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Spatial decision support systems (online course)

Online course Spatial Decision Support Systems

Registration for this course is now closed. If you wish to be informed of the upcoming registration dates, please provide your contact information.

Dear ,

Thank you for your interest in the course Spatial Decision Support Systems (online course). We received your information and will let you know as soon as the new registration period is open.

Should you have any further questions about the course content, tuition fees, available scholarships and more, please visit the course page and feel free to contact us through the email education-itc@utwente.nl if you need any further assistance.

Kind regards,

University of Twente | Faculty ITC

Please note that this message should not be considered as confirmation of registration to any course.

Increasingly, the generation of relevant information is the problem since (according to American political scientist, economist and psychologist Herbert Simon) a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

This online course introduces participants to techniques for selecting and processing data to generate meaningful and timely information to support the better management of resources. To improve decision making, the required information, tools, techniques, models and decision-making procedures can be integrated into a user-friendly information processing system called a spatial decision support system (SDSS). In contrast to other geo-information systems, an SDSS provides insight into assessments of tradeoffs between the various options open to decision-makers.

For whom is the course relevant?

The course is intended for organizations, individual practitioners and spatial analysts with a professional or academic background who support spatial planning and decision-making processes. Although it is interesting for decision-makers to establish a way of thinking for themselves, the course also goes into some practical detail. This course is also attractive to PhD students and researchers who want to work with SDSS.

What is the course content?

The contents of the course are structured into the following six lessons:

  1. Why do we need to support decision-makers?
  2. Basic views on the decision-making process
  3. What is the role of spatial decision support systems in the decision-making process?
  4. Basic principles of multicriteria analysis
  5. Spatial multicriteria analysis
  6. Application of the theory of the decision-making process, multicriteria analysis and spatial multicriteria analysis to case studies. Cases from different disciplines can be chosen.

The lessons are related to the main course objectives as follows:

We find it important to work with exercises and case studies because our teaching philosophy follows a Chinese proverb that emphasizes the step from listening and reading to independent practice.

Tell me and I will forget Show me and I will remember Involve me and I will understand Step back and I will act.

Chinese proverb

Therefore, lessons 1-5 each offer new material in the form of video presentations, literature and exercises, whereas lesson 6 does not offer any new material but aims at independent (naturally with guidance) application of concepts and practices.

ILWIS Spatial Multi-Criteria Evaluation

Introduction video

What will be achieved?

On completion of this course, participants should be able to:

Why choose this course?

Organizational change

Our experience is that for these skills to be used in planning and decision-making practice in organizations, it is very important that a critical mass of people in an organization understands the use of spatial planning and decision support systems. An online course means that organizations need not send much staff abroad, yet many can learn.

Many disciplines

Spatial planning and decision support systems are applied in many disciplines, ranging from urban planning to integrated watershed management, natural resources management, etc. We focus on methods and methodologies with examples from many disciplines. Therefore, this course is accessible and of interest to many people with different disciplinary backgrounds.

Many countries

Finally, although examples from developed countries are also used, many examples of applications come from developing countries, which makes the course highly accessible to people from both developing and developed countries.

About your diploma

Upon successful completion of this course you will receive a Certificate which will include the name of the course.

Along with your Certificate you will receive a Course Record providing all the subjects studied as part of the course. It states: the course code, subject, ECTS credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.

If you decide to follow a full Postgraduate or Master's course at ITC, and after approval of the Examination Board, you will be exempted from the course(s) you followed successfully as an online course.

Admission requirements

Academic level and background

Applicants for an online course should have a Bachelor degree or equivalent from a recognised university in a discipline related to the course, preferably combined with working experience in a relevant field.


The faculty accepts transcripts, degrees and diplomas in the following languages: Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish. It is at the discretion of the faculty to require additional English translations of all documents in other languages as well.

Language skills

Success in your studies requires a high level of English proficiency. Therefore, prospective students with an international (other than Dutch) degree must meet the English language requirement. As proof that you meet this requirement, you will be asked in the application procedure to upload one of the requested language certificates:

Only these internationally recognised test results are accepted. Without a valid certificate, we cannot process your application.  

Other requirements

You are exempted from the English language requirement if you hold:

Computer skills

To follow online education you must have basic computer experience, regular access to internet, and e-mail. For some courses, additional computer skills are required (see description of specific course).

Technical requirements online education and assessment

For online education, we formulated guidelines to guarantee optimal performance. For online oral exams and proctoring during online assessments, the webcam and headset requirements need to be met.

GIS and remote sensing

Most online courses, except for the introductory course, require knowledge of, and skills in, working with GIS and/or digital image processing of remotely sensed data.

Candidates are asked to provide proof of identity during the registration process.

Key information

CROHO code
Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation
4 months
100% English-taught
Tuition fees
Full period 2023 / 2024
part-time, non-EU/EEA
€ 1,395
part-time, ODA-rate
€ 1,045
part-time, EU/EEA
€ 1,395