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Master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Become an expert in management, analysis and processing of geospatial information.....


  • Credits 60 ECTS
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Places: 25
  • Modality: Class attendance
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Academic Director:  Jesús Álvarez Mozos
  • Place of teaching: Pamplona (Campus Arrosadia)


Nowadays, most of the decisions made on a world-wide basis in areas as diverse as the environment, agriculture, politics or economics, are based on information and georeferenced data.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) make up the tools used to solve real problems in complex contexts, with an increasing presence in companies and public and private organizations.

Global challenges like the climate change, security, development cooperation, the scarcity of natural resources, or the smooth transition towards the information society, have triggered a clear expansion in the GIS and Remote Sensing sector. The proof of this lies in the nearly three hundred earth observation satellites in orbit at the moment, or initiatives like the European Union`s Copernicus (Earth observation) and Galileo (geolocation) programmes, which will be soon fully operational.

In addition, the development of GIS and Remote Sensing is understood to be an engine for scientific progress, innovation and economic growth, which will necessarily result in the creation of qualified employment.

The master degree in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing from the Public University of Navarre (MScGIS&RS) is an official Master degree verified by the ANECA, with a twofold professional and research orientation, which can be taken in one academic year, as a full-time student (60 ECTS) or in two or more academic years as a part-time student.

This master degree is geared to university graduates of diverse backgrounds interested in the management, analysis and processing of geospatial information.

The study programme is structured in three compulsory modules: (1) GIS (2) Remote Sensing and 3) research tools and statistical analysis.

The contents are completed with the carrying out of an optional internship in external companies or public instituions or, instead, with optional courses on GIS and Remote Sensing applications. Finally, students have to do a Final Master Thesis with 12 ECTS.

Teaching is given in a theoretical/practical manner using industry-leading software (both free and proprietary software) and focused on real case studies. For this purpose, there is a highly qualified teaching team made up of internationally recognized professors doctors with a wide experience in research, reinforced by professionals from the private sector, who contribute their expertise in some specific subjects.





  • To possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity for originality in the development and/or application of ideas, often in a research context.
  • To know how to apply the knowledge acquired and to have an ability to solve problems in new or unfamiliar environments within wider contexts (or multidisciplinary) related to their field of study.
  • To be able to integrate knowledge and to face the complexity of formulating opinions based on information that might be incomplete or limited, including reflections on the social and ethical liabilities related to the application of their knowledge and opinions.
  • To know how to communicate one’s conclusions, knowledge and ultimate reasons and to be able to convey them to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and without ambiguities.
  • To possess learning skills that permit students to go on studying in a way that will be mostly self-directed or autonomous.


  • To work in GIS and Remote Sensing projects in multi-disciplinary teams contributing to the satisfactory working of the group using logical reasoning and accepting or rejecting the arguments of others, always showing mutual respect.
  • To have sufficient autonomy to organize and plan a professional research or technological development project, in the field of GIS and Remote Sensing.
  • To acquire documentation, technological watch and information access skills, which equip students with the capacity to investigate and continue their training in GIS and Remote Sensing permanently and autonomously.


  • To interpret, integrate and transmit the theoretical and methodological concepts on which GIS and RS techniques are based.
  • To discriminate and categorize geospatial data depending on their nature, the procedures for their conversion and the advanced processing techniques applicable to them.
  • To integrate tools and GIS functions to store, manage, analyze and process geospatial data for extracting relevant information for decision making in different areas, contexts and organizations.
  • To design, programme and employ efficiently the algorithms, data types and structures most suitable for the solution of spatial analysis problems.
  • To create, query and analyze spatial databases and to master procedures for the processing of the information stored in them.
  • To locate, view and download information from a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) using OGC services, and to incorporate it to GIS projects and tools.
  • To programme new GIS applications in the web and to customize existing applications for the digital publication of the spatial information created to a non-specialist audience.
  • To assess and select judiciously and well-founded the observation techniques and processing algorithms necessary for the correction of distortions associated with the acquisition process of both satellite and aerial images.
  • To use advanced techniques and methods for processing satellite and aerial images to extract information for understanding complex and dynamic phenomena.
  • To apply the acquired knowledge on spatial-temporal statistics and to solve the statistical problems that may arise in the GIS by the employment, the programming and the application of the relevant techniques.

