Universitätssiegel
René Westerholt

Doctoral Candidate

Im Neuenheimer Feld 348
Room 012B
westerholt@uni-heidelberg.de
Tel: +49 6221 54-5504
Fax: +49 6221 54-4529


You also find me at ResearchGate, LinkedIn, XING and Google Scholar

 

René Westerholt, M.Sc.

I am a geo-information scientist at the GIScience group of the Institute of Geography, where I am teaching spatial analysis and GIS courses and am conducting research on spatial analysis methodologies. My background is geoinformatics, in which I graduated with an MSc degree from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Osnabrück University. Currently, I am conducting a PhD project on the spatial analysis of social media and related data, which includes the participation in a DFG priority programme on volunteered geographic information. My practical experience includes working with the Botanical Garden of Osnabrück University, where I have been working as a software developer for several years in nature conservation projects. Further, I conducted several independent software projects with different external partners. I am professional member of the OGC, the Association for Geoinformatics, GeoIT and Navigation, and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Research Details

In recent years, a range of novel geographic datasets emerged. These originate from an ever increasing and almost pervasive integration of online technologies into our everyday lives, for instance, by using social media feeds or interacting with smart card systems. Respective data has been termed “ambient geospatial information” (AGI), because of the subtle and “unintended” ways in which people observe and report about their immediate surroundings. The outlined data sets are interesting resources for scientific research. They reflect the otherwise unobservable everyday lives of ordinary people and are partial reflections of how people interact with their contextual geography. However, AGI data sets do also differ strongly from traditional data in that their acquisition schemes and the related observations do not conform to rigorous scientific standards. Clearly, this influences the way how we can analyse and interpret these data, and it interferes with a range of assumptions that researchers typically make. For instance, in geospatial research, one important assumption is the notion of (either second-order or intrinsic) stationarity, referring to a consistent underlying data-generating process. Yet, when people perceive the environment and their personal feelings in subjective manners, this assumption is rather unrealistic and cannot provide valid grounds for analysing AGI data. Different approaches for the spatial analysis of these kinds of data are thus needed. Further, we do also need a more thorough understanding of how the AGI-related data characteristics interfere with the core functioning principles of spatial analysis methodologies. These two points are pivotal to my research agenda. More specifically, I focus on the following methodological research topics:
  • the application of spatial statistics to AGI data,
  • spatial analysis methodologies (e.g., Moran’s I, G-statistics),
  • the role of spatial heteroscedasticity and spatial variance in AGI data,
  • the conflation of spatial and platial analysis.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Experience
Since 2013: Research Assistant, GIScience Research Group, Institute of Geography, Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University (Germany).
10/2013
-12/2013:
Visiting Scholar, Center for Geographic Analysis, Institute for Quantiative Social Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (USA).
2011-2012: Research Assistant, Steinbeis Centre for Applied Geoinformatics and Environmental Research, Osnabrück (Germany).
Practical Experience
2011-2017: Software Developer (mobile and web-based GIS applications), Botanical Garden, Osnabrück University (Germany).
2010-2011: Software Developer (web-based routing application), Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany).
Education
Since 2013: PhD Student, GIScience Research Group, Institute of Geography, Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University (Germany).
2010-2012: Graduate Studies of Geoinformatics (M.Sc.), Institute for Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Osnabrück University (Germany).
2007-2010: Undergraduate Studies of Geoinformatics (B.Sc.), Institute for Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Osnabrück University (Germany).
Awards and Honours
03/2014: Young Researchers Award 2013, North-German Society for Geoinformatics
10/2013: International Mobility Grant Funding, German Universities Excellence Initiative II
01/2013: PhD Scholarship, State of Baden-Württemberg

Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Westerholt, R., Resch, B., Mocnik, F.-B., and Hoffmeister, D. (accepted): A statistical test on the local effects of spatially structured variance. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, volume and issue pending, pp. pending. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2017.1402914.

