About the Degree
The BSc Geomatics degree is a four year undergraduate degree. The degree is split into three streams, namely the:
GeoInformatics stream and
This is the traditional degree upon which the degree programme was founded in the 1930s and its design is similar to other engineering degrees on offer in the faculty. This stream allows to you register as a professional land surveyor. A surveyor is likely to specialise in one or more of the following areas:
- Cadastral surveying: The cadastral surveyor determines the position of boundaries between properties;
- Engineering surveying: The skills of expert engineering surveyors are required to enable complicated structures such as dams, super-elevated freeways and long tunnels to be built;
- Geodetic surveying: Geodesists are involved in determining the size and shape of the earth, the variation in its gravitational field and the movement of its land masses;
- Hydrographic surveying: Hydrographic surveying has arisen out of the increasing interest in the earth's coastlines and the continental shelves as a source of oil, minerals and fish;
- Topographic surveying: This involves aerial photogrammetry (mapping by applying maths equations to photographs) and satellite remote sensing to ensure the correct position of structures;
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS): A GIS specialist is an expert in spatial data acquisition, analysis and management;
- Cartography: Involves the making of maps and, more recently, the use of 3D computer graphics to model and present different phenomena;
- Land management: Land is fundamental to human existence and surveyors have been involved in managing land for centuries.
This stream provides a foundation in surveying, GIS, remote sensing, mathematics, land law and land management. Students choose a third-year level major subject in another area of specialisation in the Faculty of Science. Currently, the programme allows for a major in Computer Science, Environmental and Geographic Science or Geology.
While some computer science graduates have worked in developing software applications related to the location of cell phones for a variety of business and government applications, others have worked in developing GIS applications and software. General IT positions or IT management consultant positions are also available to these graduates.
Environmental and Geographic Science
For the graduate who has majored in environmental and geographic science (EGS) opportunities exist in areas such as environmental consultancy, GIS, environmental law, training and education, or environmental science. The foundation Geomatics components characteristic of a Geomatics degree, such as mathematics, statistics, surveying, remote sensing, spatial analysis and law, are an ideal complement to an EGS major.
Majoring in geology, graduates will be well prepared for a career involving the analysis and management of geological information. These skills and knowledge are very much in demand in the mining and mineral exploration field and by independent mining information consultancies. The spatial statistics, analysis and modelling components provide a geologist with a qualification that gives them an edge over many others in their discipline.
This stream makes it possible for students to be awarded a BSc (Geomatics) after four years of study and a Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) in their fifth year. Graduates can register as professionals with the Council of South African Town and Regional Planners (TRP(SA)).
Students complete three years of the BSc (Geomatics) in Surveying core courses, the fourth year is a combined Planning/Geomatics programme and, finally, they complete the Planning programme in their fifth year.
Town and regional planners continually work with spatial information and often with cadastral surveying information. In practice, planners who can use GIS to do modelling, analysis and scenario simulation are more employable as the use of GIS, in much the same way that spreadsheets have been used to do simulations, is increasingly becoming a service that planners offer their clients.