Joint Virtual Seminars

IRTG Virtual Seminar Series on GIScience – Bridging Theory and Application
This semester the IRTG Joint Virtual Seminars with focus on stimulating local and international  collaborative efforts in Geographic Information Science, Computing Technology and Engineering take place every 2nd Friday of the month at 3:30 pm German time / 9:30 am Buffalo time.
Upcoming Seminars:
1st February, 2013, 14:00
Speaker: Verena Hafner, Humboldt-Universität Berlin
Title: Embodied Artificial Intelligence
Abstract: Theories of Embodied and Grounded Cognition claim that intelligence could not have developed without the interaction of an agent with its environment. This is in contrast to classical approaches of Artificial Intelligence (AI) where cognition was considered as computation. One main insight of the embodied approach is that by interaction with the environment, an agent can actively influence its perception and thus shape its information space. Action and perception should therefore not be considered in isolation but as jointly determining a single cognitive process. In this talk, I will give an overview of the concepts of Embodied AI illustrated with recent research on interactive robotics.
June 8th, 2012
Speaker: Monika Sester, University of Hannover
Title: Geosensor networks – current research at ikg
Abstract: Geosensor networks for the observation and monitoring of environmental phenomena are a recent trend in GIScience. What is new – as opposed to traditional geodetic networks – is the fact that different sensors act independently, have the capability to communicate and thus the network is able to operate beyond the individual sensors’ capabilities. In this way, the network as such is more than the sum of the individual sensors. Besides their own position, geosensors capture information about the environment, such as temperature or humidity. In the context of engineering geodesy, sensor networks are used for monitoring purposes, e.g. to observe and monitor georisks such as landslides. In the talk, different aspects of geosensor networks are presented using examples from research at the institute of Cartography and Geoinformatics (ikg).
Past Seminars:
Please find video recordings of past presentations on iTunes U:
December 19th, 2011
Speaker: Auriol Degbelo, IRTG, Institute for Geoinfomatics, Münster
Title: Spatial and temporal resolution of sensor observations
Abstract: Spatial and temporal resolutions are intrinsic to any sensor observation and should be made explicit in a data sharing context. The goal of this work is to develop a theory of spatial and temporal resolution of sensor observations. The theory will be formally specified in Haskell and implemented in languages such as OWL and WSML The work contributes to current efforts to develop a plug and play infrastructure for the Sensor Web.
December 9th, 2011
Speaker: Tobias Meilinger, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics Tübingen
Title: Spatial integration within environmental spaces
Abstract: In order to represent environmental spaces such as buildings or towns, multiple views experienced during navigation have to be integrated. In several experiments, we examined the underlying processes of reference frame integration. Participants walked through virtual environments displayed via a head-mounted display. Then, we tested their acquired survey knowledge as accessed via pointing or object placement tasks. Results indicate that participants constructed their survey estimates during retrieval in an incremental process starting from their current location. The route order in which participants experienced the environment influenced their estimates. We also presented participants with an environment containing an invisible teleporter. In order to represent this environment within a single Euclidean reference frame, locations have to be distorted. On average, participants distorted their environmental representation, however, not in way in which was indicative of a single Euclidean reference frame. Overall, our data suggest that participants did not construct a global reference frame common for all environmental locations, but rather solved each survey task individually within a step-wise process.
November 11th, 2011
Speaker: Amy Frazier, PhD Candidate, Geography Department, SUNY at Buffalo
Title: Transforming Ecological Evaluations of Species Invasions using Sub-pixel Landscape Classifications
Abstract: Traditional pixel-based classifications used extensively in remote sensing studies are rapidly being replaced by spectral mixture methods, which characterize each pixel according to the fractional components of multiple land covers present. This shift toward sub-pixel classifications is fueled by the benefits of increased spatial heterogeneity, finer spectral detail gathered from each image pixel, and the ability to conceptualize the landscape as a continuous gradient of land covers rather than discrete patches. A shortcoming of this shift is that it has created a significant gap between remote sensing and landscape ecology, which is rooted in the patch-mosaic paradigm of landscape structure and therefore lacks appropriate tools and methods to analyze sub-pixel classifications. As a result, state-of-the-art remote sensing classifications are often overlooked in many ecological studies. Motivated by these gaps, this research focuses on developing methods to reconfigure sub-pixel classifications into a format that can be utilized in landscape ecological analyses while also transforming the rigid patch-mosaic paradigm into a gradient-based concept of landscape structure that more accurately portrays continuous environmental phenomena. These issues are examined through a study of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.), which is rapidly invading riparian systems in the American west.
October 14th, 2011
Speaker:  Dr. Christian Kray, Institute for Geoinformatics Muenster
Getting from A to B, when you are not the only one: the case of Mecca
Navigation support is a well  studied problem, and has been investigated from a number of  perspectives, including network analysis and routing, cognitive  psychology and human-computer interaction.  Previous effort mostly  focussed on individual navigation support, i.e. the issue of how to  support one individual to get from one location to another.  However,  another relevant question relates to how to help a (large) number of  people in navigating unfamiliar spaces.  One of the most challenging  scenarios in this area is the yearly pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca.  In  this talk, I’ll discuss some key issues that arise in this context, and  I present initial approaches to address some of them.
September  9th, 2011
Speaker: Dr. Thomas Bittner, Geography Department, SUNY at Buffalo
Vagueness and the  tradeoff between the classification and delineation of geographic regions — an ontological analysis (pdf)
For  inherently vague and  granular phenomena such as ecoregions, ecosystems, biomes, and biotopes, the interplay of granularity and   vagueness  leads to a  tradeoff in the classification and delineation  of such phenomena:  the goal of preciseness (lack of vagueness) of the  delineation contradicts the goal of building a sophisticated  classification system using the Aristotelian  method of classification.  This tradeoff is based on the  reliance on local qualities  for a  precise delineation of particular regions  and  the reliance on  non-local qualities that serve as differentia in the Aristotelian   classification. An ontological analysis of  the logical interrelations  between vagueness,  granularity, and scale  is critical for developing  logically rigorous, non-local, and non-arbitrary classification and  delineation systems for inherently vague and granular geographic  phenomena.
At the University at Buffalo the Virtual Seminars are supported by:
NCGIA  – The National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
MCEER – Earthquake Engineering to Extreme Events
LESAM – Landscape-based Environmental System Analysis & Modeling Laboratory
The Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE)
The Department of Geography

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