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Personal profile

Personal profile

Norman Kerle is Full Professor of Geoinformatics for Disaster Risk Management in the ITC’s Earth Systems Analysis department.  He received Masters degrees in geography from the University of Hamburg (Germany) as well as from the Ohio State University (US), and a PhD in geography (volcano remote sensing) from the University of Cambridge, UK (2002).

His research in volcanology started with project work in Costa Rica in 1994, followed by disaster research in the Philippines (1996). A focus on remote sensing developed during a project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in 1997, followed by extensive work on a multi-national project in Nicaragua (1998-2001). Since then he has moved into more methodological work related to hazards, risk and disaster damage assessment with multi-type geodata, in addition to landslide research and quantitative geomorphology, frequently with object-oriented analysis methods. He is leading the ITC object-based image analysis research group ( current research project focuses on the assessment of post-disaster recovery with remtoe sensing image analsyis and macro-economic agent-based modelling.

In September 2016 Norman Kerle chaired the GEOBIA conference, hosted by the University of Twente/ITC (read more).



Norman Kerle is coordinating the ITC’s contribution to 2 FP7 projectsRECONASS (Reconstruction and Recovery Planning: Rapid and Continuously Updated Construction Damage, and Related Needs Assessment), and INACHUS (Technological and Methodological Solutions for Integrated Wide Area Situation Awareness and Survivor Localisation to Support Search and Rescue Teams). Central to both projects is a research focus on UAV-based structural damage mapping. Previously he worked on EC-funded projects SAFELANDAIDA and GARNET-E.



He is recently led a working group on understanding and influencing volunteers of the COST Action Mapping and the Citizen Sensor, with a specific focus on collaborative/crowdsourced image-based damage mapping.


Professor Kerle also serves as Associate Editor of Remote Sensing and editor of Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Sciences.



His professional affiliations include the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), and the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPS). He is a member of Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University, and a fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.

He has served as external PhD thesis examiner, as reviewer for UNESCO World Heritage Site applications, and referee for international prizes and research funding proposals, such as the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, the European Commission's Horizon 2020, the Belgian research programme for Earth Observation STEREO II/III, the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund, the Norwegian Research Council, the Romanian Geoscience Research Council, and the Kazakhstan National Center of Science and Technology.

He is the winner of the 2011 Lloyd's Science of Risk prize in the Natural Hazards category (read more).

Recent invited keynotes, talks and seminars

  • GIScience Research Group, Heidelberg University, Germany: "Post-disaster damage assessment – combining remote sensing image analysis and crowdsourcing" (20 July 2015, more)
  • Robotics and Mechatronics group , University of Twente: "Image-based post-disaster damage assessment – from satellites to UAVs" (9 July 2015, more)
  • Keynote at 3rd Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) Congress in Manila, Philippines: "Utility of geo-informatics for disaster risk management: linking structural damage assessment, recovery and resilience" (25 July 2014, more)
  • Observatory for Science and the Universe, Rennes (OSUR), Rennes, France: "Object-based image analysis to study socio-environmental systems" (17 April 2014, more)
  • Institute for Research in IT and Random Systems (IRISA), University of Bretagne Sud, Vannes, France: "Building damage assessment with 2D and 3D object-based analysis of oblique images" (15 April 2014, more)
  • Image Mining 2013 training school, University of Strasbourg, Barcelonnette, France: "Principles of object-oriented image analysis - Image mining and knowledge-driven analysis in disaster risk management" (28 August 2013, more)
  • University of Innsbruck, Austria: "Object-oriented image analysis methods in disaster risk management" (17 June 2013, more)


Activities in education

During the 2015/2017 academic year, Dr. Kerle is involved in the following teaching:

  • Advanced image analysis and quantitative remote sensing
  • Research skills (coordinator for the AES course)
  • Spatial data for disaster risk management
  • 4D-Earth research preparation
  • PhD supervision
  • MSc students supervision

Research interests

Activities in research

PhD students

  • Saman Ghaffarian -Assessment of post-disaster recovery using remote sensing image analysis and spatial macro-economic modelling
  • Diogo Duarte – Post-disaster search & rescue with air-and spaceborne remote sensing data, dasymetric population mapping, and integrated semantic analysis (part of INACHUS project)
  • Anand Vetrivel – Synergistic building damage assessment with air- and spaceborne remote sensing data (part of RECONASS project)
  • Divyani Kohli - Earth observation methods for monitoring slum development characteristics (graduated in 2015)
  • B.V. Shruthi - Integrating high resolution image analysis and spatially dynamic erosion modeling to improve gully erosion prediction (graduated in 2015)
  • André Stumpf - Remote sensing technologies for landslide detection, monitoring, rapid mapping and early warning (graduated in 2013, now at the University of Strasbourg, France)
  • Tapas Martha (NRSA, India) - Automatic landslide detection using multi-temporal and multi-source image and DEM data by object-oriented analysis for landslide hazard and risk modelling in seismically active terrain (graduated in 2011, now at the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, India)
  • Iswar Das (IIRS, India) - Model based geostatistics and image mining for quantitative hazard and risk mapping with specific reference to landslides (graduated in 2011, now at the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, India)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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