General information

Numerical modelling of spatial and temporal processes is of major importance in many studies of the natural and human environment. Computer simulation models help us to understand better the processes involved and can predict future changes.

The courses provide an introduction to model construction using the PCRaster Python modelling language. The modelling language has been developed to free the modeller from problems with data input and output and provides a large range of basic primitive operators at the level of understanding of the researcher. As a result powerful models of spatial-temporal processes can be built without the need of specialist programming knowledge.

Animations through time of PCRaster model outputs: runoff model (left), dispersal model (right).

The PCRaster online courses

Map Algebra

The course provides an introduction to spatial modeling without a time component. It explains the theory of Map Algebra, and how to apply it in study problems, using PCRaster Python. You need a very basic background in Python to start the course. Study load: 20 h.

Dynamic Modelling

The course gives an introduction to construction of spatial models simulating changes through time. It explains how spatio-temporal models are built with PCRaster, providing several example models. The Map Algebra and Cartographic Modelling course is a prerequisite, and it is preferably if you have some knowledge of Python. Study load: 50 h.

Stochastic Modelling

The course gives an introduction to stochastic modelling of spatio-temporal processes.

Data Pre-Processing with GDAL

This course provides instructions on how to convert and combine different types of GIS dataset to PCRaster maps for usage in PCRaster-Python, using GDAL. Basic knowledge of PCRaster-Python is required and experience with dynamic modeling is recommended. Study load: 8 h.

The method: distance learning

The courses are given through distance learning over the internet. Distance learning courses are different from courses on a campus in the sense that all contact between the student and tutor is through the internet, while a course system is used providing interactive teaching. Main advantages of distance learning are:

  • no need to travel to a course location
  • interactivity of the course content, providing attractive material
  • no fixed time schedule, freedom to work when you have time
  • specialist tutors

Software Requirements

For the courses you need:

  • Internet connection
  • PCRaster Python software (see the Downloads section)


Fees without tutor with tutor
Data Pre-Processing with GDAL free 100 EURO
Map Algebra free 200 EURO
Dynamic Modelling free 300 EURO
Stochastic Modelling free 300 EURO

The courses with tutor include:

  • Personal support from a highly qualified tutor during the course.
  • Communication with the tutor using standard mailing tools.
  • Certificate after completion of the course, issued by the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Participants can start a course at any time. Access to the online course material is provided for a duration of at least 3 months.

How to subscribe: download the registration form (odt, doc) and mail the completed document to