As new technology is invented almost weekly, nine out of the 35 declared geomatics majors, who are set to graduate in April, are learning to adapt these advancements in technology to help them be precise in measurements, map making and other important jobs in their field of study.
“Our program has really changed a lot, relative to the use of the tools but the principles are the same. It’s a different way of applying the tools to the principles,” said Dan Perry, engineering graphics and design technology professor and program developer and coordinator for the Geomatics. “That’s what we really stress in the bachelor’s program; learn what the measurement and the surveying principles are, then as new technology comes online we are able to embrace those technologies much more easily and adaptively.”
According to Perry, Geomatics is simply surveying and mapping. It’s the ability to measure points on the earth and compare them to each other, and there are many ways of doing that. For example, over the years the program has adapted to using laser technology, robotics and drones to precisely map a section of land. According to Austin Ishino, geomatics senior and president of the Geospatial Society, the students in the program are learning how to use the drone technology to survey land by flying the drones over the intramural field, taking pictures and creating a map.
“The further technology grows, the more precise the shots and points [on a GPS] will be,” geomatics senior Grant Hague said. “We are starting to utilize drones more for taking photos and creating maps and 3D clouds and models on land.”
The information collected by these technologies is used to create points on a GPS like Google Maps, to survey a piece of property for either a home or building. But, that doesn’t even to begin describing all of the things that geomatics influences.
“Someone went in and designed that interface [for Google Maps]. Someone taught Google Maps how to take you to the closest Walmart or the closest restraint. Those are the people who understand geospatial system,” geomatics senior Tanner Snow said.
Despite all of these opportunities in the field, UVU offering the only bachelor’s degree in geomatics and the stable job market, the geomatics program is small.
“[It’s] interesting that in a field that is so lucrative and so stable and there is so much potential, there are only going to be nine of us graduating,” Snow said. “At the biggest university in Utah and at the only university that offers a bachelor’s degree in this program, there are only nine of us graduating. It’s very underutilized.”
To combat this, Perry said that the program is going to start offering more certificates and work with students who need to work full time.
“This program is for someone who likes a mixture of being outdoors and in the office,” Perry said. “Also, good candidates have to love technology. It is a really ‘techy’ field. There is applied math and science in the program as well.”
A land surveyor is one of the main jobs that most people want to go into after receiving their degree in Geomatics. It’s one the oldest professions in the country.
“George Washington and many of the founding fathers were land surveyors. Back then it was the equivalent of being a doctor or a lawyer in today’s world,” Snow said. “I think that as time went on, the white-collar kind of overtook the blue-collar jobs. But, [land surveying] is a white and blue-collar trade. You get to wear a blue-collar when you’re out in the field. Then you put the white-collar when you go into business meetings with big corporations.”