in the aviation industry in Switzerland and Belgium. As of 2009, his interest in spatial data and Geographic Information Systems grew. He studied at VU Amsterdam (UNIGIS) and graduated by the end of 2014.
He works as GIS specialist in the Geoinformation Department of the Canton of Sankt Gallen (Switzerland) where his main activities are the development of cantonal SDI and GIS-related support to the Department of Environment and Energy. For his thesis he developed a model to map light pollution at a local scale. Large scale maps are hardly existing until now, a modeled approach can fill the gap.

Vincent van Altena (1977) started UNIGIS in 2008 and graduated with high merit in January 2015 on the topic of automatic generalization of manmade water networks. Vincent works at the Dutch Cadastre. His thesis allowed Vincent to dig deeper into the algorithms needed to generate good water network maps. These algorithms existed, but only for natural water networks and not for manmade networks as present in the Netherlands.

Martijn currently works as a GIS & Wildlife teacher at Van Hall Larenstein, University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. During his UNIGIS thesis he equipped several feral cats with GPS-tags on Schiemonnikoog. Using spatio-temporal analysis he was able to get a better understanding of this predator which is roaming the natural parts of a Dutch island.

Smart Mobility and Geodata
Marianne Linde and Gerrit Schipper 

This U_Lecture discussed the role of geodata in the possibilities that Smart Mobility has to offer nowadays and in future. The automotive industry seems ready for a mobility revolution, but is our broader (geo data) infrastructure and what role is there for our geo-ict experts? Marianne Linde is a member of the Board of Directors of Geodan, a Dutch company specialised in geo-ict products and services. She is responsible for launching new solutions for Smart Mobility and Smart City challenges. Until 2015 Marianne Linde was Director of Innovation at the TNO Program 'Urban Development'. Gerrit Schipper is a specialist in information science and has gained a lot of experience in the automotive industry, dealing with the collection and distribution of traffic information. 

Platform 3DNL: creating a 3D geo-data infrastructure
Rob van de Velde, Henk Scholten and Sanne Hettinga

Due to increasing complexity of spatial processes, decisions about the public space are becoming harder. Accurate and real-time 3D information is necessary to support effective and transparent decision making. Platform 3DNL is seeking to establish a national 3D Geo-Information Infrastructure in the Netherlands. Two initiators, Rob van de Velde (Geonovum, public sector) and Henk Scholten (Geodan, private sector), and PhD student Sanne Hettinga (VU Amsterdam) will reflect on their vision and work plan and explain why so many government agencies, companies and universities have committed their participation in the Platform. What are the challenges and opportunities in successfully implementing 3DNL and how will it strengthen the international position of the Netherlands. 


Spatial Simulation: Exploring Patterns and Processes
David O'Sullivan, Assoc. Prof. at the University of California, Berkeley

David O'Sullivan is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, having recently moved from the University of Auckland. Prior to those appointments, he was an Assistant Professor in the GeoVISTA Center at Penn State University, and he completed his PhD at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College, London. He works in the areas of spatial analysis and modeling, with a particular focus on the implications of geospatial technologies, computation, and especially, the complexity sciences, for how we represent the world, and then use those representations to do geography. He has recently published a new book, Spatial Simulation: Exploring Pattern and Process, with his former University of Auckland colleague, George Perry. He is also the author, with David Unwin, of a well known text on spatial analysis, Geographic Information Analysis, currently in its second edition.

Augmented Reality ML (ARML2.0): An Introduction
Martin Lechner, CTO at Wikitude and Chair of the international ARML 2.0 Standards Working Group

The talk with focus on the Augmented Reality Markup Language (ARML) 2.0, a data standard to describe and interact with Augmented Reality (AR) scenes. The audience learned about the basic concept of AR and its use cases in general, and ARML 2.0 in particular.


