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Spatial-temporal Models for Food and Water Security studies

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Short course Spatial-temporal Models for Food and Water Security studies

Education at ITC on Food Security concern client-oriented applications in the agricultural domain that benefit from Remote Sensing, GIS, and Mobile-GIS technologies.

They cover both rainfed as irrigated agricultural systems (agro-ecosystems) and have regional, national and continental scales. They always use a clear systems approach, and can be sub-divided in:

  1. Mapping Agro-Ecosystems and crop area estimation,
  2. Monitoring Agro-Ecosystems: (i) detecting past and present land use changes (for planning), and (ii) assessing present crop conditions (for early warning),
  3. Modelling Agro-Ecosystems: early predication/actual estimation of biomass and yield (for food security management), and
  4. Planning Agro-Ecosystems: decision support through environmental impact assessment (EIA), strategic environment assessment (SEA), and dynamic-spatial modeling approaches.

This course covers [C-D] through presenting the most modern modelling approaches, with satellite derived information, to estimate the status of agro-ecosystems present, their gradual performance change.

What will be achieved?

After completion of the course the participant will be able to use multi and hyper-temporal imagery, with exogenous (secondary data) and/or field survey data, prepared as maps + legends to:

  • use simple to advanced (dynamic) crop growth models for yield estimation, change assessments, and spatial suitability assessments (watershed level)
  • assess impacts on performance (biomass, yields) due to anticipated climate changes (scenarios), and to retrieve the required climate data (past, present, and future weather conditions).
  • use RS-data to "force" crop growth models and estimate improved (actual!) crop yields; includes (i) Soil-Leaf-Canopy (SLC) RS-data inversion techniques to estimate e.g. LAI as a forcing variable, and (ii) the heat-balance (ETa) "forcing" approach
  • use EIA and SEA concepts, principles, processes, and stakeholder consultations to prepare optional decision-scenarios (for land use allocation planning)
  • use community based modelling techniques to generate and evaluate (RS/GIS-based) spatial-temporal planning options (land use allocation scenarios), and demonstrate their potential impacts on the environment and future living conditions of stakeholders (applied use of Spatial Decision Support tools/models).

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 for each module: the module code, number, subject, ECTS credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.

If the certificate course is part of the Postgraduate or Master's programme at ITC and if you decide to take the full programme at ITC, you will be exempted from the module(s) you followed successfully as a certificate course.

Course content

The courses will deal with the following topics (among others):

  • Weather data: sources, principles, use, predictions; present climate change scenarios (expectations); downscaling climate predictions.
  • Aquacrop: assess impacts of climate change on crop productivity (point-based / self-study task for assessment).
  • Climate change impact assessment at watershed level (area based).
  • Soil-Leaf-Canopy (SLC) RS-data (Modis) inversion techniques to estimate time-series of LAI; temporal LAI-cleaning using temperature-sums formulae (for crop-x).
  • Instantaneous ETa assessment based on the surface heat-balance system (SEBS), forcing method to estimate daily actual biomass production and end-of season yields (arable crops).
  • Forcing method to use daily LAI-estimates to estimate end-of season yields (irrigated crops / self-study task for assessment).
  • EIA/SEA concepts and exercise to prepare planning decision scenarios for land use allocation planning.
  • Use of RS/GIS tools to evaluate spatial-temporal scenarios (self-study task for assessment).

Why choose this course?

In practice, gained knowledge serves (amongst others):

  • Operational use of satellite data and development of tailor-made prediction systems for food security and stress monitoring, e.g. 'Improving/constructing Satellite-based Land and Ecosystem Monitoring Systems for an International Network for Food and Environmental Intelligence', and 'Promotion Programs on Satellite-based Earth Observation Technologies '.
  • Generate specific agricultural development support, like 'micro-insurance schemes', where the use of RS-based indices to model/assess risks and probabilities for formulating insurance contracts are developed (left-tailed quantitative anomaly assessment).

Admission requirements

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




Computer skills

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

Programme overview

3 weeks
Full-time (no part-time programs possible)
100% English taught
Starting date
2 July 2018
End date
20 July 2018
Enschede, Netherlands
Tuition fees
2017 / 2018
full-time, statutory tarif
€ 1.000
full-time, institutional
€ 1.000