Sub Disciples

This program of study can be adjusted to meet your specific needs and interests in the field of geomatics. The core courses in the major provide a study of the several sub disciplines in Geomatics: land surveying, land development, photogrammetry, remote sensing, geodesy, and geographic information systems (GIS).The eighteen semester hour minor provides the opportunity to prepare for a specific job opportunity after graduation, business ownership, or graduate school. Excellent student advising is available to you to help you make these choices.

Survey Fundamentals

pencil paper ruler with hands

Geomatics students begin with the fundamentals of measurement science offered in GEM 2220 Basics of Cartography and Surveying and continue with GEM 3330 Advanced Measurement Analysis. Students learn how to make survey measurements and how to compute products desired by clients from these measurements. Class time is spent developing the concepts of what it means to be precise and what it means to be accurate as these concepts relate to measurement theory.Students learn how the physical properties of the earth affect field measurements and the corrections for these effects. Students gain experience with modern instrumentation used for making field measurements, common sources of error in their usage, and the organized crew procedure and note keeping necessary for professional result

two guys survying

Land Surveying

The sub discipline of land surveying is an ancient science dating back to the first need to delineate land ownership on the ground. The need for land boundary or cadastral surveyors is just as important today. In fact, one could argue that as human population grows the demand for the fixed quantity of land on the earth surface increases. As land values increase the need for the accurate determination of land boundaries becomes even more important.

Land Development

Many geomatics professionals assist in the design and construction of roads, bridges, subdivisions, and planned unit developments. Areas of interest are planning and zoning, the principles of route surveying, hydrology, large-scale mapping, subdivisions design, and CAD drafting.   Students are offered the opportunity to study land development in GEM 4405 Route and Construction Surveying, GEM L407 Subdivision Design Practice, and GEM 4409 Hydrology. Topographic Mapping is studied in GEM 3330 Advanced Measurement Analysis and GEM L405 Route and Construction Surveying Lab. GEM 4409 is a design course focused on the determination of peak flows and design of hydraulic flows to accommodate runoff.   An exciting integration of land development and GIS are offered by new software that offers parcel management features. Career opportunities exist for Geomatics Professionals in construction surveying, subdivision design and layout, and Land Information Systems (GIS).


Least Squares

Least Squares is a statistical criterion for the estimation of the goodness of fit in correlation analysis. Least squares methods aim to minimize the sum of squared differences between the observations and the predictions from a model. Least Squares is a method for determining the line that comes nearest to passing through a set of data points. The squares come in because of Pythagoras' theorem about triangles. The method aims to minimize (hence the word "least") the sum of the differences from the data points to the line in question. Least squares is a mathematical optimization technique that attempts to find a "best fit" to a set of data by attempting to minimize the sum of the squares of the differences (called residuals) between the fitted function and the data. (

Geodesy & GPS

Geodesy is the study of the size, shape, and the effect of the physical properties of the earth on measurements. A mathematical model of the earth is the subject of geometric geodesy, the earth’s gravity field is the subject of physical geodesy, and the use of earth satellites to measure the earth’s surface the concern of satellite geodesy. The civilian use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) is a major component of the study of geodesy. GPS plays a valuable role in providing precise measurements between receivers on the earth’s surface based on one-way signals broadcast from a network of satellites. Study of the models used by GPS systems to determine precise coordinate locations and the transformation of these initial coordinates to facilitate the accomplishment of local geomatics projects is a major portion of the course work in GEM 3370 Geodesy and Geodetics.

GPS is complex system that is easy to use. However, to understand the system itself, one needs to study the propagation of electromagnetic waves (microwaves), the properties of the atmosphere, the orbits of the satellites and the impact of solar radiation, the concept of precise timing, the ellipsoid model used as a reference system for GPS measurements, transformations between coordinate systems, and the principles of least squares adjustment.

