PECSRL 2016 Permanent European Conference on the Study of the Rural Landscape

Last week, the Permanent European Conference on the Study of the Rural Landscape PECSRL conference 2016 took place in Innsbruck and Seefeld (Austria). It was my first time at PECSRL and I was impressed how well organised it was. It was also a very productive time because it had merged with the autumn meeting of a COST Action network I´m in. And last not least, I liked the basic PECSRL idea to host the first two days in an urban environment, then go on a field trip, and host the last two days out in the countryside.

The presentations stood out through their great variety but most topics were not directly related to the theme of this blog. Except the presentation by Salak, Boris & Brandenburg, Christiane: Mixed method design as a supportive tool for evaluation of interactive 3D approaches to enhance objectification in wind energy planning processes in Session 5: Renewable energies in mountain landscapes: conflicts and synergies.

As part of the Windnet project, the authors and their colleagues organised expert workshops, survey and interviews with 27 wind energy relevant organisations. One part of the project addressed the use of visualizations in the workshops and the research question was: Is there a difference between the following three different visualisation techniques?

  • Slideshow (low immersion)
  • Interactive 3D model in game engine using a PS3 controller
  • Virtual Reality w/ stereo images, running on a mobile phone
Salak 2016
Salak 2016


70 participants completed the visualization parcour and in summary gave the following feedback:

  • Very positive feedback regarding the visualizations across all groups
  • participants trust in the information 3D
  • participants navigate very oriented in digital spaces
  • participants visit emotional landscapes first in 3d
  • participants check plausibility
  • mention transparency
  • technical tools supports personal imagination
  • good technical equipment

The full report can be read at and further information is provided at

Digital Landscape Architecture Conference 2015

With quite some delay, a short recap of this year’s Digital Landscape Architecture Conference DLA 2015. After the brilliant DLA 2014 conference abroad, this year’s conference took place in its home town of Dessau again (before it will move to Istanbul for 2016).

DLA 2015 Group Picture

The first key note was delivered by Prof. Brian Orland from PennState and at the time, visiting Weddle Chair at the University of Sheffield: “Geodesign – The Family Car of GIS“. The main argument was that geodesign is still a black box but stakeholders need to participate in telling the story. As key stones Brian suggested the following three elements and illustrated them with the example of hydraulic fracturing:
– Storytelling
– System Exploration
– Group Interactions

Another highlight of the conference were the presentation by Prof. Carl Steinitz and colleagues of the “Coastal Georgia 2050 Geodesign Synthesis Workshop” and the hands-on workshop “Digital Workflow for a Dynamic Geodsign System” delivered by Hrishikesh Ballel, PhD student of Prof. Carl Steinitz. The tool can be tested under

Geodesign Tool

Prof. Stephen Ervin further pushed forward the theoretical framework of Geodesign: “A Proposed Map of a Geodesign Research Map.”

For these and further presentations and workshops at the DLA2015 Conference, please see the peer-reviewed conference proceedings published by Wichmann:
Peer-reviewed conference proceedings DLA2015

Call for Papers: CORP 2013 Rome


You better keep planning or you get in deep water,
for the cities they are a-changin' …

The REAL CORP Call for Papers is open until 23 December 2012. We accept papers in two categories:

  • Reviewed Papers: scientific papers which undergo a two-step peer review (up to 10 pages);
  • Non-Reviewed Papers: practical experience reports, project reports: decision on acceptance is made by programme committee (up to 5 pages).

The reviewing procedure is an important tool in enhancing the paper quality and therefore the expert output in general of the REAL CORP conference. Papers will not only be evaluated on scientific quality but also with focus on pratical relevance and “visionary approaches”. The group of reviewing experts comprises of researchers, practitioners and business experts. There is also the opportunity to register papers for non-reviewed participation. In this case, members of the organising REAL CORP team will decide on paper acceptance.

Detailed Information for authors


Topics of REAL CORP 2013

Click here for a detailed overview on all major topics and sub topics of REAL CORP 2013.


How to submit your abstract

Abstract submission may only be done electronically. Please download our template before you compose your abstract:

To upload your abstract to our server, please sign up for a user account on our conference administration portal MY.CORP. The abstract should not exceed 1 page in the given template and need not contain any graphics.



Of course, there is a deadline for abstract submission to make sure that both reviewers and programme committee have enough time so decide carefully on acceptance of each abstract.

Please submit your abstract by 23 December 2012, 23:59 CET. For submission you are intended to use MY.CORP only.

Further important deadlines on the way to having your paper published




Beyond Climate Models: Rethinking How To Envision the Future with Climate Change

On February 17th 2012, the symposium "Beyond Climate Models: Rethinking How to Envision the Future with Climate Change" took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre as part of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Guest speakers Mike Hulme from the University of East Anglia, Richard Moss, IPCC author on the IPCC scenarios, Stephen Sheppard and facilitator John Robinson from the University of British Columbia discussed the role of landscape visualization tools and processes to support climate policy and action.

After the speakers' presentations, participants discussed specific aspects such as the role of visualization in scientific collaboration, in combination with the scenario method, and the use of virtual globes and decision theatres. The evolving research questions were collected and will inform future research in the area. 


May 14-16 2012, Multiversum Schwechat, Austria

17th international conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society
“RE-MIXING THE CITY” – Towards Sustainability and Resilience?

An overview of Accepted Papers/Presentations is available at

Until March 10 the detailed program will be available at, early bird registration is available until March 15.


Google Earth Outreach launches new tools for NGOs in Canada

Google Earth Outreach launched a program to support Canadian NGOs with software tools and support in a three-day workshop with the Tides Foundation in Vancouver, September 25-28, 2011. The workshop ended with a public event at the Woodwards featuring presentations by Rebecca Moore from Google Earth Outreach and David Suzuki.

Google Earth Outreach Launch Canada (Tides 2011)

The workshop aimed at capacity-building for NGOs and included sessions on Google Fusion Tables, Google mapping API, GIS to Google Earth basics, Advanced KML coding and and the Open Data Kit, a set of tools for mobile data collection. The Google Earth Outreach team also provided some first insights into the new Google Earth Builder, an online GIS for geodata management with tiling capabilities, and Google Earth Engine, a future environmental monitoring platform that adds more complex analytical functions such as GHG calculations.

More than 50 representatives from various NGOs participated and I was very impressed by their projects they presented after just three days: A complete Google Earth inventory of the Mountain Pine Beetle damage in British-Columbia, the  cinematic fly-through of a crane in GoogleEarth illustrating bird migration routes, and many more. Therefore, I am confident that the workshop achieved its first goal which was capacity-building among NGOs. The workshop site also provides many valuable tutorials on Google’s geospatial tools and is open to everybody.

Plant Modeling at Siggraph 2011

Presenting my own poster “Model-based Visualization of Future Forest Landscapes” on the use of Biosphere3D in the Kimberley project at CALP, I got in touch with other researchers in the field. LIAMA, the Sino-French Lab of Computer Science, Automation and Applied Mathematics in Bejing, presented a poster on GreenLab. GreenLab is a program for the stochastic, functional and interactive modeling of plant growth that also considers different growth conditions. According to Prof. Kang, the development of GreenLab goes back to AMAP and Philippe de Reffye, one of the AMAP developers, who is also guest researcher at LIAMA and contributed to the development of GreenLab. The libraries of GreenLab will also contain more Asian species which are still rare in 3D. With its potential for functional modeling, Greenlab may become another promising plant modeler.

Later in the day, I visited the Speedtree booth. Speedtree clearly aims at Game Developers and Movie Makers; therefore it does not need to integrate botanical rules but it has to provide artistic control and “directability”. Furthermore, performance and different LODs are important for game developers and in gaming, SpeeTree is the current state-of-the-art. For landscape architects, it may be over the top with the basic version of SpeedTree Studio selling for $850 while the professional version, including a world construction set, can cost more than $12k.

