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Geo-health integrates spatial analysis methods and concepts with epidemiology to provide you with skills to address a variety of health and disease analyses

Online course Geo-Health

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Geo-Health aims to give students comprehensive knowledge and skillsets to critique and address a range of global health issues.  Students will be introduced to a variety of topics and concepts centred around how geo-spatial information and technologies can be used for addressing health and disease. Three main facets of public health will be covered: health risk – understanding where and when risks are and who may be affected; health response & services – examining accessibility to healthcare and inequalities; and health communication & decision making – communicating risks and the role of digital information and tools in providing information and aiding the decision making process.

For whom is Geo-health

The course is designed for Public Health Professionals or anyone with an interest in spatial epidemiology and an interest in health and disease mapping and modelling.

Geo-Health Course content

The Geo-Health course is organised around interactive weekly discussions and short weekly projects with a more substantial term project on a topic of your choice, due during the final week of the course (lesson 10). Each week you will tackle a specific health or disease problem integrating the theories with spatial data and different methods.

Problem scenarios range across:

  • data surveillance and infrastructure planning;
  • modelling vector-borne diseases;
  • evaluating and planning health infrastructure;
  • cluster analysis;
  • risk mapping;
  • networks and connectivity;
  • responding to disease outbreaks and epidemics;
  • and other application areas.

Course structure

The course has been designed to be 10 weeks in length. We expect you to complete one lesson each week. You need to spend a minimum of 12 hours per week on the course.

The course is organised around interactive weekly discussions and short weekly projects with a more substantial term project on a topic of your choice, due during the final week of the course (lesson 10). Each week you will tackle a specific health or disease problem integrating the theories with spatial data and different methods. Problem scenarios range across data surveillance and infrastructure planning, modelling vector-borne diseases, evaluating and planning health infrastructure, cluster analysis, risk mapping, responding to disease outbreaks and epidemics and other application areas.

What will be achieved?

  • Orientation (week 0)

    After completing Week 0 you should be able to:

    1. Familiarize yourself with the course and what is expected of you
    2. Meet fellow students and instructors
  • The role of Geospatial Science & Technology for health and disease (week 1)

    After completing Week 1 you should be able to:

    1. Define GIS and spatial analysis
    2. Describe the five spatial analysis functions
    3. List how cartography and spatial analysis have been used in health and disease mapping
    4. Describe how modern tools and technologies are useful for mapping and analyzing disease
  • Epidemiology & Spatial Analysis (week 2)

    After completing Week 2 you should be able to:

    1. Define what epidemiology is
    2. Describe different modes of transmission
    3. List the three components of the epidemiologic triad
    4. List factors important in the occurrence of infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases
    5. Describe the public health response ready cycle and how it can be used for managing and planning public health
  • Spatial data – what is spatial data and why it is special; Ethical considerations (week 3)

    After completing Week 3 you should be able to:

    1. List different data types
    2. Identify data sources useful for exploring health and disease outcomes
    3. Explain why spatial data is special and limitations associated with spatial data (MAUP, boundary effects, spatial autocorrelation)
    4. Distinguish and critique between authoritative vs. non-authoritative data sources
    5. Explain privacy concerns associated with mapping and using health and disease data
    6. Explore technologies and assess how these can be used for collecting health and disease data
    7. List and explain the critical components important in conceptualizing a data framework for monitoring public health
  • Statistics and data visualizations (week 4)

    After completing Week 4 you should be able to:

    1. Describe the research process used to investigate patterns associated with health and disease
    2. Explain and calculate measures of risk that are used to characterize the overall health of populations (ratio, proportion, incidence proportion, incidence rate, prevalence, mortality rate)
    3. Describe the concepts of basic biostatistics and how these can be applied to summarize and analyze health and disease data
    4. Calculate the three centres of spatial data distributions
    5. Assess how visualizations can be useful for examining disease
    6. Assess mixed methods and the role of these for health and disease analysis
  • Clustering analysis (week 5)

    After completing Week 5 you should be able to:

    1. Explain what cluster analysis is
    2. List different clustering methods
    3. Explain how cluster analysis can be used in health studies
    4. Identify the reasons for and advantages of cluster analysis
    5. Apply cluster analysis to assess critical areas of risk
    6. Map clusters to see the spatial patterns in the data
  • Vector-borne disease and ecology (week 6)

    After completing Week 6 you should be able to:

    1. List factors important in understanding the ecology of vector-borne diseases
    2. Examine the epidemiologic triad for different vector-borne diseases
    3. Examine different methods of complexity used to map and model vector-borne diseases
    4. Explain data-driven approaches 
    5. Explain theoretical approaches and how overlay methods and raster-based modelling approaches can be used
    6. Describe the epidemiologic triad for malaria
    7. Apply complex map algebra operations to model risk of vector-borne disease - malaria
    8. Describe how these outputs are useful for public health planning
  • Accessibility to healthy environments (week 7)

    After completing Week 7 you should be able to:

    1. List factors important in determining access to health care
    2. Review different approaches used to model accessibility
    3. Describe approaches useful for examining access to healthcare based on network analysis including distance, time and cost
    4. Explain the map algebra concept and raster analysis
    5. Evaluate the disparities of accessibility to health care
    6. Propose solutions to improving access to health care
  • Outbreaks and epidemics: communicating during an outbreak (week 8)

    After completing Week 8 you should be able to:

    1. Explain Epidemic theory
    2. Identify what surveillance data are important
    3. List the steps important in an outbreak investigation
    4. Describe the spatial tools that are useful at each of these steps
    5. Identify data limitations during a crisis-response situation
    6. Analyze a recent outbreak and describe the spread and distribution of human cases
    7. Create an interactive outbreak map for communicating risk
    8. Evaluate the usefulness of web maps in communicating risk during an on-going outbreak
  • Complete Term Project. No planned course activities (week 9)

    Note that there are no other course activities at all this week, to give you plenty of time to work on completion of the project.

  • Submit term project and discuss term projects (week 10)

Online learning, what is it like?

The general approach of the course is task-based learning which blends theory and practice. The study load is a minimum of 16 hours per week. All materials will be available online in ITC’s digital learning environment Canvas. We will use email for individual communication and a discussion board in Canvas for group communication.

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

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
10 weeks
100% English taught
Application deadline
25 October 2021
non EU/EEA
25 October 2021
25 October 2021
Starting date
15 November 2021
End date
4 February 2022
Tuition fees
Full period 2021 / 2022
full-time, institutional
€ 1.354
full-time, ODA-rate
€ 1.016