Research Group Geoinformation

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Completed Projects

See also: Projects in Progress

Please be aware that the information on this page is not updated any more. Currently the group has no detailed homepage. The homepage of the Department for Geodesy and Geoinformation is

Harmonization of survey-based Geodata for power suppliers

duration: 01.08.2008-30.06.2010
involved persons:

  • Gerhard Navratil
  • Global navigation satellite-systems (GNSS) like GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo are becoming more and more important for the survey of supply lines. The acquired data are defined in a geometrically consistent coordinate frame. This is not true for local base data like the cadastre. In order to intersect data from a GNSS with, e.g., cadastral boundaries, adaptation of the geometry is necessary. The inhomegenious base data are fixed and cannot be changed by private companies. Thus the geometrically consistent and homogenious GNSS data must be adapted. The goal of the project is finding suitable methods to solve this task.

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    RGI-011, 3D topography

    duration: 01.01.2007-31.12.2008
    involved persons:

    • Andrew U. Frank
    • Karimipour, Farid


    Setting up a world-class network of 3D geo-information modelling research groups. Based on their international scientific reputation various groups were approached and accepted the invitation to exchange their knowledge via the proposed top-up project (of RGI-011, 3D topography). The project will make 3D model requirements explicit (type of data, model implementation, model creation, model use, model update, etc.) in order to provide a comparison framework; including a benchmark scenario/data set. The 3D models of on-going projects in the different research groups are exchanged and compared. The top-up project will function as the network between the individual projects, which contain themselves the main research activities. Results will be made available via both scientific channels (journals, international workshop, book) and channels for the general public (newspaper article, demonstration of 3D models and applications via popular interfaces; e.g. Google Earth).


    1. The Department of Natural Resources and Water, Queensland Government, Australia (Rod Thompson) new member
    2. University of Glamorgan, Wales (Chris Gold, Rebecca Tse and Pawel Boguslawski) new member
    3. City University London, England (Jonathan Raper/Aidan Slingsby) new member
    4. University College London/CASA, England (Paul Longley) new member
    5. TU Wien, Austria (Andrew Frank)

    3D Topography

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    eduGI (Reuse and sharing of e-Learning courses in GI Science education)

    duration: 01.02.2006-01.08.2007
    involved persons: Elissavet Pontikakis


    Many European GI institutes have digital teaching material available. Some already have introduced e-Learning. The project idea is to (re)use existing resources by the exchange of e-Learning courses via the internet. This improves

    •  Quality of teaching material
    •  Access to international GI know-how and new topics that the receiving institutes could not offer to their students by own resources
    •  Virtual mobility of teachers and students across seven European countries
    •  Re-use of resources already invested in e-Learning (personnel and finances) by a good practice organizational model for sustainable and future-oriented exploitation
    •  Implementation of the Bologna process by international cooperation of European GI institutes, based on the existing networks
    •  E-Learning of non-GI institutes by best-practice examples.



    Eight European GI institutes use existing courses and adapt them to the requirements of the e-Learning course exchange. Each partner contributes one course, to be taught on a non-profit exchange basis with the partners. We use the e-Learning platform of ISEGI-UNL, Portugal, successfully providing an e-Learning Master Program in Geographic Information for more than three years. Previous work in the ALFA project eduGI.LA ( developed a prototype for the e-Learning course exchange and evidenced feasibility. The organizational framework for execution and recognition of students’ achievements was prepared by the cooperation of the consortium (

    We foresee the development and exchange of the following 8 e-Learning courses: Project management, GI standards, Advanced Geospatial data mining, Data acquisition and integration, Visualization, Geographic data bases (advanced), Virtual excursions in Earth Sciences, and Ontology. Each partner provides a course, typically to two partners of the network with 15 students each. Standards are, for example, English language, 90 hours workload, 13 online contact lessons, supervision and exams executed by the providing GI institute.

    Our vision is to exploit the organizational framework and the created e-Learning courses by the establishment of a common, virtual GI Master Program in Geoinformatics. We will disseminate our concept of sharing and reuse of resources by best-practice examples to non-GI communities.


