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About Me

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Personal Info

yep that's me in Argentina 2010

Stefan Steiniger

  • currently PostDoc at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile - Dept. of Transportation Eng. and Logistics with the CEDEUS project
  • entrepreneur/consultant at GEO Steiniger Ltda
  • 3 PostDocs in Geography (2008/9), and Geomatics Engineering (2009/10, 2011/12), at the University of Calgary (CAN)
  • PhD in Geography (2007), University of Zurich (CH)
  • Dipl. Ing. (MSc) in Geodesy (2003), Technische Universität Dresden (GER)


  • sstein[-at-]geo.uzh.ch
  • perriger[-at-]gmx.de
  • current location: Santiago de Chile (CHL)


  • areas I have touched in the past 12 years or so: geographical analysis, visualization, cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), (Java) programming, computational geometry, pattern recognition and data mining, machine learning, agent based systems, optimization, location based services (LBS), (land) surveying, geomatics, software development, user centered design, urban planning, landscape ecology, wildlife ecology, remote sensing, participatory GIS, social networking, writing articles, e-learning,
  • and less so: spatial databases, visual perception and cognition


  • From July 2011 unti December 2012 I have been working with Dr. Andrew Hunter at the University of Calgary (CAN), on the PlanYourPlace project,
  • I took a break from research from October 2010 to June 2011 and went backpacking in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, to get to know these beautiful countries, and to learn Spanish from scratch.
  • Previously from Sept. 2009 to Sept. 2010 I was within the group of Dr. Andrew Hunter at the University of Calgary (UofC) as a PostDoctoral Fellow developing tools and methods for Movement Analysis (i.e. Home Range analysis) of Grizzly Bears (based on GPS collar data).
  • I also did research as PostDoctoral Fellow in Landscape Ecology and object based image analysis with Dr. Geoffrey J. Hay from Feb 2008 to July 2009 at the UofC.
  • From 2004 until 2007 I did my PhD research on Automated Map Generalization within the GIS Division of the University of Zurich, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Robert Weibel.
  • From 2005 until my travels in October 2010, I was project leader of the JUMP Pilot Project which maintains the free desktop GIS OpenJUMP.


Research Interests

Data enrichment for map generalization

before you start reading this, I like to note that this section needs a rewrite...

My research interests are focusing on three areas within GISystems & Science and its application:

  1. automated cartography & map generalization,
  2. development of spatial analysis algorithms for landscape and wildlife ecology,
  3. participatory web platforms for urban planning, and
  4. free and open source GIS software developments and adoption in teaching, research, and business.

1. PhD project DEGEN

OpenJUMP HoRAE screenshot

My PhD project at the University of Zurich covered one part of the DEGEN project - Data Enrichment for automated map GENeralization - that was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). The final thesis was entitled "Enabling Pattern-Aware Automated Map Generalization" (pdf-small; pdf-large), and covered the following topics:

  • perception based pattern recognition approaches for the structural analysis of topographic and categorical (vector) maps
  • cartometrics and map object relations
  • discriminant analysis algorithms for urban structure recognition
  • map generalisation modeling and control: Multi-Agent-Systems, Genetic Algorithms
  • map generalisation and signal processing algorithms: Snakes, TAFUS, Wavelets

The second part of the project was done by Moritz Neun who developed a novel web service for web-based map generalization and GIS-(analysis) called WebGen (see also here)

2. PostDoc project PAGEVIS-LD

These research topics mentioned above are also covered within my project "PAGEVIS-LD - Pattern-Aware GEneralisation and VISualization of Land-use and Land-cover Data", carried out at the University of Calgary (2008-2009).

WalkYourPlace tool screenshot

3. PostDoc project OpenJUMP-HoRAE

I also gained an interest in GIS application for Landscape Ecology and Animal Movement Analysis. Hence, I was working with Andrew Hunter on topics related to the Foothills Research Institute Grizzly Bear Program to develop GI tools for home range analysis based on GPS collar data.

4. PostDoc project PlanYourPlace

My latest work on the PlanYourPlace project went into a different direction: the development of a participatory/social web platform to be used in community/urban planning. Our results and efforts on developing the base platform and urban access evaluation tools (WalkYourPlace) are published in papers and worksop contributions - that can be found below.

5. Other work

Most of the developments for my research have been done with Open Source GIS tools and libraries (especially with OpenJUMP GIS; see also below).

Apart from the topics above I also touched other topics in GIS research, such as

  • Urban built-up patterns and their correlation with socio-economic data (supervised student project)
  • Morphologic and vegetation dependent filtering of LIDAR data (supervides student project)
  • Location-Based Services
  • Optimal Xylomigrant placement constrained by mirco-scale traffic behaviour. :o)


journal articles and book chapters (peer-reviewed) : 13
please send an email if you are interested in the manuscript. With a star marked articles are ISI listed journals.

