UTCuriousUSummer courses overviewGIS and Remote Sensing for societal challenges

Summer school GIS and Remote Sensing for societal challenges

Admission & participation info

Welcome to our course GIS and Remote Sensing for societal challenges.

This is a well tested and upgraded course for hands-on GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and Remote Sensing (Earth Satellite and drones). It includes theory, supervised practicals and fieldwork based on real cases called “challenges”. It is guided by recognised teachers, some with more than 20 years of  international experience in more than 20 countries.

Add to this learning the international young environment of the University of Twente summer camp of Curious-U with more than 300 potential friends to make, festivals and games, and you get a ticket to an unforgettable Summer experience.

We enjoy it when you enjoy it, and at the same time, we are strongly committed to teaching and mentoring in this course as we do in our University. You will not come back empty handed. Now, let’s talk about this course.     

ITC FACULTY: Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. International Centre of Excellence in GIS and Remote Sensing.

  • Expand to read our international teaching experience.

    ITC is a “special” Faculty of the University of Twente. Why? Among other aspects, it is the only UT Faculty where the students are all international.  ITC is 10 years older than the UT itself and since its conception in 1950 our continuing mission is the capacity building, training and support of students from all over the world in the topic of this course. GIS and Earth Observation is the niché of ITC and proudly, we can say that we know how to do it.



    The official GIS and EO “Core” MSc Degree course at ITC is in the first trimester of the academic calendar (Quarter 1), starting 2 weeks after the end of Curious-U. What you will experience in our Summer Course is a very thoughtful selection of the material of that Core. We are sure that after this experience you will have all the tools you need to fly your own route in this modern branch of Earth Science.

GIS and Remote Sensing... What is it?

WHAT IS GIS?

You have seen maps, how accurate they are in terms of Geographic location and thematic value. Today you do not conceive any planning,  project or adventure without some form of a map as support or guidance. So is GIS just a map?. GIS started as software needed to build thematic maps, but nowadays it is far... far better than that. Imagine this case: Your family decided to leave the city, They want to live in a small village in the mountains. After Curious-U they think that you are the “map” expert and they challenge you: “Dear, you are the expert... We go to the mountains, but we want our house to be best protected from possible forest fires, floods, burglary, close to some hospital and school and if possible in a location looking south, so the Sun always shines. Can you get this map for us?”. We tell you something. YOU CANNOT BUY THAT MAP. However, we will teach you the tools to build one and to solve any spatial question you may think of.

If this is a spatial question, what is a non-spatial one? An example is “What is the cost of a house in the mountains?”. In this question, there is no geography involved at all! You get the answer from a table. You see the difference? The spatial question is the solution to the challenge asked for your family.

Now a glance at the solution: If you have a topographic map, a forest map, a wind map, a city map, a road map and an aspect map, by combining all of them together in specialized software and using some good rules, you can predict the answer to the challenge question with a very high probability of success. This is GIS for. Now think of any other spatial question you want to solve,... anything. That will be your challenge. We tell you, it is not much you cannot solve... This is the reason that all organizations have or operate some sort of GIS.

what is Remote Sensing?

The simplest answer is... to be able to get spatial and temporal information from some (any) element on Earth without being in touch with it. Remote sensing is familiar to you. Your eyes are the best remote sensing instruments ever. However humans only see a very small, tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, amazingly, it is where the Sun, our star, emits the most. There is a world you don’t see... till this course.

We will work with satellite imagery and drones. We have a collection of drones to show you and work with them. Interested? One thing we cannot do is to offer you training as a drone pilot... sorry.

Study programme

Our study program is blended between GIS and RS. They are naturally combined... from conception. With the exception of our software for drones, all offered software is professional and free and you can take it home. It will be forever free, with regular upgrades. See the study topics below: 

  • GIS
    • What is a GIS phenomena and how to represent it.
    • Introduction to QGIS.
    • Data Acquisition and preparation.
    • Attribute tables.
    • Data styling.
    • Digitizing, adding attributes, styling features.
    • Spatial analysis.
    • Building a professional map.
    • Field data collection with mobile phones and freeware.
  • Remote sensing
    • Physics of Remote Sensing: How light is converted into information?
    • The electromagnetic spectrum: visible, near infrared and thermal imagery. Our new eyes.
    • A glance at coordinate systems and georeferencing. Where we are, where we go? (Common to the GIS topics).
    • Satellite image acquisition and processing.
    • Drone image acquisition and processing. RTK and GNSS.
    • Image products: how to build and obtain them.