    Expected results:

    • E-Learning platform established
    • Organizational framework for exchange established
    • E-Learning courses (test versions) online
    • Test version courses executed
    • Quality assurance executed by test results of executed test versions
    • Final versions of e-Learning courses provided
    • Exploitation plan and project evaluation report written
    • Dissemination activities (homepage, paper submissions, eight e-Learning workshops) executed.

    Co-ordinating organisation

    University of Münster, Germany

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    type: FWF
    duration: 2003 until year 2005
    involved persons:

    • Andrew U. Frank
    • Eva Grum

    NAVIO focuses on the information aspect of location-based services, i.e., on the user’s task at hand, and the support of the user’s decisions by information provided by such a service. Specifying a task ontology will yield context-dependent conceptualizations, activities, and references to directions from the user’s perspective. These specifications will allow us to:
    select appropriate sensor data, and to integrate data when and where needed;
    propose context-dependent routes, fitting to partly conflicting interests and goals;
    select appropriate communication method in terms of supporting the user guiding by various multimedia cartography forms.

    The overall research hypothesis is that user activities can be formally described and used for a specification of a service such that acceptance and user satisfaction of location-based services increase significantly compared to actual services that are not ontology-based.

    Project Partners and Co-Proposers: Georg Gartner, Günther Retscher

    This Project has a Homepage.

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    Digital SEE

    type: E-Content
    duration: 01.01.2005 - 31.12.2005
    involved persons:

    • Andrew U. Frank
    • Barbara Hofer
    • Claudia Achatschitz
    • Florian Twaroch

    see also the projects website:

    The proposed feasibility project aims at investigating the technical and commercial feasibility and viability of sharing spatial or geographic information in the region of South East Europe. This would be done by designing and prototyping a distributed spatial data warehouse that accesses databases of data owners across the region without storing the data in the warehouse itself. This warehouse would be used by one or more application service providers in the region to add value to the data, re-sell them, and offer additional services on top.

    In order to be able to demonstrate the feasibility of this service, the project would deal with architectural and business development. Work would be carried out in close contact with public data owners and national mapping agencies, who would contribute to the evaluation of the spatial data warehouse and its service offering. The resulting service would demonstrate the commercial viability of spatial data infrastructures.

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    type: E-Ten
    duration: 01.03.2005 - 01.09.2006 (18 months)
    involved persons:

    • Andrew U. Frank
    • Elissavet Pontikakis
    • Florian Twaroch
    • Christine Rottenbacher
    • Claudia Achatschitz

    see also the projects website:

    The GEOCOMPASS proposal concerns the social, administrative and market validation of a GIS mapbased geo-navigational Internet service, addressed to tourists, visitors, travellers, trekkers, bikers, etc.
    GEOCOMPASS, as a business provider, will offer high quality GIS mapping solutions and infrastructure bundled together with a strong brand name and substantial promotion and marketing services to mountain and countryside tourism (MCT) communities in Europe, with particular focus on tourism SMEs, local and regional authorities, development agencies, and local professional organisations.
    The prototype of this service has been developed by the GEORAMA eContent-funded project (2002-2004), which exploited GIS and Web technologies and implemented a specialized portal with maps, guides, local conditions information, tourism infrastructure, search facilities etc. for climbers, trekkers, hikers, rafters, naturalists and general tourists.
    The objective of GEOCOMPASS is to prove that the above service prototype can be launched and operated successfully on a commercial self-sustainable basis. GEORAMA has been an innovative mapping application. GEOCOMPASS will be a commercial electronic service exploiting GEORAMA technology, a first mover in a newly emerging market. GEOCOMPASS, if supported by public funding, may offer substantial growth opportunities to the mountain and countryside communities where it will operate.
    The Institute of Geoinformation and Cartography acts as a technology provider, carrying out the design of the GI system architecture and technology monitoring, as well as working on business models related to the geoinformation market.

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    Esprit Project ReviGIS

    Uncertainty Knowledge Maintenance and Revision in Geographic Information Systems

    duration: until April 2004

    involved persons: Gerhard Navratil, Marianne Jahn


    Geographic Information is one important part of the emerging Information Society. All of us - individuals, public bodies, and private companies - are faced with GI, quasi daily. Among the problems raised by this emerging spatial information infrastructure, the Uncertainty Handling is a big challenge which influences any kind of result one may expect from the use of GI, specially in spatial decision making.

