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Earth Observation

Online course earth observation
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Geographical information science (GIS) and Earth Observation trough remote sensing are scientific disciplines that develop methods to extract information about the earth surface and use this information for solving real-world problems. Many tools and services that are now main-stream like route planners in cars and Google Earth were developed by GIScientists on the basis of remote sensing data. The same remote sensing data and methods to combine and analyse this in conjunction with spatial information, can help to solve complex issues concerning health care, water and food security, climate change, urban planning, natural hazards and land scarcity.

Relevant for you?

Are you a professional with an academic background working with geospatial data which is out of date or with insufficient detail or scope? Have you always had an eager interest in how we measure the Earth from space? Do you want to acquire and learn to apply the basic principles of earth observation through remote sensing? Then this online course will be relevant for you!


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

Course content?

The online course will cover the complete remote sensing process from the specification of image data acquisition requirements, through image enhancement to image analysis and classification.

The course consists of a theoretical, practical and application oriented part.

  • the theoretical part focuses on the main principles of earth observation through remote sensing
  • during the practical part the knowledge gained can be applied and skills can be developed on operation of open source software and tools
  • in the application-oriented part you will use a case study to develop a structured problem-solving approach, integrating the theoretical concepts and practical expertise.

The level of knowledge addressed in this course is mainly on understanding and applying earth observation through remote sensing. On some topics the levels of analysis and evaluation will be reached.

The contents will be offered through video lectures, virtual classrooms and chat sessions, guided discussions and assignments. Theoretical knowledge is transferred through reading, watching videos and assignments. Concepts will be illustrated by computer exercises for the development of skills in software handling and applications. This course requires attendance of about two online scheduled classroom sessions per week in which you meet with your fellow students and teachers.

What will be achieved?

After completion of the course you will be able to select appropriate remote sensing data to generate information to study and visualize processes in system earth and support problem solving projects. In addition to providing a strong theoretical basis, you will also develop practical skills in the handling of remote sensing data.

Connected courses

This course is one of three separate but connected 5 EC courses of the online course Principles and applications of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation

Online Learning what’s it like?

This 5 EC online course takes 10 weeks. This means that on average you’ll need to dedicate 14 hours a week to studying, 2 of which are compulsory hours spent in virtual classroom sessions. You will achieve the same learning outcomes as in face-to-face. As to the educational quality − again, as in face-to-face − you’ll be studying under the guidance of highly qualified and thoroughly committed staff, at an accredited and internationally acclaimed faculty.

Added benefits

Make no mistake: even though you’ll be studying part-time for about 14 hours a week, this online course constitutes quite a challenge. That being said, it should leave you with enough time for working a job, parenting or other activities. While there is no physical interaction, the digital learning environment encourages you to interact with your fellow students anywhere, anytime. The course is designed to keep you on track, and you stand to gain important additional skills such as studying independently in a virtual environment.

Meet the course coordinator

drs. J.P.G Bakx (Wan)
Course Director Geoinformatics, Lecturer

My career started at ITC in 1987 with a position in the Image Processing Laboratory. Through teaching courses in which the physics behind remote sensing was essential, I developed a strong foundation for appropriate use of remote sensing image data for earth observation. Since then I have had various positions and responsibilities, mostly in education and without exception all in remote sensing. My prime objective is still to learn students how to make sensible use of remote sensing. That is why I really enjoy being involved in this distance course on Earth Observation. Helping you to understand the basics such that you can continue developing yourself in the future.

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.

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 recognized test results are accepted.

TOEFL Paper-based Test (PBT)


TOEFL Internet-based Test


British Council / IELTS



C2 Proficiency / C1 Advanced

Computer skills

Applicants for the online education programme must have elementary computer experience, regular access to internet and e-mail. For some courses additional computer skills are required (see description of specific course).

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

2 months
100% English taught
Registration deadline
30 March 2020
Starting date
20 April 2020
End date
26 June 2020
Tuition fees
2019 / 2020
part-time, institutional
€ 1.116
part-time, ODA-rate
€ 837