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TRANSMOUNT - Transitions in Mountain Environments

Explore the dynamic mountain environments and territories in a multidisciplinary formula, between climate change, globalization and sustainability issues!

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CIVIS focus area
Climate, environment and energy
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
  • PhD candidates/students
Field of studies
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
1 October 2024 - 28 February 2025

The Blended Intensive Program (BIP) TRANSMOUNT – Transitions in mountain environments aims to provide the students conceptual and methodological tools to address the current environmental, social and economic issues, in the context of climate change, specific natural resource management, guiding the searching for sustainable solutions, between environmental protection/conservation, management and local to regional scale integrated development.

It follows three thematic axes and one methodological objective:

- Axis 1: Hydro geomorphological processes and risks

- Axis 2: Landscape changes in agro-sylvo-pastoral mountain systems

- Axis 3: Mountain heritage and tourism economy

Main topics addressed

  • An overview of the current environmental and social economic issues of the mountain regions between climatic change, risks and sustainable development, between resources, environmental dynamics and scientific understanding of the specific phenomenology.
  • A comparative overview of the specific mountain issues between the Alps, the Carpathians and the Mediterranean mountains and a synthetic interpretation of common and specific aspects as research hypotheses.
  • Geomorphic risk typology and analysis starting from main morphodynamic features in the mountain areas. Definitions, methodologies, assessment, modelling and representations.
  • Hydrological processes in mountain regions, risks and river management. Mountain water resources between natural parameters, usage and sustainable solutions.
  • Climate change and ecological impact in mountain areas. Ecological consequences, biodiversity and future scenarios.
  • Territorial dynamics in mountain areas. Mountain resources, mountain economy, effects on communities, risks and sustainable development.
  • Field techniques and photogrammetry to study mountain processes. High resolution field spatial data collection and interpretation in mountain landscape analysis and modelling.
  • Remote sensing and GIS integration in coping for mountain regions specific issues. Satellite data processing and information production for landscape change modelling and interpretation.
  • Mountain risks: management and perception. Definition, representation and search for solutions of specific issues for a sustainable development.
  • Mountain ecological features – mountain fauna. Between zonation, adaptation and protection issues.
  • Mountain pastoralism. Traditional activity and current changes in an adaptive context, between climate change and a sustainable usage of resources.
  • Mountain geoheritage and tourism. From landforms to geopatrimony, from scientific knowledge to tourist attractions, from perception to mountain tourism sustainable development.
  • Mountain landscapes from trajectories to perception. From natural features to historical and current dynamics. From scientific to citizen perception.
  • Fieldwork on selected topics.

Learning outcomes

By following the course students will:

  • Acquire knowledge and skills that will allow them to carry out research in the mountain environment that could provide solutions to the various problems faces.
  • Achieve interdisciplinary approaches in complementary mountainous areas like the Alps, the Carpathians and the Mediterranean mountains.
  • Learning or enhancing methodological instruments and techniques adapted to mountain environmental and social- economic issues of the mountain areas (applied in field and laboratory work), from remote sensing and GIS to terrain sampling and interpretation/analysis of data collections.
  • Qualitative and quantitative modelling of mountain environmental and social economic issues for an objective identification of functionalities and dysfunctionalities, of threats and risks in a spatial and temporal context with potential future projections.
  • Interactive developing of scientific approaches integrating landscape protection with social and economic development, based on sustainability principles, on an increasing mobility having potential implications on mountain local communities in decision making process.
  • Part of these issues are to be discussed with representatives of  local authorities and stakeholders as well during the physical component of the course. This will take part in Sinaia town and resort, Romanian Carpathians, Upper Prahova River Valley (750-1000 m altitude), including the mountains of Bucegi (2000-2500 m) and Baiu (1700- 1900 m).


