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Earth Observation Applications for Water Cycle Studies

Learn the latest and advanced techniques to spatially assess and monitor water resources from global to local scales.

The concerns of this course is to have a physical process-based understanding of hydrological and environmental cycles. It deals with the occurrence, distribution, circulation, and properties of water, energy and carbon. The introduction to the concept of these cycles and their main components forms the framework of this course.

Parallel to this runs a course where the use of Earth observation to estimate, monitor and manage the water resources are being introduced. Space agencies use Earth observations to provide a wealth of spatial information on the present-day water resources, in terms of quantity as well as quality. In this course, students will learn the basic principles on how rainfall, soil moisture, evapotranspiration and water quality affect the electromagnetic signal recorded by Earth observing sensors.

You will learn tools and methods to collect, process, and visualize data on satellite derived rainfall, soil moisture, evapotranspiration and water quality. In addition, calibration/validation methods will be taught on how the accuracy of available data products can be quantified using a set of error metrics.


Are you a mid-career professional and national of -and living and working in one of the countries listed here? You might consider applying for a scholarship from the Orange Knowledge Programme (former NFP). 

Deadline intake 2019 passed
The application deadline has now passed for intake 2019. We will publish the new call for intake 2020 here. Please have a regular look at our website or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn for further announcements!

For whom?

The course is targeted at water managers, civil and agricultural engineers with an interest in the new and advanced techniques to spatially assess and monitor the water resources from global to local scales.

What is the course content?

The course consist of a series of lectures in combination with exercises  and small projects to introduce the concepts of water cycle studies, Earth observations and their applications.

This course consist of two sections each with a weight of 7 EC:

  • water (and energy) cycles
  • use of Earth observation to study these.

One additional EC will be spend on improving academic skills.

Learning outcomes

Water Cycle Studies

Upon completion of this part of the course students are able to:

  • describe the major water, energy and biogeochemical fluxes, their relative magnitudes, and their roles interactions at watershed/global scale
  • quantify a wide range of physical and biogeochemical processes using mechanistic, mathematical expressions and models
  • Identify the main characteristics of the scientific method and scientific argumentation.

Earth Observation for Water Resources

Upon completion of this part of the course students are able to:

  • explain the concepts of radiative transfer theory
  • collect spatial hydro-meteorological data supplied by space agencies via the world wide web and through satellite broadcasts (e.g. GEONETCAST);
  • process and visualize EO data in contemporary formats to a level appropriate for deriving water resources information;
  • deduce spatial hydro-meteorological information (e.g. droughts and floods) from the processed EO data;
  • choose a calibration/validation protocol and define error metrics for the quantification of the accuracy of spatial hydro-meteorological data
  • summarize the sources of uncertainty embedded in long term records of hydro-meteorological data produced with satellite data.

Why choose this course?

The course provides the latest insides in water resources studies using advanced spatial Earth observation techniques.

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 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.

Admission requirments

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.

English language

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

Computer skills

Applicants lacking computer experience are strongly advised to follow basic courses in their home countries.

Key information

10 weeks
Full-time (no part-time programs possible)
100% English taught
Starting date
11 November 2019
End date
31 January 2020
Enschede, Netherlands
Tuition fees
2019 / 2020
full-time, institutional
€ 3.124