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Programs / Science / Geomatics (BSc)

Program Summary

From Google Maps to GPS navigation to global vegetation and water monitoring, geomatics deals with the acquisition, management, analysis and display of geographic information. In our Geomatics BSc program, you will obtain intensive science-based training in geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (imaging from satellites and aircraft) and cartography, including web-based applications. You will apply advanced computer software and techniques to the challenge of understanding the Earth’s physical and natural systems, addressing environmental problems and planning human interventions. Our program combines hands-on learning, using the latest in laboratory facilities, with opportunities to gain field experience and do work placements. Science based geomatics applications include the modeling and mapping of the physical and natural environment, resource planning, land cover and vegetation mapping, and hazards mapping, amongst many others. The BSc in Geomatics includes training in associated physical or natural sciences and computer sciences.

During your studies in Geomatics at Carleton, you will develop a combination of skills that will make you highly employable. This program will enable you to analyze problems thoroughly, to effectively acquire and manipulate digital data, to tackle issues of varying complexity, to work productively in teams, and to communicate professionally.

The Geomatics program at Carleton is made possible by a diverse range of geomatics expertise amongst our professors. We have extensive expertise in areas such as custom application development, spatial analysis, software and data interchange, image acquisition and analysis, and evolving cartographic techniques. We use commercial and open-source software tools, emphasizing understanding of how the software works “under the hood,” so that students are prepared for a wide range of workplace scenarios.

We apply this geomatics experience to a diverse range of applications in geography and environmental studies, including the physical geography fields of resource and environmental assessment, soil science, climatology, hydrology and biogeography; the human geography fields of globalization, geopolitics, gender issues, and economic, historical and cultural geography; and the development of methods for spatial and temporal data analysis using GIS, remote sensing and computer cartography.

Hands-on learning

Our interest in your future has led us to build practical learning experiences into our programs. Geomatics is no exception. Honours students have opportunities to learn in a workplace environment through our practicum courses. In your fourth year, you can gain valuable experience by working one day per week in:

  • Private industry (all geomatics related subfields);
  • Government departments, such as the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada and National Defence.

Extensive learning and research facilities

You will have access to the latest in teaching laboratories at Carleton, including two geomatics laboratories. In addition, the Carleton University Library houses extensive resource materials, including a collection of over 166,000 digital and paper maps.

Ottawa is rich in study resources such as the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Statistics Canada and other federal government departments. Ottawa’s extensive research and information technology activities also provide exciting opportunities.

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geomatics

In the BSc program in Geomatics, you will gain a similar skill set as the Bachelor of Arts Geomatics students, but will concentrate on application development and areas of interest in the physical or information sciences.

Recent Geomatics course and thesis projects examined through the BA or BSc programs include:

  • Geomatics in education;
  • Landscape fragmentation impacts on forest icestorm damage;
  • Network modelling and analysis;
  • Development of biodiversity statistical methods for GIS; and
  • Web-mapping data portals.

Minor in Geomatics

Students in other Honours programs can pursue a minor in Geomatics to complement their degree.

Honours field camp and research project

As a Geomatics student, you will gain valuable field experience by participating in the Honours field course in third year. You will also have the opportunity to develop a research project in your area of interest. The fourth-year Honours research project allows you to work closely with a faculty supervisor, developing an area of independent research. You will graduate with a defined area of expertise, as well as valuable research experience.

First-year experience

First-year Bachelor of Science students are encouraged to enrol in our unique seminar course Seminar in Science (NSCI 1000), designed specifically to introduce you to the latest scientific issues and to help you develop the kind of communication, analytical thinking and research skills you will need for your science studies. If you choose this elective, you will attend several special lectures given by prominent Canadian researchers, as well as small group seminars led by a professor who acts as both your mentor and teacher. With no more than 30 students in each seminar, you will have plenty of opportunity to debate and discuss topics with your fellow students and professors as well as be exposed to a variety of teaching styles, concepts and research opportunities usually reserved for upper-year students.

Following first year, Geomatics courses become more prominent in your course load.

The workplace

In Geomatics, you will have a strong theory and application base that makes a range of career possibilities available to you. Here are some positions that have been secured by our recent graduates:

  • Geographic information system analyst;
  • Land use planner;
  • Environmental scientist or consultant;
  • Cartographer; and
  • Web map developer.

The power of geomatics to address challenges related to space and place has led a growing number of businesses and organizations to hire geographers who have this expertise.

Graduate studies

Graduates of any of our Honours programs in Geography may also be eligible to go on to graduate studies in a variety of fields. The following is a list of some recent graduate research topics:

  • Predicting vegetation distribution and productivity in a changing climate;
  • Development of visualization and web-based cartography; and
  • Mapping species-at-risk habitat.

If you are considering an advanced degree, you are encouraged to investigate graduate programs early in order to ensure that your Geomatics program meets the relevant graduate-level requirements.

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