Career Programs in Surveying and Geomatics in Canada

Prestigious universities and colleges in Canada offer career programs in both surveying and geomatics, including Red River College, British Columbia Institute of Technology, University of Calgary, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and others.

Programs in Surveying

Some colleges offer 2-year programs in survey engineering to help students learn how to identify property boundaries and locations. Once students complete the program, they can work for mining companies, government agencies, construction businesses, land surveyors, etc. Other universities offer postgraduate, graduate, and undergraduate degrees and certificates in surveying. Examples of programs with a focus on surveying include construction engineering technology, construction science and management, and construction engineering technology management.

Programs in Geomatics

While most programs combine surveying and geomatics, the latter is broader in scope and covers remote sensing, photogrammetry, geodesy, environmental visualization, geographic information systems, land management, and mapping sciences, among others. Universities and colleges offer programs and diplomas such as geomatics engineering technology, geography and environmental management, civil engineering, etc. Students are taught subjects such as terrestrial laser scanning, construction surveying, geographic information systems, automated drafting, and geodesy and map projections. Programs in geospatial management cover subjects and areas such as Internet GIS, geodatabases, geospatial modelling, etc.

Students in Bachelor programs also study subjects such as numerical analysis, concrete materials, intro to structural design, and geomatics measurement techniques. Other core subjects include civil engineering systems, wastewater engineering, and image analysis and remote sensing. Other subjects offered as part of Bachelor programs include satellite geodesy, data modelling and estimation, and photogrammetry and digital mapping.


Career programs in surveying and geomatics give students plenty of opportunities for development. Career paths include mapping specialist, photogrammetrist, cartographer, database and visualization specialist, and survey field technician. Other positions to look into are reflective systems assistant, survey engineering technician, and geomatics surveyor, among others. When it comes to pay scale, salaries vary greatly depending on position, experience, and location. In Canada, the minimum salary is about $40,700 and the maximum salary – about $103,300.

Specialists in geomatics and engineering work for utility companies, businesses in the tourism sector, survey and engineering firms, and oil and mining companies. They also work for resource conservation authorities, federal, provincial, and municipal agencies, and map production and design companies. Surveying and geomatics specialists also work for information technology companies, GIS consulting firms, and environmental management agencies, among others. As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for professional growth and various career paths to choose from.

Financing and Other Issues

College education is expensive if you are the average Canadian student applying for a college degree. The good news is that there are many options to finance your education, including scholarships, grants, part-time jobs, student credit cards (see here or here), government-sponsored loans, etc. Student loans are offered by big and small banks in Canada to part-time and full-time students. Government-sponsored loans are also available to students who are Canadian permanent residents or citizens enrolled in accredited institutions of higher education (see here). Students who are enrolled in certificate and diploma programs or degree programs also qualify for financing. In addition to different borrowing options, there are a number of scholarships available to undergraduate and graduate students, including government and non-governmental scholarships and fellowships. They are also offered by institutes and funds to both international and domestic students. Some types of financial assistance are available to students enrolled in specific programs and universities. Examples of awards offered to engineering students include the F.T.M. White Award, Leonard G. Berry Memorial Award, and G.D. Estey Memorial Prize, among others.

Geospatial Data In Canada

Geospatial data, also known as geodata and GIS data offers information such as satellite images and road networks from GIS. There are different types of information such as digitalized images, satellite imagery, raster and vector data (areas, lines, and points).

Canadian Government Initiatives

The Federal Geospatial Platform is one initiative of the Canadian government and more specifically – the Federal Committee on Geomatics and Earth Observations. The project covers geospatial applications, services, and data that help facilitate environmental protection, wellbeing, and economic growth. The goal is to offer access to information to interested parties, including researchers, universities, the private sector, and the public. Through Open Maps, visitors have the opportunity to analyze, visualize, and even combine geospatial information. The Canadian GeoSecretariat is another initiative that brings together interested parties, including non-for-profits, professional associations, academic institutions, businesses, and governmental agencies. The goal is to facilitate cooperation and jointly develop technologies, systems, data layers, and common standards as part of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure. There are different initiatives to this end such as the Water and Environmental Hub, the National Imagery Service, the Open North Project, and others. The Open North Project or Open 511 is designed as a framework for the publishing and management of different road events. The Water and Environmental Hub is another initiative that builds on the water information portal to offer visitors access to a variety of geospatial datasets, applications, and tools. Finally, the National Imagery Service aims to develop best practices and policies as well as business and service models for imagery services.

Finding Free Geospatial Data in Canada

There are plenty of resources that offer access to data, including Environment Canada, the Atlas of Canada, the Alberta Geological Survey, and others. Some are national while others are regional and local when it comes to focus. Environment Canada, for example, offers visitors information across disciplines, subjects, and themes, including environmental technologies and prediction, pollution, climate and weather, soil, water, biodiversity, wildlife, and so on. The Atlas of Canada is also handy to use, and users are free to print and download maps. The Alberta Geological Survey also offers information and maps for users to learn more about mineral resources, groundwater, drift thickness, and bedrock and surface geology in Alberta. There are other regionally-based free data sources such as the Calgary Region Open Data, Alberta Historical Orthophotos, the BC Community Mapping Network, and the Manitoba Land Initiative, among others. The Community Infrastructure Mapping System, for example, offers users information related to employment and childcare centers, museums, archives, and historical sites in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Mapping System also offers information about universities, schools, libraries, colleges, and arts and culture centers as well as family resource centers, personal care and long term care homes, and a lot more. In addition to location and address, users learn more about nearby facilities such as libraries and employment centers. The Nova Scotia Open Data Portal is also a regionally-based geospatial data source that offers information on environment and nature, government administration, economy and business, social services, and more. Users can view data by type – maps, forms, filtered news, files and documents, external databases, charts, and calendars. There are also data resources with plenty of information about the Northwest Territories. The Northwest Territories Geological Survey is one example worth mentioning, offering access to assessment reports, publications, data research tools, and more. Visitors are also free to view and download open reports, new publications, and open files related to watersheds, lakes, mineral concentrates, surficial geology, and a lot more.