is a relatively new term that is used to generally describe the handling and manipulation of geodata - all forms of information that is connected with positional definition. Geomatics therefore covers, includes and combines land surveying with satellite positioning and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies.
Put differently, one can say that Geomatics is an internationally recognised collective term for geoposition-related subjects, including digital mapping, GIS, land surveying and GNSS, satellite imagery, radar plotting, laser scanning, 3D modelling, environmental monitoring and assorted tools for acquiring, recording, preparing, manipulating and presenting information.
Geomatics is more and more becoming a part of every day life in modern and technologically advanced society. Good examples are in the field of transportation on land, at sea and in the air, and in the area of communications with the “show map” functions in Yellow Pages. Meanwhile mobile telephones, GNSS and the Internet are increasingly, both alone and in combination, offering built-in GIS options enabling users rapidly to find their desired directions.
Everyone, meanwhile, has different needs for different forms of geographic information.
The question of providing geo-information via the Internet and through mobile units such as field-portable PCs and mobile telephones has led to rapid developments, especially since many such devices have built-in geo-functions (maps, GNSS and information databases). Digitally produced paper maps nevertheless continue to be widely used.
Finding good solutions for developing modern infrastructure depends on the availability of maps, plans and 3D models. Businesses often need assistance to find out where it would be most profitable to establish their various departments – especially their sales outlets. By analysing geographic data it is possible to find out where and how far away most customers live, as well as where their competitors are based.
In the field of marketing, meanwhile, geographic information is used together with population statistics in order to design advertising to be aimed specific target customer groupings. Transport companies, for example, are heavy users of software that is able to determine the fastest delivery/collection route between customers.
National and local authorities similarly need geographic information in order to plan the development of their infrastructures and to be able to operate their many essential services. Examples are the location of hospitals, schools, residential areas, technical infrastructures (water, drainage, power supply etc) recreation areas, and areas of natural interest and preservation. Naturally, the emergency services (fire, ambulance, police and home defence) are totally dependent upon up-to-date geographic information so that they are able to deploy when called out.
Modern building and construction projects have increasingly become impossible without them first being three-dimensionally digitally modelled and graphically visualised. Only with such visualisations is it possible to consider and answer questions about the best possible placement of buildings, how much needs to excavated (or indeed dynamited out), how much needs to be filled, and perhaps most of all – how much it is all going to cost.
Clearly, geographic information first needs to be measured and collected so that these needs can be met. The terrain must be mapped by means of land surveying, satellite and aerial photography or scanning from the air. This terrain mapping process establishes a base of information known as “positional data” or “geodata”. Everything which is mapped is positioned using a system of co-ordinates (eastings, northings, and heights), and is connected with details about what is to be found at those co-ordinates in a database. Desired information can then be extracted from that database – for example property boundaries, power distribution lines, school catchment areas and so on.
Advanced satellite positioning systems, based on the current universally used GPS and Russian GLONASS global satellite navigation systems (with the European Galileo and Chinese Compass systems under development) are very rapidly coming into widespread use in the actual terrain mapping process. These systems are in use not only to find out where objects are, but also to find out where, for example, the aeroplane is that is being used to find out where objects are.
Geomatics is an essential part of all of what has been touched upon above. In essence, Geomatics concerns:
The collection, management and use of geographic information with the aid of digital and/or paper maps, the Internet, mobile telephony, database technology and advanced positioning instrumentation.
This is a full time First Degree course with a normal duration of three years giving 180 ECTS credit points. The course has two Specialisations – Land Surveying and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – and candidates select their Specialisation half way through the course.
Expected learning outcomes
The object of this Degree Course is for candidates to become independently proficient in Geomatics and thus fitted for a relevant career reflecting society’s needs.
Candidates completing this degree course can expect:
- To acquire a good knowledge of land surveying and geographic information systems so that they end up with a thorough understanding geographic data collection, storage, management, analysis and presentation.
- To be competent in obtaining and preparing geographic information for the purposes of planning, project development, and operations, in both the public and the private sectors.
- To be able to identify and understand economic and organisational consequences of geographic information, and be able to present these to multi-disciplinary activities and fora.
- To be able to demonstrate their professional approach to data sources, technical methods, laws, rules, regulations and standards for planning, project development, building and construction, management, operation and maintenance.
- To be independent and self-reliant, and be able to use their knowledge and ability in other and related fields.
- To be confident and professional in presentation and discussion of geomatic topics.
- Candidates specialising in Land Surveying are expected to be competent in more advanced satellite surveying, setting out for building and construction works, and the manipulation of different co-ordinate systems and projections. Included are of course good understanding of accuracy and precision, as well as of the options, possibilities and methods of assuring the quality of land surveys.