Course video

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, the student should be able to:

Study case based on “challenges”

Did you hear about “CBL”? It stands for “Challenge Based Learning”. It is a form of learning where the students try to solve a wicked problem, that is a problem having no perfect solution because of the number of aspects involved. A wicked problem has at least 2 relevant aspects useful for us: it has high social importance for a community and it is of interest to the student. The teacher acts more as a tutor and advisor, logically, after you know the basic concepts.

In this course, we will not deal with a full CBL case. Unfortunately, we don’t have time for that. But we are going to propose a number of cases that you may solve with the tools we will teach you or you can bring your case as well!.

Examples of pseudo-challenges

We have an incomplete list of our own, and you can bring yours!!. Here we go. Expand to see some of the challenges we may offer, but note that it might not be possible to attend to all these challenges. During the course, staff and students together define those having the highest acceptance.

  • Challenge based towards Remote Sensing

    Are you interested in Nature?

    • Detecting tree species: Our campus is full of oaks. Processionary caterpillars love them and if the winter is not hard enough, or birds called “Tits” are not in a good number, the Dutch population will suffer from itching during the summer months. What about mapping oaks? (Instruments 3 and 5: The idea is to map oaks from drone data supported by SWMAPS FIeld measurements and OAK spectrometer information.)
    • Evaluating stress in vegetation: In 2018 Europe suffered a drought. Can we detect a plant under hydric stress? Can we inform officials or farmers about the severity? (Instruments (no): Two images of the campus (drought image S2 2018) execute an evaluation of stress areas with thermal and visible imagery)

    Are you interested in risk assessment?

    • Modeling the inundation risk of some locations at the campus: Dutch like to say that the “weather in The Netherlands has a strong character”... and it has. A few years ago students were all moved inside the sport-centrum facilities when a storm exceeded the water holding capacity of the tent site. Can you help us to build a warning system to avoid that? (Instruments 1, 2 and 4: The idea is to generate a point interpolated map from laser leveling data supported with drones and find a hydraulic solution to the problem).

    Are you interested in the island heat effect?

    • Evaluating temperature in walls and roof of the future ITC building: ITC building is still outside the UT Campus, but the new building is under construction a few meters from the main Curious-U tent. Are you interested in urban problems of isolation and heating? We can measure them. You learn it in summer and in winter you have a golden opportunity to apply that to your own neighborhood. (Instruments 6 and 7. The idea is to map temperature from the ground and from the air with the FLIR. Calibrate the sensor and understand the emissivity parameter. A single measurement.)
    • Evaluating temperature in the roof of the tent from outside and inside: If the summer hits hard, you will see that the main Curious-U tent needs more ventilation....What about doing the heat exercise in the big tent of Curious? (Instruments 6 and 7. The idea is to evaluate the heat emission from the tent with the FLIR and from inside the tent, take some control temperature at a point in the tent ceiling. We aim at 3 measurements (10, 13 and 16 hours)).

    Are you interested in change detection?

    • Detecting land cover changes in an interval of time (change detection): Change detection answers the question what changed in a landscape during a time span of your choice. The applications are enormous. It can even detect legal and illegal activity, good and bad environmental changes. Shall we do it on campus?  (Instruments 6 or S2 or Planetscape. Do a resampling and do a change detection of an area or the entire Campus.
  • Challenges biased towards GIS

    Are you interested in security?

    • Surveillance... The visibility map: The holy grail of security is to locate guards in strategic locations from where they can see all access to a protected area and at the same time have a line of sight between these locations. Would you dare to use GIS to look for those potential areas at the campus? NOTE: it is just and exercise, the Campus is safe enough. (Instruments drone data (DSM): 4.  A simplification would be that given a point on a map (location and height), evaluate the visibility from that point).

    Interested in ecosystem quality?

