Hi, I’m Merlin Unterfinger. I am a GIS Specialist and Data Scientist working in the Mobility Insights & Analytics team of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). I have a Master’s degree in Geography with specialization in Geographic Information Science. During numerous projects (see GISience) I have gained professional experience and a variety of computational techniques to capture, process, analyze and visualize geographic information. In addition to the actual analysis, I'm also concerned with the required infrastructure, such as planning spatial databases, connecting to APIs, running Docker containers, or setting up interactive dashboards to communicate the results. Thematically, the fields of Computational Movement Analysis, Movement Simulation and Human Mobility are one of my strengths.
Besides GIScience, photography is a great passion of mine. Born and grown up in Zurich, I am concerned with urban spaces, which experience a constant flow of change. Also, I am working with time lapse photography, which allows to capture complex processes, such as the formation of natural events or human movement patterns in active locations. Photography always presents me with exciting challenges, brings unforgettable moments and lets me see the world through other lenses.
For any inquiries please contact me.



Interface to the 'HERE' REST APIs

The hereR package provides an interface in R to the HERE REST APIs: (1) geocode and autocomplete addresses or reverse geocode POIs; (2) route directions, get travel distance or time matrices and create isolines; (3) retrieve traffic flow and incident information; (4) request weather forecasts, reports and alerts at a specific location. Locations, routes and isolines are returned as simple features. CRAN | GitHub | More

3-D Trajectory Simulation in Movement Ecology

The empirically informed Random Trajectory Generator in three dimensions (eRTG3D) is an algorithm to generate realistic random trajectories in a 3-D space between two given fixpoints. The simulation is based on empirical distribution functions extracted from observed trajectories (training data) and thus reflects the geometrical movement characteristics of the mover. The eRTG3D algorithm was developed and implemented as an R package within the scope of my Master's thesis at the Department of Geography, University of Zurich. Thesis | CRAN | GitHub | More

DWT-based trajectory segmentation

Implementation of the procedure from Soleymani et al. (2017) for applying a segmentation on trajectories of turkey vultures, based on discrete wavelet transformation (DWT). GitHub | More

Glacier flow model

Application to model glacier flow based on the glaciers mass balance and a digital elevation model. Video | GitHub | GFM for macOS

Modeling linguistic regions

New approach to generate continuous spatial surfaces for the manifestations of various linguistic phenomena in the Swiss-German language. The modeling is based on a Support Vector Machine (SVM) and a spatial regularization of the classification map using a Markov Random Field (MRF). Trudgill’s gravity index finds application to weight the linguistic influence of two neighboring points on each other. GitHub | More

Change detection in global temperature

Global surface temperature layers are interpolated based on a point measurement data set of the worldwide surface temperature, which has been recorded since 1950. For the spatial interpolation an universal Kriging approach is applied with additional layers for the continentality, the atmospheric distance, the North-South topographic gradient and the sun inclination angle of every pixel. GitHub | More

Earthquake visualizer

Java application to fetch and plot the worldwide earthquakes of the last week from the USGS feed in real time. GitHub | EarthquakeVisualizer