Long before the COVID-19 pandemic shifted classes online, New Mexico State University’s geomatics program was offering its students virtual courses.

“The entire program is meant to be an online program,” says Ahmed Elaksher, associate professor in the Surveying Technology and Surveying Engineering Department and the program coordinator for the Geomatics program at New Mexico State University. “All the surveying courses are taken online. Any student anywhere in the world can take our surveying courses at any time.”

And they can take the courses online from anywhere in the world without feeling the financial weight of out-of-state tuition. In fact, Elaksher notes, tuition for online students is comparable to in-state tuition, so there’s no additional fees for those from who opt to attend the university from outside of New Mexico.

The flexibility is a key component of the program, which is a 2+2 degree program and involves students completing two years at a community college followed by two years at New Mexico State University.

Real-world experience is the emphasis of this four-year bachelor degree program, which was restructured to accommodate new technologies such as laser scanning and GIS and reflect changing trends in land surveying. Still, students will take the core surveying boundary courses during their time in the program, he adds.

Part of preparing students for life as geospatial professionals includes exposing them to local industry. Through the university’s connections to local industry, students welcome professionals into their classroom as both teachers and guest speakers. In addition, those students without any previous land surveying experience are required to intern during the summer months. To top it off, students take part in a senior project under the supervision of the faculty or monitored by someone from local industry.

The program is currently seeking accreditation at this time under the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission (ANSAC).

A four-year degree is required in the state of New Mexico for those interesting in becoming licensed land surveyors.

New Mexico State University
Real-world experience is the emphasis of this four-year bachelor degree program at New Mexico State University. Image Courtesy New Mexico State University

See below for a suggested plan of study for students to complete the 120-credit geomatics degree from New Mexico State University: 


Transfer 60 Credits of General Education and Electives


Transfer 60 Credits of General Education and Electives



  • BLAW 316 or BLAW 325: Legal Environment of Business or Real Estate Principles and Law I
  • MATH 2415 or MATH 480: Introduction to Linear Algebra or Matrix Theory and Applied Linear Algebra
  • SUR 292: Public Land Survey System Boundaries
  • SUR 328: Construction Surveying & Automation Technologies
  • SUR 361: Geodesy/Geodetic Control Surveying


  • E T 355: Site/Land Development and Layout
  • SUR 285: Precise Digital Mapping
  • SUR 312: Legal Principles and Boundary Law I
  • SUR 351: Spatial Data Adjustment I
  • SUR 461: GNSS Positioning



  • I E 451: Engineering Economy
  • SUR 451: Spatial Data Adjustment II
  • SUR 485: Emerging Techniques in Geospatial Technologies
  • SUR 464: Legal Principles and Boundary Law II


  • E T 421: Senior Project
  • GEOG 481: Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science (GIS)
  • SUR 401: Ethics and Professionalism in Surveying and Mapping
  • SUR 452: Spatial Data Integration and Analysis

Visit the New Mexico State University website for more information on the geomatics program.