    • Bathymetry survey: The UT campus has plenty of ponds. Originally the area was depression and ponds were excavated deeper to raise the pond surroundings to allow construction. Ponds became deeper, allowing sports (rowing) and a natural ecosystem to evolve. Bathymetry is the study of how deep a water body is. That is related to oxygen and aquatic life. What about evaluating the excess capacity of ponds. (Instruments 1, 4. Use a drone data to evaluate the remnant capacity of those. Validation is done by using RTK data. Alternatively use a deeper).
    • Water quality mapping of ponds. We cannot fish at the UT... but we can use our field equipment and GIS to establish how healthy our ponds are to sustain aquatic life. Taking point samples and measuring the location with our survey equipment may do the trick!! You may need to go in a small boat... or swim!?!. (Instruments 7, 5. Point sampling of water quality. SWMAPS to get point sample location (recipient and stick). Get the sampling from the water and evaluate some water quality attributes: Hardness, temperature and Ph, conductivity, BOD).
    • The “Don't get much wet challenge”. The idea is to find the time that a walking person is exposed to direct rain while walking from some starting point at the UT to the southern entry at the Sportcentrum. If a person goes under trees or covers it gets a 0 score for those covered pixels.  Requires the construction of resistance to walk map. (Instruments 4. To increase the challenge, after 10 minutes of rain, people under the tree get wet anyhow. Ultimate: change the ideal path)

Field Equipment description 

  • Field equipment description

    RTK - GNSS

    Very high precision GPS (error less than 5 mm in X, Y, Z). Training + Two people required.

    Laser level

    Accurate and fast levelling of an area. Training + Two people required

    Field spectrometer

    Retrieval of field spectral reflectance curve of objects. Managed by staff

    Drones and drone data

    Quadcopter DJI loaded with different sensors. Managed by drone pilots.

    Handheld GIS data collection

    Use of handheld mobile phone free software to retrieve ground data and upload it into a GIS project. Training + Individual.

    FLIR

    An infrared camera mounted over a drone. Managed by staff.

    Thermal radiometer

    It measures the temperature of objects. No contact. Training + individual.

    Water quality sensors

    Instruments to evaluate the chemical and/or physical water quality. Training + individual

    Walkie talkie (transceivers)

    Allows fluid short communication between base and remote. As many people as necessary.

Stay tuned for more upcoming information regarding the 2023 course!

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GIS AND REMOTE SENSING FOR SOCIETAL CHALLENGES 2022

Day
CuriousU Closing Ceremony
Time:20:00 - 23:00
Day:Mon. 22-08

This night we'll close off CuriousU 2022 with everyone and you'll receive your certificate.

Breakfast & keynote
Time:08:15 - 09:30
Day:Wed. 17-08

Get your day off to an inspiring start by listening to one of our inspirational speakers over breakfast. Once you’re all fired up, you’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. 

Meet-up and pizza
Time:18:00 - 20:30
Day:Sun. 14-08

Eat pizza and meet up with your fellow students!

Music night
Time:20:00 - 23:00
Day:Fri. 19-08

Tonight we will have a great band night in our main tent! Next to that, a dj to play music and karaoke activity are planned for you!

CuriousU Participants Departure
Time:09:00 - 10:00
Day:Tue. 23-08

The last day: please check out (i.e. returning the keys) and saying goodbye to all your new friends. By returning your key you will get back your deposit for the log cabin or student dorm (online refund).

Flying with drones: mission planning
Time:09:30 - 12:30
Day:Fri. 19-08

Learn while having fun! You’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. That might be a workshop, a lecture or a project depending on the course you choose.

Check our courses.

More information
Breakfast & keynote
Time:08:15 - 09:30
Day:Thu. 18-08

Get your day off to an inspiring start by listening to our keynote speaker over breakfast. 

Lunch: Playland
Time:12:30 - 14:00
Day:Thu. 18-08

After the first course sessions of the day you’ll then join the other festival-goers for a themed lunch in an informal, interactive setting.This is one of the most popular lunch activities where together with your fellow participants you can enjoy some outdoor games in the main festival area! Join us!

Beach volleyball tournament & DJ
Time:20:00 - 23:00
Day:Wed. 17-08

Enjoy a unique volleyball tournament together with your fellow CuriousU participants! Are you gonna be the winning team? Let's find out!

