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In the nexus of planning, geographic information science, and geography

Our mission and research

The Spatial Modelling Lab (RAM) is a cutting edge research centre at the interface of geographic information science, spatial planning, and geography. We are committed to understanding how geographical spaces are reflected in information structures. In this context, our research investigates conceptual representations of geographies, as well as their processing and modelling. These themes are also reflected in our teaching portfolio, which covers a wide range of topics, including quantitative geography, urban and spatial analytical methods, and selected computer science topics relevant to planners.

One of the main research strands of RAM is methodological and deals with spatial-statistical approaches. Our research investigates existing approaches from the spatial statistical toolbox. We are interested in how these methods interact with different types of datasets and what their results mean in practice. In addition, we explore new approaches for the disclosure and modelling of spatial structures. Our work thereby focuses on estimators of spatial autocorrelation, hotspot statistics, measures of spatial heterogeneity, and spatial filtering techniques. A special focus of our work is the spatial statistical analysis of user-generated geographic information, such as that extracted from social media feeds. Due to their collaborative character, these datasets are characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity and complex geographical associations. Understanding how established methods work in conjunction with these novel datasets, and exploring new ways to study them in a spatial-analytical manner is a key research topic of the Spatial Modelling Lab.

The Spatial Modelling Lab also engages in the emerging field of place-based ('platial') information. People interact with their personal geographic spaces on an everyday basis. This includes human activity spaces (the everyday local areas in which we move), spaces to which we feel emotionally attached and to which we ascribe meaning (our personal, subjective everyday geography), and affordances (functions provided by our local geography). This view of geographical space is the usual modus operandi in human geography. However, this so-called place space does not lend itself easily to formalisation and quantitative approaches. New ways of representing such complex and highly relevant human geographic spaces are needed, and the Spatial Modelling Lab contributes to this ambitious endeavour. We investigate how to conceptualise and formalise complex places, how they can be processed analytically, how people represent places in information, and how places can be visualised. A special topic of RAM in the context of platial research is to investigate how information about often idiosyncratic places can be statistically processed. In this way, the Spatial Modelling Lab contributes to important analytical advances for the toolboxes of spatial planning and geography.

RAM is also committed to applied research. A third topic to which the lab contributes is thus quantitative geography, where we apply spatial statistical methods to answer complex geographical questions. Our research in this area addresses topics as diverse as location-based games, check-in patterns, and the geographical access to basic banking services. These quantitative geographic studies are usually conducted with a wide range of national and international partners. We therefore see this type of research as a fruitful catalyst and interface to link our methodological findings and new techniques with empirical research from spatial planning, geography, urban studies, mobility research and other fields. Furthermore, our methodological research topics are often embedded in empirical subjects. In this way, we combine our methodological research with empirical contributions.


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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Site Map of TU Dort­mund University (Second Page in English)