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Characterising spatial variance

Much of the research in spatial analysis focuses on covariance structures in space and time. We are interested in the investigation of spatial structures in the variance. Although the latter is related to covariance, it reflects exogenous influences rather than cluster or repulsion effects. Our focus on variance is motivated by the study of heterogeneous data sets as extracted from social media, blogs, or other types of Big Data sources.

Data from everyday life, and especially those generated by ordinary people themselves, are complex. Such data represent parts of the life worlds of individuals including their perceptions, conceptions of the world, opinions, and many other aspects. This diversity is also reflected in the spatial and temporal structure of this type of data. However, existing methods for assessing spatial heterogeneity are not sufficiently suitable for characterising these complex, unsystematic, and mixed data types. We are therefore working on novel methods for a better understanding of Big Data sources that are not characterised by spatial partitioning but by spatial superimpositions. The methodological approaches used include measures of spatial heterogeneity, spatial filtering-based approaches, among others. In this way, we contribute to a better understanding of the organisation of human everyday life.


Bucher, D., Martin, H., Jonietz, D., Raubal, M. and Westerholt, R. (2020): Estimation of Moran’s I in the Context of Uncertain Mobile Sensor Measurements. 11th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2021) - Part I, Poznan, Poland. DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.GIScience.2021.I.2.

Westerholt, R., Resch, B., Mocnik, F.-B., and Hoffmeister, D. (2018): A statistical test on the local effects of spatially structured variance. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 32 (3), 571–600. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2017.1402914.

Westerholt, R. (2018): The impact of the spatial superimposition of point based statistical configurations on assessing spatial autocorrelation. In: Proceedings of the 21st AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science, Lund, Sweden.

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.

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.

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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)