Education and Capacity Building Initiatives

In 2017 ISPRS has introduced the Education and Capacity Building Initiatives to support projects of interest to the ISPRS community. Call are normally launched in autumn of oddly numbered  years. Details of the regulations can be found at

Reports of previous calls are available at

Education and Capacity Building Initiatives 2024

In accordance with the statutory mission and activities of ISPRS, the Society shall provide funds to support scientific and other initiatives, which will further improve its international status in the field of the photogrammetry, remote sensing and spatial information sciences, and will therefore benefit all ISPRS members. For 2024, the following four Educational and Capacity Building Initiatives projects were selected and approved by the Council for funding.

Project Title Project Team TC/WG
SUNRISE (Seashore and UNderwater documentation of aRchaeological herItage palimpSests and Environment) SUMMER SCHOOL – second edition Lorenzo Teppati Los (Italy) I/II
EDU-UAV photogrammetry: current online educational landscape Yolla Al Asmar and Bashar Alsadik (Netherlands) ICWG II/Ia
POSER: an oPen sOurce Simulation platform for tEaching and tRaining underwater photogrammetry Fabio Menna (Italy) II
From forests to 3D digital models: training new generations on 3D geodata surveying and analysis (3DForTrain) Francesco Pirotti and Erico Kutchartt (Italy) WG III/8
Empowering education and capacity building focusing on natural disasters based on GeoAI and computer vision Saied Pirasteh (China), Laurent Polidori (Brazil), Kaveh Madani (USA), Jonathan Li (Canada) III
Development of VR/AR applications to support geospatial education Dimitrios Bolkas (USA) WG V/1
Innovative training unit for civil engineers on remote sensing for construction impact assessment Roman Shults (Saudi Arabia) WG V/6


SUNRISE (Seashore and UNderwater documentation of aRchaeological herItage palimpSests and Environment) SUMMER SCHOOL – second edition

PI: Lorenzo Teppati Losé (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)

CoIs: Elisabetta Colucci (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Filiberto Chiabrando (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Andrea Maria Lingua (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Francesca Matrone (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Beatrice Tanduo (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Alessio Calantropio (University of Sassari, Italy), Erica Nocerino (University of Sassari, Italy), Francesco Guerra (IUAV, Italy), Caterina Balletti (IUAV, Italy), Fabio Menna (FBK – Bruno Kessler Foundation, Italy), Fabio Remondino (FBK – Bruno Kessler Foundation, Italy), Domenico Visintini (University of Udine, Italy), Enrico Breggion (IUAV, Italy), Andrea Martino (IUAV, Italy), Rita Auriemma (Università del Salento, Italy), Alessandra Spadaro (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Luigi Coluccia (Università del Salento, Italy)

The SUNRISE summer school has reached its second edition; the first one was held between 3 and 9 September 2022. As in the first edition, the activities of SUNRISE will be carried out in cooperation between ISPRS and SIFET (Italian Society of Photogrammetry and Topography) and will involve international students and professional surveyors with different backgrounds (e.g. archaeologists, architects, engineers, etc.) for the documentation of an archaeological site and the surrounding environment with several geomatics techniques. For the second edition, the participants will work on two sites in the area of Porto Cesareo (Puglia – Italy): Torre Chianca (terrestrial site) and the Roman columns that are located on the seabed in front of the Torre Chianca (underwater site). Both sites are located in stunning and thriving natural and historical environments: starting from 1997 the area is a National Marine Park.

The summer school aims to connect the needs of the different stakeholders involved in the study, safeguarding and dissemination of cultural heritage (CH), with the idea of making them communicate together to define a common language.

The summer school activities will include interactive lectures, fieldwork activities, and data processing and interpretation with the involved participants. The main objective is to provide to the participants a general overview of the state of the art of the different geomatics techniques that can be used for the documentation of both the cultural heritage (emerged and submerged) and the environment in which it is located, which together constitute the coastal heritage. The characteristics of each technique will be analyzed during the lectures and the operative practices will be evaluated with the participants during the field activities. The participants will be divided into working groups on the basis of their background; each group will work on a specific theme during the week of the summer school starting from the acquisition and processing of data and toward their use for different purposes. Each group will then present reports on the activities achieved during the week of the summer school on the last day of the fieldwork and then a final public workshop will be scheduled two months after the summer school, to present the results to the different communities that could benefit from the exploitation of this kind of analyses (geomatics, archaeologists, CH operators in general, municipality representatives, etc.). During the two months after the summer school and before the public events, the tutors and the group's participants (the ones interested in following this second step) will continue working on the reports and results in order to improve the initial results. The work of the participants will then be collected in a single report that will be published online and will be freely available to the public in order to disseminate the results achieved by the summer school.


EDU-UAV photogrammetry: current online educational landscape

PI: Yolla Al Asmar and Bashar Alsadik (University of Twente, Netherlands)

CoIs: Farzaneh Dadrass Javass and Francesco Nex (University of Twente, Netherlands)

UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) photogrammetry has significantly impacted various industries due to its versatility, efficiency, and accuracy in data collection. It plays critical roles in a spectrum of applications such as disaster management, food security, mapping, and utility management. It also has gained significant attention and holds a promising future for expanding its applications and enhancing technological capabilities, especially in developing countries.

The rapid surge in the popularity of UAV photogrammetry technology has necessitated a growing need for comprehensive education accessible through academic institutions. Simultaneously, the unique advantages of online education, offering flexibility and freedom, have generated substantial demand for online learning programs.

The captivating field of UAV photogrammetry is no exception to this trend. Students, technicians, researchers and professionals, including managers, are actively seeking online educational programs to delve into the intricacies of this technology. As a result, a multitude of online courses, programs, and educational materials focusing on UAV photogrammetry are now widely available.

The increasing interest in this field is compelling academic institutions to adapt and offer reliable educational content in UAV photogrammetry. Meanwhile, the accessibility of online education is catering to the diverse needs of learners seeking to enhance their expertise or pivot their careers toward the promising domain of aerial imaging and data analysis.

However, the abundance of information and resources for online UAV photogrammetry courses and activities often adds many challenges when individuals and organisations are searching for reliable and accountable sources.

To address this issue, this initiative will generate an inventory of online education in UAV photogrammetry, cataloguing according to different educational levels (i.e. basic, advanced, continuing education such as professional development), and summer schools specialising in targeted application, reflecting the different photogrammetry user categories. The output will be publicly accessible via a website that serves as a valuable reference in the domain.

Such an initiative will be a reliable resource, assisting individuals from the ISPRS community and various scientific fields in efficiently sifting through the vast online resources. It will simplify access to credible and dependable information on UAV photogrammetry online education. Besides, it will play an important role in giving insights into the educational landscape of UAV photogrammetry and empower the users to make more informed (and quicker) choices in their pursuit of knowledge and improve their education and career.

The ITC team from the UAV centre and EOS department plans to investigate the current online education course at different levels and summer schools related to UAV photogrammetry. The project will start in February 2024 and last for ten months. It will be completed in four distinct phases: design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination.


POSER: an oPen sOurce Simulation platform for tEaching and tRaining underwater photogrammetry

PI: Fabio Menna (FBK - Bruno Kessler Foundation, Italy)

CoIs: Erica Nocerino (University of Sassari, Italy), Filiberto Chiabrando (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Andrea Lingua (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Falko Kuester (University of California San Diego, USA), Stuart Sandin (University of California San Diego, USA), Scott McAvoy (University of California San Diego, USA), Louise Guiseffi (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA), Dominique Rissolo (University of California San Diego, USA), Clint Edwards (University of California San Diego, USA), Brian Zgliczynski (University of California San Diego, USA), Lorenzo Teppati Losè (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Beatrice Tanduo (Politecnico di Torino, Italy),

Photogrammetry has become a common mechanism for the documentation of underwater structures. Numerous academic and government agencies routinely publish results inferring from photogrammetric models, using varying, and often non-standardized, acquisition methodologies. In many cases the complexities and challenges intrinsic to oceanographic field captured data have left us little choice but to accept results without appropriate validation. Working in a cross-discipline team of oceanographers, archaeologists, metrology experts, data analysts, and instructional designers, we have devised a highly versatile empirical framework to test and compare the common methods used in large scale underwater structure from motion (SFM) and multi-view stereo (MVS) reconstruction, to help establish and communicate best practices, and to educate the community regarding the key principles at play and clearly demonstrate the effects of improper data acquisition strategies. We employ a customizable open source digital simulator, made publicly available, with the goal of beginning the communal, cross disciplinary development of rigorous standards for field captured data.

A short video describing the system is available here, showing a preliminary version made to test camera acquisition pathways and conditions:


From forests to 3D digital models: training new generations on 3D geodata surveying and analysis (3DForTrain)

PI: Francesco Pirotti and Erico Kutchartt (University of Padova, Italy)

CoIs: Monica Herrero-Huerta (University of Salamanca, Spain), Roberto Pierdicca (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy), Xinlian Liang (Wuhan University, China), Hans-Gerd Maas (Dresden University of Technology, Germany), Thomas Zieher (Austria Research Centre for Forests, Austria)

The purpose of the funding for 3DForTrain is to support the creation of a training process and framework for using close-range sensing methods in forest environments to extract information from collected 3D data.

