This course provides an advanced understanding in the assessment of dynamic risk for multi-hazards from hydro-meteorological and geological origin (e.g. landslides, floods, earthquakes). The main focus of the course is on the quantitative analysis of how risk changes, and how information on changing risk is used in decision making for disaster risk reduction. Risk can change gradually due to changing land use, population growth, and climate change. Risk can also change abruptly due to the occurrence of disaster events, that change the environmental and socioeconomic conditions completely. We look at various methods for risk assessment, ranging from qualitative methods based on Spatial Multi-Criteria Evaluation, through semi-quantitative methods based on exposure modelling, to quantitative risk assessment using hazard intensity, frequency, exposure and physical vulnerability, depending on the data availability and objectives of the study. In order to evaluate changing risk we need to analyse also how hazard changes, and how elements-at-risk (buildings, population, transportation infrastructure etc.) change in terms of location and vulnerability. In order to evaluate optimal risk reduction alternatives (structural and non-structural) risk reduction is calculated and costs-and benefits are evaluated. Stakeholder views regarding the various alternatives are also considered using a Spatial Multi-Criteria Approach.
The course is targeted at professional workers and researchers with an affinity with disaster risk reduction. To successfully participate in the course working experience in using GIS and spatial data is required.
The course is also taught as an elective course for ITC’s MSc students. It provides an interesting opportunity to exchange ideas with students from many parts of the world.
The course teaches how to conduct a quantitative multi-hazard risk assessment, how the risk components (hazards, elements-at-risk and vulnerability) can be obtained, and how risk information can be used in risk reduction planning.
Two-week intensive course
This first part of the course provides the theoretical understanding and teaches the tools on multi-hazard modelling, generation of elements-at-risk databases and physical vulnerability assessment. Students will learn to make a critical evaluation of available tools and methods for quantitative risk assessment. The methods are demonstrated using a tutorial dataset, and the risk assessment is carried out using GIS tools. The participants analyze economic and population risk, and evaluate the risk level. Various risk reduction alternatives are defined, and updated hazard maps, assets information and vulnerability information reflecting the consequences of these alternatives are used to re-analyze the risk. Hazard models (e.g. OpenLISEM) are used to re-model the hazard for the various risk reduction alternatives. Cost benefit analysis is carried out to define which alternative is best, and reviewed in a stakeholder workshop. Several possible future scenarios in terms of climate change, land use change and population change are taken into account, and risk is calculated for various future years. Students design optimal combinations of alternatives & scenarios. Students will also learn how the methods can be integrated within a Spatial Decision Support System for analysing risk dynamics, called RiskChanges.
individual project assignment
The individual project assignment focuses on the analysis of changing risk and how this is used in decision making for risk reduction. The project task contains a number of choice options where students develop their own strategies for risk reduction planning.
Different individual project assignments can be selected, either focusing on:
- The analysis of changing risk in an urban planning context, taking an example of an urban area exposed to various types of hazards. In the assignment students either investigate the change in hazard and risk using different possible scenarios, or evaluate the effectiveness of different risk mitigation measures.
- The analysis of changing risk after the occurrence of a major disaster (e.g. earthquake or tropical cyclone in a mountainous environment). Risk is analysed before, directly after and during the recovery period, where both hazards, exposure and vulnerability changes.
As part of their individual assignment students can select to focus on different components, e.g. hazard assessment, exposure modelling, defining risk reduction measures, defining future trends, analyzing economic losses, analyzing population losses, cost-benefit analysis or dealing with different stakeholder views.
Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:
- Specify the data requirements for risk assessment, including the components of hazard, elements-at-risk and vulnerability.
- Carry out a spatial quantitative multi-hazard risk assessment.
- Evaluate existing loss estimation methods in terms of their objectives, data requirement, calculation methods and outputs.
- Develop different planning alternatives and analyse how these alter the hazard, exposure and risk and identify which are optimal from a stakeholder perspective.
- Analyse how hazard and risk may change over time due to climate change, land use change, population changes and other socio-economic changes.
- Formulate, analyse, report and present solutions for solving a problem related to changing multi-hazard risk in a group project.
The individual project assignment concentrates on:
- Formulating a problem related to one of the components of analyzing risk dynamics for decision making.
- Developing a working method to analyze the problem.
- Carrying out spatial analysis using GIS software and/or a Spatial Decision Support System
- Critical reflection on the results of analysis.
The two-week intensive course component focuses on learning methods of multi-hazard modelling, elements-at-risk characterization and risk quantification. The theory is linked to practical exercises using supervised practicals which are more guided, and tutorials in which the students are working more independently. A substantial amount of time in this course is used for assignments, combined with feedback sessions and additional lectures. Group assignments include a stakeholder simulation workshop, where students have to represent certain stakeholder views.
In the individual project assignment students work independently on a simulated evaluation of changing multi-hazard risk. Teaching staff provides input and support by simulating the role of technical advisor.
The learning outcomes will be tested in assignment format. Assessment of the two-week intensive course includes an individual risk assessment report and two group assignments. The individual project assignment is assessed on the basis of an individual written report.
Upon successful completion you will receive a Certificate, together with a course record with information about the course, EC credits and marks obtained.
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 the name, and if applicable, all the subjects studied as part of the course. It states: the course code, subject, EC credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.
This certificate course is part of the accredited Master’s Geo-information Science and earth Observation at ITC. If you decide to take the full Master’s Geo-information Science and Earth Observation at ITC, the Examination Board will give you in principle exemption from the course you followed successfully as a certificate course.
Academic level and background
Applicants for the Certificate programme should have a Bachelor degree or equivalent from a recognized university in a discipline related to the course, preferably combined with working experience in a relevant field.
Some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules require knowledge of, and skills in, working with GIS and/or digital image processing of remotely sensed data.
Skills in taught or related subjects are a prerequisite for some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules. Even if the applicant satisfies the overall admission requirements, acceptance is not automatic.
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.
As all courses are given in English, proficiency in the English language is a prerequisite.
If you are a national of one of the countries in this list (PDF), you are exempted from an English language test.
Please note: the requirements when applying for fellowships may vary according to the regulations of the fellowship provider.
English language tests: minimum requirements
Only internationally recognised test results are accepted.
TOEFL Paper-based Test (PBT)
TOEFL Internet-based Test
British Council / IELTS
C2 Proficiency / C1 Advanced
Applicants lacking computer experience are strongly advised to follow basic courses in their home countries.