Introduction to Remote Sensing
Time:09:30 - 12:30
Day:Sun. 21-08

Learn while having fun! You’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. That might be a workshop, a lecture or a project depending on the course you choose.

Check our courses.

More information
Lunch: Cherishing Moments
Time:12:30 - 14:00
Day:Mon. 22-08

After the first course sessions of the day you’ll then join the other festival-goers for a themed lunch in an informal, interactive setting. Here is the chance to lock all the memories you made the last days into pictures! During that lunch break you also have the chance to break some pinatas!

Challenge 2: Keeping our ponds alive
Time:09:30 - 12:30
Day:Wed. 17-08

Learn while having fun! You’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. That might be a workshop, a lecture or a project depending on the course you choose.

Check our courses.

More information
Image interpretation and GIS Digitalization
Time:14:00 - 17:00
Day:Sun. 21-08

After lunch you’ll dive back into your course.

Dinner
Time:18:00 - 20:00
Day:Sun. 21-08

Every night we serve you a fantastic dinner.

Flying drones: flying problems away (image analysis)
Time:14:00 - 17:00
Day:Fri. 19-08

After lunch you’ll dive back into your course.

Breakfast & keynote
Time:08:15 - 09:30
Day:Mon. 22-08

Get your day off to an inspiring start by listening to our keynote speaker over breakfast.

Lunch: Dutch Olympic Games
Time:12:30 - 14:00
Day:Sun. 21-08

After the first course sessions of the day you’ll then join the other festival-goers for a themed lunch in an informal, interactive setting.


During this lunch you can join a sand castle competition and a graffiti workshop!

Dinner
Time:18:00 - 20:00
Day:Thu. 18-08

We go out for dinner at the city: Happy Italy

Introduction to Remote Sensing
Time:09:30 - 12:30
Day:Mon. 15-08

Learn while having fun! You’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. That might be a workshop, a lecture or a project depending on the course you choose.

Check our courses.

More information
Mapping for a good cause
Time:09:30 - 12:30
Day:Mon. 22-08

Learn while having fun! You’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. That might be a workshop, a lecture or a project depending on the course you choose.

Check our courses.

More information
Movie night
Time:20:00 - 23:00
Day:Sat. 20-08

Tonight we will have a great band night in our main tent! Next to that, a dj to play music and karaoke activity are planned for you!

Breakfast & keynote
Time:08:15 - 09:30
Day:Tu. 16-08

Get your day off to an inspiring start by listening to one of our uplifting keynote speakers over breakfast. Once you’re all fired up, you’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. 

Lunch: C- your future
Time:12:30 - 14:00
Day:Wed. 17-08

After the first course sessions of the day you’ll then join the other festival-goers for a themed lunch in an informal, interactive setting. You can do one of the following lab tours: Behavioral Management and Sciences LabWearable Robotics Lab, combined tour in AeroAcoustic WindTunnel & Rapid Prototyping LabNanoLab or the Experimental Centre for Technical Medicine. Enjoy our dance workshop too!

Image interpretation and GIS Digitalization
Time:14:00 - 17:00
Day:Mon. 15-08

After lunch you’ll dive back into your course.

Stand Up Comedy
Time:20:00 - 22:30
Day:Mon. 15-08
GIS solution of Keeping our ponds alive
Time:14:00 - 17:00
Day:Wed. 17-08

After lunch you’ll dive back into your course.

Breakfast & keynote
Time:08:15 - 09:30
Day:Mon. 15-08

We will kick-off breakfast and CuriousU with the first inspirational speech!

Free day
Time:08:15 - 20:00
Day:Sat. 20-08

Enjoy your weekend and see you Monday!

Geographic treasure hunt: Hello and Bye to Enschede
Time:14:00 - 17:00
Day:Mon. 22-08

After lunch you’ll dive back into your course.

Challenge 3: Mobile GIS: Mapping Features
Time:09:30 - 12:30
Day:Thu. 18-08

Learn while having fun! You’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. That might be a workshop, a lecture or a project depending on the course you choose.

Check our courses.

More information
Dinner
Time:18:00 - 20:00
Day:Mon. 22-08

Every night we serve you a fantastic dinner.

