C. Ornetsmueller MSc.

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PhD researcher


Christine Ornetsmüller has been employed at the Environmental Geography Group, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam since April 2013 to conduct research on the integration of human decision making in global land use models. She works within the GLOLAND project under the supervision of Peter Verburg and Marleen Schouten. The objective of her PhD is to better understand the emergence of land change patterns from the underlying decision making and agent interactions. Her aim is to contribute to the development of agent-based models (ABMs) in land-use science by testing different conceptualizations and parameterizations of ABMs, collecting empirical data along transects in two case study areas and by tackling the question of scaling decision making from local to global.

Her aim is to improve understanding of land users’ decisions in the context of major agricultural transitions in Laos, where landscapes transform rapidly in the light of socio-economic and environmental (global) change. Christine performed national-scale land system mapping and explored future land use scenarios with a regional scale land system model. Next she will focus on collecting and analyzing empirical data to feed and calibrate agent-based models with. One of the empirical methods used will be specifically designed board games in combination with agent-based models (companion modeling).

Christine holds a diploma degree in theoretical and applied geography from the University of Vienna. Throughout her studies and in her work she has a strong interest in human-environment interactions and their effects.


Land use and land system modelling, GIS, hazard & risk assessment, geomorphology, workshop facilitation.

Academic training

2006-2011Diploma studies geography (=BSc + MSc; cum laude), Institute for Geography and Regional Research, Universität Wien

Professional employment history

2013-presentPhD researcher, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2012Employee, riocom Engineering Office for Water Management and Environmental Engineering, Vienna
2012Project Assistant, GeoExpert Research and Planning GmbH, Vienna
2010-2012Research Assistant, Department for Mountain Risk Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences of Vienna (BOKU)

Selected publications

Magliocca, N.R., van Vliet, J., Brown, C., Evans, T.P., Houet, T., Messerli, P., Messina, J.P., Nicholas, K.A., Ornetsmüller, C., Sagebiel, J., Schweizer, V., Verburg, P.H. & Yu, Q. (2015). From meta-studies to modeling: Using synthesis knowledge to build broadly applicable process-based land change models. Environmental Modelling & Software, 72, 10–20.

Fuchs S., Ornetsmüller, C. & Totschnig, R. (2012). Spatial scan statistics in vulnerability assessment: an application to mountain hazards. Natural Hazards, 64, 2129–215.