    Most geographic applications use vague, uncertain, incomplete information or merely information which is much too qualitative to be embedded efficiently (even at all) into GIS. Hence large fragments of knowledge, presently discarded from automated processing of GI, could be recovered, providing that the overall knowledge is "maintained": this requires appropriate "revision mechanisms" which try to keep a knowledge base as consistent as possible.

    The aim is:

    to match existing approaches of uncertainty handling to their best application profiles, to develop new ones able to handle more available GI. Not a unique approach can manage all the diversity of GI, e.g.: indices computed from remotely sensed images versus European agricultural policies;

    to improve present GIS technology by adding versatile and dynamic behavior: what methods can handle both numeric and symbolic knowledge? How and when to doubt a previous result?

    The revigis project focuses on two "archetypic" approaches: the fuzzy representation, already successfully investigated in the GI field but which poorly preserves the semantic information during the process, and, on the other hand, non monotonic representation (e.g. default logics), presumably best suited to preserve the symbolic and semantic information, but largely unexplored in the GI field and which toughly cooperates with statistical information.

    How to?
    to use results of previous EC projects for fuzzy as well as non-monotonic logical representation of uncertain knowledge, and present research work on qualitative spatial reasoning
    to assess a fuzzy approach on a land-use application (boundaries description)
    to assess a non-monotonic approach on a cadastral application (changes description)
    to compare approaches and their respective adequacy
    to evaluate the algorithmic complexity and short term achievability within commercial GIS.

    What is expected ?
    to demonstrate - phase 1 - the feasibility of such revision approaches in several canonical examples and to compare and delimit their best range of use; then, if successful:
    to develop - phase 2 - effective methods, then program and apply them in true scale studies, chosen in accordance with end-users and in cooperation with GIS industrials.

    The majors benefits should result in:
    improvement in metadata specifications and quantification for GI providers,
    corpus of novel methods implementable by GI systems conceptors,
    better use of the GI in general by the users, resulting in a better cost-benefit balance.

    Partners are:
    Université de Provence (F) - Coordinator
    University Leicester (UK)
    Keele University (UK)
    ITC (NL)

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    duration: until end of 2004

    involved persons: Stephan Winter, Florian Twaroch

    GEORAMA concerns the development of a web based geo-navigational portal that will provide all necessary information and services to the mountain & countryside tourism community, including climbers, trekkers, hikers, rafters, naturalists, extreme sports practitioners, general tourists, as well as the local population. GEORAMA will provide detailed maps, paths and information for the European countryside together with search engines, guides, and updated information on local conditions. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) shall be used as the technological basis of the system. GEORAMA shall offer part of its content for free. Financial self-sustainability shall be ensured through revenues from the promotion of tourist services. The venture will valorise public owned digital maps in order to promote local development of mountain and countryside communities. GEORAMA’s main information content will be available in English, while national sites may maintain a more “dynamic” information flow in the local languages.

    Project partners: Sportnews, Kerkini, Anem, Metre, Neomedia, Assoprovider, Pararede, Schabl, GIM

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    Ego-Surrounding Space

    duration: until April 2004

    involved persons: Annette v. Wolff

    This project is located in the area of human spatial cognition. Experiments with human subject testing are conducted. The overall research question is, how mental representations of ego-surrounding space are organized, i.e., which aspects of the physical space are represented in which way and have which relevance for certain mental processes. The research in this area used to focus on the organisation of the representation by subject-object versus object-object relations. Recently, however, there is evidence that aspects like shape and symmetry of the enclosing space also have an impact on the representational organisation. In our project we investigate the aspect of open- and closeness of places.

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    Travel Scenarios

    duration: until end of 2001

    involved persons: Elissavet Pontikakis

    The institute for Geoinformation is studying 2-3 multi-modal public transport scenarios in order to assist the Ministry of Transportation and Science’s effort in improving coordination among the different transport operators. The project focuses in identifying the current situation and the missing links in the transportation chain.