Bluemke, M., Resch, B., Lechner, C., Westerholt, R. and Kolb, JP. (2017): Integrating Geographic Information into Survey Research: Current Applications, Challenges and Future Avenues. Survey Research Methods, 11 (3), 307-327. DOI: 10.18148/srm/2017.v11i3.6733.

Borgmann, P., Westerholt, R., Oevermann, S. and Zachgo, S. (2017): Webbasierte und mobile Datenerfassung im Projekt "Netzwerk zum Schutz gefährdeter Wildpflanzen in Deutschland (WIPs-De)". Natur und Landschaft, 92 (2), 69 - 75. DOI: 10.17433/2.2017.50153439.69-75.

Li, M., Westerholt, R., Fan, H. and Zipf, A. (2016): Assessing spatiotemporal predictability of LBSN: A case study of three Foursquare datasets. GeoInformatica, volume and issue pending. DOI: 10.1007/s10707-016-0279-5.

Westerholt, R., Steiger, E., Resch, B. and Zipf, A. (2016): Abundant Topological Outliers in Social Media Data and Their Effect on Spatial Analysis. PLOS ONE, 11 (9), e0162360. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162360.

Steiger, E., Westerholt, R., Resch, B. and Zipf, A. (2015): Twitter as an indicator for whereabouts of people? Correlating Twitter with UK census data. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54, 255 - 265. DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.09.007.

Westerholt, R., Resch, B. and Zipf, A. (2015): A local scale-sensitive indicator of spatial autocorrelation for assessing high- and low-value clusters in multi-scale datasets. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 29 (5), 868-887. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2014.1002499.
You can find a preprint ("as accepted") here.

Westerholt, R. and Resch, B. (2014): Asynchronous Geospatial Processing: An Event-Driven Push-Based Architecture for the OGC Web Processing Service. Transactions in GIS, 19 (3), 455-479. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12104.

Conference Proceedings

Westerholt, R. (2017): Topological and scale-related issues in Twitter analyses through superimposed forms of spatial heterogeneity. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers 2017, Boston, MA.

Borgmann, P. and Westerholt, R. (2015): Citizen Science im Botanischen Artenschutz. Dialogforum Citizen Science, German Federal Environmental Foundation, Osnabrück, Germany.

Reimer, A. and Westerholt, R. (2014): Schematization for the analysis of geolocated microblog messages. In: Proceedings of AutoCarto 2014, International Symposium on Automated Cartography, Pittsburgh, PA.

Westerholt, R., Borgmann, P. and Zimmer, B. (2012): WebMapping-basierte Erfassung pflanzengenetischer Ressourcen in der Botanik. In: Löwner, M.-O., Hillen, F. and Wohlfahrt, R. (eds.): Geoinformatik 2012 „Mobilität und Umwelt“. Aachen: Shaker-Verlag, 411 - 414.

Borgmann, P., Westerholt, R., Zimmer, B. and Zachgo, S. (2012): Einsatz eines Geoportals in der Saatguterfassung. In: Lohwasser, U., Zachgo, S. und Börner, A. (ed.): Saatguterhaltung und Nutzbarmachung von Kulturpflanzen und heimischen Wildarten. Nürtingen: Gesellschaft für Pflanzenbauwissenschaften e.V., Berichte der Gesellschaft für Pflanzenbauwissenschaften, volume 6, 17 - 19.

Book Chapters

Steiger, E., Westerholt, R. and Zipf, A. (2016): Research on social media feeds – A GIScience perspective. In: Capineri, C, Haklay, M, Huang, H, Antoniou, V, Kettunen, J, Ostermann, F and Purves, R. (eds.): European Handbook of Crowdsourced Geographic Information, London: Ubiquity Press, 237-254. DOI: 10.5334/bax.r.

Further Contributions

Borgmann, P., Westerholt, R., Oevermann, S. and Zachgo, S. (2014): WEL-Webmapping. In: Poschlod, P., Borgmann, P., Listl, D., Reisch, C. and Zachgo, S. (eds.): Handbuch Genbank WEL. Regensburg: HOPPEA Denkschriften der Regensburgischen Botanischen Gesellschaft, 133 - 140.