  • Touya, G., Bucher, B., Falquet, G., Jaara, K., and S. Steiniger (2014).
    Modelling geographic relationships in automated environments. Chapter 3 in D. Burghardt, C. Duchene and W.A. Mackaness (eds): Abstracting Geographic Information in a Data Rich World, 2014, LNG&C, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 53-82.ISBN 978-3-319-00202-6
  • *Steiniger, S. and A.J.S. Hunter, (2013).
    A scaled line-based kernel density estimator for the retrieval of utilization distributions and home ranges from GPS movement tracks. Ecological Informatics 13:1-8. (at Elsevier DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2012.10.002, 1st manuscript, for the software toolbox see also http://gisciencegroup.ucalgary.ca/wiki/OpenJUMP_HoRAE)
  • *Steiniger, S. and A.J.S. Hunter, (2013).
    The 2012 free and open source GIS software map - a guide to facilitate research, development, and adoption. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 39:136-150. (manuscript, at Elsevier DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2012.10.003)
  • Steiniger, S. and A.J.S. Hunter, (2012).
    OpenJUMP HoRAE – A free GIS and toolbox for home range analysis. The Wildlife Society Bulletin 36(3):600-608. (Wiley DOI: 10.1002/wsb.168, 1st manuscript, for the software toolbox see also http://gisciencegroup.ucalgary.ca/wiki/OpenJUMP_HoRAE)
  • Hunter, AJS., S. Steiniger, B.A. Sandalack, S.H.L. Liang, et al., (2012).
    PlanYourPlace – A geospatial infrastructure for sustainable community planning. Revue Internationale de Geomatique 22(2):223-253. (Hermes link, 1st manuscript)
  • Steiniger, S. and A.J.S. Hunter (2012).
    Free and open source GIS software for building a spatial data infrastructure. In E. Bocher and M. Neteler (eds): Geospatial Free and Open Source Software in the 21st Century: Proceedings of the first Open Source Geospatial Research Symposium, 2009, LNG&C, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 247-261 (2nd manuscript, slides of the COSSFest 2010 talk, video of COSSFest 2010 talk)
  • Steiniger, S. and R. Weibel (2010).
    GIS software. In: B. Warf (ed): Encyclopaedia of Geography, SAGE Publications [1] --- note: a similar version is downloadable as "GIS software - A description in 1000 words", pdf (year 2009)
  • *Steiniger, S., P. Taillandier and R. Weibel (2010).
    Utilising urban context recognition and machine learning to improve the generalisation of buildings. Int. J. of Geographical Information Science 24(2): 252-283. (Informaworld Link, manuscript)
  • *Steiniger, S. and G.J. Hay (2009).
    Free and open source geographic information tools for landscape ecology. Ecological Informatics 4(4): 183-195. (at ScienceDirect DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2009.07.004; manuscript)
  • *Steiniger, S. and E. Bocher (2009).
    An overview on current free and open source desktop GIS developments. Int. J. of Geographical Information Science 23(10): 1345-1370. (Informaworld Link, 1st manuscript)
  • *Steiniger, S., T. Lange, D. Burghardt and R. Weibel (2008).
    An approach for the classification of urban building structures based on discriminant analysis techniques. Transactions in GIS 12(1): 31-59. (Blackwell Link; manuscript version)
  • *Steiniger, S., and R. Weibel (2007).
    Relations among map objects in cartographic generalization. Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS) 34(3): 175-197. (Ingenta Link; manuscript)
  • *Meier, S. and S. Steiniger (2005).
    Linieglättung mit Snakes als Filteroperation. Photogrammetrie, Fernerkundung und Geoinformation (PFG) 8(4): 311- 320. (German - pdf) [the extended english version "Snakes: a technique for line smoothing and displacement in map generalisation." can be found below]

manuscripts in progress please send an email if you are interested in the manuscripts

  • Steiniger, S., M.E. Poorazizi and A.J.S. Hunter; (submitted). WalkYourPlace – A Web-Tool for the Evaluation of Urban Accessibility and Walkability using a Service-based Architecture. submitted to Transactions in GIS in May 2013 (this work was also presented at UDMS 2013, see below).

