Python for Geospatial Hydrological Applications

In this course you'll learn an essential skill for researchers dealing with (spatial) data. With scripting you can better control your analysis using command line tools. You can also automate your procedures by writing batch scripts. Furthermore, you can process your data and make models using Python and its useful libraries.

For whom?

The course is designed for professionals (engineers and scientists) active in the water sector, especially those involved in using simulation models for water management.

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 26 September 2022
End: 30 September 2022
Deadline IHE application: 25 August 2022 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 1000

VAT is not included in the course fee

Computer simulation models help us to improve our understanding of processes in the natural and human environment and their interactions. Furthermore, these models can be used to predict future changes. This course will give you an introduction to constructing your own models using the PCRaster Python modelling language. With this modelling language, domain experts can build powerful models of spatial-temporal processes without having in depth knowledge of programming. PCRaster provides the building blocks at the level of understanding of the domain expert. During the lectures you will learn the concept of spatial-temporal GIS-based modelling. During the computer exercises you will develop practical modelling skills using the example models on snowmelt, forest fires and seed dispersal.


It is expected that participants have good computer skills and basic knowledge of GIS.

Course content

In Module 1 you'll learn how to use the command line. That's an important skill needed for programming. You'll also learn how to use GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Layer) from the command line to convert raster and vector formats and to reproject GIS files.

In Module 2 you'll learn the basics of the Python programming language. You'll learn this through a Jupyter Notebook.

Next, in module 3 you'll work with PCRaster for map algebra. You'll learn how to use map algebra to find accessible wells, to do spatial interpolations of borehole data and to derive streams and delineate a catchment from a digital elevation model.

Module 4 introduces you to the PCRaster Dynamic Modelling Framework that you can use to make spatial temporal models with Python. You'll work with the rainfall-runoff model STREAM in the tutorial. In the last module you'll learn more about PyQGIS, the Python library used in QGIS. You'll also learn how to use the QGIS operations with PyQGIS outside of the QGIS interface. In the modules is explained how to install the necessary software. We'll use QGIS and the Anaconda distribution. We'll work with several Python libraries in an environment that you'll learn to create.


  • Interactive lectures;
  • Computer exercises with open source -freely available- software only.



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