Classical sampling in agro-forest environments requires a lot of effort due to the measurements requiring the operators to physically reach the objects to measure manually - vegetation height (H), tree diameters at breast height (DBH), canopy base height from ground (CBH), just to mention a few. Trivially, forests and in general parcels with vegetation are not fully “access-friendly” in the sense that they are not easy to reach, and movement of personnel and instrumentation is hindered by complex terrain and/or vegetation thickness.

Surveying using mobile platforms, and photogrammetry + laser scanning sensor is completely changing the approach of forest professionals and operators. Geoinformation from aerial, rover, static, or portable sensors allows operators to analyse data in the office after processing. Be it imagery for photogrammetric 3D modelling or point clouds from aligned scans.

It is well known that there is a lag in the time it takes for professionals to commit to new technologies with respect to when these technologies reach the market. For this reason, we propose 3DForTrain for building capacity through surveying with photogrammetry and laser scanning and successive data extraction from 3D models in forest environments. The trainees will be both university students that are following a programme that lacks courses on these disciplines and also professional operators that want to adopt new technologies in their working environment, as well as PhD candidates starting their careers. The proposed activities will include a month-long mentoring period alongside a surveying campaign in San Vito di Cadore, Italy (Figure 1). A map of land with a blue arrow  Description automatically generated

Figure 1. Training area and facilities, “Centro Studi per l'Ambiente Alpino” - Study Center for Ecology in the Alpine Space.

Trainees will learn to define and carry out a protocol for collecting 3D models in a forest, along with measuring forest parameters, and then model shapes and information in the office via the digital models. As a long-term product, the activity will produce a small manual with the protocol for defining the optimal steps for surveying a forest area using remote/close-range sensing. This protocol can be a stepping stone for other educational activities in this direction.


Empowering education and capacity building focusing on natural disasters based on GeoAI and computer vision

PIs: Saied Pirasteh (Shaoxing University, China), Laurent Polidori (Universidade Federal do Pará, Brazil), Kaveh Madani (United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Canada, and City University of New York, USA), Jonathan Li (University of Waterloo, Canada)

CoIs: Fabiola D. Yépez-Rincón (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Mexico), Masood Varshosaz (K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Iran), Weilian Li, (University of Bonn, Germany)

In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, staying updated with the latest advancements is crucial for professionals seeking to excel in their careers. Therefore, we need multidisciplinary collaboration to advance Geospatial Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI). The fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer vision, high-definition maps, GeoAI, geospatial information technologies, advances in transportation, Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR), and their applications beyond, like disaster management and resilient environment, are at the forefront of innovation. To support the workforce in acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge, in this project, we propose to build a prototype for the study of needs, design, and implementation of materials with an evaluation and feedback and then propose a series of workshops which will be co-sponsored (in-kind and cash) by the Institute of Artificial Intelligence, Shaoxing University, China. The training course program (in-person, hybrid, synchronous, and asynchronous) and hands-on workshops focused on continuing education and developing a GeoAI and Earth Observation course syllabus for graduate and undergraduate students meeting the objective of the ISPRS and United Nations-Global Geospatial Management (UN-GGIM) Academic Network (AN) agenda, supporting and contributing to the last UN-GGIM AN vision and mission (2-4 August 2023).

The Continuing Education and Re-skilling Program is designed to be responsive to students, engineers, scientists, and skilled craftsmen in academics, industries and governments. The courses can be carefully selected for content and current developments in the specified field suggested in this proposal. The majority of the courses and workshops will conducted by ISPRS ICWG III/IVa with the collaboration of other Working Groups like ISPRS WG I/4 and WG III/9 within commissions, and supported by the Institute of Artificial Intelligence, Shaoxing University, China, and with the knowledge partnerships from the ISPRS ICWG III/IVa team members, Geospatial Sensing and Data Intelligence Lab, University of Waterloo, Canada, Department of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Iran, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), Mexico, Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation, University of Bonn, Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, Department of Geotechnics and Geomatics, Saveetha School of Engineering, India, and international faculty, UN University and by the most qualified subject matter experts available in education, government and the private sector.

The proposed project aims to advance ISPRS's educational and capacity-building goals by focusing on integrating cutting-edge technologies in photogrammetry, GeoAI, digital twinning, digital infrastructure, remote sensing, and spatial information sciences. This initiative seeks to empower ISPRS members with the latest knowledge and skills through targeted funding, enhancing their proficiency and expertise in these critical areas and connecting academics, private sectors, and governments. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation, the project will elevate ISPRS's international standing in education and training and directly benefit all members of the Society.

In addition, this International GeoAI Collaboration (IGC) will focus on a specific and exceptionally complex problem: how to identify and share the lessons and practices developed by a globally dispersed array of experts so the resultant knowledge can be leveraged to solve our most pressing societal and environmental needs.