Job opportunities

The Master will provide students with advanced training in a subject with clear growth prospects, therefore significantly increasing their employment possibilities.

The demand for professionals with abilities in the handling, management and processing of geospatial information has steadily grown in the past few years, and it is foreseen that this trend will increase in the near future.

The growing availability of georeferenced data requires experts capable of transforming those data into useful information for both the public and the private sectors. In the latter case, the takeoff of services based on browsers and georeferenced information is an example of the enormous interest (and economic potential) of linking relevant information on consumers and their geographical area.

This Master aims to contribute to the development of the GIS and Remote Sensing sector in Navarre (adding to initiatives like SITNA, IDENA or the development of INSPIRE regulations). Also noteworthy is the strategic nature in Navarre of sectors like the agri-food, renewable energy, environment or tourism, which have all clear applications of GIS and Remote Sensing.

However, it is hoped that Master graduates will develop their professional career not only in their closest geographical area but also in other regions of Spain or abroad; both in the public and private sectors.


Application and admission

Access to official Master degree studies requires (according to the provisions of Art. 16 of the Royal Decree 1393/2007 of 29 October, modified by 861/2010, on the organization of official university studies) the applicant to hold an official Spanish university qualification, or any other issued by a higher education institution in the European Higher Education Area, which enables the access to Master degree studies in the issuing country.    

Similarly, holders of qualifications from education systems outside the European Higher Education Area can enter the Master studies without needing any official accreditation of their degrees after the University has verified that those qualifications certify a level of education equivalent to the corresponding official Spanish degree and that the country issuing them validates them for admission into post-graduate studies. Access by this route does not in any way imply any official certification of the previous qualification held by the prospective Master student, or its recognition for any other effects than that of studying the Master. 

To access any of the Master degrees offered at the UPNA it is necessary to make a pre-enrolment during the period officially allowed, published every year at the university website. This system permits a better management both for the university and the student. The latter will present a single pre-enrolment application in which s/he can indicate a certain Master degree course. The student can only enrol in a single university Master degree course. The admission of students to any Official Master degree depends on the decision of the Academic Commission of each Master. This commission will stablish the list of of admitted students who need to take the Training Complement Basics of Programming depending on their background records.


Requirements for Admission to the Master degree

According to Article 17 of the Royal Decree 1393/2007, of 29 October, on the planning of official university studies, the entity in charge of the admission process of students is the Academic Commission of the Master. That Commission, according to the rules of Official Master degrees of the Public University of Navarre, approved by the Governing Board on 28 July, 2009, and modified in the Governing Board on 4 October 2011, will be made up of at least three Master degree professors. One of the latter will act as the Academic Director of the Master degree, another as Quality Manager, another as Secretary and the rest, if any, on condition of Members. The Commission has the task of indicating the specific requirements of access and admission to the Master degree, equal opportunity of access to the qualified students, with special attention to non-discrimination for reasons of gender or disability.

The admission procedure will be carried out in accordance with the calendar approved by the Governing Board for each academic year. The students interested have to fill in their application form, including their academic record, and send it within the deadlines established. The Academic Commission of the Master degree will evaluate applications and set up the list of admitted students. Students will be admitted according to the following scale:

Academic record of the qualification of the graduate degree (or its equivalent) giving access to the Master (up to 4 points). Weighting coefficients could be assigned on the scores of the record for those degrees that do not fit in with the Master degree`s subject matter.
Professional experience (up to 2 points).  0.5 points per year will be valued, weighting the appropriateness of the professional career with the contents of the Master degree.
Participation in Research Projects (up to 2 points).  The participation in research projects will be valued by weighting the time scope, the topic, degree of participation and funding.
Other merits (up to 2 points). Merits not contemplated in previous sections will be valued (weighting by their adjustment to the topic of the Master), among others:

o   Knowledge of foreign languages (demonstrated by an official certificate or by courses attended).

o   Courses attended or given

o   Publications

o   Certified research grants

o   Additional qualifications

The selection process will be carried out by the Academic Commission.

In the case of students with specific educational aids derived from some disability, systems and procedures that include suitable support and assessment services will be established. These will assess the need for possible curriculum adaptations, itineraries or alternative studies. Students` admission will in no case imply any modification in the academic, and, if it applies, professional effects, which correspond to the previous qualification possessed by the student, or its recognition for any other purpose than that of the Master degree studies.