conference and workshop papers (full paper review) : 3

  • Steiniger, S., D. Burghardt and R. Weibel (2006).
    Recognition of Island Structures for Map Generalization. In: Proceedings of ACM-GIS'06, Arlington, Virginia, pp. 67-74. pdf "© ACM, (2006). This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ACM-GIS, November 10-11, 2006. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1183471.1183484"
  • Steiniger, S. and R. Weibel (2005).
    Relations and structures in categorical maps. In: 8th ICA Workshop on Generalisation and Multiple Representation, A Coruña, Spain. pdf
  • Steiniger, S. and S. Meier (2004).
    Snakes: a technique for line smoothing and displacement in map generalisation. In: 7th ICA Workshop on Generalisation and Multiple Representation, Leicester, GB. pdf

conference and workshop papers and extended abstracts (abstract review) : 13

  • Steiniger, S., M.E. Poorazizi, and A.J.S. Hunter (2013).
    WalkYourPlace – Evaluating Neighbourhood Accessibility at Street Level. In C. Ellul, S. Zlatanova, M. Rumor, and R. Laurini (eds): 29th Urban Data Management Symposium. ISPRS Archives – Volume XL-4/W1, 2013, pp. 1-6. Paper - pdf
  • Steiniger, S., M.E. Poorazizi, C.A.M. Bliss Taylor, E. Mohammadi and A.J.S. Hunter (2012).
    PlanYourPlace: Merging Social Networks and Participatory GIS for Participatory Planning FIG Working Week 2012, Rome, Italy. Paper - pdf
  • Steiniger, S., T.L. Timmins and A.J.S Hunter (2010).
    Implementation and comparison of home range estimators for grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada, based on GPS data. GIScience 2010, Zurich, Switzerland. Extended Abstract - pdf, Poster - pdf
  • Steiniger, S. and A.J.S Hunter (2010).
    Teaching GIScience with free and open source software? - A first assessment. GIScience 2010, Zurich, Switzerland. Extended Abstract - pdf
  • Hunter, A.J.S. and S. Steiniger (2010).
    Implementing a spatial data infrastructure successfully with free and open source software? ISPRS Com I and Canadian Geomatics Conference. Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Extended Abstract - pdf, the full paper is published in the OGRS 2009 proceedings book - see above.
  • Steiniger, S. and G.J. Hay (2008).
    An experiment to assess the perceptual organization of polygonal objects. In A. Klippel and S. Hirtle (eds): You-Are-Here-Maps - Creating a Sense of Place through Map-like Representation. Spatial Cognition 2008, Freiburg, Germany, pp. 38-44. Extended Abstract - pdf
  • Steiniger, S., G. Castilla and G.J. Hay (2008).
    From image-objects to maps: an assessement of cartographic requirements for GEOBIA. GEOBIA 2008, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Abstract - pdf, presentation
  • Steiniger, S. and P. Taillandier (2007).
    Improving map generalisation of buildings by introduction of urban context rules. In: Proceedings of GeoComputation 2007, Maynooth, Ireland. Extended Abstract - pdf
  • Steiniger, S., R. Weibel and D. Burghardt (2006).
    Recognition of large island structures for map generalization. In: M. Raubal, H. J. Miller, A. U. Frank and M. Goodchild (eds): Geographic Information Science. 4th Int. Conf., GIScience 2006, IfGIprints 28, pp. 351-254. Extended Abstract - pdf - 3.6 MB, Poster - pdf - Format A3.
  • Steiniger, S. (2006).
    Classifying urban structures for mapping purposes using discriminant analysis. In: G. Priestnall and P. Aplin (eds): Proceedings of GISRUK Conference 2006, Nottingham, pp. 107-111. Extended Abstract - pdf
  • Neun, M. and S. Steiniger (2005).
    Modelling cartographic relations for categorical maps. In: Proceedings of the XXII. International Cartographic Conference, A Coruña, Spain (CD-ROM). pdf
  • Burghardt, D. and S. Steiniger (2005).
    Usage of principal component analysis in the process of automated generalisation. In: Proceedings of the XXII. International Cartographic Conference, A Coruña, Spain (CD-ROM). pdf
  • Steiniger, S. and R. Weibel (2005).
    A conceptual framework for automated generalization and its application to geologic and soil maps. In: Proceedings of the XXII. International Cartographic Conference, A Coruña, Spain (CD-ROM). pdf

other (thesis & educational docs) : 14

  • Steiniger, S. and M. Michaud (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013).
    The Desktop GIS OpenJUMP: A hands-on introduction. Software tutorial held at OGRS 2009, Nantes, France. pdf, data and software can be downloaded there as well
  • Steiniger, S. (2007).
    Enabling Pattern-Aware Automated Map Generalization. PhD thesis. Department of Geography, University of Zürich. pdf - low-res; pdf-medium-res
  • Steiniger, S., M. Neun and A. Edwardes (2006).
    Lecture Notes: Foundations of Location Based Services. Department of Geography, University of Zürich. pdf (see also project CartouCHe )
  • Steiniger, S. (2003).
    Vergleichende Untersuchungen zur Linienglättung mit Snakes und Wavelets. MSc./Diploma thesis. Technical University Dresden. (engl. translation: Comparative Tests on Cartographic Line Smoothing Using Wavelets and Active Splines.) German - pdf

University Work


  • sessional lecturer for GIS II (Geo 457), UofC, Department of Geography, Winter 2010
  • guest lecture on GIS Software for UofC Geo 647 in 2008
  • TAs/CAs
    • course assistant for field course "Forestry and GIS" , UofC Geo 537, in 2009
    • lead TA for GIS II, UZH Geo351, in 2005/6 and 2006/7, responsible for one lab group of 30 students.


