Home ITCFarewell lecture professor Yola Georgiadou

Farewell lecture professor Yola Georgiadou

Geo-information for Governance

To mark the farewell of Prof. Dr.ing. P.Y. Georgiadou from the University of Twente on 28 June 2021, she prepared an (online) valedictory lecture on ‘Geo-Information for Governance’. As a valued member of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information (PGM) of ITC, Yola Georgiadou’s inspiring insights into the bi-directional linkage between geo-information and governance, and in general out-of-the-box thinking as a sparring partner will be missed.

Information technology, policy and global development

Georgiadou’s research is at the interface of geo-information technology, policy and global development. Her studies include how people enact, organize, and institutionalize (or not) geo-information technology in various domains (water, environment, urban and land policy) and how infrastructure (the informational, social and material underpinning of human action) is built, maintained and breaks down. She studied how social actors structure wicked policy problems characterized by intense disagreement on values and uncertain geospatial knowledge. Recently she focused on the interplay of values, principles and artificial geospatial intelligence in humanitarian action. Her methods are qualitative. Her normative orientation is “working with the grain” of institutions and organizations in the global South.

From Greece via Germany, Canada, Latin America to the Netherlands

Yola graduated as a geodetic engineer at the Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She earned a doctorate in geodetic engineering, on rotation modelling of a deformable earth, at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. She then carried out several R&D projects in satellite positioning and crustal deformation networks, first as a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and later as a Research Associate at the Department of Geodesy & Geomatics Engineering of the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Later on, she worked in Latin America on behalf of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), while still based in Canada. During her time in Latin America, she increasingly noticed that technological logical solutions, usually don’t lead to the predicted effect. Different groups of people do or do not accept the technological solutions, depending on many personal traits, like their vested interests, their personal norms and values and issues like (dis)trust of those introducing the technology.

ITC, an obvious fit

Georgiadou first came into contact with ITC in 1993, as a guest lecturer in the Department of Geoinformatics. With her diverse knowledge and experiences her fit with ITC was obviously and in 1998 she joined the Division of Geoinformatics and Spatial Data Acquisition as Associate Professor Spatial Data Acquisition for Topographic and Cadastral Applications, and in 2001 / 2002 was Acting Head of the Department of Spatial Data Acquisition. From the year 2002, she became part of the PGM Department; first as Associate Professor and from 2008 onwards as Professor of Geo-Information for Governance. Within ITC she served on many appointment and promotion committees and was one of the founding members of ITC’s Ethics Committee.


Yola is past member of the Board of the GSDI Association (representing academia), of the Capacity Building Working Group of CODI-Geo, United Nations Economic Commission of Africa, and of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Digital Earth (ISDE). She is a member of the NCG sub-commission on SDI in the Netherlands, of the editorial board of the Journal Information Technology for Development (JITD), the International Journal of SDI Research (IJSDIR) and the International Journal of Digital Earth (IJDE).

Research projects

Yola was collaborator in the research program Linking local action to international climate agreements in the tropical dry forests of Mexico as well as in Using spatial information infrastructure in urban governance networks. She is leader of the research programme Sensors, Empowerment, and Accountability in Tanzania (SEMA). The three programmes are funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research - Science for Global Development (NWO-Wotro). The past four years she also served as member of the Wotro board.

We would like to thank Yola for her high-profile work, in research, education and consulting, and wish her many fruitful, inspiring and enjoyable years while she continues working on her topics of interest from her new family home in Greece, and all other places she will undoubtedly continue to visit!

Jaap Zevenbergen
Head of department Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information

Interview with Yola Georgiadou in Tubantia (Dutch newspaper)