Attention to disabled persons


Master Programme Structure

The study programme has 60 ECTS credits, spread over two semesters.  One ECTS credit corresponds to 25 hours of student work; 10 of these are classroom hours and 15 correspond to personal (self-study) work. This work load is structured in five modules, as shown in the following table:


Type  Créditos
MODULE 2: REMOTE SENSING Compusory      15
MODULE 5: MASTER THESIS Compusory     12

Each module consists of a series of themes and each theme of a series of courses of 3 ECTS each. Module 1 is compulsory and the themes and courses composing it are detailed as follows:

MODULE 1. Themes / Courses Semester  Credits
GIS Analysis
1.1.A. Geographical Information Systems
1.1.B. Advanced spatial analysis using GIS tools


Databases and Spatial Data Infrastructures
1.2.A. Geographical databases
1.2.B. Spatial Data Infrastructures and publication of services



GIS Programming
1.3.A. Advanced programming in Python
1.3.B. Development of web mapping applications



Module 2 is also compulsory and is composed of 2 themes and a total of five courses:

MODULE 2. Themes / Courses Semester  Credits
Processing of remote sensing images
2.1.A. Optical remote sensing
2.1.B.  RADAR and LiDAR remote sensing
2.1.C. Very high spatial resolution images: photogrammetry and UAVs


Extraction of information from remote images
2.2.A. Extraction of information from aerial and satellite images
2.2.B. Intelligent systems for the extraction of information



Module 3 is formed by a first theme/course on research in GIS and Remote Sensing and a second theme on spatial and spatio-temporal statistics.

MODULE 3. Themes / Courses Semester Credits
Research in GIS and Remote Sensing
3.1.A. Research techniques in GIS and Remote Sensing



Statistical analysis and prediction
3.2.A. Statistical analysis and prediction of spatial data
3.2.B. Statistical analysis and prediction of spatio-temporal data



Finally, module 4 gives students 2 options involving different GIS and Remote Sensing applications. They can choose between doing an internship on an external company or institution or taking 2 courses of 3 ECTS on specific applications:

MODULE 4. Themes / Courses Semester  Credits
4.1. Applications
4.1.A. Internship
4.1.B. Transport network planning and route management
4.1.C. Management of emergencies and natural disasters




The students enrolled in internship on external companies will be able to establish their destination priority in a list of firms that will be announced in advance. The assignment is done according to the average score obtained in the ordinary evaluation of the 1st semester courses. There is also the possibility that the students themselves propose an internship destination. In this case, it will be the Academic Commission of the Master who will accept or deny the proposals in a reasoned manner. Finally, under exceptional circumstances, and with the prior agreement of the Academic Commission, these internships could be done in the university`s research groups, in the framework of research projects or contracts.


Master Thesis

After obtaining all the credits of compulsory and optional courses in the Study Programme, students will carry out a Final Master Thesis of 12 ECTS duration. This will consist of the writing, presentation and defence before a university board, individually, of an original piece of work. This work, of either a research or professional nature, should synthesize the skills acquired along the Master. To select the Master Thesis topic, course 3.1.A “Research techniques” is considered to be a key one, as in this course students will be introduced to current topics in the field, documentation skills, information search and technical writing.

Training complements

A training complement will be offered in Basics of Programming for those students admitted whose profile does not match the Graduate in Engineering (or equivalent) and who do not have the required background in Programming.

The training complement is equivalent to the programming module that engineering graduates take in basic computer science courses. It will have an extension of 3 ECTS credits and will be taught during the first semester. The Academic Commission will establish the list of admitted students who need to take the Training Complement: Basics of Programming depending on their background records.


Course list

  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Advanced spatial analysis using GIS tools
  • Geographical databases
  • Spatial Data Infrastructures and publication of services
  • Advanced programming in Python
  • Development of web mapping applications
  • Optical remote sensing
  • RADAR and LiDAR remote sensing
  • Very high spatial resolution images: photogrammetry and UAVs
  • Extraction of information from aerial and satellite images
  • Intelligent systems for information extraction
  • Research techniques in GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Statistical analysis and prediction of spatial data
  • Statistical analysis and prediction of spatio-temporal data
  • Internship
  • Transport network planning and route management
  • Management of emergencies and natural disasters
  • Master Thesis
  • Programming basics (training complement)

