Why Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering?
Between November 1965 and December 1993, we were known as the Department of Surveying Engineering. We became the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering on 1 January 1994. Why? Well, the "engineering" part of the name is still appropriate as it confirms that we are concerned with the practical application of scientific knowledge, as in the design, development, and operation of surveying and mapping systems. Geodesy was chosen because it is the science of mathematically determining the size and shape of the earth and the nature of the earth's gravity field - both essential components of what we do.
But what about "geomatics"? This is a term that has been adopted by governments and private industry across Canada and which is becoming accepted worldwide. It encompasses the art, science, and technology involved in collecting and managing geographically-referenced information. This information can come from a variety of sources: earth orbiting satellites (e.g., the Global Positioning System; RadarSat), air and sea-borne sensors, and ground based instrumentation. Geographical information, manipulated with high tech computer hardware and software, plays an important role in activities such as environmental studies; management of land and marine resources; monitoring of dams, oil fields, and mines for subsidence or movement; navigation of ships and aircraft; oceanography; real estate transactions; and tourism.
So, because the term "surveying" no longer accurately expressed the work we do and the knowledge we teach, we have updated our name to Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering. Some of the areas of interest in our Department are
- geodesy and geodynamics for the determination of accurate reference systems for positioning and for monitoring changes in the shape of the earth;
- industrial metrology, precision engineering, and mining surveys;
- geographic information systems to manage land and natural resources;
- ocean mapping and navigation;
- remote sensing; and
- modelling of natural and man-induced structural and ground deformations.