Carsten Keßler

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Carsten Keßler

I'm a professor for geoinformatics at Aalborg University Copenhagen.

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Abstract: Urbanization and climate change are among the most important global trends affecting human well-being during the twenty-first century. One region expected to undergo enormous urbanization and be significantly affected by climate change is Africa. Studies already find increases in temperature and high temperature events for the region. How many people will be exposed to heat events in the future remains unclear. This paper attempts to provide a first estimate of the number of African urban residents exposed to very warm 15-day heat events (>42 °C). Using the Shared Socio-economic Pathways and Representative Concentration Pathways framework we estimate the numbers of exposed, sensitive (those younger than 5 and older than 64 years), and those in low-income nations, with gross national products of $4000 ($2005, purchasing power parity), from 2010 to 2100. We examine heat events both with and without urban heat island estimates. Our results suggest that at the low end of the range, under pathways defined as sustainable (SSP 1) and low relative levels of climate change (RCP 2.6) without including the urban heat island effect there will be large populations (>300 million) exposed to very warm heat wave by 2100. Alternatively, by 2100, the high end exposure level is approximately 2.0 billion for SSP 4 under RCP 4.5 where the urban heat island effect is included.

Reference:Peter J. Marcotullio, Carsten Keßler and Balázs M. Fekete (2021) The future urban heat-wave challenge in Africa: Exploratory analysis. Global Environmental Change Vol. 66, January 2021, 102190.

The paper is freely accessible until some time in January 2021 under this link. If that doesn't work any longer, here's the preprint.

We have a new book chapter out, looking into future exposure to 15-day heat waves in the world’s 20 largest megacity-regions under different combinations of SSP, RCP, and urbanisation scenarios. Snippet from the conclusions:

This study presents the results of urban spatial simulations based upon SSPs, which indicate the emergence of extremely large megacity-regions around the world by 2100. These data are then matched with climate data for very warm (> 42°C) 15-day heatwaves for different RCPs. The combination suggests that even under strong global responses to climate change, large populations (1 billion) within these very large cities (1 billion) are projected to be exposed to these conditions in the future and these numbers could double under other development pathways.

Peter J. Marcotullio, Carsten Keßler and Balázs M. Fekete (2020) Future megacity-regions and heatwave exposure. In: Danielle Labbé and André Sorensen, eds.: Handbook of Megacities and Megacity-Regions, pp.309–326. Edward Elgar Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-78897-269.

Our group is leading a consortium of 9 partners that has received funding from the European Commission to work on Future Migration Scenarios for Europe for the next 3 years. Here’s the short description from the EU’s CORDIS project database:

The local circumstances play a major role in the migration process, from the decision to migrate through the transit process up to the settlement in the destination countries. Nearly all international migrants move to – generally the largest – cities in destination countries, either directly, or after one or more internal moves. This is also the case across Europe, where population growth in many cities can be largely attributed to an influx of migrants. At the same time, in countries of origin the largest cities often function as gateways to destinations abroad. Many potential migrants in villages and small towns in origin countries first move to these larger cities before leaving their country. Cities, therefore, both in countries of origin and destination, are significant determinants of global migration and small-scale local knowledge on migration is necessary to avoid misleading results associated with the limitations arising from the use of global or national patterns only. FUME will therefore focus on understanding the patterns, motivations and modalities of migration at multiple geographical scales, from international through regional to the local, and on imagining possible futures. FUME will determine 1) the major factors explaining migrant movement patterns by analysing regional and local circumstances that either attract migrants or ‘push’ potential migrants to move, and 2) elaborate how possible future regional socio-demographic, economic and environmental challenges may shape future migrant movement patterns in Europe. FUME will support appropriate planning and policy-making by formulating integrated and coherent visions of how migration to and within Europe might evolve under different scenarios relating to potential demographic, socio-economic, political and environmental challenges.

The project website has more information about the consortium and the goals of the project. Moreover, you are more than welcome to join the open day at our kick-off conference on January 30, 2020 here in Copenhagen.

