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Fields of Study in Geomatics

Geographic Information Systems

The importance of the spatial dimension in large scale data analysis for problems of environmental monitoring, regional development and land use planning is now widely recognized. In work of this kind there is also a necessity for interrelating information derived from sources such as different censuses, land surveying, engineering drawings, maps, surveys, aerial photographs and satellite imagery, each of which may utilize a variety of methods of spatial georeferencing. The methods required for these types of investigations and the use of the resulting databases, which link information to maps stored in digital form, constitute the field of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Many organizations are now experiencing rapid growth in the volumes of spatial data to be analyzed. Unfortunately, severe shortages of skilled personnel, combined with a lack of understanding of the potential uses of GIS methods, mean that the ability of these same organizations to manage complex problems is now declining. This has already led to the perpetuation of costly, inefficient and inflexible methods of operation. It is very significant therefore, that the urgent need for improved understanding of this subject area has recently been highlighted by the decision of the Province and the City to investigate the potential scope for GIS. Objectives of the program are:

  1. To develop detailed knowledge and understanding of recent advances in computing technology and software engineering methods, which are relevant to GIS applicants.To build up a high level of practical skills and experience in the use of high quality hardware and software tools for automated mapping and database management. The Department is among the best equipped in Canada in this area. To encourage sound judgement of project feasibility and a structured approach to problem solving through laboratories, project work and honours theses. The latter will also ensure a strong relationship between theory and a wide range of possible applications.
  2. To contribute to the adoption and use of GIS methods where appropriate in industrial and government applications, through liaison with firms and agencies and the development of collaborative projects involving the thesis and directed readings.

It is anticipated that students will have a wide variety of backgrounds, and the courses and assignments have been designed to permit the maximum degree of flexibility, so the projects can be tailored as far as possible in individual requirements.

Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing is a technique which allows individuals to extend or supplement their senses so that they can observe or measure their environment from a distance. Remote Sensing techniques are used to solve many resource management problems, to find new resources and to help in forecasting future depletion of resources. Remote Sensing is a new innovation for surveying the human and physical resources from the air by using aircraft photography, or from space by using satellite photography. Aerial or space surveying is superior over ground or conventional surveying because it is cheap, accurate, fast, and it can reach areas that are not accessible by road. Therefore the technique of surveying is very relevant to our present stage of development.

GISP Certification

The Department of Geography encourages our geomatics orientated students to consider getting certified as part of the education and career development. Increasingly jobs in the public and private sector are requirin potential candidates to either be certified or eligible for certification within the field of GIS. The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) is a non-profit organization that provides the GIS community with a complete certification program, leading to GISP® (Certified GIS Professional) recognition (https://www.gisci.org/Home.aspx). As students within our geomatics courses you meet the education requirements of the certification, with job experience and other professional development you would be able to become GISP certified within a few years of graduation. Holding this designation will define you as a professional that has clearly demonstrated their ability to achieve a high standard of knowledge and application in the field of GIS. We encourage all of our students to consider this as part of the future education and career planning goals.

The Department of Geography is proposing a roadmap within the GISP framework: