EGU General Assembly 2023
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

“Copernicus Master in Digital Earth” a role model for an interdisciplinary joint master programme in Earth observation and Geoinformation

Barbara Brunner-Maresch, Zahra Dabiri, and Stefan Lang
Barbara Brunner-Maresch et al.
  • Paris-Lodron University Salzburg, Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, Salzburg, Austria (

Student mobility, including obtaining degrees abroad, is one of the most effective means of internationalising education and establishing the common dominator of qualification for academics and professionals [1]. Copernicus Master in Digital Earth (CDE), coordinated by Paris-Lodron University Salzburg, has started in October 2019 together with Palacky University Olomouc and University of South Brittany. CDE is an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programme, fully accredited by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria1. The Master of Science is a unique role model to obtain a master’s degree in the upcoming field of EO*GI (Earth observation and Geoinformation) with the focus on the European Union’s Earth Observation programme Copernicus, which offers information services based on satellite EO and in-situ data. CDE is an interdisciplinary programme that aims at equipping the students with knowledge and skills from spatial sciences, and concepts from various geospatial disciplines [2], such as geography, surveying, environmental studies, cartography, computer science, applying a “Digital Earth” perspective [3].

Every interested candidate in the MSc is encouraged to apply online, which allows handling ~300 candidates per call; careful, individual attention is given to each candidate and by carrying out a detailed assessment of all completed applications against selection guidelines, including evaluation of the quality and competencies of applicants and online interview of the potential candidates.

The first year provides profound EO*GI application-oriented expertise based on relevant theories and methods. Alternative specialisation tracks are GeoData Science or Geovisualisation. A story map2 and dashboards3 provide further insights into origin of students, gender balance (34f:32m) or domain of previous degree and specialisation track (35:31).

CDE is proud of a well-composed peer group from all over the world who demonstrate a high degree of commitment and motivation, a strong interest and background in the geospatial field. Outstanding and award-winning students4 have initiated start-ups or contributed to exceptional scientific developments in the domains of EO*GI and Digital Earth5. Peer-reviewed publications6 demonstrate the quality of research outcomes of Master theses, with one article to be published in Nature Geoscience. CDE continuity is envisioned from 2024/2025 onwards, to ensure sustainability, and international collaboration by extending the partnership, fostering student and staff mobility and blended learning activities. The consortium will submit a renewal project proposal within the 2023 Erasmus+ call.

The project receives support from the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree: Copernicus Master in Digital Earth







Nazarkulova, A., & Strobl, J. (2016) From central Asia to Europe: Erasmus mundus” gsmart” student mobility. International Journal of Geoinformatics, 12(4).

Hofer, B., Castelyn, S., Aguilar-Morena, E., Missoni-Steinbacher, E.-M., Albrecht, F., Lemmens, R., Lang, S., Albrecht, J., Stelmaszczuk-Górska, M., Vancauwenberghe, G. and Monfort-Muriach, A. (2020) Complementing the European earth observation and geographic information body of knowledge with a business-oriented perspective. Transactions in GIS, 24, pp. 587–601.

Lang, S., Tiede, D. and Riedler, B. (2021) Digital Earth observation. European Journal of Remote Sensing, 54(sup1), pp. 1-5.

How to cite: Brunner-Maresch, B., Dabiri, Z., and Lang, S.: “Copernicus Master in Digital Earth” a role model for an interdisciplinary joint master programme in Earth observation and Geoinformation, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-1655,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file