Workshop on Earth Observation and Geospatial Information: 

Education and Research Perspectives

From 27 to 29 May 2023, the Faculty of Exact and Applied Sciences of the University of Oran 1 hosted a workshop on geospatial information and its applications with the participation of several members of the SEED4NA project. The workshop highlighted several topics related to current and future trends and technologies in Earth observation and spatial data infrastructures, and effective and innovative GI educational approaches.

A half-day plenary session was held on the first day, opened by Mr. Karim Bouamrane Karim, the Vice Rector for Cooperation and External Affairs of UORAN1, and Mr. Mohamed Boudour, the Director of Erasmus+ Office in Algeria, and attended by various participants, teachers and students from UORAN1, as well as members of other local universities and stakeholders. After a brief introduction by Mejdi Kaddour (UORAN1) on the city of Oran, UORAN1 and its contributions to the project, Glenn Vancauwenberghe (KU Leuven) gave a presentation on assessing and addressing geospatial skills needs through co-creation, focusing on the SEED4NA experience. Yahia Lebbah (UORAN1) made a comprehensive overview of the motivations and results of CUPAGIS, a CBHE project on applications of GIS technologies and sensor data in precision agriculture. Željko Bačić (UNIZG) introduced the innovative concept of Smart Education as “a learning model adapted to new generations of digital natives”.

After a short break, Abou El Hassen Benyamina and Bouabdellah Kechar shared with the audience their experiences in two PRIMA research projects, WATERMED and Intel-IRRIS, respectively, on smart irrigation and water resources monitoring. Rolf de By (ICT/Twente) explored different ways of setting up SDIs in challenging legal and economic environments. Finally, Assia Kourgli (USTHB) reported GI and EO related research activities at the Imaging and Radiation Laboratory of USTHB. In the afternoon, a guided tour of the main landmarks of the city of Oran was organised.

The second day, the UNIZG team animated a full-day training for local students from various UORAN1 departments, along with a number of students from ENSGTS (Higher School of Geodesy and Spatial Techniques). In the morning, Željko Bačić discussed various concepts and opportunities related to smart cities and smart sensors. In the afternoon, Vesna Poslončec-Petrić explored the problem-based learning paradigm and the utilisation of smartphones as an educational tool. In parallel, the members of SEED4NA took the opportunity to visit some of the facilities of the Faculty and Department of CS, in particular the future computer lab funded by the project.

The third and final day of the workshop consisted of a second training day offered by the ICT/Twente team. First, Lucas de Oto made a speech about pedagogical approaches and instructional design for teaching GI. Next, Rolf de By gave an in-depth lecture on advanced spatial databases, followed by several hands-on computer exercises on real cases.