  • co-supervison of student projects, UofC, Geomatics Engineering
  • co-supervision of three Google Summer of Code students in 2008 & 2009
  • supervison of one MSc Student - Christian Sailer: Algorithmen zur Filterung von LIDAR-Daten im Sihlwald. UZH, Oct 2005 - Dec 2007, Geography
  • co-supervision of one MSc Student - Stefan Schmid: Automated Constraint-Based Evaluation of Cartographic Generalisation. UZH, Nov 2006 - Jun 2008, pdf, UZH, Geography
  • supervison of student group projects, UZH, Geography
    • C. Sailer, R. Briegel, M. Zuan: Ableitung von Konturlinien (Höhenlinien) aus einem Digitalen Geländemodell (DGM) mit ArcGis 9.0 für das Naturschutzgebiet Sihlwald (CH). pdf
    • D. Roth: Analyse sozioökonomischer Daten auf Übereinstimmung mit urbanen Strukturklassen. pdf



  • lots of manuscript reviews for journals and conferences ;)
  • ex-PDAC active member (PostDoc Association), UofC (2008-9)
  • elected representative for the Board of the Institute of Geography, UZH (until Sept. 2007)
  • elected student representative for several boards of the faculty/school of Forst-Geo-Hydro Sciences, University of Dresden (1998-2001)
  • ex-active member of ARGEOS (the geomatics student organization of german speaking countries)

Further Interests

the usual things.. hiking, Tai Chi, books (from Murakami and D. Adams to Hesse), music (from Sigur Ros and Thievery Cooperation to Blumfeld), traveling South America, etc.

Free & Open Source GIS

Since 2005 I am one of the project administrators of the Jump Pilot Project and developer for OpenJUMP GIS. Own extensions for the free & open source GIS OpenJUMP, which is based on the Java Unified Mapping Plattform (JUMP) by VividSolutions, can be found below.

  • In Oct. 2007 I gave a presentation containing and overview on Free and OpenSource Desktop GIS: "Open Source Desktop GIS Developments – Is OpenJUMP GIS approaching your Desktop?" pdf
  • Based on the previous presentation I created two overview tables on open souce desktop GIS and wrote several articles on the topic (see my publication list above). At OGRS 2009 I also gave a keynote on the development status.
  • Finally in 2010, I had a look on free software that can be used to build Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs). The resulting paper we wrote and a talk are availble for for download too: paper, slides of the talk, video.

OpenJUMP GIS Extensions

Over the years I programmed a couple of plugins for OpenJUMP. Lots of my work was directly integrated into the core of OpenJUMP. However, I also produced several separate extensions for JUMP/OpenJUMP like the ones below:

  • Home Range Analysis Toolbox (HoRAE) - see also Movement Analysis (it's actually an own OpenJUMP distribution)
  • Attribute classification and plotting functions - now integrated in OpenJUMP
  • Landscape Pattern Extension - An extension to extract edges, core area, patches, corridors, branches and shortcut areas as described in (Vogt et al. 2007- Ecol. Ind.) but with buffer operations. The extension provides also a set of metrics to describe single polygons and their neighboorhood: e.g. x-centroid, y-centroid, area, perimeter, concavity, elongation, shape index, Schumm's shape index, fractal dimension, MBR orientation, three buffer density indices, R-Index. Download here.
  • Selection Toolbox - now integrated in OpenJUMP
  • Save Image As SVG PlugIn - now integrated in OpenJUMP
  • MapGen Toolbox (download) - conatins a number of map generalization algorithms (mostly for building generalisation), such as (i) Building Spread Narrow Parts, (ii) Enlarge Building to Rectangle, (iii) Square Building Walls, (iv) Eliminate Small Buildings, (v) Eliminate “Points in Line” of Building, (vi) Simplify Building, (vii) Simplify Building to Rectangle, (viii) Change Elongation of Building, (ix) Displace Lines, (x) Line Smoothing Simple Version, (xi) Line Simplify JTS 1.5 Algorithm, (xii) Merge Polygons ... Note, the source code is available on the OpenJUMP project SVN
  • Clean and Convert ArcGIS Contour Results - MultiLinestring to LineStrings (download)
Personal tools