Department of Geoinformatics awarded two Jean Monnet Module projects

Tuesday 27 October 2020, 12:00 – Text: Šárka Chovancová

The Jean Monnet Module projects acquired by the Department of Geoinformatics at the UP Faculty of Science focus on Earth sciences in the context of European policies as well as the acquisition and analysis of European data. The projects support innovation, the mutual sharing of knowledge, and the dissemination of information on European issues in the field of Earth sciences.

“I am not aware that any field of science at Palacký University would be awarded similar projects focused on the EU. Such topics are usually more suitable for humanities scholars, lawyers, and sociologists. Acquiring these projects focused on legal, social and cultural aspects is therefore proof of the faculty’s interdisciplinary capacities. It is a chance to promote EU issues in the natural sciences as well,” said Vít Pászto from the Department of Geoinformatics, the chief investigator of this project.

A brand-new course will clarify the impact of EU policies on Earth sciences

The first three-year project focuses on the impact of EU policies on Earth sciences. The Department of Geoinformatics, the Department of Development & Environmental Studies, and the Department of Geography are involved. The project will be under the auspices of Ondrej Hamuľák, Vice-Dean of the UP Faculty of Law, a distinguished expert on European themes. “We will focus not only on how the various components of EU policies directly affect working with spatial data, but also on development aid, geography, and the creation of civil society and citizen participation in issues that concern each of us,” added Pászto.

Each department now specialises in a certain area of these EU aspects. So far, there has not been a comprehensive course that would focus on the impact of EU policies on Earth sciences. “Thanks to our project, we will create a new course, which is planned for the summer semester. The course will be composed of standard lectures and seminars which will cover topics that are close to the cooperating departments,” said Pászto.

These include, for example, essential knowledge about the European Union and its functioning, climate change issues, sources of EU geographic, satellite and statistical data, EU development aid and participatory methods, and active citizenship. In addition to standard teaching, the programme will also include round table discussions to which a guest working in one of the EU institutions will be invited, and an excursion to Prague, where the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) control centre is located. “This agency administers the entire Galileo satellite imagery programme in Europe. We will also create an online series of lectures, presentations and prepare workbooks, textbooks, and popular science publications. Everything in English,” added the investigator.


Innovative courses focused on data mining and geodata processing

Associate Professor Zdena Dobešová’s second project will modernise one existing course and introduce another new course at the Department of Geoinformatics. “It focuses on the innovation of the data mining course, i.e. the acquisition of knowledge from data, and on a new course focused on advanced geodata processing. Thanks to this, we will enrich the courses with practical examples of data processing available within the EU,” said Dobešová.

The course on advanced geodata processing offers more complex analyses of a huge amount of data about Europe. “This is valuable data for geoscientists, and the point is to teach students to process it properly and to obtain new information from it. Thanks to the modernisation, students will also get an idea of what data are collected and freely provided in Europe – for example, the Copernicus Urban Atlas and Eurostat data. We are therefore planning an open workshop, which every student will be able to attend. During the event, students will work with actual data and analysis. It will be a practical demonstration of what Earth science students discuss in these courses. Of course there will be publications, too,” said Dobešová.