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.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Registration for GISCA13 opened!

The well established annual GIS-in-Central-Asia (GISCA) conference in 2013 will again be held in Kazakhstan's 'Southern Capital' of Almaty! The Kazakh National University (KazNU) named after Al-Farabi and its Faculty of Geography and Nature Management will be the host and venue of this event on May 2-3, 2013.

'GISCA' since 2005 has evolved as the main regional scientific cooperation and networking event for the geospatial information science and technologies community across Central Asia. Coordinated by ACA*GIScience center at KSUCTA, the GISCA conference is annually hosted by established centers of GIScience competence in the region - 2013 returning to the outstanding Geography Department at KazNU!

GISCA also is a platform for collaboration in the development of educational program, e.g. Tempus JEP projects as well as UNIGIS, and for establishing GIS research initiatives in the broad field of GIS applications. A special emphasis this year will be on advancing the cause of Spatial Data Infrastructures in the Central Asia region.

Registration for GISCA13 now has opened, and abstracts for paper submissions are welcome - please find all relevant information on the conference website at! Enquiries from media partners, sponsors and interested technology vendors can be directed to

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prof. R. Lassche has given classes at KSUCTA

Dr. Ronnie Lassche, Professor at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, has visited  the Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture (KSUCTA) on December 17-20, 2012. He has given lectures and laboratory classes for Geoinformatics MSc students and teachers on the topics of Spatial Databases and PostGIS, the design and use of WMS Layers, and publishing online maps. Despite the extreme weather conditions (-26 degree outside and +12 degree inside lab!) GEM Students and teachers have enjoyed his classes by studying the advanced technologies and methods.

This visit supports the development and implementation of the Tempus Geoinformatics MSc study programme in Kyrgyzstan. VU Amsterdam is one of the European partners in this project, with researchers and teachers from its SPINlab contributing significantly to curriculum design, media development and in particular to teacher training. The first groups of Geoinformatics MSc students in Kyrgyzstan benefit significantly from this involvement of European teachers!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Geoinformatics Teacher Training in Bishkek

This week, teachers from Tempus 'GEM' partner universities are attending a capacity building seminar at KSUCTA in Bishkek. With support from the Austrian EPU network, six instructors from the University of Salzburg, Technical University Graz and Carinthia University of Applied Sciences are assisting Geoinformatics teachers from Central Asia with further developing their skills and competences. Prof. Gernot Paulus has led the compilation and implementation of a stimulating program:

OpenStreetMap, in connection with a variety of OSM-based applications and technologies is the main focus of the seminar, with practical exercises demonstrating the mapping of the marshrutka public transport network across the city. Starting with GPS data acquisition and online editing, continuing with data model development and then exploring a variety of rendering options, participants are developing a deeper insight into the potential of OSM.

This focus topic is complemented by small group instruction in photogrammetry and orthorectification, hands-on lab exercises with Idrisi Selva, and work with metadata acquisition supporting the Central Asia Geoportal. Overall, participants will be able to 'take home' a broad range of new skills and expertise across a variety of Geoinformatics topics.

Special thanks go to the local organizers at the Austria - Central Asia Centre for GIScience  = ACA*GIScience, again demonstrating their excellence as a geospatial competence centre, and working as a motivated and supportive team able to facilitate advanced trainings like this.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GIS Day 2012 at KSUCTA

Today we have celebrated GIS Day at KSUCTA. Due to our focus on Geoinformatics study programs, and the recent start of the second group in our Tempus GEM MSc, this is a very special day for all of us. We tool this occasion to ask our teachers, bachelor students and MSc students only one question: "What is GIS for you?"

Enjoy the movie with their answers:

I hope all our partners have enjoyed GIS Day as much as we did :-)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Opening of GIS lab at KazNU

On Nov 8 the new GIS computer lab at the Faculty of Geography, Kazakh National University named after Al-Farabi was opened. In a ceremony led by KazNU First Vice Rector Burkitbayev Mukhambetkali Myrzabaevich and Faculty Dean Vitali Salnikov, the newly installed lab was dedicated to the first group of students registered in the Geoinformatics MSc program.

The Geoinformatics MSc curriculum as well as the lab design were developed under the Tempus project 510978-TEMPUS-1-2010-1-AT-TEMPUS-JPCR - "Geoinformatics: Managing Energy, Resources, Environment - GEM", led by the University of Salzburg's Z_GIS in cooperation with academic partners from Hungary, Netherlands, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and of course Kazakhstan.

The opening was honored by an address from Shaizada Tasbulatova from the National Tempus Office in Kazakhstan, and best wishes from the European Association of Geography Students (EGEA), conveyed by its president, Svetlana Samsonova. Leaders from several other Kazakh Universities joined in today's celebrations.

