Back to events

Training on

Field-based cryosphere monitoring on Ponkar Glacier


Kathmandu University and Ponkar Glacier

Date & Time

02 December 2022 to 14 December 2022

Organisers: ICIMOD and Kathmandu University

About the fieldwork

We are collaborating with Kathmandu University to organise a training on the use of the latest remote sensing tools for cryosphere monitoring, followed by fieldwork in Ponkar Glacier, Manang, Nepal. The team will be collecting mass balance data and use lessons from the training to collect data and monitor changes. During the training, participants will explore the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). These are tools used by cryosphere scientists to assess the surface and internal dynamics of a glacier. Further, these tools collect data on the status of the glacier surface – a repeat survey is required to monitor changes over a period.

15 participants representing partner officials from Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan are expected to attend the training



  • Collect the current surface and internal dynamics of Ponkar Glacier and continue the long-term data series
  • Familiarise partners and research collaborators with the latest geophysical tools, particularly UAV and GNSS tools for cryosphere monitoring
  • Reinforce the partnership with Kathmandu University and other relevant organisations in the region



ICIMOD has been exploring the use of the latest remote sensing and GIS tools to collect information on glaciers, glacial lakes, snow cover, and other features of the cryosphere especially related to hazards.

The most advanced technology to capture ultra-high-resolution images and ortho-photos is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – also known as drone. Since 2014, ICIMOD has been using UAVs to map and monitor glaciers, glacial lakes, and geohazard risks and supported urban mapping for national and international partners.

ICIMOD in collaboration with Kathmandu University has been monitoring Ponkar Glacier since 2016. The glacier located on the north-eastern side of Manang valley, northwest of Kathmandu is a debris-covered glacier. Ponkar is at a lower elevation than most glaciers in the HKH region, relatively accessible and making it an ideal glacier for capacity building activities. The last fieldwork in Ponkar Glacier was carried out in 2018.



2-3 December 2022

  • Theoretical training on the use of UAVs at Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel
  • Lectures, hands-on practice, data downloading and processing
  • Practical at KU Football ground, Dhulikhel

Session I: Opening session



Speakers/resource persons





Welcome and opening remarks

Arun Shrestha, Regional Programme Manager, River Basins and Cryosphere Programme, ICIMOD (online) (5 min)

Rijan Bhakta Kayastha, Kathmandu University (5 min) 

Introduction to river basins and cryosphere research

Overview of the training

Miriam Jackson, Programme Coordinator, Cryosphere Initiative, ICIMOD (online) (5 min)

Overview of the training – Sharad Joshi, Cryosphere Analyst, ICIMOD (5 min)

Introduction of participants (10 min)



Group photo and tea/coffee break

Session II: Technical session (Presentation cum practical exercise)


Introduction to UAVs and its application on research activities; use of GNSS

Sudan Bikash Maharjan, Remote Sensing Analyst, ICIMOD


Introduction to GNSS and survey methods

Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, Geoinformation Associate, ICIMOD

Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD


Introduction to the eMotion Software and UAV connections

Sudan Bikash Maharjan, ICIMOD


Exercise on eMotion and Flight planning

Sudan Bikash Maharjan

Sharad Joshi

Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa


Demonstration on eBEE & eBEE X setup and exercise

Sudan Bikash Maharjan, ICIMOD

Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD

Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, ICIMOD


Lunch break


Group exercise on flight plan setup in eMotion

Sudan Bikash Maharjan, ICIMOD


Discussion on flight plan setup

Sudan Bikash Maharjan, ICIMOD

Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD

Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, ICIMOD


Presentation and demonstration on Ground Penetrating Radar

 Rakesh Kayastha, KU

Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, ICIMOD



Tea break


Preparation for field work: Setting up flight plan

18:00 onward

Opening Reception

Test flight in the field and data compilation and processing

Session III: Field work (conduct UAV flight in field)



Speakers/resource persons


Arrival of all participants



Gathering at the KU Football ground and preparation


Flight plan setup and conduct UAV flight

Sudan Bikash Maharjan, Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, Sharad Joshi, Rakesh Kayastha


Demonstration of GNSS survey

Sharad Joshi, Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, Rakesh Kayastha, Sudan Bikash Maharjan


Lunch break

Session IV: Technical session (Data download and processing)


Demonstration and practical exercise on data download and geotagging

Sudan Bikash Maharjan


Demonstration of data processing in Agisoft Metashape and Pix4D

Sudan Bikash Maharjan


Practical exercise on data processing

 Sudan Bikash Maharjan, Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, Sharad Joshi, Rakesh Kayastha


Past activities in Ponkar glacier 

Rakesh Kayastha


Discussion and feedback from participants

Closing session