Lunch: Taste the Netherlands
Time:12:30 - 14:00
Day:Mon. 15-08
Lunch: Artist for a day
Time:12:30 - 14:00
Day:Tu. 16-08

After the first course sessions of the day you’ll then join the other festival-goers for a themed lunch in an informal, interactive setting. You will have the chance to get to know the programmes of our university and speak with representatives from our admissions office in case you are interested in continuing your studies here! During this lunch activity, you can also get to know the different student teams of our university.

Summer sounds
Time:20:00 - 23:00
Day:Thu. 18-08

Enjoy the night in the city listening to some musical entertainment at Grolsch Summer Sounds.

Arrival day: check in
Time:10:00 - 18:00
Day:Sun. 14-08

The registration point will be in the biggest tent. Please register as soon as you arrive. If you arrive earlier or later please contact us via curious@utwente.nl 

Dinner
Time:18:00 - 20:00
Day:Fri. 19-08

Every night we serve you a fantastic dinner.

Escape Rooms
Time:20:00 - 23:00
Day:Sun. 21-08

We'll watch a cool movie together!

Breakfast
Time:08:15 - 09:00
Day:Tue. 23-08

Have a breakfast first.

Dinner
Time:18:00 - 20:00
Day:Mon. 15-08
Free
Time:17:00 - 18:00
Day:Mon. 15-08

This hour is 100% free time: relax or use our sport facilities :-)

Free
Time:17:00 - 18:00
Day:Tu. 16-08

This hour is 100% free time: relax or use our sport facilities :-)

Free
Time:17:00 - 18:00
Day:Wed. 17-08

This hour is 100% free time: relax or use our sport facilities :-)

Free
Time:17:00 - 18:00
Day:Thu. 18-08

This hour is 100% free time: relax or use our sport facilities :-)

Free
Time:17:00 - 18:00
Day:Fri. 19-08

This hour is 100% free time: relax or use our sport facilities :-)

Free
Time:17:00 - 18:00
Day:Sun. 21-08

This hour is 100% free time: relax or use our sport facilities :-)

Free
Time:17:00 - 18:00
Day:Mon. 22-08

This hour is 100% free time: relax or use our sport facilities :-)

Breakfast & keynote
Time:08:15 - 09:30
Day:Sun. 21-08

Get your day off to an inspiring start by listening to our inspirational speaker over breakfast. 

GIS solution of flooding of the tents
Time:14:00 - 17:00
Day:Tu. 16-08

After lunch you’ll dive back into your course and have some discussion and exercises on the topic.

Game Night
Time:20:00 - 23:00
Day:Tu. 16-08

During this evening activity you can join our lean simulation game, dungeons and dragons and many more!

Lunch: ExploreU
Time:12:30 - 14:00
Day:Fri. 19-08

After the first course sessions of the day you’ll then join the other festival-goers for a themed lunch in an informal, interactive setting. You will have the opportunity to learn more about yourself by doing some career and personality tests ! Do not miss the chance to try the VR Parachuting experience!

GIS solution of Mobile GIS Mapping Features
Time:14:00 - 17:00
Day:Thu. 18-08

After lunch you’ll dive back into your course.

Dinner
Time:18:00 - 20:00
Day:Tu. 16-08

We serve you a fantastic dinner!

Challenge 1: Saving the tents from flood
Time:09:30 - 12:30
Day:Tu. 16-08

Learn while having fun! You’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day.

More information
Dinner & Barbecue
Time:18:00 - 20:00
Day:Wed. 17-08

We will serve an amazing BBQ dinner tonight!

Breakfast & Inspiration
Time:08:15 - 09:30
Day:Fri. 19-08

Get your day off to an inspiring start by listening to one of our uplifting keynote speakers over breakfast. Once you’re all fired up, you’ll join in the morning session of your course for the day. 

Course details

Date: 13-22 August 2023 (on-campus)
Target group: No pre-knowledge in the science of GIS and Remote Sensing is required, but participants preferably might have an engineering or related background.
Credits: 2 ECTS for successfully completing the summer course.
Relevant UT programmes: MSc Degree at Geo-observation Information and Earth Observation

Course leaders

Gabriel Parodi
Lecturer

Want to know more?

If you need to know more, we have information available about the fee & programme, an admission check, registration & payment, visa, accomodation and the terms & conditions.