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!