Hedda R. Schmidtke is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon. She obtained her Ph.D. in Natural Sciences from the University of Hamburg and previously held positions at the Technical University of Braunschweig and at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where she headed the TeCO research group, as well as appointments with the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in Gwangju, South Korea, and at the ICT Center of Excellence (Carnegie Mellon University) in Kigali, Rwanda.
Her research and teaching interests revolve around the notions of context and granularity in spatial and spatio-temporal geographic information. Context and granularity play an in important role in cognition, e.g., for resolving vagueness in linguistic expressions when following route instructions, or for separating the spatial information contained in maps from thematic content and technical artifacts of generalization. With respect to geographic information, granularity appears as scale-dependency of attributes and object conceptualizations. Every geographic information source or repository has a certain scale at which its information is applicable. Location-aware systems, in contrast, are embedded in the world around them and are designed to provide awareness of the context in which they are supposed to support their users. Appropriate representations of context and granularity can make computing systems smarter, more usable, and suitable to handle increasingly larger amounts of data. Such systems can enable completely new technologies but also raise concerns regarding privacy and reliability.