Programme and videos

today's theme: Food security and biodiversity

Tuesday 26 October 2021 - Lead by Thomas Groen & Elnaz Neinavaz


Opening keynote by Prof. G. Camara 
Keynote on Food Security by Prof. A. Nelson

Excursion to Living Lab

Lunch break


Opening Biodiversity session by Prof. Andrew K. Skidmore
Keynotes on Biodiversity by Ilse Geijzendorffer and Thomas Groen

Urban cleanup session


Natural ecosystems form an important pillar of our society as they are the key source of food production. A growing global human population that also is making greater demands per individual results in the expansion of agricultural ecosystems at the expense of fully natural ecosystems and intensification in existing agricultural systems. This causes pressure on natural ecosystems, leading to loss of biodiversity, system resilience, and sometimes to degradation of systems, affecting their ability to provide the services we rely on.

Timely and relevant information on the state of agro-ecosystems helps in assessing their contribution to society. Remote sensing and GIScience can help with providing this kind of information. With the growing availability of freely available and higher quality remote sensing products and the increased possibilities of UAV's and miniaturization of sensors, the possibilities seem endless. But to capitalize on these new opportunities, still many hurdles have to be taken. This includes issues around converting data into relevant information, finding out how to combine the information from different platforms into actionable knowledge and building human capacity to actually process all this information in a relevant way. This is one of the areas where the faculty of ITC is contributing through research and education.

On this day, we will look at what the future might look like with respect to biodiversity and food security-related research and education. But apart from thinking and discussing the strategic contribution of the ITC to these themes, we make it an actionable day. So we will also visit the new facility (in development) on the UTwente campus, where field experiments will be possible. And we will clean up around the ITC building to contribute littering in urban environments.

SESSION 1 (09:00 – 10:30)

9:00 – 9:10 Opening of the Celebration week: Prof. Freek van der Meer, Dean of ITC

9:10 – 9:50 Opening Keynote: Prof. Gilberto Camara “Challenges and Benefits of Open Data and Open Science in Earth Observation”

9:50 – 10:30 Keynote Food Security: Prof. Andy Nelson

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break

SESSION 2 (11:00 – 12:15)

11:00 – 11:15 driving to the Campus

11:15 – 11:45 The Living Innovation Lab (LILa)

11:45 – 12:00 Drone based group picture

We will drive from the ITC building to the UTwente campus to have a look at the location where the Living Innovation Lab will be realized. Key persons in this realization (prof. Mark van der Meijde and dr.Wim Timmermans) will explain and show draft designs of the LILa. Besides, we will make a drone-based group photo in the field, creating a pattern with persons on the ground. If time permits, we can also pass along the new ITC building that is currently being developed.

12:00 – 12:15 Driving back to ITC

12:15 – 13:30 Lunch break

SESSION 3 (13:30 – 15:30)

13.30 - 13:45 Opening Biodiversity session: Prof. Andrew K. Skidmore

13.45 - 14:30 Keynote Ilse Geijzendorffer

14:45 - 15:30 Keynote Thomas Groen "Remote sensing for Biodiversity: Isn't it Too Complicated?"

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee break

SESSION 4 (16:00 – 17:00)

Urban clean-up

Pollution is one of the big problems that puts pressure on biodiversity across the globe. Plastics that are disposed of in urban centres sometimes end up in plastic soup in oceans. Cleaning up is a major effort that requires constant attention. Together with our friends from the Green Hub, we will get into action and clean up the area around the ITC building. The main goal, to make sure that, as the ITC community, we leave nothing behind but a footprint.


Prof. Gilberto Camara

Prof. Camara is a researcher on GeoinformaticsGIScienceSpatial Data ScienceLand Use Change. and Earth Observation, working in the Image Processing Division of INPE, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research. He published over 230 papers cited more than 12600 times and advised 23 PhD dissertations and 28 MSc theses.

Prof. Camarra was appointed Director of the Secretariat of the Group on Earth Observations , for the period July 2018 to June 2021. As director for GEO he worked with the GEO community to develop Open Science practices to help developing nations to use Earth observation data for improving societal well-being and sustainable development practices.

Prof. Andy Nelson

Prof. Andy Nelson is a Geographer with a PhD in Geography from the University of Leeds, UK. He is currently a professor in Spatial Agriculture and Food Security at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente, the Netherlands and is also head of the Natural Resources Department in ITC.

He began his career in 1997 in Colombia at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and since then has worked in several continents for international research and policy institutes such as the World Bank in Washington DC, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission in Italy, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. He has also worked as a consultant for FAO and UNEP.

His academic work uses Earth observation and spatial information for improved food security and quantifying the associated use of natural and human resources. His contributions to work on accessibility and crop health have featured in The Economist, New Scientist, Nature, and Science.

He is a member of the Steering Group for the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering (4TU RE) in the Netherlands, co-chair for Capacity Development in the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM), and coordinator for the Erasmus+ MSc in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modelling and Management (GEM).

Prof. Andrew K. Skidmore

Prof. Andrew Skidmore is a graduate in forestry from the Australian National University (ANU), he worked for ten years with the Forestry Corporation of New South Wales (NSW) and undertook a PhD in remote sensing and GIS at the Australian National University.

In 1991 he moved to the School of Geography, University of New South Wales, and worked as a member and later Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing and GIS. As Head of the Department of Natural Resource for 19 years from 1997 to 2016. Professor Skidmore maintained an ongoing interest in vegetation mapping and monitoring, while recent research includes wildlife habitat assessment in East Africa, hyperspectral remote sensing,

AI techniques for handling geo-information and accuracy assessment, and eDNA. Andrew Skidmore is co-lead of the GEO BON Working Group Ecosystem Structure as well as co-lead of the GEOBON Remote Sensing Task Force. 

Dr. Ilse Geijzendorffer

Dr Ilse Geijzendorffer has worked in the field of monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem services in an international context for over 15 years.

Trained as a mathematical biologist at Wageningen University, she has since worked at applied research centres in the Netherlands, Ireland and France. Using remote sensing data she has supported countries in their monitoring for reporting in international platforms such as the Ramsar Convention and IPBES. IN the network of GEO BON she had contributed actively to the development of the Essential Biodiversity Variable and co-chairs the working group on ecosystem services. Since this year she is the director of the Louis Bolk Institute for sustainable agriculture, food and health in the Netherlands.