With more land than Texas, California and Montana combined, Alaska is an ideal state for those who are pursuing careers as geospatial professionals. Alaska is also home to the University of Alaska Anchorage, which houses the state’s only Geomatics Department. This ABET accredited program — which boasts being one of the largest of its kind — provides students with the tools and knowledge needed to excel in land surveying, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and more.
By focusing on all six disciplines of geomatics (boundary surveying, property law, route surveying, construction surveying, mapping and geodetic science), the Department of Geomatics at UAA is giving students an edge when it comes time to join the workforce.
“In looking at the entire U.S. geomatics, not many programs offer all six disciplines, so that makes our students very versatile when it comes in working in those fields,” says Caixia Wang, associate professor and chair of the Department of Geomatics.
UAA’s rigorous curriculum and training puts students on the fast track to successful careers. In fact, Wang says 100 percent of students are employed right after graduation, and it’s something the faculty is very proud of.
Students can tailor their education to their interests and career goals by choosing a concentration. Currently, there are three to choose from: land surveying, geospatial science and geo-developer, which is a combination of computer programming and geospatial science. However, changes to the curriculum are on the horizon, Wang notes. Beginning in the fall of 2021, the geospatial science concentration will be combined with geo-developer to become a GIS concentration. This is something that faculty and students are excited about, Wang notes.
“I think it’s also going to benefit the student to allow the student to have more education geared towards to their interest,” she says.
The department has implemented a synchronized mode of face-to-face and online attendance, as well. By doing so, this allows students who cannot be physically present on campus to take the courses and receive their degree.
And when it comes to the field component, Wang says, “for those online students, we work with them to have an alternative lab arrangement by working with a licensed surveyor at their area. They collaborate with them and they can offer that supervising for the field lab component.”
While some changes are ahead for the department, students can expect core classes to remain the same. For the most up-to-date curriculum, visit the Department of Geomatics’ course catalog.
Eight years of education and work experience is required in order to become a licensed land surveyor in Alaska, and a bachelor of science in Geomatics from UAA will fulfill half of the state’s requirements, Wang says.
For more information on the Department of Geomatics at the University of Alaska Anchorage, visit Uaa.alaska.edu.