Siggraph 2011 – Day 3

One of todays` highlights at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver was the approach of Prof. Deussen`s group in Konstanz and their partners at the universities in Shenzhen and Tel Aviv to use so-called “texture-lobes” for tree modelling from Lidar data. For more information, see

Texture-Lobes for Tree Modelling from Soeren Pirk on Vimeo.

The afternoon was dedicated to urban modeling, starting with a review of the latest literature by Peter Wonka (Arizona State University) and Daniel Aliaga (Purdue University). During the second part of the session, Pascal Mueller from Procedural/ESRI (CityEngine) presented issues encountered in practice and their new Urban Vision project together with the urban planning department of San Francisco and Urban Sim (Paul Waddell). The session closed with a visually very engaging case study by Michael Frederickson from Pixar, using CityEngine for virtual London in Cars 2.

Google Mapping Technology for Nonprofits

What: Google Mapping Technology for Nonprofits

When: September 26-28, 2011, 8:30am – 5:00pm

Where: Morris J Wosk Centre for Public Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia

Who should attend?: This workshop is intended for Canadian nonprofit technology specialists.

More information:

CHI 2011 Review

First, I would like to apologize for the lack of recent posts under the LVIZ blog, but I and other contributors were traveling a lot, visiting various conferences and had report deadlines to match. In return, I will post several conference reviews over the next weeks with the biggest conference still to come in August: SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver! The conference season started with the most important conference on human-computer interaction; CHI from May 7-12 at the new Vancouver conference center. CHI was far too large that I could address all session here. Instead I will focus on the sustainability workshop and the two sustainability sessions that were part of this year’s CHI.

The sustainability workshop at CHI was organized by Leo Bonanni (MIT Media Lab, USA), Daniela Busse (Sap Labs (Palo Alto), USA), John C Thomas (IBM TJ Watson Research Center, USA), Eli Blevis (Indiana University, Bloomington, USA), Marko Turpeinen (HIIT, Finland), and Nuno Jardim Nunes (Univ of Madeira, Portugal). Every participant had prepared position papers which were first presented and discussed. During the second half of the one-day workshop, IBM researcher John C. Thomas, who is also involved in IBM Smart City, presented the pattern language approach (cf. Christopher Alexander’s pattern language) as a method to grasp the fuzzy categories of sustainability. The unconventional approach produced an impressive variety of sustainability patterns. Co-organizers Leo Bonanni and Marko Turpeinen also announced a Green Hackathon in Stockholm on September 30, 2011. Interviews with some of the workshop participants are also covered by the Sustainable Lens blog from Australia which is presenting sustainability issues as online radio shows.

On Wednesday, two sustainability sessions took place. The first session started of with a presentation by Conor Linehan from the Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre on Guidelines for Designing Educational Games. Linehan referred the evaluation of behavioral change through educational computer games to the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach in psychology. The presentation was awarded and provided very valuable approaches for the evaluation of computer tools with an educational goal. The majority of the following presentations addressed the change of individual behavior through the visualization of individual consumption patterns, e.g., energy or water consumption. Most presentations were very nicely designed but from my point of view, some lacked from oversimplified conceptualizations of individual behavior change through more information. In the case of BeeParking, car use as an unsustainable behavior was even made more convenient through a smart parking system. In contrast, I was more impressed by the work of Philips Research in the Netherlands, who presented a game that is supposed to raise family awareness and change behavior about electricity use (download the paper here) and by James Pierce investigation of reacquisition and dispossession practices around second-hand objects (download the paper here).

It is good to hear that sustainability has its own SIG at CHI and it was even proposed to propose a sustainability track on its own which might lead to a higher number of sustainability papers at CHI. Either way, it is great to see that sustainability is also a topic inside the human-computer interaction community and I am sure that there is more to come.