The Future of Geomatics Engineering: What You Need to Know

What is Geomatics Engineering?

Over 80% of the world’s information has a location component associated with it. This location component (or position-dependent data) is called the spatial data. Geomatics is the science, methods and applications of geospatial information. In geomatics, we record and analyze data from the surface of the earth. The word ‘geomatics’ involves two terms – ‘geo’ (earth) and ‘matics’ (calculations, mathematics, geometry). Geomatics engineering is taught in civil engineering departments. Geomatics engineering is the surveying of earth with various techniques such as satellite image processing. It involves measurement, analysis and presentation of geographic data. The spatial data is presented most commonly in form of maps. Visualizing spatial data provides opportunities for exploration, modeling, planning, and better understanding. Geomatics science and engineering uses information technology for data acquisition, modelling, analysis and management of spatial data. Geomatics is one of the fastest growing information sciences. You have surely used Google Maps – so that is an application from this field. Google Maps shows your exact location in terms of coordinates. When you are travelling, your location is also time-dependent. Other subjects related with this geomatics are Geodesy, Remote Sensing, Surveying Technique, Photogrammetry and Cartography.

Tools And Techniques:

In Geomatics, tools and techniques are used such as land surveying, remote sensing, cartography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global-Navigation Satellite System (GPS), Geophysics, and other forms of earth mapping. There are geomatics engineers who work and are involved in information gathering activities, who design, develop and operate systems for collecting and analyzing spatial information about the land, the oceans, natural resources and manmade features.

The three pillars of geomatics are:

  1. Remote Sensing Data Capture – images are taken from an orbiting satellite. Sub-orbital systems such as drones or unpiloted airborne vehicles are also used.
  2. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  3. Surveying – this uses ground surveying systems,

Geomatics Engineering and India:

India measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km. So you can imagine the amount of geographic information that exists. Many universities, including the IITs teach courses in engineering or science/technology based on geomatics.

Which Subjects are Important For Studying Geomatics Engineering?
Many universities in India and abroad have courses in geomatics. There is a wide range of subjects, both compulsory and optional, that are taught, depending on the level of the course, i.e. undergraduate, B.E., B.Tech., post-graduate, M.Tech, M.E., etc . Some of the courses taught are:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Chemistry
  3. Physics
  4. Earth Sciences
  5. Environmental Science
  6. Physical Geology
  7. Computer Programming
  8. Geology
  9. Electromagnetism and Electromagnetic Prospecting
  10. Rock and soil mechanics
  11. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  12. Numerical Modelling in Geophysics
  13. Plate Tectonics
  14. Remote Sensing
  15. Cartography
  16. Seismology
  17. Digital Photogrammetry
  18. Fluid Dynamics
  19. Telecommunications
  20. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

Career Opportunities for Geomatics Professionals:
A geomatics professional (engineer, BTech, BE, MTech or ME) has global opportunities to work in areas such as oil and gas exploration, telecommunications, urban planning, scientific research, and many more. Geomatics professionals can work in public and private organisations engaged in following activities:

  1. urban planning
  2. land surveying
  3. military,
  4. land use management,
  5. in-car navigation systems,
  6. navigation and location-based services,
  7. environmental modeling and analysis,
  8. agriculture,
  9. transport network,
  10. geomarketing,
  11. resource mapping
  12. oceanography,
  13. meteorology and climate change,
  14. telecommunications,
  15. business location planning,
  16. aviation and maritime transport.
  17. infrastructure development surveys,
  18. road, bridge, railway, tunnel, dams, subway projects,
  19. vehicle tracking systems using satellites,
  20. production of digital and printed topographical and thematic maps
  21. visualization studies related to spatial data and maps
  22. data collection and processing using aerial photographs and satellite images,
  23. monitoring of earth movements and deformation measurements for the control of engineering structures,
  24. applications of unmanned aerial systems, studying use of drones in agriculture, forest cover monitoring, forest fires monitoring and control, maintaining law and order
  25. and many more…

In India, the government is the biggest user of GIS data. A few organisations that offer career opportunities in this field:

  1. Geological Survey of India
  2. Space Application Centre, ISRO
  3. Department of Science & Technology
  4. Indian Oil Corporation.
  5. ISRO
  6. Indian Air Force
  7. DRDO, Hyderabad.
  8. Revenue Departments
  9. Ministry of Water Resources
  10. Ground Water Survey & Development Agency
  11. Survey and Land Records Department of various States.
  12. Many private oil and gas exploration companies throughout the world
  13. Telecommunication companies throughout the world.

Geomatics for GATE Exam 2022

From 2022, students from Geospatial Science and Technology background will have the option to appear for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) under Geomatics Engineering paper. So far the subject was under Civil Engineering. This will increase the popularity of the subject and universities may start departments of Geomatics instead of teaching this subject under Civil engineering department. The GATE paper will primarily contain basics of Geomatics, Surveying, Map Making and Cartography, Aerial Photography and Photogrammetry, GIS, Remote Sensing, GPS/GNSS navigation systems, basic Geodesy, etc. Those who qualify in this GATE exam will be eligible to apply for admissions to MTech/PhD. They will also be able to apply for recruitment to organisations such as ISRO and Space Applications Centre (SAC) .

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