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Principles and Applications of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

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Online course Principles and Applications of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing
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Geographical information science (GIS) and Earth Observation 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 GPS, route planners in cars and Google Earth were developed by GIScientists. Spatial data and methods to combine and analyse spatial information can help to solve complex issues concerning health care, water and food security, climate change, urban planning, natural hazards and land scarcity.

Introduction video

In this video André da Silva Mano (Course Coordinator) introduces the course and the basic concepts to learn, its content and the way e-learning is executed during this 9-month online course in Principles and Applications of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing.

For more information about this online course, you can contact the course coordinator.

Alumnus Testimonial

Learn all about Earth without leaving home

Are you a professional (scientist of practitioner) with an academic background dealing with geospatial data? Do you have only a limited knowledge of the principles of GIS and earth observation in your application field? Would you like to take a course in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, which is an integral part of a full MSc programme, without having to spend any time away from home?

ITC at the University of Twente (the Netherlands) now offers you this opportunity, with a brand-new online course entitled “Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation: a Systems-based Approach”. Depending on your circumstances, this could be a convenient first step towards taking the remainder of the ITC Master’s programme in face-to-face mode, or simply a smart and affordable way of getting a taste of the full programme. You could also use this online course to, e.g., acquire a more in-depth understanding of the subject matter or see how your current knowledge level measures up to academic standards.

The course consists of three separate but connected 5 EC courses:

Each course takes 10 weeks (as opposed to three weeks each in full-time face-to-face education). This means that on average you’ll need to dedicate 14 hours a week to studying, two 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. Instead of taking the entire course you can also choose to take one or two separate modules. This could apply if for some reason you’re particularly interested in (a) specific field(s) covered by the separate courses. Each course is credited in itself.

Learn with open tools

This course is entirely based on Open Source Software, more specifically QGIS. You will be learning with a tool that will always be there for you, even after you graduate. Please note that the techniques and concepts you will learn are valid for any other software package but with the open source approach you will always be free to apply your knowledge in any professional or academic context.

A smart way to start the full Master’s programme

The online course produces the same learning outcomes and has similar content to the face-to-face course that starts off ITC’s regular Master’s Geo-information Science and Earth Observation. Online education also takes place in a similarly international (albeit virtual) environment. Consequently, this could be a head start of a full Master's or a sensible way for you to get a taste of the full face-to-face programme, and determine whether you’re up to it.

The online course will be completed in November, which is before the start of the remainder of the regular face-to-face Master’s programme. This could give you the time you need to make arrangements for your transfer into the regular programme, if that is what you want at that moment. If, for whatever reason, you want or need to be back home later on in the programme, you always have the option of working on your thesis there instead of in the Netherlands.

Upon completing the online course you can also choose to postpone enrolling in the rest of the Master’s programme. After completing the distance course you’ll have up to six years to complete the remainder of the full Master’s programme.

Instead of taking the entire course you can also choose to take one or two separate courses. This could apply if for some reason you’re particularly interested in (a) specific field(s) covered by the separate courses. Each course is credited in itself.

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

9 months
100% English taught
Registration deadline
13 January 2020
Starting date
3 February 2020
End date
30 October 2020
Tuition fees
2019 / 2020
part-time, institutional
€ 1.116
part-time, ODA-rate
€ 837