OpenGeoResearch KUS (Climate, Environment, City)

  Map, excerpt from flyer OpenGeoResearch Copyright: © Larissa Böhrkircher  

Building on the participatory online platform „OpenGeoResearch“ OGR of the Institute of Geodesy and the Chair of Civil Engineering Informatics & Geoinformation Systems at RWTH Aachen University (GIA) for scientific spatial questions, the follow-up project „OGR KUS (Climate, Environment, City)“ has established a demonstration application within the „German Science Year 2022“. The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and involved besides GIA also the Department of Physical Geography and Climatology (PGK) and the Department of Cultural Geography (KulturGeo) of RWTH Aachen University as members of the project team. Spatially related questions on climate, environment and cities were discussed in the community and – if not directly solvable – carried into the scientific community and responded by experts.

In practice, people often encounter interesting or unexplored phenomena with spatial relevance, often it is precisely the “where” that is surprising and gives rise to discussion or inquiry. The ubiquitous use of smartphones offers the potential to easily capture and pass on such spatial or geo-referenced information. OGR KUS encouraged citizens to contact the user community or experts with such spatially related questions.

The OGR platform is based on open communication standards and supports public communication, especially activities in the sense of „Citizen Science“. Individuals, hiking groups, school classes, etc. can thus easily collect and transmit spatially related questions on climate, environment and city, which they encounter in their vicinity, by smartphone or PC.

Questions could be just written down or additionally explained by different media formats such as images, video recordings or voice messages. Through standardized software interfaces of the OGR platform, the input was collected and visualized in the map-based web application and thus made publicly accessible. The GIS-based recording is intuitive and easy to use.

The project also aimed to take a scientific look at the question-answer process for similar spatial issues in particular. On the one hand, answers could come directly from the user community. On the other hand, a self-organizing panel of experts ranging from pupils to professors was available to answer questions or, in case of doubt, to forward them to better informed experts. Because of its experimental nature, answers could be expected time-delayed - but they came in any case. After all, every inquiry may finally turn out to be a whole new geoscientific research question!

Web application:

Further information here or under the following QR-Code:

  QR Code OpenGeoResearch