Design is Human
Daniel Huffman, Proprietor somethingaboutmaps.com

While technological change has enabled us work faster and with larger data sets, we must be careful not to surrender our humanity to our tools. Design requires human intent, but an algorithm cannot design. When we allow defaults, or software-driven decisions to control our work, we produce alienating, inhuman results. We must be thoughtful if we are to produce works that other humans will find worth reading.


Analysing British wildlife distributions using a mobile GIS app for data capture
Emma Lewinson, UNIGIS UK Graduate

The effect of climate change and increasing human populations on ecosystems is an ongoing area of study. With Smartphone ownership globally on the increase, an Android Smartphone app was developed which enables users to collect wildlife sightings data whilst on the move. The whole development process was completed using free and open source programmes. The app allowed species, counts and user confidence data to be collected whilst automatically creating the GPS data of the sighting location. The captured data was then analysed within GIS. This Smartphone app was then qualitatively compared to more traditional wildlife data capture techniques.

Locating and positioning solar panels in a 3D city model - a case study of Newcastle, UK
Heidi El-Hosaini, UNIGIS UK Graduate

The recent advent of high quality, realistic 3D city models is creating new possibilities for 3D visualisations and analyses to be realised. These models present considerable potential to support urban planning processes and their range of applications is rapidly expanding. The analysis of solar irradiance and photovoltaic (PV) potential at an urban level is one field that can greatly benefit from their use. This project demonstrates potential applications of a 3D city model of Newcastle (UK) for solar panel locating and positioning. A 3D geometric validation program is created to validate the city model’s surfaces according to a defined set of axioms. A 3D photovoltaic (PV) assessment tool is developed that can be used for multi-criteria analyses to locate suitable surfaces for PV installations. This accounts for the 3D surface area, slope and aspect of surfaces, as well as monthly and annual clear-sky solar irradiance estimates and respective monthly and annual PV estimates.

What geographic information science got to do with citizen science?
Professor Muki Haklay, University College London

According to the newly minted definition in the Oxford English Dictionary, citizen science can be defined as ‘scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions’. This can take the form of collecting ecological observations in the field or sitting at home and classifying images of faraway galaxies on your computer. The emerging area of citizen science is benefiting from many disciplines – and in this talk we will explore what geographic information science can contribute. The talk will cover different types of citizen science as well as exploring specific aspects and research challenges that GIScience is especially suited to address.

Geospatial Technologies and Urban Resilience: Building a Better World 
Darren Ruddell, University of Southern California

This webinar presents analytic methods and contributions of geospatial technologies to research efforts on urban resilience. Geospatial technologies provide a suite of sophisticated tools to visualize, analyze, and model human and/or environmental processes. This presentation examines the dynamic relationship between human development and the modification of native landscapes which are altering physical processes, as witnessed in rising global temperatures and urban heat islands (UHI), and the subsequent impacts that changing environmental systems pose on human health, well-being, and urban sustainability.


Ed Parsons, Google

Despite having more than billion users of Google Maps, last year Google Maps was completely redesigned to improve user experience and to make the most of modern more powerful browsers. In this talk I will discuss some of the ideas behind the redesign and the challenges of product management on the web, and some future directions for cartography in general.

Joseph Kerski, ESRI

Join Geographer Dr Joseph Kerski as we discuss 5 forces in education and society that may point to an unprecedented expansion of the opportunities for geography and geospatial education. These forces include geo-awareness, geo-enablement, geotechnologies, citizen science, and storytelling. These forces are broadening the capability of the general public, educators, policymakers, and administrators to engage in geographic thinking and to be advocates for geography and geospatial technology throughout education and society. Everyday objects are rapidly becoming locatable, and thus able to be monitored and mapped. Many tools and data sets that were formerly used and examined only by geographers and other earth and environmental scientists are now in the hands of the general public. Through citizen science, field data can be mapped by the general public from a variety of formats using web-based GIS. Multimedia and cloud-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have greatly multiplied the storytelling ability and attraction that maps have had for centuries. We will discuss some of the emerging technical and societal trends in geospatial technologies that are enabling these forces, and how you can position your own career amongst these exciting developments.