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    Formal Ontology for Cadastre

    duration: until September 2002

    involved persons: Andrew U. Frank, Annette v. Wolff , Steffen Bittner, Gerhard Navratil

    The goal of this project is the development of a formal ontology for land registration systems. Land registration systems, used here as a generalised term for cadastre, title and deed registration systems, are crucial for the economic development of society, especially for developing countries and the reform countries of Eastern Europe. The World Bank has found that land registration systems provide security in the ownership of land and allow the use of land as a security for loans, making credit available to fuel economic development.

    Cadastral systems are based on an ontology of land parcels, persons, rights and obligations. The goal of the project is to determine the entities, properties and relationships between these, as they are typically found in a working, fully developed land registration system. The project will use the Austrian Cadastre and Grundbuch as primary examples. Land registration systems are highly structured and well-defined administrative methods for dealing with the complex relations between humans and land. Such highly developed administrative procedures are a hallmark of modern society. The ontological status of the registered entities (rights) however, is a complex and open problem, which has practical consequences for the realisation of such systems.

    A formalization of the ontology of the cadastre is possible today due to the advanced formalization methods we have developed in previous research efforts. In contrast to previous efforts which were approaching the formalization of legal rules using logic (predicate calculus), this project will use universal algebra, which deals more adequately with the operations applicable to a land registration system and captures the behaviour of the entities involved.

    From a formal ontology a number of fundamental insights will be gained into the working of a land registration system under normal circumstances and in extreme situations. Questions of treatment of error and possible fraud in such systems can be approached in a generalised manner; we expect also insight into how work on cadastral systems must be carried out in emergencies like war, natural catastrophes, periods of political transition of the sort we are witnessing today in Eastern Europe.

    This research brings modern methods of ontology research to bear on practical questions and carries the result through to the relevant industry, i.e. software production and consultants, advising the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe. It starts an Austrian Centre for Land Registration Studies, which will co-operate with other research groups in the US and Europe and make the results available to the reform countries in Eastern Europe.

    University project partners: Barry Smith, New York State University Buffalo

    Industry project partners: Intergraph GmbH (Austria)

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    duration: until end of 2001

    involved persons: Elissavet Pontikakis

    This Accompanying Measure aims organising a network of excellence, bringing together most of the stakeholders of the territorial management; a particular attention will be paid on user's needs. It will have to build a consensus on the technical issues that are the foundation of ETeMII:
    reference data
    data access policy
    standard implementation
    integration of space tools: GNSS, EO and telecom
    active participation to global initiatives: OGC, ISO, GSDI, ...

    Awareness activity is an important component of the Accompanying Measure, promoting contribution to European Geographic Information Infrastructure, using metadata services, implementing standards, using reference data.

    The three thematic work package follow:

    1. User requirements
    2. Solutions analysis
    3. Plans for future actions
    4. Raising awareness and communication to the users community; technical forum, co-ordination with CEEC, and GSDI.

    Other partners:
    GISFORM (co-ordinator)
    CNIG (P)
    OpenGIS Europe

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    duration: until summer 2000

    involved persons: Andrew U. Frank, Alenka Krek, Hartwig Hochmair, Peter Wenzl, Annette v. Wolff

    GISMO stands for GeoMarketing Internet Service for small and Medium enterprises using OpenGIS. The main goal of the project is to test and provide a GeoMarketing service over the Internet using GIS Web technology, that specially targets Small and Medium Enterprises. The partners involved in the project will try to find the solution that offers GeoMarketing information as a service over the net, with minimal initial investment and payments comparable to the use of the data.

    The project brings together two technology suppliers, one integrator, two data suppliers and one end user. The participating countries are The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and United Kingdom.

    TU Vienna, Department for Geoinformation will address the aspects of the user interface, ergonomics of the system and supply technical expertise for the integration of the system and design of the business model.