 GPS system being used

Construction Surveying

Construction surveying is the translation of construction plans into physical points on the ground that can be used as a basis for the actual construction. The results of construction surveying are seen in almost any urban, suburban, and even rural setting. Almost any roadway, building, or other man-made improvement probably had some amount of construction surveying involved. Construction surveying provides not only the horizontal location of new improvements, but also the vertical information required to ensure that surfaces drain or pipes flow as required. The stakes and points set during the process of construction surveying are not usually set at the actual construction point, but usually on some sort of offset. This is done so that the survey stake is not disturbed by excavation or other activities that will take place at the actual point of construction. The stakes are marked with an "offset" and a "grade", which provides the construction crew with the spacial relationship of the construction stake to the actual point of construction. The "offset" is the distance from the survey stake to the horizontal position of the actual point of construction, and would typically be three feet for curb and gutter to ten feet for underground pipes. The distance of the offset should be coordinated with the contractor to accomodate any specific needs due to existing field conditions or special equipment, and should be clearly marked on the survey stake (usually by a number enclosed in a circle). The "grade" represents the change in elevation that needs to be obtained from the reference point to the actual construction point, expressed as a "cut" (lower in elevation) or a "fill" (higher in elevation). The grade should also indicate the vertical feature that the grade is referencing, usually a flow line or finished floor elevation. The need for accuracy is inherent in all of the surveyor's tasks, but especially evident in construction surveying. It is not only important to perform all calculations correctly, but also to communicate clearly with the contractor about the distance of offsets and reference points for grades. If the surveyor provides grades to the flow line of curb and gutter and the contractor uses those grades as top of curb elevation, the net result is a construction site that is not going to work as planned! Additionally, scheduling should be coordinated in a manner that minimizes the risk of the stakes being damaged by human or natural activities, as any disturbance to the survey stake may carry over to actual construction. (

Photo & Remote Sensing

The U.S. National Map Program providing full map coverage of the continental United States was made possible by the development of the theory and practice of photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is the science of obtaining measurements from photographs. Today the importance of photogrammetry has not diminished as the most effective method of providing precise spatial data over large project sites. The pressing need for precise spatial data for Geographic Information Systems makes the field of photogrammetry an exciting area to study.    Students are taught the fundamentals of photogrammetry with an emphasis on being able to apply photogrammetry in a practical way to all types of surveying and mapping problems. Troy University has made an investment in leading-edge imaging software to allow students to use computers to view photography, perform image enhancement, set-up stereo-models, and to produce orthophotos to use as maps. Our students are taught how to perform aerial flight planning to ensure the photography and control necessary to meet specific project data accuracy requirements. Students are exposed to the following technology:

  • SUMMIT EVOLUTION digital photogrammetric workstation: This is a user-friendly system for performing 3D feature collection directly into AutoCAD®, MicroStation®, or ArcGIS®. The SUMMIT EVOLUTION system allows for easy management of multiple model images along with their appropriate camera and control files in a project-based environment.
  • ERDAS IMAGINE is one of the world's leading provider of geographic imaging solutions. The software facilitates visualizing, manipulating, analyzing, measuring, and integrating any type of geographic imagery and geospatial information into 2D and 3D environments. ERDAS IMAGINE is easily integrated with ArcGIS®

Geographic Information Systems

Graphic and charts

GIS is an application that can benefit from the input of a team of interdisciplinary professionals. A geomatics professional is a valuable member of a GIS team when the mapping data is required to be precise such as the base map for county land ownership or utility location. Applications requiring precise data typically use photogrammetry and survey-grade GPS receivers to acquire the data. The ability to determine the procedures and equipment necessary to acquire a specification for precise data is one of the benefits from study in our geomatics program.GIS is a major component of our Surveying and Geomatics Sciences Program. The student is offered two courses on the fundamentals and application of GIS. GIS applications are introduced in the curriculum to demonstrate the impact that GIS is and will continue to make on your career in geomatics.

Simply put, a GIS combines layers of information about a place to give you a better understanding of that place. One of the main benefits of GIS is improved management of your organization and resources. A GIS can link data sets together by common locational data, such as addresses, which helps departments and agencies share their data. By creating a shared database, one department can benefit from the work of another.

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