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The University of Edinburgh: Earth Observation and Geoinformation Management

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Telephone 0131 650 4360
Study type Taught


Combine satellite data, technology and science to find new solutions to the world's biggest challenges.

The MSc Earth Observation and Geoinformation Management aims to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills to use and analyse Earth observation data in conjunction with broader skills in handling geospatial data.

This unique programme is well-embedded in an active research and industry environment. It works alongside our successful MSc Geographical Information Science degree, which was the first of its type in the world with a heritage of over 30 years.

This MSc reflects on the use of geospatial technologies in the detection and mitigation of climate change, sustainability and social responsibility.

What is Earth Observation and Geoinformation Management?

Earth observation (EO) involves gathering information about the Earth's physical, chemical, and biological systems using remote sensing technologies such as satellites.

Earth observation is growing in social, economic and political importance by helping us better understand and manage Earth and its environment in areas such as:

  • agriculture

  • infrastructure and transportation

  • mineral resource management

  • land use and planning

  • monitoring pollution

  • deforestation and land degradation

  • climate change monitoring and action

With Earth observation data and solution delivery now transitioning onto cloud-based service models, it is important to understand the parallel tools in Geographical Information Science (GIS). In particular, those that support storing, analysing and displaying data related to positions on the Earth's surface to understand spatial patterns and relationships.

What will I learn?

Under the guidance of our internationally recognised staff, you will:

  • be equipped with critical theoretical knowledge

  • develop strong practical skills

  • undertake supervised independent research

We continually refresh the programme to keep you abreast of the latest technologies and anticipate trends and innovative ideas essential in this rapidly growing sector.

You will gain extensive experience applying Earth observation data 'in the field', including remote sensing. In addition, you will benefit from access to projects that involve the use of equipment such as survey-grade GPS and Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles.

In addition, you will become part of our unique Edinburgh Earth Observatory Seminar Series. We run these events in association with AGI-Scotland (Association For Geographic Information). The events will enable you to meet a range of professionals and become exposed to new ideas, together with educational and job opportunities.

Who will teach me?

Our teaching staff are very research active and benefit from international reputations. We are often invited to engage with other academic institutions, organisations and companies around the world. In addition, we are developing new Earth observation applications and publishing in top tier journals regarding the cryosphere, biosphere and atmosphere.

We have staff who are part of the science teams for:

  • European Space Agency's 'Biomass Mission'

  • NASA's GEDI LiDAR on the international space station

We are also working in international groups to develop the next generation of satellite sensors.

We also promote a culture of entrepreneurism. For example, several of our staff and former students have set up new Earth observation companies. These companies contribute to Edinburgh's "space ecosystem", which currently includes more than eight space data companies, who can also act as dissertation hosts.

We are also involved with the Bayes Centre within the University, an international leader in data-driven innovation.

Our staff are engaged in organisations such as the UK Space Agency and the Intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), which shape the UK and worldwide policy on Earth observation.


University of Edinburgh 


University of EdinburghBe open to possibilities. Be open to the extraordinary.
The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 15th in the 2023 QS World University Rankings Our entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture attracts students and staff from across the globe, creating a unique Edinburgh experience. Whatever excites you, whatever your ambition, whatever makes you ‘you’, we know one thing; nothing ordinary comes from this extraordinary place.

Our students have been making an impact on the world for more than 400 years. Each year is different – every …

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