UNITAR Online Catalogue

Introductory Course on Strengthening Capacities in the Use of Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) for Disaster Risk Management in Lao PDR

United Nations Satellite Centre UNOSAT

10 Feb 2023
Vientiane , Lao People’s Democratic Republic
5 Days
Programme Area
Satellite Imagery and Analysis
Event Focal Point Email
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Lao PDR)


UNOSAT is implementing The project “Strengthening Capacities in the Use of Geospatial Information for Improved Resilience in Asia-Pacific and Africa.” (2021-2024) intends to develop sustainable capacities and implement ad-hoc and tailored geospatial solutions. These can help to improve existing policy and decision-making processes to solve priority issues in the fields of Disaster Risk Reduction. Partnership with the government is crucial to the success of the project. UNOSAT aims to develop innovative capacity development solutions and geospatial services by integrating data, technology, knowledge, and people - custom-tailored to the country's needs. This 3-year long project builds on previous experiences and aims to further enhance capacities by leveraging technological advances and innovation and providing integrated geospatial solutions for improved decision making in the fields of Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Resilience, Environmental Preservation in the eight target countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, Lao PDR, Nigeria, Solomon Islands, Uganda, and Vanuatu.

LaoPDR is exposed to various natural hazards like flood, tropical depressions, landslides specially from hydrometeorological hazards which are likely to worsen with changing climate. For example, droughts are expected to significantly worse in the southern parts of the country. Precipitation is expected to increase by 10% to 30% with a temperature rise of 1 to 2 degrees (Government of Lao PDR, 2010) with that flooding and rainfall triggered landslides are likely to occur more frequently. The social and economic impact of disasters undermines the development progress and possibility of the country to achieve its target of graduating beyond the Least Developed Countries (LCDs) by 2024. The lack of reliable and updated baseline data for hazards, exposure, and vulnerability undermines the capacity at the national and subnational levels to plan and implement effective disaster risk management and climate resilience actions in both the short and long-term. Especially in the immediate aftermath of disasters there is lack of reliable information to support response activities.

Over the last two decades Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) has rapidly developed and is now being also called an “enabling technology” due to the benefit it offers across different application domains. GIT can help us to analyse and to better understand why and where things have happened in the past and it can also show us why and where they might happen in the future, allowing us to make informed decisions and better use of our resources. Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) can be a particularly useful tool in support to the whole DRM cycle starting from the preparedness to response, recovery, and reconstruction. GIT has proven to be efficient for implementing DRM activities at national, regional, and local scales. Quantifying risk and expected future losses are a key step in any DRM program. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, satellite based rapid response analysis enables the emergency response agencies to respond in a better and coordinated way.

Event Objectives

UNOSAT is offering an introductory course in the use of Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT) for disaster risk management with a focus on improving actionable information for emergency response.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course participants should be able to:

  1. Recall the basic concepts and terminology related to Geospatial Information Systems (GIS);
  2. Apply basic methods and functionalities of GIS software (QGIS) to analyse spatial data;
  3. Gather geospatial data and satellite image from the web;
  4. Perform spatial analysis to anticipate cyclone wind exposure;
  5. Extract flood extent from satellite imagery and calculate exposure statistics to support emergency response operations;
  6. Use smartphone applications to assess building and infrastructure damage in the field;

Produce maps for supporting decision making process.

Content and Structure

This introductory training aims to provide participants with lectures on key concepts on Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) and practical exercises to perform basic operations using open-source GIS software. By the end of this training, participants should be able to prepare maps and perform geospatial analysis, conduct field data collection using smartphone applications, and perform flood exposure assessment using satellite images.


Modality: This is a 5-day full-time face-to-face technical training divided into 6 modules. This face-to-face course will consist of lectures and GIS lab exercises using GIS datasets and real case scenarios, whereas 70% of the training content will focus on lab exercises while 30% will be lectures and discussions.

Expected Workload: 30 hours

Targeted Audience

The course is designed to accommodate selected participants with a variety of backgrounds and professional experiences, from the Department of Social Welfare and relevant ministries. The criteria for selection include:

  • 50% of female participants;
  • No previous GIS or Remote Sensing knowledge or experience are needed. Basic computer literacy is required.
  • Commitment to use the knowledge and skills acquired to support disaster risk management operations.

The number of participants is limited to 30 (max.) to ensure quality support provided by UNOSAT’s instructors.

Additional Information

The course will be delivered in Laotian & Thai. Training materials will be made available both in English and Laotian.  

GIS lab exercises will be based on Open Source QGIS software.