Q: What is geomatics?

A: Geomatics is the science and technology of surveying, blended with the art and technology of mapping. Surveying has traditionally been defined as “the science, art and technology of determining, or of establishing, the relative positions of points on, near, above or beneath the earth’s surface.” Geomatics integrates the traditional surveying definition with a variety of other spatial-relation information. Geomatics applies not only to land ownership and land development but also includes processes to measure and monitor our environment, our expanding population, our appreciating land values, our dwindling natural resources and the continued effect of human activities on our quality of land, water and air.

Geomatics is fundamental to all geoscience disciplines that use spatially-related data. Those disciplines include:

  • geodesy,
  • cartography,
  • remote sensing,
  • photogrammetry,
  • geographic information systems,
  • land information systems and
  • global positioning systems.


Q: How are the job prospects for Geomatics?

A: The annual requirement for surveyors in the State of Louisiana is 60, where as we produce only less than 15 graduates every year. In addition to that, the average age of surveyors in Louisiana is around 55 plus years. This will put additional challenges on local firms to find and hire qualified surveyors in the state. This will force them to look for Geomatics graduates outside of the state. We are seeing the same trend at the national level. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and surveying and mapping technicians is expected to grow 25 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Increasing demand for fast, accurate, and complete geographic information will be the main source of job growth. Additionally, the emerging geospatial technologies such as Laser Scanning, Global Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is listed as second largest job growth sector next to Nanotechnology. The Geomatics Program offers a technically oriented curriculum to train students for professional opportunities in the local, State, and national land surveying and mapping industry. The construction industry, the oil exploration industry, the oil and gas pipeline distribution systems industries drive the economic base of our region and state. They all begin with, are driven by, and end with the surveyor and mapper.

The median annual wage of surveyors was $54,880 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,800, and the top 10 percent earned more than $89,930.

Sources: Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) and Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Surveyors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/surveyors.htm (visited March 07, 2013).

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