Geo Information in Disaster Situations

Due to the global covid-19 concerns, Geo Information in Disaster Situations is postponed tentatively to June 15th to July 3rd, 2020.

Map as published by UNOSAT on building damage assessment after 2010 Haiti earthquake

Effective disaster management and response demand rapid utilization of information and data from many sources. Visualization and spatial applications are critical during pre and post-disaster management and response. The ability to seamlessly integrate and distribute digital data into spatially explicit forms for situation, rapid assessment and analysis during and after a disaster remains a challenge.

To meet this challenge UNOSAT/UNITAR, the Geography Section, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management  and the University of Copenhagen are offering a course that presents an integrated approach to how info management and sharing is enhanced by use of geo-information systems (GIS) tools in disaster situations. The GIS database can be accessed for damage assessment or to locate critical infrastructure. To get an overview of the disaster situation it is crucial for disaster managers to be equipped with these basic tools.

On completion of the course, students will be able to critically analyze the prerequisites and challenges for effective situation analysis, rapid mapping and preliminary damage assessments. This includes identifying, collecting, preparing, analyzing and creating maps which will match the needs arising from anticipated future disasters.

Application deadline is 1 February  2020
Start your online application now!


This course is offered by UNITAR/UNOSAT and the Geography Section,  Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management on the basis of a joint agreement with School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen as part of the study programme Master of Disaster Management.

The course takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Course coordinator:

Mariel Britanico -

Course leader:

Associate Professor Peter Furu 
All questions about course content and admission:


This is an optional advanced course in the Master of Disaster Management programme. This course can also be taken as a stand-alone course. Information about fees and admission requirements below.


20 April - 7 May 2020
Full time lectures and practical exercises. The course includes a few days of individual or group study. 

ECTS credits:





The aim of the course is to prepare the students so that they are able to work with basic GIS tools in preparation of situation maps.

At the end of the course the students must:

  • understand the role of Geo information in the response phase of a disaster

  • be able to collect various disaster related information including GIS

  • be able to use basic GIS tools to prepare situation maps

  • be able to do a preliminary damage assessment after a disaster based on the available spatial information

  • be able to collect GIS information from web and prepare, analyze and produce maps for a disaster situation


The course is focused on providing insight into various tools available in GIS for situation mapping. Focus is given to understand the concept of GIS and its integration in disaster situations. A central part of the course is the case which involves collecting information and GIS data from web sources, as well as preparing, analyzing and creating situation maps for a disaster prone city. Hands-on experience with the field data collection tools like GPS and PDA will also be part of the course. The students will work with the case throughout the course.


Students will be given a UN certificate from UNITAR on successful completion of the course.

Assessment Procedures:

Grading according to the Danish 7-scale - internal evaluation.

The examination is based upon assessment of a written individual report accompanied with presentable maps in which the students present their GIS skills for situation mapping in a given case, as well as their reflections around issues raised by the course management regarding the process. Parts of the report can be written in cooperation with other students that belong to the same case group.


It is recommended that the students taking the course are familiar with Microsoft Excel. It is an advantage, but not a prerequisite, that the students have prior knowledge on GIS applications, AutoCAD or similar software.

Class Size:

The number of participants from the Master of Disaster Management programme is limited to 10.

Applicants from outside of the Master of Disaster Management programme can apply to this short intensive course via this online education form.


Reduced fee: DKK 18,500
For students from EU/EEA or Switzerland.

Normal fee: DKK 25,000
For all other students.

For approximate exchange rates between DKK (Danish Krone) and other currencies please contact your bank or visit this website. All fees are subject to regulation.


We do not offer any scholarships, nor can we assist in finding funding, but on our page about scholarships we have collected some information that might be useful.