Smart cities

Become a high-skilled geospatial professional

Contemporary urbanization is accompanied by many challenges with regard to the quality of urban life. In the literature and recent urban policy and planning debates, geo-technologies - defined as the ensemble of tools, devices and infrastructures to acquire, process and visualize geo-spatial data (e.g. Geographic Information Systems, spatial simulation tools, location-based technologies) - are seen as crucial for addressing pressing urban issues such as basic service provision, disaster risk reduction, urban mobility or urban poverty.

Geo-technologies are increasingly embedded into urban governance, planning and management processes, the daily lives of urban residents and private sector analytics. Drawing heavily on recent developments in data analytics and advanced computing, many cities across the globe have the vision to become smart, sustainable, resilient and inclusive. However, such a purely technocratic approach,  is critiqued for its narrow vision, positivist assumptions, exclusionary effects, controversial impacts on empowerment, privacy, and surveillance, and its inability to represent complex issues, is inappropriate. Rather, being smart requires a socio-technical perspective to the adoption of geo-technologies. An approach that gives due attention to how geo-technologies shape, and are shaped by, human agency. Moreover, an approach that seeks to support inclusive urbanism, looking beyond the bureaucracy and business interests to encompass bottom-up initiatives from citizens and civil society. 


At ITC, we focus on fundamental and problem-solving research where spatial information can make a real difference. Our scientific staff en PhD candidates in the field of smart cities research topics such as UAV-based slum mapping, the development of an indoor mobile mapping system and indoor 3D model reconstruction to support disaster management in large buildings.


ITC is known to be one of the top institutes worldwide in the field of Geo-information science and earth observation. At ITC, we train students to engineer approaches for designing future-oriented solutions to the world's biggest challenges. We encourage our students to participate in public-private partnership projects initiated by ITC and other organizations.

Related courses

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  • Geo-information Science and Earth Observation

    Are you interested in a career in spatial data science and becoming an Earth Observation or Geographic Information Systems professional and making a meaningful impact in the geospatial field? Join us!
    8 SpecialisationsMaster of Science2 yearsFull-time100% English4 Joint programmes

    Applied Remote Sensing for Earth Sciences

    In this specialisation, you will Iearn how use remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to map supplies of critical raw materials and geothermal resources.
    MSc2 Joint programmes

    Free specialisation

    Design your very own specialisation
    MSc2 Joint programmes

    Geo-Information Management for Land Administration

    How can you develop responsible land administration systems? In this specialisation, you will develop cadastral maps, land registries, and other land records to help people secure their land tenure.
    MSc2 Joint programmes


    How can you process massive geospatial data into actionable insights? This specialisation teaches you to construct algorithmic solutions and other AI methods to address real-life geospatial problems.
    MSc3 Joint programmes

    Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

    Learn how to use geo-information to predict, monitor, and quantify hazards and their magnitude in a specific geographic area and time and to design geospatial risk reduction approaches.
    MSc2 Joint programmes

    Natural Resources Management

    Learn to utilize geo-spatial data for sustainable agriculture, environement and forests.
    MSc3 Joint programmes

    Urban Planning and Management

    How to transform cities into healthier, more sustainable, and inclusive places where people and nature can thrive? Learn to understand complex urban processes and develop sustainable strategies.
    MSc2 Joint programmes

    Water Resources and Environmental Management

    Learn to apply geo-information and Earth observation techniques to tackle global water-related challenges such as flooding, water scarcity, water pollution, and food safety.
    MSc2 Joint programmes