Curdin Derungs

Curdin Derungs, Dr.

Former Head of the GIS Group (until 6/2018)


I led the GISLab, which is one of three labs that constitute the Language and Space Lab, which in turn is an essential part of the URPP Language and Space. The aim of the URPP is to contribute to interdisciplinary research in the intersection of linguistics and geography. Major research questions of the GISLab are “How can linguistic diversity be explained through geographic characteristics?” and “How can geographic information in language be used to contribute to geographic research questions?”


Academic Background

I studied Geography from autumn 2002 until winter 2008 and finished my studies with a master degree. The foci of my studies were Geographic Information Systems and Science (GIS) and Atmospheric Sciences. I did my master thesis in GIS on the topic “What is a mountain? Where is a mountain?”. In 2010, after working for two years in the public and private sector, I decided to conduct a PhD at the University of Zurich. My thesis was associated with the domains of spatial data mining and geographic information retrieval. In particular I investigated how places are described in (historic) text documents and how such descriptions can then be retrieved and analyse automatically. I thus worked with large compilations text, in the form of digitized books, social media contents, blogs or homepages. My thesis is therefore a combination of theories and techniques from ethnographic research, (computational) linguistics, data science and GIScience.




PhD Thesis

I conducted my PhD thesis in GIS at the University of Zurich. The thesis was supervised by Prof. Ross Purves and co-supervized by Dr. Bettina Waldvogel and Martin Hägeli from WSL:

  • Derungs, C. From Text to Landscape: Extraction of Landscape Concepts through the Resolution of Ambiguity and Vagueness present in Descriptions of Natural Landscapes. PhD Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, 2013. PDF (a summary of the thesis can be found here)

Master Thesis

The master thesis was conducted in GIS at the University of Zurich and supervised by Prof. Ross Purves:

  • Derungs, C. Was ist ein Berg? Wo ist ein Berg?. Diploma Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, 2007 PDF