The research project NEOHAZ – NEOgeography of a Digital Earth: Geoinformation Science as Methodological Bridge in Interdisciplinary Natural HAZard Analysis is funded by the WIN-Kolleg of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (HAW) and runs from 2014 till 2017.
The understanding of complex human-environment interactions via measuring and observing can only be gained by interdisciplinary scientific approaches. The growing sector of web technologies and mobile devices such as smartphones enables even non-experts to collect geographic data via GPS and to share them in the web, which creates a new network of earth observation with millions of potential “sensors”. This “neogeography” complements scientific earth observation by providing the possibility for everyone to collect and use geoinformation online. However, neogeography per se can barely be considered as analytical, adds only little to generalization and does not create any new findings or theories.
This project aims at investigating the possibilities and limitations of an integration of user-generated geoinformation from the web into the scientific natural hazard analysis. Therefore, it is evaluated whether this approach leads to improved results and new insights into human-environment interactions. Interdisciplinary natural hazard analysis joins connected approaches from natural and social science as well as methods of geoinformation science and scientific computing. For the first time, a combined evaluation and interdisciplinary synthesis of the integration of neogeographic observations into the natural hazard analysis are made possible. This represents a valuable contribution to future participatory natural hazard analysis which combines local values, attitudes, implicit knowledge and beliefs with scientific modeling of earth surface processes. Focus is set on the phase before the occurrence of a disaster. Chile is selected as study area because it is regularly affected by different types of natural disasters and the phenomenon of neogeography is increasingly explored.
The interdisciplinary research team consists of the following partners:
- GIScience, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University
- Max-Weber-Institute of Sociology, Heidelberg University
- Quaternary Research & Applied Geomorphology, Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
Project Website: http://www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/gis/neohaz_en.html