Hermann Maurer


Title Designing a new geography server emphasizing quality and areas often ignored such as e.g. cultural issues

In this talk we describe the implementation of a server for geographic data with a number of novel features: First, the server is an attempt to check figures by consulting up to 10 data-bases. It is interesting that this is harder than one would expect, and that part of the problem is that queries are often not specific enough. Even the simple query how large a country is does not give reliable answers for 53 of the 193 UN countries. We explain the reason for this and other discrepancies that on the surface are puzzling. Second, the server tries to provide information not just by presenting figures for a country, but by providing a “laboratory” that allows to compare countries and properties and offers interesting visualizations. Third, we try to include for each country not just pictures, but pictures with detailed legends; information on culture like national parks, heritage sites, famous persons and such, and last but not least stories that are typical for the country at issue. Some of those stories have been or will be written manually (by a member of the consortium), but we also try to semi-automatically generate stories, a true research challenge. The project is still “work in progress” and will stay so for some time to come. However, the basic software implementation is finished and huge amounts of data have been already entered, based using a number of sources. We encourage further interested persons in computer science, networks, geographers, historians, artists and scholars in all fields to also participate and to become member of our consortium, potentially participating or together creating new projects like was done in summer 2016 with the Historical Culture Information System in Southern Italy. Most of the talk will be a live demonstration of the system that is freely accessible via Internet at global-geography.org.


Study of Mathematics at the Universities of Vienna (Austria) and Calgary (Canada) starting in 1959. System Analyst with the Government of Saskatchewan in 1963. Mathematician-programmer with IBM Research in Vienna 1964-1966. Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Vienna 1965. Assistant and Associate Professor for Computer Science at The University of Calgary 1966-1971. Full Professor for Applied Computer Science at the University of Karlsruhe, West Germany, 1971-1977, Visiting Professor at SMU (Dallas), University of Brasilia (Brazil), and at the University of Waterloo, during the same period, for three months, each. Full Professor at the Graz University of Technology since 1978, Dean of Studies 2000-2004, Dean of the new school of computer science 2004-2007. Director of the Research Institute for Applied Information Processing of the Austrian Computer Society 1983-1998. Chair or vice-chair of the Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media 1988 2001. Director of the Institute for Hypermedia Systems of JOANNEUM RESEARCH 1987-2006. Director of the AWAC (Austrian Web Application Center) 1997-2000. Member of the board of the Austrian Computer Society 1979-2003 and of Academia Europaea till December 2015. Co-founder and chairman of the board of the Hyperwave AG Munich 1997-2005, vice-chairman of same company till 2009: Founder, and later scientific advisor of the first research center on Knowledge Management in Austria. Director of the Austria-Forum effort since 1994, member of the advisory board of CHIS (Culturla Heritage Information System) since March 2016. Adjunct Professor at Denver University 1984-1988. Professor for Computer Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1993 (on leave from Graz), and Honorary Research Fellow of that University till end of 2012. Advisor to the University of Malaysia at Kuching (UNIMAS) since 1998. Campus Captain of the University of Applied Sciences Business Studies 2002-2006, honorary title 'Visiting Professor' at the Danube University (Krems, Austria); Visiting Researcher for half a year at Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia) in 2003. Maurer received a number of awards, among them the Prize for Merits for Information Processing in Austria, the "Enter-Price" (a play of words with Enterprise) of the Styrian Chamber of Commerce in 1999, the German Integrata-Prize (for Human Software) in 2000, the 'AACE Fellowship Award' of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education in 2003. He became Foreign Member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences in 1996 and a member of the Academia Europaea in 2000, where he was elected chairman of the section Informatics in April 2009. He was also elected as member of the Board (Trustee) September 2012. In 2001 he was awarded the "Austrian Cross of Honours for Arts and Science Class I", and later, also in 2001, the "Large Medal of Honour of the Province of Styria". He received the Honorary Doctorate of the Polytechnical University of St. Petersburg in 1991, of the University Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2002, and of the University of Calgary in 2007. He was appointed member of the advisory board of the US Web-History Society in May 2007. Maurer is author of twenty books, over 750 papers in various publications, founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Journal of Universal Computer Science' till end of 2011, Co-Editor of 'Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching' and member of over a dozen Editorial Boards including the new Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching and Learning. He was and is chairperson of steering committees and member of program committees of numerous international conferences. Founder of the Conference series ED-MEDIA and WebNet/eLearn and of the conference I-KNOW; he was European Representative at ICCE till 2000. He was project manager of a number of multimillion-dollar undertakings including a patent for optical storage device, the development of a colour-graphic microcomputer (MUPID), an electronic teaching experiment COSTOC, multi-media projects such as "Images of Austria" (Expo'92 and Expo'93), various electronic publishing projects such as "PC Library", "Geothek", founder of the open access journal J.UCS and "Brockhaus Multimedial". He was responsible for the development of the first second generation Web Based Information System Hyperwave, and an e-Learning Suite, a modern net based teaching platform, and a large electronic encyclopaedia Austria-Forum that in its current version has over 700.000 entries and is trying to break the quasi monopoly of Google and Wikipedia. Involved in the multimedia part of a number of museum projects including Ars Electronica Center (Linz, Austria) the Papa Tongarewa (Wellington, New Zealand) and the Odyseeum (Cologene, Germany). He participated in or headed a number of national and EU projects. Successful supervision of more than 400 M.Sc. theses and more than 50 Ph.D. thesis'. He was chair of the Informatics Section of Academia Europaea 2007-2012, and then was promoted to the board of trustees of this Academy. Maurer has travelled extensively to other universities and research institutes, and has given over 1000 talks on those occasions or as invited or keynote speaker at international conferences. He has been an outspoken critic of some data-mining activities in the WWW. His original research was in compiler design, formal languages, automata, algorithms and data-structures. He then worked in a variety of areas including applications of computers to exhibitions and museums, Web based learning environments, languages and their applications, data structures and their efficient use, telematic services, computer networks, computer supported new media, dynamic symbolic language and techniques to fight plagiarism. His current main research and project areas are networked multimedia/hypermedia systems; electronic publishing and applications thereof, information integration, future implications of computers, and computers in Science Fiction. His Hobbies include: Writing Science Fiction, hiking and SCUBA diving. He was or is member of the ACM, GI, OMG, OCG, Fellow of AACE, and the WG 3.6 of IFIP. He is life long honorary member of MCCA.and OCG Vienna, and of the Computer Engineering Society, Graz. Since 1980 he has been member and official of Kiwanis. His last but one book deals with a "hollowed out" asteroid as a huge generation spaceship. His last SF Book "Ende des Traumes" ("End of the dream") appeared November 2014 deals among other things with using technologies and emerging technologies in a reasonable way, with more decentralization and seasonality and less gobalisation and throw-away attitudes.