Each year, students in the Geomatics Engineering program at Lyles College of Engineering at California’s Fresno State host a conference at the end of January, which allows them to network with geospatial professionals, national vendors and area experts.

It’s a big deal for students who take the driver’s seat in preparing this annual event, which has been around for six decades.

“At this conference, the students are the ones that pick the speakers. They are the ones that organize it, pick the location — everything — because it’s in benefit of them. It’s in benefit of the program,” says Scott Peterson, associate professor of the Geomatics Engineering program at Fresno State. 

This year, because of COVID-19, the conference was conducted virtually. Traditionally, the in-person event gives students a chance to speak to a number of vendors, and Peterson says, “they’ve got to work really hard to not walk away with an internship. So, every student should be able to walk in there and walk out either with a job to start during the school year or to start during the summer.”

And, because the demand for land surveyors is incredibly high, there’s a lot of opportunity for students post-graduation. Those who pursue this ABET-accredited bachelor of science degree are able to excel as geospatial professionals after graduation due in part to the efforts and expertise of the program’s faculty. Peterson — who is also a licensed land surveyor in both California and Utah — says that faculty members are committed to each student’s success and use their knowledge in everything from traditional land surveying to GIS to photogrammetry to help students succeed. 

“I think it sets us apart that we cover the basis of what you’re going to encounter out in the real world using the latest technology,” he says.

There’s no shortage of tech at Fresno State. Students will have hands-on experience during labs that deal with traditional land surveying, Peterson notes, and have access to the latest technology — all free of charge thanks to industry partners.

The department’s partnerships don’t end there, however. In fact, for the last three years, the department has been writing standards for the California Department of Transportation, also known as Caltrans, for the use of drones.

There is an emphasis on the law aspect of land surveying, in addition to geodetic sciences and GIS, Peterson adds. 

The state of California does not require a degree to sit for the licensing exam. However, a four-year degree in addition to two years of field experience (one year in the office and one on the field) or six years of field experience qualifies you to the sit for the exam.

Those interested in pursuing a Geomatics Engineering degree will be required to take the following core courses:


  • GME 15: Engineering Surveying
  • GME 16: Municipal Surveying
  • GME 40: Route and Construction Surveying
  • GME 50: Land Surveying (Public Lands of the United States)
  • GME 151: Boundary Law
  • GME 152: Real Property Descriptions
  • GME 159: Subdivision Design


  • GME 102: Remote Sensing
  • GME 123: Stereo Photogrammetry
  • GME 125: Analytical Photogrammetry
  • GME 126: Digital Mapping


  • GME 108: Geodesy
  • GME 143: Satellite Geodesy
  • GME 145: Geopositioning


  • GME 173: Introduction to GIS
  • GME 174: GIS Applications
  • GME 175: GIS Design


  • GME 34: Adjustment Computations
  • GME 66: Computer-Aided Mapping
  • GME 135: Advanced Adjustment Computations

Visit Fresno State’s Geomatics Engineering program page for more information on this career path.