- Candidates specialising in GIS are expected to demonstrate a broad understanding of geographic data use, analysis and management, involving technical competence concerning the Internet, databases, way finding and navigation, and consequence analysis.
Candidates completing this Degree Course will be technically educated for professional employment within:
- The public sector (National Mapping Organisation, National Roads Directorate, regional and local authorities, Land Registry, and defence)
- Private sector surveying and mapping companies
- Consultancies and specialist instrument and software suppliers
- Oil companies (for navigation and resource mapping)
- Network operators (for network surveying, mapping, documentation and Other GIS applications).
The number of appointments in the private sector is on the increase, due in part to changes in the law concerning property surveying and ownership.
Completing this Bachelor of Geomatics degree course qualifies candidates to proceed to a joint Masters Course offered by The University of Lund in Sweden together with Gjøvik University College. Alternatively, candidates choosing to complete more advanced mathematical courses will be eligible for Masters Courses at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB).
This bachelor degree course is designed for students completing high school education with science options, as well as mature applicants from the wider work market who have sufficient relevant experience. Candidates from Technical Colleges and those who have completed preliminary courses for engineering students are also eligible providing they satisfy the requirements of the Higher Education Entrance Qualification.
Candidates are required to have completed high school education with the R1 (2MX, 2MY or 3MZ) science options or their equivalents, or to be able to demonstrate that they satisfy the requirements of the Higher Education Entrance Qualification.
Applicants over 25 are also eligible on the basis of relevant vocational experience in accordance with specific regulations.
This degree course is focussed on serving the needs of the geomatics industry, and is arranged so that the necessary aspects of pure science are integrated with the specialised geomatics topics. This form of course content integration therefore makes it possible for students to begin learning geomatic topics immediately on beginning.
Teaching methods in general are designed to require active student participation, through, for example:
- Supervised individual or group projects, both with or without supervision and guidance;
- Laboratory work together with computational exercises;
- Extensive fieldwork;
- Excursions and visits to industry.
Every effort is made for students to use relevant and modern equipment, techniques and computers. Additionally, teaching in many of the individual course subjects is arranged around longer term projects often in connection with a variety of external agencies and companies.
Content and Structure
The course structure and content is designed around the needs of industry, and relies to an extent on cooperation with public and private geomatics agencies. The course begins immediately with geomatic topics, including pure science themes as they become necessary and relevant. In this way, mathematics, statistics and physics are covered as directly related to the needs of technical geomatic subjects.
Only obligatory subjects are taken in the first year, while optional subjects become available increasingly through the second and third years, as shown in the tables below. Individual subject classes in the first two years normally consist of students from both this degree course, and from the one-year Land Surveying and GIS courses.
The course ends by requiring students to submit an independent 20 credit dissertation on a research and development subject either in support of an external agency, or as part of on-going Geomatics Group activities.
The Geomatics degree course offers two Specialisations, with the first three semesters (half of the degree course) being common to both.
Educational quality assurance is based on:
Teaching staff’s technical and educational competence and skills;
- Involvement in an operational quality assurance system;
- Education based on research and development;
- External assessment.
- Close contact with industry
Education based on Research and Development
Students are throughout the course exposed to ideas and methods which prepare them for carrying out simpler research and development tasks. Weight is given especially to having a systematic approach, to the use of the literature, to critically reviewing sources of information, and to always presenting their source reference credits.
Students are therefore presented with tasks which are designed to contribute to on-going research and development projects within the Geomatics Group, and are then expected to document and present their activities in accordance with the best professional practices and operating standards. All of these elements come together at the end of the degree course, when students are required to carry out a more major project and present their resulting dissertations.
Weight is given in all individual subjects to research themes and to students’ individual ability to demonstrate good research techniques, with good use of literature and the presentation of source references.
Graduates from this degree course are popular and sought after in the job market. There is currently a shortage of qualified geomatic engineers, despite the fact that geographic information and GNSS have become a natural part of every day life. Graduates can therefore look forward to a secure future with many and varied work opportunities in the private and public sectors (software developers, civil engineering, surveying and mapping, consultants, oil companies, net providers, the National Mapping Authority, the National Roads Authority, defence, land law).
Education at engineer levels has different qualification requirements than those for Bachelor of Geomatics. Bachelor of Geomatics students who are qualified to be accepted for education as engineers and who later wish to continue to Masters levels require certain preliminary qualifications in mathematics and statistics. These qualifications may be obtained on application and individual negotiation.
Arrangements have been made to provide for overseas exchanges during the autumn semester in the third year. Dissertations may also be studied for and developed overseas during the third year spring semester. Agreements for a single exchange semester are in place with:
- The School of Construction and the Environment of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
- University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
- University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England
- University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt", Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Exchanges with other foreign institutions can also be arranged.