Report of the 5th Münster GI-Days 2007 - Young Researchers Forum

by Eva Klien (General Chair)

The Münster GI-Days 2007 (Münsteraner GI-Tage) were the fifth conference in a series started in 2002. While previous events each had a focus on a specific topic of interest to the GI Community, GI-Days 2007 were dedicated to providing a platform for young researchers to present their work from all sectors of geographic information science. The conference was organized by a team of junior scientists from the Institute for Geoinformatics at the University of Münster. The event took place from 10-12 September at the picturesque Castle of Münster.

The GI-Days 2007 turned out to be a meeting point for a lively crowd of around 100 young researchers, who made up a very interested and highly engaged audience. The presenters were remarkably careful in preparing interesting and well-structured talks. Having mostly PhD and Master Students in the audience seemed to encourage the participants to engage in vivid discussions. This was also reflected in a lively poster session, which provided another excellent forum for all participants to present and discuss current research.

The presentations at GI-Days 2007 covered a wide range of topics including geostatistical methods, spatial and temporal reasoning, spatial analysis, cartographic visualisation, wayfinding and navigation as well as uncertainty in geographic information. Beside these well-established research fields, the concentration on topics related to social aspects of web-based communication of geospatial information was remarkable. This trend was reflected in presentations related to folksonomy and geotagging, geographic information in the Web 2.0, as well as ontology engineering, conceptual modeling and cognitive aspects of spatial knowledge. Yet another cluster of contributions documented that geosensor networks, geospatial web services, location based services and spatial data infrastructures are established as core research areas in geographic information science.

In addition to the paper and poster sessions, GI-Days 2007 included acclaimed keynote presentations by Max Craglia, Silvia Nittel, and Samuel Widmann. A panel discussion on the relation of PhD and Science and a demonstration of a Mobile Sensor Platform were also part of the conference. Social events like the conference dinner and the guided city walk through Münster helped to keep up high spirits among the participants. The post-conference tutorials on Thesis Writing, Fundraising, GIS Business, and Formal Methods rounded off the programme with concise practical knowledge on how to cope with the day-to-day difficulties of being a young researcher.

Presenting and discussing papers and posters, attending keynotes and tutorials created an environment for developing new ideas, perspectives and research collaborations. In that respect, GI-Days 2007 succeeded in supporting the network of the upcoming generation of geospatial information scientists. Subsequent questions arise on how we are going to proceed from here. Should the concept of a European young researchers conference be continued? Do we even have the need for a more comprehensive approach of a GI Students Network in Europe? Such a network could support organizing conferences, workshops and summer schools; support networking and collaboration between students, researchers and industry; and provide information on mobility measures, student grants, etc. A survey at GI-Days 2007 has shown that there is significant request from young researchers for such a network. These and other questions can also be discussed in the forums of our “Network of Young Researcher in GISc” at XING (https://www.xing.com/net/yrgis/).

As General Chair of GI-Days 2007, I would like to thank the many people who helped making the conference a success: the authors who submitted their work and presented at the conference, the keynote speakers and tutors, the program committee and additional reviewers, the local organizers, and our sponsors.