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Programs / Arts / Geomatics

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 BA program, you will obtain intensive 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 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. Geomatics applications include the analysis of problems involving environmental and resource planning, land cover and vegetation mapping, market analysis, hazard mapping and education, amongst many others.

Geomatics can also be taken as a Bachelor of Science program.

An Honours program and a minor in Geomatics are offered.

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.

Work experience

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 Arts (Honours) in Geomatics
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geomatics
Minor in Geomatics

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Geomatics
Through the use of geographic information systems (GIS), cartography, quantitative techniques, remote sensing and image analysis, Geomatics offers a powerful and versatile toolset. Geomatics applications include the analysis of a wide range of problems involving environmental and resource planning, land cover and vegetation mapping, market analysis, hazard mapping and education.

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.

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

BA students are strongly encouraged to include a First-year Seminar (FYSM) in their first-year course load. Our First-year Seminars will get you away from the lecture hall and give you the chance, in a small class of no more than 30 students, to discuss and debate topics with your classmates and your professors. You will get early and frequent feedback on class assignments and work on research, writing and study skills. Although some FYSMs count as courses leading to a major, you do not have to choose a FYSM in your major discipline. Currently, there are two First-year Seminars in Geography: Sustainable Environments and Location is Everything.

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.

What students are saying about Geomatics


My time in Geomatics at Carleton has proven to be an amazing experience. Knowledgeable, approachable and talented instructors have been instrumental in imparting the necessary skills I’ve needed to be successful in my courses, practicum placements and eventually, a career. I didn’t start my Carleton journey as a Geomatics student, but the quality of the program and the faculty convinced me to change my major and pursue a discipline I am truly passionate about. Geomatics has changed the way I look at the world, and the program has led me to great friends, great experiences and a very rewarding degree.
Justin Vossenberg, Geomatics student