• 125 Citations
  • 4 h-Index
1979 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Personal profile

I studied biology at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and obtained an MSc degree in 1979. Main subjects: Ecology, Vegetation science and Rural Survey. As part of my MSc study I followed the Rural Survey course in 1977-78 at the International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC), Enschede, with specialisation in vegetation and rangeland surveys. At the Netherlands Institute for Research of the Sea (N.I.O.Z.), Texel, The Netherlands, I followed in 1975 a course in Marine biology.

Especially thanks to what I learned at ITC, I was able to start my career in Remote Sensing and GIS in 1979. My first job was to make a vegetation and landscape map in the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). After mapping the vegetation of the coastal dunes in Holland I went back to YAR for rangeland studies. For the FAO I worked in regional forestry projects in Guinea and Thailand. After working in a watershed project, I started to work at ITC in 1991.


Remote Sensing; Geographical Information Systems; Forest Cover Monitoring; Vegetation, Land use and Landscape Mapping; Coral Reef Mapping; Rangeland Survey; Land Evaluation; Land Suitability Classification; Watershed Management; Environmental Impact Assessment; Digital Image Processing; Training in Aerial Photo Interpretation and Remote Sensing; Organizing Courses.

Knowledge field/theme (spearheads)

  • Land cover and natural vegetation survey and monitoring, using remote sensing and geographical information systems.
  • Survey and monitoring vegetation and/or land cover in forests, savannah, rangelands and wetlands, using remote sensing and geographical information systems.
  • Application of landscape ecological knowledge in spatial analysis with remote sensing and GIS techniques for the management of natural areas.
  • Survey and monitoring of marine benthic communities (corals and mussel beds), using remote sensing and geographical information systems.


  • NRM Remote Sensing & GIS core modules
  • NRM Ecology and vegetation
  • NRM PM fieldwork group project

Research interests

  • Detection of mussels with satellite image
  • Wetland and coral reef mapping
  • Comparing vegetation mapping accuracies from different satellite images

Example of 3D land cover changes
In cooperation with Landschap Overijssel a development scenario for the natural vegetation on the Lemelerberg was constructed. An aerial photo mosaic of August 2005, derived from Google, was used to construct a flight path over the area in 3D. A map of 1900 was used to construct an aerial image to show an historical view. Based on proposed changes by Landschap Overijssel in the area, an image of the future was compiled. 

  Lemelerberg movie: 3D land cover changes from 1900 to 2005 and future scenario (Shockwave Flash)


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Research Output

A novel approach to optimize hierarchical vegetation mapping from hyper-temporal NDVI imagery, demonstrated at national level for Namibia

Westinga, E., Beltran, A. P. R., De Bie, C. A. J. M. & Van Gils, H. A. M. J., 13 May 2020, In : International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. 91, p. 1-11 11 p., 102152.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
  • 6 Downloads (Pure)

    Where the bears roam in Majella National Park, Italy

    van Gils, H. A. M. J., Westinga, E., Carafa, M., Antonucci, A. & Ciaschetti, G., 14 Jan 2014, In : Journal for nature conservation. 22, 1, p. 23-34 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)

    A comparison of fine resolution census and image-based national forest inventories : a case study of Rwanda

    Westinga, E., Mukashema, A. & van Gils, H. A. M. J., 2013, In : Forestry. 86, 4, p. 453-461

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 6 Citations (Scopus)

    Fine resolution distribution modelling of endemics in Majella National Park, Central Italy

    van Gils, H. A. M. J., Conti, F., Ciaschetti, G. & Westinga, E., 2012, In : Plant biosystems. 146, Sup.1., p. 276-287

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Use and users

    van Elzakker, C., Georgiadou, Y., Groen, T., Kerle, N., Looijen, J., Skidmore, A., Sliuzas, R., Voinov, A. & Westinga, E., 2012, The core of GIScience: a process-based approach. Tolpekin, V. A. & Stein, A. (eds.). Enschede: University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), p. 427-482 (ITC Educational Textbook Series).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access