Dates: 1 October 2024 - 28 February 2025  Total workload: 127 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 5*
Location: Bucharest Language: English (B2)

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

The physical mobility section of the course will be running from 4 to 8 November 2024 in Bucharest (Sinaia Research Resort, University of Bucharest, Romanian Carpathians, Upper Prahova Valley).


The activity schedule tries to adapt to the topics presented above, following the three main axes of the CIVIS BIP TRANSMOUNT program. This formula is organized between the five days eight hour time slot, with short field trips and field work in the morning and workshop activities at the research facility in the afternoon. As the autumn weather could change we are aware that the activities could be adapted but fulfilled according to the CIVIS BIP initial plan.


  • Day 1 (4 November 2024). Geomorphology and risks. Lecture - theoretical aspects and examples (4 hours); fieldwork on Bucegi Mts. plateau (2000-2300 m) at Babele geosite, - land degradation, tourism impact - photogrammetric survey, soil sampling and erosion intensity assessment (4 hours).
  • Day 2 (5 November 2024). Hydrology, water resources and risks. Lecture on theoretical issues (4 hours), fieldwork on Prahova River floodplain (4 hours, focusing on confluence areas, selected hydrometric point data processing and prognosis, anthropogenic changes and power station impact.


  • Day 3 (6 November 2024). Biodiversity, forestry and sustainability. Lecture on theoretical aspects and examples (4 hours); fieldwork (4 hours) in Valea Rea, Baiu Mts. - biogeography observations on zonation and canopies, including fauna, logging effects and deforestation etc.; land cover remote sensing mapping and GNSS survey + a possible meeting with one Bucegi Natural Park representative or a forestry inspector.
  • Day 4 (7 November 2024) Mountain agriculture, from tradition to the latest challenges. Theoretical issues lecture, examples (4 hours); fieldwork on a mountain pasture in Baiu Mts. above 1400 m, near Sinaia or Azuga (4 hours), with observations on impact and sustainability + mapping.


  • Day 5. (8 November 2024). Mountain heritage and tourism. Lecture (4 hours) on geosites and tourism, fieldtrip on urban planning with Sinaia town urban authorities (4 hours). Development of sustainable urban planning scenarios for local issues mitigation in GIS environments.

Additional information on the physical component:
Sinaia Ecological Research Resort facility of the University of Bucharest ( offers accommodation for participants in double bed rooms in modernized rooms. It is situated at walking distance from Sinaia railway station on Bucharest to Brașov mainline and town center (30-40 minutes) in a quiet urban area close to Prahova River bank, to the foot of Baiu Mountains (Cumpătu area).
There is an amphitheater space with all conditions, including Wi-fi and a dining room (meals to be ordered before for the group with options). Participants need to bring if possible their laptop for classes, if possible, as we have not a computer network at the facility.
We strongly recommend to all students and participants to bring basic mountain equipment for field trips and especially mountain boots, hot clothes, caps, a light bag pack etc., as we can expect for changing weather conditions and especially for wind, rain or light and humid snow, humidity on pastures and mud etc. We recommend as well to bring a camera for digital photos to comment later on arrival to our research facility. Students with medical problems must warn us to adapt their program during a part of the fieldtrips.
Sinaia town can be reached from Bucharest by train on mainline to Brașov and Transylvania. For participants arriving by plane to Bucharest International Airport Henri Coanda (OTP) it is strongly recommended to use the CFR national railway company services (, from Henri Coandă airport – see (railway is up in the front of main terminal building) to Bucharest Gara de Nord/Bucuresti Nord main station (travel time 25-30 min.). Here departs the train to Brașov with stop in Sinaia (Inter Regio Trains are the fastest connection, travel time one hour and a half). Train tickets for both trains can be purchased online ( as well on railway station desks by searching train itineraries Aeroport Henri Coanda to Bucuresti Nord (from airport to main station) and Bucuresti Nord to Sinaia for the IR train.
There is a town bus (T2) from Sinaia downtown (central park) to Cumpatu district (end station close to our research resort) where is the research resort but with a limited connection time (, with tickets available online on website, as well. Bus stop is called Policlinica Gara and can be reached by walking, after crossing the main street where the railway station is to the Town Park Corner (to the right). There are also taxis in the front of the Sinaia railway station but sometimes expensive (destination Cumpatu Statiunea Zoologica). Walking is another possibility (take care on traffic when crossing main road on special crossing places) – 30 to 40 minutes.
Sinaia town is a famous mountain resort for skiing during winter and for mountain trips and relax in summer and a site of historical and cultural significance ( We recommend visits after work sessions to differerent sights like Sinaia Monastery (1690), Peleș Castle – former residence of the Kings of Romania (1881), Sinaia town historical museum or the George Enescu composer house close to the research facility.
If the weather conditions are not suitable for fieldwork activities in the selected sites, the home organizer reserves the right to adapt the schedule in order to reach our objectives for the physical part of the CIVIS BIP course TRANSMOUNT.

