Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 at ACA*GIScience in Review

We are looking back at an exciting, innovative and successful year at ACA*GIScience! Like in the years before, a mix of research, education and communication activities was characteristic for the activities at this international center at KSUCTA with connections across the entire region.

Led by Akylbek Chymyrov and Ainura Nazarkulova, the first class of students in the EU Tempus supported MSc in Geoinformatics was working their way into a second year and setting their eyes on suitable thesis topics, while in early October the 2012 intake set their sights on a first round of lectures.

In May, the GIS in Central Asia (GISCA) conference was hosted at KSUCTA, and attendees shared an intensive week of workshops, training, and conference presentations. The published conference proceedings serve as a record of the level of Geoinformatics research reached in Central Asia.

Teacher trainings alongside GISCA, in September in Hungary and again in early December in Bishkek provided the 'brainware' for emerging education programmes, while Tempus supported lab equipment was celebrated in formal opening ceremonies in Osh, Bishkek and Almaty where the 'software and hardware' now are being put to good use in the respective Geoinformatics study programmes.

In October, at the Eurasia-Pacific Uninet Plenary conference in Shanghai, ACA*GIScience was represented with a poster display as well as with a presentation by Barbara Brunner-Maresch. This event provided the opportunity to communicate ACA*GIScience activities and successes beyond the Central Asia region, and to promote the annual GISCA conference as well as research activities.

Research was organized in several, mostly international projects. Satellite image analysis and data extraction for map updating was one recurring task in several different contexts, combined with analysis of renewable energy potentials and public health analyses. Outstanding results were achieved in some field work activities, generating ground truth and validation for geoinformatics projects.

Finally, we need to mention the second group of 18 students from the Kazakh National University coming to Salzburg for the fall semester of 2012/13, participating in a suite of Geoinformatics classes. This student mobility already is becoming a valuable tradition, and a great opportunity for KazNU students to combine a European study abroad experience with their Bachelor and Master degrees at the Faculty of Geography and Environmental Sciences.

Congratulations, and best wishes to our friends and colleagues at Central Asian partner universities to their progress and achievements in the field of Geoinformatics.