List of Core and Compulsory subjects

Term Code Subject Credits Span. Basq. Engl. Fren.
Anual 73123 Final Master's Project 12
1º S 73114 Geographic Information Systems 3
1º S 73115 Advanced spatial analysis using GIS 3
1º S 73116 Geographical databases 3
1º S 73117 Spatial Data Infrastructures and Services publication 3
1º S 73118 Advanced programming with Python 3
1º S 73120 Optical remote sensing 3
1º S 73121 RADAR and LiDAR remote sensing 3
1º S 73127 Research in GIS and remote sensing 3
1º S 73128 Statistical Analysis and Prediction of Spatial Data 3
2º S 73119 Development of web mapping applications 3
2º S 73124 Very high resolution imagery: photogrammetry and UAS 3
2º S 73125 Analysis of remotely sensed images: information extraction 3
2º S 73126 Intelligent systems for knowledge acquisition 3
2º S 73129 Statistical Analysis and Prediction of Spatio-Temporal Data 3
Term Code Subject Credits Span. Basq. Engl. Fren.
1º S 73132 Programming fundamentals 3


So far, internships agreements have been signed with the following organizations.





Calendar, Schedule and Classrooms

2016-16 Academic Year: The master will be taught from  Monday to Thursday, from 16:00 to 20:00


Timing organization:

Quality and documents accrediting the qualification

Official certification documents of the Master degree


Work team of the Master degree

The Master degree (and its VERIFICA report) were designed by the Master Work Team (MWT) made up of the Director of the Technical School of Agricultural Engineering (ETSIA), four members of the teaching staff, two students, two graduates and four outside professionals:

  • Alberto Enrique Martín, Director, ETSIA
  • Jesús Álvarez Mozos, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Projects and Rural Engineering
  • María González de Audicana, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Projects and Rural Engineering
  • Humberto Bustince Sola, Professor in the Dept. of  Automatics and Computing
  • Ana Fernández Militino, Professor in the Dept. of Statistics and Operative Research
  • Javier Contín Vital, Student at ETSIA
  • Fernando Zulategui Beñaran, Student at ETSIA
  • Goizeder Barberena Ibáñez, Graduate of ETSIA and Technician in biomass energy at CENER
  • Alfredo López Mendiburu, Graduate of ETSIA  and Technician in Supplies at Acciona Energia
  • Pablo Echamendi Lorente, Outside professional, in charge of the “Integration and  GIS Services” area at Tracasa
  • Miguel Ángel Jiménez de Cisneros, Outside professional, Director of Transport Service, Government of Navarre.
  • Fernando Alonso Pastor, outside professional, Head of Section of Territorial Information Systems, Government of Navarre.

The designation of the Master Work Team can be consulted  here

Quality Assurance System

In the Public University of Navarre there is a general procedure for the evaluation of progress and of learning results. This procedure is included in the so-called System of Internal Quality Assurance (SGIC) of the degree, described in this link

In accordance with the SGIC of the Master, the Commission for Quality Assurance of the Faculty (CGCC), in this case of the Technical School of Agricultural Engineers (ETSIA), is in charge of ensuring the progress and learning results of the students. The CGCC of ETSIA is conformed by the following Members of the Commission.

For that purpose, each academic year, the Quality Manager of the Master (RCT) will request the teachers to publish, at the beginning of the semester, the Teaching Guide of their course. In that Guide the objectives to be reached by each course with relation to their skills will be specified, as well as the indicators for their assessment and the assessment procedures proposed. At the end of each semester, the teachers of each theme or course will, together with the RCT, analyze the implementation of the activities set out in their teaching guides, along with the achievement of the learning results planned.

The RCT will present an annual Following-up Self-report to the CGCC, which will analyze the evolution of the results, verify the students` skill acquisition process, and, if necessary, will draw up an Improvement Plan, to introduce any possible improvement proposals. All of this will be studied and, if appropriate, approved by the CGCC. Once approved, it will be transmitted by the RCT to the teachers of the courses.

The UPNA publishes annually the Performance Indicators of the different degrees. To obtain this information press here

Academic Commission for the Master degree

  •  Academic Director : Jesús Álvarez Mozos
  •  Quality Manager of the Master: María González de Audicana Amenabar
  •  Secretary: Miguel A. Campo Bescós