12th Summer Institute on Geographic Information in Science




Fiesole (Firenze), Italy

July 7 to 11, 2014 
VGI and Citizen Science: engaging, creating and understanding

Lisbon, Portugal

Week 2: September 1 to 5, 2014 
Brain and Space


Week 1: VGI and Citizen Science: engaging, creating and understanding 

Fiesole (Firenze), Italy, July 7 to 11, 2014


VenueFattoria di Maiano


The Summer Institute is part of the activities organised by IC1203 COST ENERGIC Action (www.vgibox.eu) and is devoted to the commonality and differences between Citizen Science and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Many Citizen Science activities are geographical (e.g. ecological observations at a specific location) while many VGI activities focus on collecting facts, identifying patterns or asking questions about a locale and therefore have similarities with science activities. Therefore issues of participation and public engagement, data quality, data integration and the analysis of information that emerge from these activities have a lot in common. The week activities will be articulated in practical scientific activities where participants will actively contribute with their knowledge, intellectual effort or with their tools and resources. Topics will cover collective intelligence, quality assurance, methodologies for data analysis, interoperability with official data sources, sustainability, governance, funding, and evaluation and impact measurements. Facilitators will provide experimental data and facilities for researchers, raise new questions and co-create a new scientific culture. Under the support of the facilitators, participants will be encouraged to explore new directions in their research, test methods from other disciplines, and experience data collection activities themselves. The summer institute is open to a wide range of citizen science and VGI activities including biodiversity/conservation observations and recording; volunteer computing that involves geographic information; volunteer thinking where the tasks are geographical location-specific; Do It Yourself (DIY) science; and community/civic science.




Week 2: Brain and Space

Lisbon, Portuagl, September 1 to 5, 2014 


VenueChampalimaud Center of the Unknown



How does the mammalian brain support spatial cognition and navigation? Even though research in this area has yielded many groundbreaking discoveries over the last decades, truly interdisciplinary meetings that bridge the gap between different species, computational models and artificial agents are rare, which makes it difficult to develop overarching frameworks on spatial navigation. To address this pressing issue, this Vespucci Institute brought together a diverse group of scientists to discuss current and emerging views on the following topics:

  • Goal representations, navigational planning, and predictive coding
  • Parietal contributions to spatial memory and navigation
  • Interplay between neural computations for time and space
  • Fragmentation of space, hierarchical representations of space, different scales of space
  • Development and decay of navigation circuits across the lifespan
  • From animals to humans and back – possibilities, problems (and new solutions?) for making inferences across species
  • Simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM): What can robotics teach us about how navigational mechanisms might be implemented in neuronal circuits?

Finally, discussions and presentations on the latest developments in virtual environment technology highlighted new possibilities for overcoming the limitations of commonly used experimental setups.