    For more information see

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    Pan European Link for Geographical Information

    Involved persons: Andrew Frank, Martin Raubal, and Maurits van der Vlugt

    In the last few years a wide debate has begun among the European Geographical Information Community and various initiatives are in process to create a European Geographical Information Infrastructure (EGII) that was defined as a "set of agreed rules, standards and procedures for creating, collecting, exchanging and using GI". In general, a GI infrastructure assumes a working system to exchange data, that requires a technical infrastructure, a set of standards for the exchange and the interpretation of data and organisational arrangements, including economic and legal agreements; furthermore the understanding and the adoption of the methods coming out from the GI current trends over a wider community (users, system vendors, developers and integrators, data providers, agencies) is the base for the development of the GIS market.

    The PANEL-GI project has been then proposed for constituting a GI European Network working on these issues and aimed at involving partners form the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) in the process of creation of a Pan European GI Forum. The network is considered to give an important contribution to realise in perspective a full and integrated European GI context and to stimulate or enable GI business in CEEC. The wider goal of the project is to contribute to the establishment of shared foundations for the Information Society in CEEC, in the particular area of GIS.

    The expected overall result is a significant improvement of a common awareness and a share of the most important GI issues on the table at a European level. In general, the major result will be the transfer of knowledge and a contribution to a solution for building an effective GI infrastructure and the development of the GI market in the CEEC.

    View and download the PANEL-GI Compendium "A Guide to GI and GIS"!

    The project partners are:

    From European Union
    GISIG (I) - Geographical Information Systems International Group (project co-ordinator): (Most meta information is in the whitepaper that can be downloaded from this site.)
    EUROGI (NL) - European Umbrella Organisation for Geographical Information:
    JRC - SAI (EU) - Joint Research Centre, Space Applications Institute
    Technical University of Vienna (A) - Department of Geoinformation
    CNIG (P) - Centro National de Informaçào Geogràfica:

    From Central and Eastern European Countries
    HUNAGI (H) - Hungarian Association for Geo-Information
    GISPOL (PL) - Polish Land Information Systems Users Association
    Masaryk University (CZ) - Laboratory on Geoinformatics and Cartography
    ICI (RO) – National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics:
    Technical University of Sofia (BG) - Programming and Computer System Application Department

    The PANEL-GI network is intended to be a forum towards the Pan European GI Community and as such it will be opened to new organisations wishing to share the projects objectives.

    Project documents

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    GSM Ticketing

    involved persons: Elissavet Pontikakis

    We propose to develop an integrated GSM ticketing system that facilitates the issuing and control of ticketing through cellular phones. The system will provide the means for purchasing tickets in a user friendly and comfortable way while guaranteeing the financial security of the electronic exchange to the fullest extent. While assessing the cost effects for all relevant parties (travelers, operators, financial services, and telecommunication providers), the current technology will be considered during the conception and design of the system. The public transport and telecommunication sectors will be brought together to ensure the adoption of interoperability measures and thus functionality and transferability. The prototype will be demonstrated in three European cities. Finally, the system will include an evaluation, recommendations and promotion package on the technical and cost aspects of the system.

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    OpenGIS in Europe: the GIPSIE Project

    involved persons: Maurits van der Vlugt

    The Technical University Vienna and the University of Muenster started in June 98 an important milestone in European participation within the OpenGIS specification process. GIPSIE, GIS Interoperability Project Stimulating the Industry in Europe, stimulates the European GI communities’ involvement in the worldwide OpenGIS specification process and thus increase the European GIS industry’s competitiveness.

    The project partners include the following representatives from European industry and research:
    SICAD Geomatics,
    Intergraph Europe,
    Space Applications Institute (Joint Research Centre),
    Department of Geoinformation (Technical University Vienna),
    Institute for Geoinformatics (University of Muenster), and the
    Open GIS Consortium.

    The GIPSIE project is funded by the European Commission (DG III) to help support the European GIS industry’s development of products compliant with OpenGIS specifications. This support takes the form of providing the European GIS industry with access to interoperability specifications and assuring its integration into the international OpenGIS movement. In order to achieve this, GIPSIE focuses on three main areas of activity.

    The first area of activity involves the initiation of an interest group to unite the European GI industry and establish a channel to communicate European interoperability issues to the OpenGIS Consortium. This interest group is open to all European GI companies or organizations interested in interoperability solutions and OpenGIS.

