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Not to be confused with Geoinformatics.
A surveyor's shed showing equipment used for geomatics

Geomatics (including geomatics engineering), also known as surveying engineering or geospatial science (including geospatial engineering and geospatial technology), is the discipline of gathering, storing, processing, and delivering geographic information or spatially referenced information. In other words, it "consists of products, services and tools involved in the collection, integration and management of geographic data".[1]

Overview and etymology[edit]

Michel Paradis, a French-Canadian surveyor, introduced geomatics as a new scientific term in an article published in 1981 in The Canadian Surveyor and in a keynote address at the centennial congress of the Canadian Institute of Surveying in April 1982. He claimed that at the end of the 20th century the needs for geographical information would reach a scope without precedent in history and in order to address these needs, it was necessary to integrate in a new discipline both the traditional disciplines of land surveying and the new tools and techniques of data capture, manipulation, storage and diffusion.[2]

Geomatics includes the tools and techniques used in land surveying, remote sensing, cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), global-navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Compass), photogrammetry, geophysics, geography, and related forms of earth mapping. The term was originally used in Canada, because it is similar in origin to both French and English,[clarification needed] but has since been adopted by the International Organization for Standardization, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and many other international authorities, although some (especially in the United States) have shown a preference for the term geospatial technology.[4][verification needed]

The related field of hydrogeomatics covers the area associated with surveying work carried out on, above or below the surface of the sea or other areas of water. The older term of hydrographics was considered[by whom?] too specific to the preparation of marine charts, and failed to include the broader concept of positioning or measurements in all marine environments.

A geospatial network is a network of collaborating resources for sharing and coordinating geographical data and data tied to geographical references. One example of such a network is the Open Geospatial Consortium's efforts to provide ready global access to geographic information.[citation needed]

A number[quantify] of university departments which were once titled "surveying", "survey engineering" or "topographic science" have re-titled themselves using the terms "geomatics" or "geomatic engineering".

The rapid progress and increased visibility of geomatics since the 1990s has been made possible by advances in computer hardware, computer science, and software engineering, as well as by airborne and space observation remote-sensing technologies.

The science of deriving information about an object using a sensor without physically contacting it is called remote sensing, which is a part of geomatics.

Science [edit]

Geospatial science is an academic discipline incorporating fields such as surveying, geographic information systems, hydrography and cartography. Spatial science is typically concerned with the measurement, management, analysis and display of spatial information describing the Earth, its physical features and the built environment.[3]

The term spatial science or spatial sciences is primarily used in Australia. Australian universities which offer degrees in spatial science include Curtin University,[4] the University of Tasmania,[5] the University of Adelaide[6] and Melbourne University.[7]

In the U.S., Texas A&M University offers a bachelor's degree in Spatial Sciences and is home to its own Spatial Sciences Laboratory.[8] Beginning in 2012, the University of Southern California started to place more emphasis on the spatial science branch of its geography department, with traditional human and physical geography courses and concentrations either not being offered on a regular basis or phased out. In place, the university now offers graduate programs strictly related to spatial science and its geography department offers a spatial science minor rather than the original geography major.[9]

Spatial information practitioners within the Asia-Pacific region are represented by the professional body called the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI).[10]

Engineering [edit]

Geomatics Engineering, Geomatic Engineering, Geospatial Engineering is a rapidly developing engineering discipline that focuses on spatial information (i.e. information that has a location). The location is the primary factor used to integrate a very wide range of data for spatial analysis and visualization. Geomatics engineers apply engineering principles to spatial information and implement relational data structures involving measurement sciences, thus using geomatics and acting as spatial information engineers. Geomatics engineers manage local, regional, national and global spatial data infrastructures.Geomatics Engineering also involves aspects of Computer Engineering, Software Engineering and Civil Engineering.

Geomatics is a field that incorporates several others such as the older field of land surveying engineering along with many other aspects of spatial data management ranging from data science and cartography to geography. Following the advanced developments in digital data processing, the nature of the tasks required of the professional land surveyor has evolved and the term "surveying" no longer accurately covers the whole range of tasks that the profession deals with. Like how the profession of mechanics is a part of mechanical engineering, surveying is a part of geomatic engineering. As our societies become more complex, information with a spatial position associated with it becomes more critical to decision-making, both from a personal and a business perspective, and also from a community and a large-scale governmental viewpoint.

Therefore, the geomatics engineer can be involved in an extremely wide variety of information gathering activities and applications. Geomatics engineers design, develop, and operate systems for collecting and analyzing spatial information about the land, the oceans, natural resources, and manmade features.

The more traditional land surveying strand of geomatics engineering is concerned with the determination and recording of boundaries and areas of real property parcels, and the preparation and interpretation of legal land descriptions. The tasks more closely related to civil engineering include the design and layout of public infrastructure and urban subdivisions, and mapping and control surveys for construction projects.

Geomatics engineers serve society by collecting, monitoring, archiving, and maintaining diverse spatial data infrastructures. Geomatics engineers utilize a wide range of technologically advanced tools such as digital theodolite/distance meter total stations, Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment, digital aerial imagery (both satellite and air-borne), and computer-based geographic information systems (GIS). These tools enable the geomatics engineer to gather, process, analyze, visualize and manage spatially related information to solve a wide range of technical and societal problems.

Geomatics engineering is the field of activity that integrates the acquisition, processing, analysis, display and management of spatial information. It is an exciting and new grouping of subjects in the spatial and environmental information sciences with a broad range of employment opportunities as well as offering challenging pure and applied research problems in a vast range of interdisciplinary fields.

In different schools and in different countries the same education curriculum is administered with the name surveying in some, and in others with the names geomatics, geomatics engineering, geospatial (information) engineering, surveying engineering, or geodesy and geoinformatics. While these occupations were at one time often taught in civil engineering education programs, more and more universities include the departments relevant for geo-data sciences under informatics, computer science or applied mathematics. These facts demonstrate the breadth, depth and scope of the highly interdisciplinary nature of geomatics engineering.

The job of geospatial engineer is well established in the U.S. military.[11][12]


Application areas include:

Areas of knowledge[edit]

Geomatics integrates science and technology from both new and traditional disciplines:

See also[edit]

Main category: Geomatics


Further reading[edit]

  • Geomatics Canada Ottawa: Natural Resources Canada ISSN 1491-5480
  • Dermanis, Athanasios; Grün, Armin; Sansò, Fernando (2000). Geomatic Methods for the Analysis of Data in the Earth Sciences. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-67476-4. 
  • Kavanagh, Barry F. (2003). Geomatics. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-130-32289-0. 
  • Yvan Bédard, "Geomatics" in Karen Kemp (2008), Encyclopedia of Geographic Information Science, Sage. [5]
  • Gomarasca, Mario A. (2009). Basics of Geomatics. Springer. ISBN 978-1-402-09014-1. 
    • "Geomatics", Chap. 1 in Mario A. Gomarasca (2009) Basics of Geomatics, Springer.[6]
  • "Geomatics", sec. 1.3 in Mathias Lemmens (2011), Geo-information: Technologies, Applications and the Environment, Springer. [7]

External links[edit]