Grant McKenzie, Clio Andris and I have edited a small special feature in the Journal of Spatial Information Systems on Geospatial Privacy and Security, following our workshop under (almost) the same title at GIScience 2018 in Melbourne. The two accepted papers are entitled Privacy, Space and Time: a Survey on Privacy-Preserving Continuous Data Publishing by Manos Katsomallos, Katerina Tzompanaki, Dimitris Kotzinos and Exploring the effectiveness of geomasking techniques for protecting the geoprivacy of Twitter users by Song Gao, Jinmeng Rao, Xinyi Liu, Yuhao Kang, Qunying Huang, Joseph App, plus a short editorial by the three of us.

As always with JOSIS, Open Access and free to read for everyone.

Our chapter on Geospatial Information Infrastructures in Springer’s Open Access Manual of Digital Earth has just been published.

Abstract: Geospatial information infrastructures (GIIs) provide the technological, semantic, organizational and legal structure that allow for the discovery, sharing, and use of geospatial information (GI). In this chapter, we introduce the overall concept and surrounding notions such as geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial data infrastructures (SDI). We outline the history of GIIs in terms of the organizational and technological developments as well as the current state-of-art, and reflect on some of the central challenges and possible future trajectories. We focus on the tension between increased needs for standardization and the ever-accelerating technological changes. We conclude that GIIs evolved as a strong underpinning contribution to implementation of the Digital Earth vision. In the future, these infrastructures are challenged to become flexible and robust enough to absorb and embrace technological transformations and the accompanying societal and organizational implications. With this contribution, we present the reader a comprehensive overview of the field and a solid basis for reflections about future developments.

Reference: Sven Schade, Carlos Granell, Glenn Vancauwenberghe, Carsten Keßler, Danny Vandenbroucke, Ian Masser, Michael Gould (2019) Geospatial Information Infrastructures. In: Huadong Guo, Michael Goodchild, Alessandro Annoni (eds.), Manual of Digital Earth, pp. 161–190. Springer/International Society for Digital Earth. DOI:10.1007/978-981-32-9915-3

This is the first time I’ll be attending the Conference on Location Based Services and we have two papers in the program:

Marina Georgati, Carsten Keßler
A 3D Routing Service for Indoor Environments

Preprint PDF

Abstract: Large and complex buildings with substantial numbers of visitors require fast and effective navigation support to help first-time and infrequent guests to easily find their destination and avoid stressful situations. Most existing solutions are based on in-situ localization and routing, therefore requiring expensive indoor positioning infrastructure. In contrast, the objective of this research is the development of a cheap and easily deployable indoor routing service that visitors can use to plan the route to their destination before their visit. It visualizes both the interior space of a building and its users’ individual routing paths in a virtual 3D environment. The proposed solution is entirely based on open source tools and has no installation requirements for the user. Its functionality is demonstrated in a building at the Aalborg University Copenhagen campus. This kind of ex-situ 3D digital navigation promises to help users gain a better understanding of the explored environment, and to improve people’s cognitive spatial maps when combined with animated stimuli and landmarks.

Carsten Keßler, Grant D. McKenzie
Consistency Across Geosocial Media Platforms

Preprint PDF

Abstract: The increasing use of geosocial media in research to draw quantitative and qualitative conclusions about urban environments bears questions about the consistency of the data across the different platforms. This paper therefore presents an initial comparative analysis of data from six different geosocial media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Foursquare, Flickr, and Instagram) for Washington, D.C., using population and zoning data for reference. We find that there is little consistency between the different platforms at small spatial units and even semantically rich datasets have severe limitations when predicting functional zones in a city. The results show that researchers need to carefully evaluate which platform they can use for a particular study, and that more work is needed to better understand the differences between the different platforms.


Most of my publications are available for download in PDF format – just click on the title. Note that the preprints provided here may deviate slightly from the published versions. See my Google Scholar profile for an overview of where my papers have been cited.

Journal papers

Book chapters

Books and edited journal issues:

Fully reviewed conference & workshop publications

Workshop papers, posters, demos, non-reviewed conference papers & abstracts

Edited proceedings



Current and previous projects I am/have been involved in:

Short CV

Since 2020

Professor for Geoinformatics
Department of Planning
Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark


Associate Professor for Geoinformatics
Department of Planning
Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark


Assistant Professor for Geographic Information Science
Department of Geography
Hunter College
City University of New York, USA


Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland


Post-Doc Researcher
Institute for Geoinformatics
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany


PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in Geoinformatics
Institute for Geoinformatics
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany