Research Training Group 437 "Landform - a structured and variable boundary layer"




Within the Research Training Group (RTG) 437 at the University of Bonn, Ph.D. students of various scientific branches work together to help understand the role of the landform in geo-systems. Participating disciplines are biology, computer science, geodynamics, geography (geomorphology, hydrology and climatology), geology, geophysics, mathematics, meteorology, pedology and remote sensing. The central topic of the RTG 437 is landform as a boundary surface between atmosphere/ hydrosphere and pedosphere/lithosphere. Processes in this surface system depend to a large extent on the spatial characteristics of the system components. Empirical field studies show that most landform components at all spatial scales are associated and form structures. This means that processes of landform evolution and landform change are more likely to generate structured associations than randomly shaped surfaces. Landform structure is a crucial parameter for processes acting on this boundary surface and hence for the spatial differentiation of all geofactors.

Special research topics are

  • computer-aided capture, storage and visualization of landform
  • parameterization of landform structure and
  • investigation of landform structure as both product and control of various processes.

Examples of processes studied are: development of vegetation, near surface water fluxes, regional climate, postglacial soil development, and evolution of basic geomorphic forms. Research areas are localized in low relief (Niederrheinische Bucht, lower Rhine embayment), in medium relief (Rheinisches Schiefergebirge) and in alpine (Switzerland) environments in order to cover an extended range of different landform structures. The RTG tries to integrate the different skills of all participating disciplines. At the same time the RTG tries to advance scientific education by establishing special courses in close thematic connection to the RTG.

Our tasks

In this project established Level of detail (LOD) methods used for terrain visualisation are extended and adapted in order to augment data analysis and modelling in the context of GIS. The main issues addressed in this project are

  • efficient and exact visualization of geospatial vector data on textured digital elevation models (DEM)
  • interactive landform mapping (segmentation) on large textured DEMs
  • robust registration of photos to textured DEMs
  • high-quality compositing of registered photos on DEMs


In proceedings of The Fourth International Symposium on 3D Data Processing, Visualization and Transmission (3DPVT'08), pages 261-268, June 2008
In proceedings of Joint Workshop "Visualization and Exploration of Geospatial Data", June 2007
V. Skala (Editors)
In: Journal of WSCG (Jan. 2007), 15:1-3(59-64)
In proceedings of II International Conference Remote Sensing Archaeology, Dec. 2006
H. Thwaites (Editors)
In proceedings of The 11th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM2005), pages 573-582, ARCHAEOLINGUA, Oct. 2005