Department chairs, teachers and graduate students from the Department of Geography, Planning and Cadastre and the Department of Cartography and Geoinformatics had worked hard over many months to make this teaching lab a reality, with very special thanks going to Aizhan Assylbekova for her tireless initiatives towards building this new teaching and learning resource!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Best wishes to new Geoinformatics MSc students at KazNU

In September 2012, at the Kazakh National University the first group of students in the international Geoinformatics MSc have started their program. 6 students have received state scholarships and were admitted to this innovative program under a novel curriculum, developed within a Tempus project involving partner universities from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. and provide further information about these programs.

On Thursday, 25 th of October an online meeting with Professors Josef Strobl (University of Salzburg, Tempus project coordinator) and Michael Gould (University Jaume I in Castellon, ESRI Global Education Manager) was conducted, to welcome KazNU’s masters students at the start of the academic year. Online learning resources and interaction with international teachers will continue to assist students with developing skills and competences in the field of Geoinformatics, which offers attractive employment opportunities across a variety of industries and disciplines.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Prof. Strobl gives lectures to Geoinformatics MSc students

Prof. Josef Strobl from the Department of Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg has visited ACA*GIScience and given lectures to the new group of GEM students in Bishkek on October 20, 2012. Many interesting examples of GIS Applications and Spatial Analysis were discussed, with a special focus on an overview of Map Algebra as an organizing principle of analytical operators.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GIS Training at the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency is started

Team of  KSUCTA teachers has started a GIS Training Course for Disaster Management specialists of  the Kyrgyz Ministry for Emergency Situations.  This course is on using ArcGIS 10 and Open Source GIS Software as well as GPS applications for the disaster risk assessment and management. 33 professionals are taking this GIS training in 7 cities - Oblast (province) centres. The special online communcation facilities of the MES KR and advanced information technologies  have been used for providing this professional qualification improvement course.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Planet Action Project is started at KSUCTA

ACA*GIScience KSUCTA Team has started a new project "Assessing Human Vulnerability to Climate Change" supported by the Planet Action - an Astrium GEO Initiative. Planet Action was launched in 2007 by Spot Image, leading supplier of satellite imagery and geo-information, joined by ESRI, leading GIS technologies provider as co-founder.

The main objective of the project is the assessment of human vulnerabilities in the selected 5 cities of Kyrgyzstan to climate change hazards such as flooding. High resolution satellite data for project will be supplied by the Spot Image. Satellite image processing and GIS software (e-Cognition and ArcGIS) will be provided by Trimble and ESRI.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Opening of the new GIS Lab at OshTU

The new GIS Computer Laboratory has been opened at Osh Technological University. This lab is aiming at  resolving the urgent needs in  academic and research activities in Geoinformation Science and Technology in South Kyrgyzstan. The advanced hardware and GIS software were granted within the EC TEMPUS Project "Geoinformatics – Managing Energy, Resources, Environment (GEM)". The official opening ceremony of this lab was held on October 3, 2012 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and attended by participants from the academic and industrial partners of TEMPUS GEM. The warm welcome by Prof.Dr. Josef Strobl, Project Coordinator from the University of Salzburg, was delivered to participants of this event through an online conference. The university leadership has highlighted the invaluable contribution of TEMPUS GEM Project for integration of OshTU into the international education system by developing the new MSc Program in Geoinformatics.

Monday, September 17, 2012

2012 Geoinformatics MSc Students

The 2012 batch of 10 Geoinformatics MSc Students have started their first semester at the Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture (KSUCTA). The opening meeting of new students with their teachers was held at ACA*GIScience on September 15, 2012 with an online welcome message from Prof. Dr. Josef Strobl, TEMPUS GEM Project Coordinator. 

The newcomers have different academic backgrounds and a range of professional experience, and all express great interest in learning and improving their professional knowledge and skills in Geoinformation Science and Technology. Prof. Dr. Strobl has wished them well towards successful completion of their studies and research, supported by the international postgraduate GEM MSc Program.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

GISCA 2012 Proceedings published!

Dear Participants of GISCA'12,
Dear Colleagues,
please find the electronic version of published GISCA-2012 Proceedings online at: or
A paper hardcopy version will be available from the Austria-Central Asia Centre for GIScience (ACA*GIScience) at KSUCTA, tel. 0312-545602,
Thank you very much for your active participation in GISCA in 2012 and we look forward to meeting you at upcoming GISCA conferences.

Yours sincerely,
Akylbek Chymyrov, Ph.D., M.Eng. GISCA'12 Secretary
Head of Department "Geodesy and Geoinformatics" KSUCTA

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Next UNIGIS course for Central Asia students

The UNIGIS study centre for Central Asia at ACA*GIScience in Bishkek has now opened the registration period for the next intake of distance learning students, starting with October 2012. Applications will be accepted until September 10, and candidates are expected to have a background in any 'spatial discipline' or experience in a GIS application domain.