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 1 October 2024 to 28 February 2025.

The virtual component of the course follows three thematic axes and one methodological objective

Axis 1: Hydrogeomorphological processes and risks.

Axis 2: Landscape changes in agro-sylvo-pastoral mountain systems.

Axis 3: Mountain heritage and tourism economy.

Methodological objective - combining remote sensing and field research in mountain areas.

Virtual courses are organized between the three axis mentioned, being combined with virtual workshops/webinars in order to enhance the transfer of knowledge for students in an interactive formula (depending on themes). Our goal is to search for an optimum balance between classical lectures (interdisciplinary approach of theoretical background for all students) and practical workshops, where trainers intention is to integrate notions/terminology/classification/models etc. with the presentation of an author research paper(s) as a mean to explain the already presented aspects. Students interact by questions and finding complementary examples regarding the use of methodologies/techniques etc. in mountain research subject with a potential to apply in the physical part of the CIVIS BIP course. Virtual meeting will focus on practical significance subjects for searching feasible solutions in mountain environmental and even social-economical specific issues in the context of local and regional sustainable decision making process for planning and management.

Planning of Virtual Component activities

TRANSMOUNT CIVIS BIP – Trainers and Schedule Proposal by Week

  • Week 1 – B. Mihai (UB) and the CIVIS BIP team. Date 01-04 October 2024. Introductory lecture. Environmental and territorial issues in mountain areas. Specific issues in the Alps, Carpathians and Mediterranean mountains. Presentation of the BIP. N. Evelpidou (NKUA)- Geomorphological risks in mountains. Processes.
  • Week 2 – L. Zaharia and G.I. Toroimac (UB).  Date 07-11 October 2024. Hydrological processes, risks and river management in mountains. Processes.
  • Week 3 – C. Randin (UNIL). Date 14-18 October 2024. Climate change impacts on mountain ecology.
  • Week 4 – M. Hirczak (AMU). Date 21-25 October 2024.Territorial dynamics in mountain areas.
  • Week 5 – E. Vassilakis (NKUA). Date 28 October – 01 November 2024. Field techniques and photogrammetry to study mountain processes.
  • Week 6 – Date 04-08 November 2024. Field workshop in Sinaia, Romanian Carpathians, Upper Prahova Valley.
  • Week 7 – B. Mihai and M. Vîrghileanu (UB). Date 11-15 November 2024. Remote sensing and GIS to cope with mountain territorial issues.
  • Week 8 - A. Arnaud (AMU). Date 18-22 November 2024. Mountain risks: management and perception.
  • Week 9 – C. Georgiadis (NKUA). Date 25-29 November 2024. Mountain ecology: fauna.
  • Week 10 – B. Talon (AMU). Date 02-06 December 2024. Mountain pastoralism.
  • Week 11 – E. Reynard (UNIL). Date 09-13 December 2024. Mountain geoheritage and tourism.

Week 12 – M. Clivaz (UNIL). Date 16-20 December 2024. Mountain landscapes: trajectories and perception.

Last week in February 2025 (all CIVIS BIP team UB-UNIL-AMU-NKUA). Online workshop – project presentation by participants.


CIVIS BIP TRANSMOUNT is an interdisciplinary course addressed both to Master of Science students (in first or second year) and also PhD students (from the first year) enrolled in CIVIS member universities, with an academic backround and strong interest in the following scientific fields/themes: Environment and Agriculture - Agroeconomy, Agroecology, Natural sciences and Mathematics - Biology, Geology, Environmental sciences, Urbanism and Geography - Environmental Science, Ecology, Environmental Assessment and Modelling, Physical Geography, Human and Economic Geography, Tourism Geography, Urban, Regional and Territorial planning. Participants can also have complementary academic training, but the main condition is to be oriented to spatial and temporal analyses of natural, environmental and socioeconomic phenomena.

Proven interest in mountain related issues for Master dissertation or the PhD thesis specific work are also desirable.

English language (B2) is mandatory with skills in using scientific terminology/concepts and writing scientific documentations/texts of the requested projects for final assessment. All participants can use a selection of dictionaries/glossaries from reliable sources, recommended by trainers, as the themes of virtual courses/webinars/workshops and field component as the CIVIS BIP course address to students with complementary training covering different fields of knowledge like geography, geology, biology, ecology, social sciences, economics etc.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Students from CIVIS’ strategic partner universities in Africa cannot apply for participation in this course.

Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 28 April 2024. Don't forget to also include:

  • CV

  • Motivation Letter

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Basic academic training in the fields mentioned on the CIVIS BIP course website (BSc degree).
  • Participant motivation letter with relevant arguments concerning the interest focused on the CIVIS BIP course topics.
  • Recommendations from a supervisor from home university and department attesting the interest and the skills of the participant to attend the CIVIS BIP course.
  • Proven activities in the field of course like papers, projects, presentations etc.
  • Interest for mountain specific issues in current research activities for MSc degree dissertation or PhD thesis.
  • Ood language skills (official certification is non mandatory).
  • Interest in fieldwork activities.

Apply now


Final evaluation is based on the small groups project developed by participating students from CIVIS universities and from University of Bucharest as well.

Titles and objectives are to be defined after the physical part of the CIVIS BIP, as there is a possibility to start connecting theoretical issues with ground truth features characteristics and dynamics. Interdisciplinary subjects are encouraged (ex. geomorphology and ecology, remote sensing and mountain economy, geomorphology and tourism etc.).

During the last part of the CIVIS BIP course, especially designed for group work (40 h) the students receive guidelines for their projects. Although it is a group made project, we encourage the division between sub-themes or sub-topics but we appreciate with a supplementary number of points the innovative and creative aspects (ex. original explanation of phenomena or new solutions for current environmental and territorial issues).

The assessment is done first by the group of trainers, supervised by the coordinator, on the basis of uploaded project documents, including text and figures like maps, diagrams and photos. There is a scale from one to ten to be used with a minimum five points to obtain.

The contributions can receive more points if better adapted to current mountain issues discussed, if data production is more than 50% original, if analysis and interpretation returns interdisciplinary aspects to be applied as potential solutions to mountain specific issues.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

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Bogdan-Andrei Mihai (coordinator of CIVIS BIP course)

Bogdan Andrei Mihai is Professor at the University of Bucharest, Romania, Faculty of Geography, Department of Geomorphology-Pedology-Geomatics. He studied Geography and Geomorphology-Pedology at Bucharest and got a MSc degree in Geoecology and PhD in Geography at the same university, specialization stage at the Institute of Alpine Geography, University Joseph Fourier of Grenoble, France and Abisko Research Station of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is visiting professor at University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Institute of Geography and Sustainability. His research focuses on mountain landscape change modelling, mapping and analysis. Teaching subjects are focused on remote sensing image analysis, photogrammetry and digital mapping.