Development of VR/AR applications to support geospatial education

 PI: Dimitrios Bolkas (Pennsylvania State University, USA)

CoIs: Erica Isabella Parisi (University of Florence, Italy), Matthew O’Banion (United States Military Academy at West Point, USA), Jeffrey Chiampi (Pennsylvania State University, USA), Ivan Detchev (University of Calgary, Canada)

Immersive technologies, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), have advanced rapidly in recent years. The topic of how to integrate such technologies in geospatial education is becoming increasingly important. Immersive technologies can provide a number of solutions for many challenges in geospatial education, such as enhance and support remote learning, improve student preparedness for physical labs, simulate scenarios that are not possible in the physical world, enhance existing labs with augmented reality tools, and more. One of the biggest challenges for geospatial educators who want to get their hands on immersive technologies is that many existing immersive applications are not tailored to geospatial education. Therefore, educators need to spend extensive time on software and application development. Another challenge is related to the expensive hardware (computers and headsets) that is often needed with immersive technologies. This project will develop two immersive experiences (VR/AR/MR) relevant for geospatial education that can be used by instructors to enhance lab delivery. Furthermore, we often encounter a level of hesitation to learn and use immersive technologies from educators who have little or no experience with them. To address this challenge, we will develop sample learning material that educators can use to become familiar with immersive technologies, such as the different advantages and disadvantages of VR / AR / MR. Before any implementation of immersive technology, these advantages and challenges of integration in geospatial courses should be examined and understood. Therefore, our learning material will assist in maximizing the benefits of immersive methods for students and avoid situations that can become counterproductive and insufficient for student learning.


Innovative training unit for civil engineers on remote sensing for construction impact assessment

PI: Roman Shults (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia)

CoIs: Karel Vach (EuroGV, Czech Republic), Olena Nesterenko (Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture, Ukraine)

Civil engineers’ training is a complex and multitasking process. Apart from specific knowledge and skills from fundamental subjects, civil engineering, architecture, surveying, etc., contemporary civil engineers require a strong background in geospatial technologies. Understanding the latest achievements and technological approaches to geospatial technologies is crucial for civil engineering during the decision-making process. Geospatial data provide core information during the entire building construction lifecycle. However, geospatial data are necessary not only for a particular structure and its functioning but are also indispensable for environmental monitoring. Any construction process affects the environment. Further exploitation of the engineering structure introduces additional environmental risks that must be estimated and accounted for at the design stage. This is the point at which geospatial data are handy. Remote sensing is the primary data contribution to geospatial applications. The main question is how to facilitate the training of civil engineers on cutting-edge geospatial solutions without an in-depth study of photogrammetry, remote sensing, and GIS fundamentals. Newly established WG V/6: “Innovative Technologies in Training Civil Engineers and Architects” proposes to develop a computer and remote sensing aided teaching and learning unit exploring geospatial application scenarios of decision support in the verification of the state and “health” of the environment surrounding various civil infrastructure objects such as buildings, road/railroad pavements, reservoirs, and others. The suggested title, “Innovative Training Unit for Civil Engineers on Remote Sensing for Construction Impact Assessment” reflects the outlined idea. Specifically, the proposed project will comprise a) practical experience in remote sensing imagery acquisition and guideline drafting; b) review and comparative analysis of the remote sensing imageries processing, including classification and change detection; c) commercial and open-source software review; d) database creation of imageries with reference spectral signatures related to specific engineering structures (roads, reservoirs, buildings, etc.). Educational outcomes of the proposed project encompass 1) understanding of basic remote sensing, sensors, and platforms; 2) knowledge of contemporary issues and limitations of remote sensing data; 3) understanding of technological steps for remote sensing data modeling and geospatial analytics of commercial-of-the-shelf and open-source software packages; 4) hands-on expertise in remote sensing data choosing and acquisition; 5) understanding of remote sensing data processing and their transfer to GIS applications; and 6) a profound understanding of GIS simulation and analytics for various scenarios of construction impact estimation. The project can be accommodated by undergraduate, graduate, MX, Ph.D., and continuous education programs. The project will be implemented in 1 year as a summary of the following project efforts: 1) identification and acquisition of remote sensing data for specified preselected structures; 2) analytical review of the commercial-of-the-shelf and open-source software systems suitable for remote data processing; 3) preparation of lectures and recording then in multimedia formats; 4) work on quizzes and project final test; 5) development of in-room and field practical labs. All proposed educational components of the project will be integrated into the project website. The concentration on open remote sensing data and open-source software makes the project a viable candidate for deployment by educators in developing countries in different parts of the world.



The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing is a non-governmental organization devoted to the development of international cooperation for the advancement of photogrammetry and remote sensing and their applications. The Society operates without any discrimination on grounds of race, religion, nationality, or political philosophy.

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