UZH /Geography / GIVA /Arzu Coltekin (Çöltekin)

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Arzu Çöltekin
Since November 2006, I work in GIScience Center in University of Zurich, Switzerland. Prior to this I was in Finland, dividing my time between TKK's Foto Lab and Carto Lab. I also worked at Media Lab at UIAH. And prior to that, I was in Istanbul, Turkey. Living, studying, working & growing up.

E-mail: arzu.coltekin AT
Postal address: Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057, Zurich, Switzerland
Tel: +41 44 635 5440
Fax: +41 44 635 6848


Next up: I am co-organizing a Geovisualization Workshop in France. Details here:


Position filled! Post-doc position: I am looking for a post-doctoral researcher or a data scientist with some academic experience to work on map complexity and related topics. Part-time, one year, project funded by Google Faculty Research Award progam. Details here.

Position filled! Junior researcher (data science in geovisualization): I am looking for a part-time junior researcher/data scientist interested in geovisualization. Most appropriate for a (local) MSc student looking for a part-time job. Details here.

Position filled! Virtual Reality Developer:We are looking for a part-time virtual reality programmer/developer and lab assistant. Most appropriate for a (local) BSc/MSc student looking for a part-time job. Details here.

Position filled! Thank you for your interest! -- I am looking for a PhD student who is interested in 3D Geovis (city models, virtual reality), user experience studies and human computer interaction (specifically with geographic data). More details here: . Looking forward to your contact!

. Lots happened in between which I should've announced, but right now, we have a very cool workshop going: dealing with 'uncertainty' in a context of climate change and decision making, cool bunch of speakers including Alan MacEachren and Pete Fisher!

. Our ISPRS Geovisual Analytics workshop is on AUG 24th 2012! If you are in Melbourne next week, come join us.

. I am currently (July 2012) visiting Harvard University for an interdisciplinary exploration, giving talks to unusual audiences and hanging out with wonderful Michelle Borkin , Alyssa Goodman , Hanspeter Pfister and Kirk Goldsberry.

. With couple of colleagues, we are running an event series called FiFFTh (Friday's Food for Thought). If you are around on any of these dates, do drop by - we watch prominent speakers on video (so far all TED talks, but not exclusively) and discuss afterwards. The format is unusual in the way that we discuss at the ideas level. The sessions are open to some speculation and seem/sound like "brain storm".

. I recently gave a talk in TEDxZurich, honored to be among many distinguished speakers. Talk was recorded in Swiss television studios, and can be seen here.

- Update: Workshop was successfully held! --> I am involved in oganizing a workshop (in Paris on July 1st 2011) on "Persistent problems in geographic visualization" under my role as the scientific secretary to ISPRS Commission on Geographical Visualization and Virtual Reality . The meeting is officially organized by ICA Commission on GeoVisualization ( ( in collaboration with ISPRS WG II/6 Geographical Visualization and Virtual Reality ( . Submit a one-page problem description to us by April 30th. More here.

- As of December 2010, I have joined the executive board of the ISPRS WG II/6 Geovisualization and Virtual Reality as a 'scientific secretary'. This is an interesting global working group with an executive committee spread in Australia, UK, Hong Kong and Switzerland. You are most welcome to join us. We keep a blog about our activities and and interests. We also have an email list, ask me about it.

- Update: Conference was a success, proceedings here: --> A number of others and myself are organizing an International Conference on Spatial Thinking and GIScience (Tokyo, September 2011). A diverse set of themes are building up..

- I and Keith C. Clarke have recently organized a workshop within ASPRS/AutoCarto 2010 program (Orlando, November 2010). It was a stimulating discussion, thanks to our participants.

Quick Notes
I am a researcher/lecturer, doing what I do in a 'geovisualization' unit (GIVA). I come from a Geomatics engineering education.
I mostly work on a number of visualization-motivated projects. My "track A" research interest is linking what we know about human vision into (geo)visualization and in that I work both in basic and applied concepts (methods borrowed from geomatics, computer science, biology, optics). My "track B" is user experince studies (methods borrowed from psychology), which informs/contributes to track A. The results from both tracks inform visualization design and aim at more efficient data management. These days the containing word seems to be 'visual analytics'.

I also have been doing Photogrammetry and some GIS. My PhD research was on stereoscopic vision and technology. You can read my thesis online (abstract, linked to full text PDF). While my background is in technology, as every digital era researcher should be, I am also interested in HCI (Human Computer Interaction) issues and usability of what we do.

I previously worked with Virtual Reality and 3D web interface issues.
From beginning of 1999 to end of 2005 I worked as a teaching assistant in HUT's Geoinformatics Lab.
Once I was actively involved in FIG's Commission II (1998-2002).

I am a member of:
ICA Commission on Visualisation ,
ISPRS WG II/6: Geographical Visualization and Virtual Reality,
The International Society of Optical Engineering ,
and I triple e.

Publications: Some of the stuff I've published.

(old)  Scientific Reading: Other poeple's articles that I read. My compilation of links to scientific journals.

A few (often neglected) hobbies:

Photography and such:
... Stuff that I stumbled upon. A mix of photos and webpage reviews with a touch of 'blog-like' thing. Confused? Well, that was on purpose.
(an old) ..Photo Gallery : Just like every other person, I am a photography enthusiast. An unorganized gallery of about 200 pictures here.

...GrecoTurco : A list of common words in Greek and Turkish.
...Turkishlearner : Language talk with the learners of Turkish

Dancing was once something I've tried to learn. Also kept the website for the dance club, a copy can be found right here (more for online archiving then anything really):

Other links of interest

General interest
... TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. For the curious: Behind TED is a non profit foundation called "Sapling Foundation". A review is here.
... Hans Rosling speaking on poverty (video, ~20 mins), an example "idea worth spreading"
... Life Expectancy . E.g. Switzerland 81.7 (average), Swaziland 31.88 (average), UN listing 2005-2010
... Medecins Sans Frontieres
... Engineer Aid
... Maps for change Volunteer GIS skills for NGOs!

... Alma mater I (BSc, MSc)
... Alma mater II (PhD)

... Expats in Zurich
...Zuhtu (Zurich Turks)

Last touched, December 2007