    The second area of activity focuses on the identification and resolution of European interoperability issues and their introduction into the global OpenGIS specification process. GIPSIE provides a framework in which industry and users will cooperate with R&D to identify and specify particular European issues for integration in the OpenGIS specification process.

    An important service is provided by the third area of activity. GIPSIE will inform the European GI industry, in particular small and medium enterprises, early and with sufficient detail about the OpenGIS process. Regular meetings (OpenGIS forums) will be convened in different European regions to provide management with general information pertaining to the OpenGIS movement. On a more frequent basis, technical debriefings will provide detailed information concerning the outcome of OGC Technical Committee meetings.

    You can find more information by email, and on the Web on the GIPSIE-page.

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    duration: until end of 2000

    involved persons: Maurits van der Vlugt, Hartwig Hochmair

    The European Union, and its industry today faces to day the major challenge to play a significant place on the global GI market. A major strengths of European industry and stakeholders is the existence of a significant amount of geographical data, reflecting the cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe, and a GIS industry offering advanced technologies, but with a low market penetration, the leadership coming from US products.

    To face such challenge, building on European strengths, the main need is the creation of a European Geographic Information Infrastructure, enabling a common geographical reference, and also enabling collaborative working and full capability to exchange data. The path to reach such objective is via interoperability, at data and system and semantics levels.

    The project aims at assessing the technology, developing consensus on technical and strategic interoperability issues and disseminating results. Analysing GIS interoperability will include the analysis of all Information Technologies able to provide significant input to GIS world.

    You can find more infromation on the Web on the preANVIL-page.

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    duration: until July 2000 (extended)

    involved persons: Steffen Bittner

    CHOROCHRONOS is funded under the EC Program ‘Training and Mobility for Researchers’ and is a research network for spatio-temporal database systems. The main technical objective is to study the issues involved in the design and partial implementation of an architecture for Spatio-Temporal Database Systems (STDBMS). The network will stimulate training and mobility of young researchers working on spatio-temporal databases, allowing them to integrate their results and methodologies and to advance the state-of-the-art in this area through an intensive 3-year research program.

    In addition to the research work, two intensive workshops will be organized in order to evaluate the research progress from an interdisciplinary applications perspective. The Department of Geoinformation will be in charge of the organization of these workshops. International workshops on spatio-temporal databases will facilitate cooperation with researchers from other disciplines dealing with temporal and spatial information in their research. The network will actively pursue dissemination of results throughout the European scientific community and industry.

    Coordinator: National Technical University of Athens

    Other Network Members: Aalborg University, Denmark; FernUniversität, Hagen, Germany; Universita degli Studi di L’Aquila, Italy; University of Manchester, UK; Politecnico di Milano, Italy; Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automation, France; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; ETH Zurich.

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    Onix - Training Centre

    duration: until year 2000

    involved persons: Andrew U. Frank, Alenka Krek

    ONIX is a part of the extensive "Slovene Ecological Project - a component of the Geographical Information System". The name "ONIX" is an acronym derived from the English title of the initial documentation: "Organisation, Implementation, and Execution Plan". The project is financed by a loan from the World Bank and funds from the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment. The estimated duration of the project is three and a half years, beginning in 1996 and ending in the year 2000.

    The Onix Training centre is one of the seven subprojects of the Onix project. Its main goals are development of practically oriented courses and ongoing training of direct participants in the project and the future users of the Geoinformation system and Geoinformation products.

    Partners on the subproject are;
    Institute for Cartography, Geodesy and Photogrammetry, Slovenia (leader)
    TU Vienna, Department for Geoinformation (foreign consultant)
    Gea-College, d.d. (domestic consultant)

    Link to results of the workshop from Jan31st to Feb 3rd 2000 in Ljubljana, Slovenia

    About Slovenia click here.

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    duration: until July 1999

    involved persons: Andrew U. Frank, Martin Raubal, Maurits van der Vlugt

    The co-operation between agencies forces them increasingly to share their data in intelligent ways and Multi-Agency Databases emerge. The sharing of spatial or geographic data is extremely important in modern town and regional administration, but it poses some particular and difficult to solve problems for interoperability.

    A multi-agency database is composed of databases of agencies that are independent but co-operate by sharing data and have a systematic way to deal with updates originating at different locations. Multi-agency databases are built on the foundation of Federated Databases, which allow data sharing and interoperability, but do not address the additional problems faced by multi-agency databases: workflow, long transaction, and transactions which do not originate with the ‘owner’ of the data. The legal autonomy and responsibility of each agency hamper sharing data. Though data are shared, updating the data must be strictly controlled by the responsible individual agency. Only few officers within an agency have typically the right to update the data.

    · The problem of interoperability is that agencies have legacy systems using heterogeneous systems. These systems cannot be changed and must co-operate.

    · The problem of long transactions is that the acceptance of proposed changes by the authority of an agency can take several months, and there may be interactions between concurrent proposed updates.

    · The problem of workflow is the orderly electronic exchange of documents necessary for the administrative process managing land and other spatial resources between the multiple agencies involved.

    · The problem with updates is the processing of data changes that are initiated by other agencies but must be executed by the responsible agency.

    COMMUTER (Co-operative multi-dimensional multimedia and topological elements reintegration) is aiming to solve these problems by using federated databases extended by a flexible transaction mechanism embedded in a workflow concept. This mechanism uses storable transaction scripts, called update proposals. The workflow concepts are relevant to the multi-agency situation because they lead to distinguishing the roles of the update proposal maker initiating the proposal from the authority validating the proposal. The intended changes are stored as a transaction script listing all necessary changes. This script can be stored in a central server. The update proposals are written in a vendor-independent language, extending interoperability from the access to the data to updating it – which is novel for Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

    COMMUTER achieves interoperability with interfaces to existing data and systems. The desktop GIS software the users have already connects to a generator to produce update proposals. The legacy systems managing the databases of the agencies are interfaced with a TTML interpreter and connected to the central COMMUTER server. An email system can be used for communication between the different servers.

    The central COMMUTER server can be used as a historical database and queried by users to receive information about executed and pending update proposals, as well as update proposals in preparation. This helps orderly administration and documents how quickly the requests of citizens can be resolved.

    The COMMUTER (duration: 15th January 1998 until 31st July 1999) project was funded by the European Commission under the ESPRIT program. Major European Information Technology companies (Bull SA, Olivetti, Bull AG) and data providers (IGN, EPSILON) teamed with three public administrations (CUDL, Bologna, and Harburg) and UTE to analyse the requirements of the modern town administration. The Geoinformation Department of the Technical University Vienna joined the team to connect the project with ongoing research in GIS, databases, and interoperability.

    Bull, Köln (Shridharan)
    IGN, France

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    Austrian Transportation Network

    Design of an Information System for the Austrian Transportation Network

    duration: until December 1999

    involved persons: Andrew U. Frank, Martin Staudinger

    The Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Transport plans the implementation of an Austrian-wide information system for the transportation network (Bundesverkehrsinformationssystem BUVIS). BUVIS primarily has to support the master plans for the infrastructure development of all transportation networks. Both the present road and rail traffic status, accident statistics and time series of traffic load have to be described and future prognosis have to be included.

    From a scientific point of view, the data model for this linear network-problem is an interesting question and to be solved by our department. The use of a transportation network as a reference system to characterize point location is very common (so-called "dynamic segmentation"). To design a system that can be used while the network evolves and that can be used by different levels of the administration with correspondingly different requirements for resolution is a challenge. We approach the problem from the minimal set of operations that are necessary for references and then design the system in the framework of a spatio-temporal database. We expect the result to be generally usable and will consider to propose it for international standardization. As a whole, the project is carried out together with Axmann Geoinformation and the Civil Engineering Company Nadler & Steierwald ZT GmbH.

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    duration: until Summer 1998

    involved persons: Thomas Bittner

    SPACENET is a multi-disciplinary network under the EC Program for Human Capital and Mobility and is devoted to research in qualitative spatial reasoning.

    A particularly important objective of this network is to investigate and integrate the various approaches being developed so far by numerous, isolated groups in different areas. The network is to support and advance European spatial reasoning research by providing an infrastructure necessary to achieve extensive cooperation and the full potential of European spatial reasoning research. A free-flowing interchange of information and personnel is essential if spatial reasoning research within Europe is to become properly focused.

    Several areas of spatial reasoning are being investigated at the Dept. of Geoinformation: qualitative reasoning about topological relations, distances and directions, hierarchical spatial reasoning and its application to wayfinding, and decision support systems for urban planning. Geographic Information Systems, one of the application areas of spatial reasoning, will benefit greatly from the performed research and will be much more effective as a decision support aid in many social, economic and other fields.

    Coordinator: University of Leeds, UK

    Other Network Members: Universität Hamburg; Université Toulouse; Université Paris-Sud; Universita di Genova; Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lousanne; Technische Universität München; Jaume I University Castellon, Spain; Universität Freiburg, and FOA, Linkoping.

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    Cadastral System in Haskell

    Object-Oriented Prototype of a Cadastral System in Haskell

    duration: until June 1998

    involved persons: Stephan Winter

    The goal of this project is the investigation, modeling and comparison of different possibilities of cadastral organization. Therefore, a prototype is necessary for experimental purposes. The functional programming language Gofer (dialect of Haskell) appears as the best tool for rapid prototyping. After the prototyping phase is finished, the final product shall be developed according to specific needs of particular countries. According to the experts fo the World Bank a well functioning cadastre is a necessary requirement for economic development.

    Funding: Jubiläumsfond der Östereichischen Nationalbank

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    Time of Proprietary GIS is over

    duration: finished in 6/97

    involved persons: Isolde Schlaisich, Stephan Winter

    Interoperability is a broadly discussed and desired property of geographic information systems. The TOPGIS project was an EC INFO2000 pilot project on Interoperability between GIS systems. It is based on a joint co-operation between the partners Intergraph, Laser-Scan (both GIS vendors), WIGeo-GIS (GI marketing) and the Department of Geoinformation, TU Vienna.

    TOPGIS performed GIS object linking and embedding. This means a direct transfer of data between GIS applications from different vendors, without using GIS exchange formats. This new methodology showed the future of Open GIS applications. TOPGIS selected the application area of Business Geography to prove the concept.

    Results of the pilot project consisted of a working demonstrator to show some concepts of interoperability and a market study.

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    Contessa: Constraints and Extended Support for Storage and Access


    involved persons: Andrew U. Frank, Peter Haunold, Werner Kuhn, Werner Hölbling

    The constraint database project studies the storage of constraints in databases, the use of constraint handling techniques in database query and update, and the incorporation of constraints in object data modeling and database specification. The constraint database approach will be tested mainly in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) applications.

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    GI in Europe

    Study on Policy Issues Relating to Geographic Information in Europe

    duration: already finished

    involved persons: Andrew U. Frank, Martin Staudinger

    This study identifies and clarifies "issues relating to data policy which are specific to geographic information" and gives recommendations to increase awareness and for the resolution of some of the issues. We systematically looked at the issues privacy, copyright and protection of databases, data quality, liability, security of data, data access policy, minimum EU-wide GI base data, and public domain data. Based on a large number of contacts and interviews with key decision-makers we tried to rank the issues. These opinion leaders were also asked to identify major barriers to the GI business and to assess some proposed fields of policy action.

    The major findings of the study were the following: We came to the conclusion, that most of the rules for information policy in general also apply to geographic information. Additionally, access and use of GI by the public, standardisation and reference systems and promotion for GI must be considered. The key decision-makers stated that copyright, data quality, and access to GI are the most important issues. But the situation varies within Europe. The differences between the countries, within countries and among application areas are quite substantial. There is a noticeable difference between Northern and Central/Southern European countries. Leaders from Northern Europe stressed more on copyright, whereas the respondents from Southern and Central Europe ranked data access policy highest.

    This project was carried out by the department together with Harald Meixner (Civil engineer for land surveying, Vienna), Peter Burrough (University of Utrecht), Massimo Craglia and Ian Masser (University of Sheffield), and David Rhind (UK Ordnance Survey).

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