Talks

2017: Topological and scale-related issues in Twitter analyses through superimposed forms of spatial heterogeneity, Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA, USA
2017: Methodological challenges in the spatial analysis of georeferenced social media data, ABCD GIS Series, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
2016: Mining the “big noise:“ Challenges and opportunities of social media analysis, Mapping, Sensing, and Crowdsourcing Geographic Information, Royal Geographical Society, London, UK
2016: Spatial Analysis of Twitter Data, WISC Seminar Series, Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
2016: The mapping portal of the GE_Sell project, Coordination Meeting GE_Sell, Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, Bonn, Germany
2015: Mixed-Scale Spatial Autocorrelation, Forum GI, Institute for Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing, Osnabrück University, Germany
2015: Sampling and management of species in the national responsibility of Germany within the WIPs-De project, Dialogforum Citizen Science, German Federal Environmental Foundation, Osnabrück, Germany
2014: Peeling the onion – multiple geographic scale levels within tweets, CrowdAnalyser Workshop 2014, Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing, Heidelberg, Germany
2013: Multi-Scale Event Detection on Twitter Tweets, Geography Colloquium, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
2012: Using a geoportal in seed collection, Joint Congress of the Consortia for Seeds and Plant Breeding, Society for Plant Breeding, Osnabrück, Germany

Convening and Organizing of Scientific Events

2017: Workshop: Spatial urban analytics and crowdsourced geographic information for smarter cities (convenor and session chair), Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society, London, UK
2015: Workshop: CrowdAnalyser 2015 (co-organiser), Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University, Germany
2014: Workshop: CrowdAnalyser 2014 (co-organiser), Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing, Heidelberg University, Germany

Editorials

2017: Special Issue on Crowdsourcing for Urban Geoinformatics (guest editor), Geo-spatial Information Science, Taylor & Francis

Teaching

WS 2017/18: Introduction to the spatial analysis of human-geographic data (Lecture)
SS 2017: Introduction to computer science for geographers (Seminar + Lab)
SS 2017: Introduction to GIS (Lab; conception and supervision of tutors)
WS 2016/17: Introduction to the spatial analysis of human-geographic data (Lecture)
WS 2016/17: Spatiostatistical exploration of human-geographic data (Lab)
SS 2016: Fundamentals of computer science for geographers (Seminar + Lab)
SS 2016: Introduction to GIS (Lab; conception and supervision of tutors)
WS 2015/16: Spatial associations in human geography (Lecture)

Scientific Reviewing

  • Transactions in GIS, John Wiley & Sons
  • Knowledge and Information Systems, Springer
  • International Journal of Digital Earth, Taylor & Francis

Professional Memberships

  • Royal Geographical Society, Fellow
  • Association for Geoinformatics, GeoIT and Navigation, Member
  • OGC, Member
Personal Newsfeed
25.10.2017 10:58
New paper on the integration of geographic information into survey research

We recently published a new paper on the integration of geographic information into survey research. The paper is the outcome of a collaborative effort with colleagues from the Leibnitz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS) in Mannheim and from the University of Salzburg (Z_GIS) and it provides an overview of how the consideration of geographic [...]

16.10.2017 11:30
Introduction to GIScience HD for master students

Dear master students, we warmly welcome you to Heidelberg and to our institute! You are cordially invited to an introduction to the GIScience research group, which takes place on Wednesday (18 October, 4 pm - 6 pm). We will provide you an introduction to our offered lectures, seminars and give you an overview of our ongoing [...]

20.09.2017 09:52
DFG Summer School “VGI”

Last week, our colleagues Franz-Benjamin Mocnik and René Westerholt participated in a summer school of the DFG priority programme on “VGI”. GIScience Heidelberg is involved in that programme by two projects, one of which is dealing with data quality issues and another one that investigates the assessment of spatial assotiations in social media data. The [...]

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