Practical training in the use of geospatial technologies in hazard research and response

Spatial Analysis & Geovisualisation Research Group at the University of Iceland

Intensive Field Course in Iceland for students from universities across the Aurora European Universities Alliance*
14 – 18 August 2022, University of Iceland / Seyðisfjörður

* The Aurora European Universities Alliance includes the following universities: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Iceland, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Universität Innsbruck, Università di Napoli Federico II, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, Copenhagen Business School and University of East Anglia.

Practical training in the use of geospatial technologies in hazard research and response

  • Understand thoroughly the centrality of geospatial information for hazard research and response
  • Acquire practical experience in using diverse geospatial technologies for data collection
  • Become cognizant of ethical questions that may arise when geospatial technologies are used
  • Gain experience in cross-cultural teamwork and awareness of the related UN Sustainable Development Goals

Course description

This intensive field course provides students with first-hand experience of using state-of-the-art geospatial technologies that are becoming important for both basic research and practical response planning in locations exposed to natural hazards. The focus is on two methodological innovations, one for understanding physical processes that contribute to landslide hazards, and the other for enabling meaningful participation of local publics in hazard research and response.

The students will learn about the use of deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for obtaining high-resolution digital elevation data, combining such data with resistivity measurement data for 3D mapping. They will also experiment with the use of Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) for researching hazard perception and engaging local communities in hazard assessment and response planning. In addition to gaining hands-on experience, students will elaborate their own views of geospatial technology use in the context of natural hazards.

The course is based on active student involvement. It centres on a fieldtrip that takes participants from Reykjavík to Seyðisfjörður, an East Iceland community that is exposed to avalanches and landslides. Introductory readings, and field visits en route, provide students with geographical and topical context.

They will then stay in the community for three days, with intensive hands-on data collection and analysis guided by the instructors. Following this, the students work together in cross-national teams to reflect on the potential and limitations of these technologies, as well as possible ethical questions relating to their use. The results will be published online, in open access.

Organisational details


– Preparation (reading): 12 hours
– Lectures: 3 hours
– Fieldwork: 44 hours
– Discussion with instructors: 3 hours
– Assignment: 22 hours

The University of Iceland will issue an official transcript to certify 3 ECTS credits upon succesful completion.

Costs for participants

All participants will have to pay a EUR 200 participation fee, which covers part of the bus transport, accommodation and food during the field trip, arranged for the participants.
Students from Aurora universities, other than UI, are eligible for an Aurora or Erasmus+ mobility grant from their home university to support travel and subsistence costs. This will need to be discussed with their respective local coordinators.

Application process

Applications should be sent through the application form provided below. They need to include a CV, a Transcript of Records, and a cover letter (max. 700 words) explaining the applicant’s motivation for taking part. The deadline for applications is May 7th and applicants will be notified of the result of their application no later than May 14th.

Apply now

Please provide all information requested below to submit your application for the field course. Files submitted for the application not exceed 5MB in size (each) and should be in PDF or Word-compatible format. The deadline for applications is May 7th and applicants will be notified of the result of their application no later than May 14th.  The course is currently only open for students from universities that are part of the Aurora European Universities Alliance (see details here).