UNIGIS Central Asia offers tutoring in Russian language, but as an international program requires profound English language skills for working with study materials, complete assignments and communicate within the worldwide network of UNIGIS students and alumni.

With a clear focus on continuing education for geospatial / GIS professionals, most candidates come from national and international organisations, the geospatial services industry, and academia. For the first time, candidates are offered the options of registering for a professional diploma or an MSc program of studies, with both qualifications awarded by the University of Salzburg, Austria.

Further information can be found at, email enquiries can be directed to

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

GISCA 2012 launched at KSUCTA Bishkek

Today, the GIS-in-Central-Asia conference was launched in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Dr Akylbek Chymyrov from the organizing institution ACA*GIScience welcomed participants from 12 countries to this annual event. Words of welcome were contributed by KSUCTA Rector Prof Akymbek Abdykalykov, Prof Dr Josef Strobl from the Austrian partner institution Z_GIS, Tempus national representative Gulnara Chokusheva and Stefano Ghielmetti from the main conference sponsor Trimble.

After a colorful and dynamic cultural welcome of songs and dances, Mr Ghielmetti offered a keynote with a range of case studies illustrating geospatial data acquisition and processing across many application domains. The conference now moves on into its scientific program of presentations, bringing together GIS specialists across the Eurasian continent. Developing a network of experts into communities of practice dedicated to excellence in Geospatial Sciences and innovation in applications and technologies is the main aim of the conference, and substantial progress is being made in this direction.

GISCA 2012 also serves as a teacher training and capacity building opportunity for the Tempus 'GEM' project aiming at developing dedicated Geoinformatics MSc programmes in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

GEM MSc student exchange

Mr. Adilet Bekturov, a GEM MSc Student of KSUCTA, is using the opportunity to attend short term Master's studies at the Geodesy and Geoinformatics Department of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. Prof. Dr. Huaan Fan, a Honorary Professor of KSUCTA, has invited Adilet to his department within a TEMPUS project for a two month study visit.

Prof. Dr. Fan was the Coordinator of the TEMPUS Project “Education in Geodesy and Geoinformatics”, jointly conducted by KTH, Z_GIS PLUS and KSUCTA in 2005-2007, and he is providing ongoing support to the “Geodesy and Geoinformatics” Department of KSUCTA, which originally was established within this Tempus project.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CRDF Project activities at ACA*GIScience

New project "Kyrgyz Consortium for GIS Excellence" is started at KSUCTA, ACA*GIScience with financial support from U.S. Civil Research and Development Foundation (CRDF Global). Regular GIS workshops in digital mapping, spatial analysis, spatial epidemiology, ecological modeling and integration of GIS into biological, ecological, and disease surveillance studies are provided to the Consortium members - Kyrgyz institutions working mainly in Veterinary and Medical sciences. The Open Source GIS Software (Quantum GIS) is selected for trainings and project activities at that member institutions, which do not have commercial GIS SW. Five GIS workshops are conducted at KSUCTA GIS Lab and new workshops will be held within this project. More information available at:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tempus GEM Startup lecture for Cartography class

On 25th of February Prof. J.Strobl visited the ACA*GIScience centre. During his visit he was giving the initial lectures for the Cartography and Geovisualisation class to the first group of Geoinfomatics MSc students at KSUCTA, Bishkek.

UNIGIS students from the Central Asia study centre had an opportunity to participate as well in this event. After the lecture UNIGIS distance learning students were discussing their progress and plans for project work and Master Theses, hopefully leading to completion of their degrees soon.

It was a very good opportunity for GEM and UNIGIS Students, as well as for KSUCTA faculty to have a guest lecture by an international visitor from European partners. This provides everyone with a broader perspective on current scientific and professsional topics and helps with improving language skills.

We look forward to other visits and lectures from International partners!

Friday, February 17, 2012

GISCA 2012 - Call for contributions open!

This year's GIS-in-Central-Asia conference is returning to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan: on May 2/3 the Central Asian Geoinformatics community again will get together for this annual conference, which has become a  regional must-attend event since its inception in 2005.

The Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture is serving as a venue, supported by the Austria - Central Asia Centre for GIScience. One major topical focus will be on land and resource management, complemented by a range of applied themes and technology-centered presentations.

The entire conference week will serve as a summer school and teacher training event for the Tempus "GEM" project, supporting the development of Geoinformatics MSc programs across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Training will include GIS software, data acquisition technologies as well as analytical methods.

GISCA 2012 invites presentations in paper, poster and tutorial formats - see!