Emmanuel Reynard

Emmanuel Reynard is Professor of physical geography at the University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Switzerland, and director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mountain Research (CIRM) in Sion, Rhone Valley. He studied Geography at the University of Lausanne,  MSc and PhD degrees at the Faculty of Arts, Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia on Applications of GIS in water management. Research fields in mountain geomorphology, geoheritage and geoconservation, water resources management, landscape management. His teaching subjects are in physical geography, geomorphology, water management, landscape, mountain planning, geodiversity and geoconservation.

Niki Evelpidou

Niki Evelpidou is Professor in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment, with subject "Geomorphology and Geographical Information Systems". PhD at the the Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment of the University of Athens and the Faculty of Geoarchaeology of the University of Franche Comte of France. Fields of research in geomorphology, sea level changes, palaeogeography, geoarchaeology, spatial technologies, study and modeling of natural hazards.

Liliana Zaharia

Liliana Zaharia is Professor of hydrology at the University of Bucharest, Romania, Faculty of Geography, Department of Meteorology and Hidrology. She studied Geography at the University of Bucharest, PhD in Geography at the same university. Postdoctoral specialization courses in Hydrology and water resources management, Federal Politechnical School of Lausanne, University of Neuchatel and Federal Polytechnical School in Zürich, Switzerland. Director of research centre Water Resource Management and Hydrological Risks, University of Bucharest. Fields of research in hydrology, water resource and management, hydrological hazards and risks, phyiscal geography.

Gabriela Toroimac

Gabriela Ioana Toroimac is lecturer at the University of Bucharest, Romania, Faculty of Geography, Department of Meteorology and Hidrology. She studied Geography at the University of Bucharest, PhD in Geography at the same university, Master Degree in Hydrology, University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography and University of Lille 1, France, PhD degree in Geography in international co-tutelle at the Universities of Bucharest and Lille 1. Research interests in hydromorphology, flood risk, water balance. Teaching experience in hydrology, hydrological hazards, management of natural and anthropic risks.

Cristophe Randin

Christophe Randin is lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Biology and Medicine, Department of Ecology and Evolution and member of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mountain Research (CIRM), University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is PhD at the University of Lausanne and post doctoral fellow at INSTAAR (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, United States) and postdoctoral research assistant, University of Basel, Switzerland. Research interests in mountain and alpine biodiversity and ecology, predictive modelling of climate change impact on plant species, plant phenology and niche ecology, citizen science and crowdsourcing.

Maud Hirczak

Maud Hirczak  is associate professor  of territorial planning and development at Aix-Marseille Université, France and researcher at the Economy and Sociology Laboratory (LEST UMR 7317) on third axis focused on Territories and productive models. She is MSc in Economical sciences and PhD at the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble, France at the PACTE research laboratory with postdoctoral specialization at research laboratories in Montpellier (CNRS ACTE) and Grenoble (Cermosem), France. Research interests in  rural geography, social geography, territorial economic development with themes in agriculture, social innovation, territorial planning and resource management, rural development in mountain areas.  Teaching experience in mountain territories and development policies.

Emmanuel Vassilakis

Emmanuel Vassilakis is the Director of the Remote Sensing Laboratory and the Head of the Geography and Climatology Section of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece,  Department of Geology and Geoenvironment. His education includes  BSc in Geology, MSc in Applied Geology and PhD in Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques. Postdoctoral studies at the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Department at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States) and Visiting Professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany. Research fields in Remote Sensing and GIS, with emphasis in optical satellite image processing especially in high resolution data interpretation, as well as in close range remote sensing methods (UAV and TLS) used in geomorphology and natural hazards. Teaching experience in Remote sensing, Geomorphology, GIS, innovative techniques in field mapping.

Marina Vîrghileanu  

Marina Vîrghileanu is lecturer at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Romania, Department of Geomorphology-Pedology-Geomatics. Se is BSc in Geography – Geomorphology and Pedology and MSc in GIS at the same university. Doctoral specialization at the University of Alcala, Spain, Faculty of  Geology, Geography and Environment, and postdoctoral research stages on GIS applications in natural parks from France (Massif Central) and Portugal (north). Specialization courses on Earth Observation at the European Space Agency (ESA) in radar image processing, radar polarimetry and Copernicus atmospheric Sentinel 5 data processing. Research interests in remote sensing, GIS, cartography and topography. Teaching experience in remote sensing and image analysis, photogrammetry, cartography and topography.

Aurelie Arnaud

Aurelie Arnaud is associate professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences – Institute of Urban Planning and Territorial Development, Aix-Marseille Université, France and researcher at the LIEU laboratory. Her education includes a BSc in engineering and territorial development at the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble and a MSc title in Mountain Region Management. She is PhD with the specialization in Human Sciences, Politics and Territories of the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble. Research interests are natural risks and social-urban aspects, mapping of human perception and risk threats, maping of complex geographic features.

Christos Georgiadis

Christos Georgiadis is teaching and Research Assistant, Section of Zoology-Marine Biology. Department of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He is BSc in Animal Science at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom and  MSc in  Pest Management, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He is PhD in Entomology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,. Postdoctoral specialization at the United Arab Emirates University as instructor of Invertebrate Biology, Department of Biology, College of Science. Research interests in entomology, invertebrate biology, ecology, biogeography, terrain sampling and museal conservation (researcher and curator of Zoological Museum of the university. Teaching interests - laboratories of Zoology, Zoological Diversity, Ichthyology, Biological Oceanography.

Brigitte Talon

Brigitte Talon is  Associate Professor at Aix-Marseille Université, Mediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and Marine-Continental Ecology, France. She is MSc in Continental Mediterranean and Mountain ecosystems at the Aix Marseille University – St. Jerome and PhD in Biology – ecology of populations at the same university, with a Postdoctoral specialization at the University of Laval, Quebec, Canada – Laboratory of Northern Researches, currently PhD supervisor in Ecology at the Aix Marseille University. Teaching interests in ecology-general, plant, forest and applied including mountain ecology, pedology. Research interests in environmental history and landscape dynamics, biogeography, palaeoanthracology, climate crisis and eco-socio systems vulnerability, forest biodiversity dynamics.

Melanie Clivaz

Melanie Clivaz is researcher at the University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Interdisciplinary Centre for Mountain Research (CIRM) in Sion, Rhone Valley, Switzerland. She is BSc in Physical geography and MSc in Geomorphology and development of mountain regions at the University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography and Sustainability. Research interests in mountain geotourism, mountain landscape and sustainability, citizen science.

Fieldwork instructors from host university

Ionuț Săvulescu

Ionuț Săvulescu is associate professor at the University of Bucharest, Department of Geomorphology-Pedology-Geomatics. He is BSc in Geography – Geomorphology and Pedology and PhD in geography with an awarded thesis by the Romanian Academy on forest ecology in Southern Carpathians. Specialization in terrain evaluation and land bonitation, University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Bucharest, Romania. He is currently the head of the Orșova Research and Didactic Resort of the University of Bucharest and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Geography. Research interests in soil geography, pedology, soil erosion mapping and modelling, forest ecology modelling and management, risk analysis in transportation. Teaching experience in soil geography, pedology, soil erosion modelling and mapping, land bonitation.

Bogdan Olariu

Bogdan Olariu is assistant collaborator at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Department of Geomorphology-Pedology-Geomatics. He is BSc and MSc in Geography of the environment, University of Bucharest. PhD in Geography at the same university on GIS application in Bucegi Natural Park. Doctoral stage at the University of Angers, France and postdoctoral research stages at the Institute of Archeology in Bucharest, Romania. Research interests in environmental mapping and modelling, remote sensing image change detection, GIS hazard and risk analysis. Teaching experience in remote sensing, GIS, photogrammetry.