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A surveyor's shed showing equipment used for geomatics

Geomatics is defined in the ISO/TC 211 series of standards as the "discipline concerned with the collection, distribution, storage, analysis, processing, presentation of geographic data or geographic information".[1] Under another definition, it consists of products, services and tools involved in the collection, integration and management of geographic (geospatial) data.[2] Surveying engineering was the widely used name for geomatic(s) engineering in the past. Geomatics was placed by the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems under the branch of technical geography.[3][4]

History and etymology

The term was proposed in French ("géomatique") at the end of the 1960s by scientist Bernard Dubuisson to reflect at the time recent changes in the jobs of surveyor and photogrammetrist.[5] The term was first employed in a French Ministry of Public Works memorandum dated 1 June 1971 instituting a "standing committee of geomatics" in the government.[6]

The term was popularised in English by French-Canadian surveyor Michel Paradis in his The little Geodesist that could article, in 1981 and in a keynote address at the centennial congress of the Canadian Institute of Surveying (now known as the Canadian Institute of Geomatics) in April 1982. He claimed that at the end of the 20th century the needs for geographical information would reach a scope without precedent in history and that, in order to address these needs, it was necessary to integrate in a new discipline both the traditional disciplines of land surveying and the new tools and techniques of data capture, manipulation, storage and diffusion.[7]

Geomatics includes the tools and techniques used in land surveying, remote sensing, cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou), photogrammetry, geophysics, geography, and related forms of earth mapping. The term was originally used in Canada but has since been adopted by the International Organization for Standardization, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and many other international authorities, although some (especially in the United States) have shown a preference for the term geospatial technology,[8] which may be defined as synonym of "geospatial information and communications technology".[9]

Although many definitions of geomatics, such as the above, appear to encompass the entire discipline relating to geographic information – including geodesy, geographic information systems, remote sensing, satellite navigation, and cartography –, the term is almost exclusively restricted to the perspective of surveying and engineering toward geographic information.[citation needed] Geoinformatics and Geographic information science has been proposed as alternative comprehensive term; however, their popularity is, like geomatics, largely dependent on country.[10]

The related field of hydrogeomatics covers the area associated with surveying work carried out on, above or below the surface of the sea or other areas of water. The older term of hydrographics was considered[by whom?] too specific to the preparation of marine charts, and failed to include the broader concept of positioning or measurements in all marine environments. The use of different data processing technologies in hydrography does not change the purpose of its research.[11]

Health geomatics can improve our understanding of the important relationship between location and health, and thus assist us in Public Health tasks like disease prevention, and also in better healthcare service planning.[12]

A growing number of university departments which were once titled "surveying", "survey engineering" or "topographic science" have re-titled themselves using the terms "geomatics" or "geomatics engineering", while others have switched to program titles such as "spatial information technology", and similar names.[13][14]

The rapid progress and increased visibility of geomatics since the 1990s has been made possible by advances in computer hardware, computer science, and software engineering, as well as by airborne and space observation remote-sensing technologies.

Geomatics engineering

Surveyor using a total station

Geomatics engineering is a rapidly developing engineering discipline which focuses on spatial information (i.e. information that has a location).[15] The location is the primary factor used to integrate a very wide range of data for spatial analysis and visualization. Geomatics engineers design, develop, and operate systems for collecting and analyzing spatial information about the land, the oceans, natural resources, and manmade features.[16][17]

Geomatics engineers apply engineering principles to spatial information and implement relational data structures involving measurement sciences, thus using geomatics and acting as spatial information engineers. Geomatics engineers manage local, regional, national and global spatial data infrastructures.[18] Geomatics engineering also involves aspects of Computer Engineering, Software Engineering and Civil Engineering.[19]


Application areas include:

Areas of knowledge

Geomatics integrates science and technology from both new and traditional disciplines:

See also


  1. ^ ISO/TR 19122:2004(en) Geographic information/Geomatics — Qualification and certification of personnel [1]
  2. ^ "About Us". Applied Geomatics Research Laboratory. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  3. ^ Haidu, Ionel (2016). "What is Technical Geography – a letter from the editor". Geographia Technica. 11: 1–5. doi:10.21163/GT_2016.111.01.
  4. ^ Sala, Maria (2009). Geography Volume I (1 ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom: EOLSS UNESCO. ISBN 978-1-84826-960-6.
  5. ^ "ACSG - Association canadienne des sciences géomatiques (Section Champlain) /// Des références utiles en géomatique". Retrieved 2019-11-04.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Arrêté du 27 décembre 1994 relatif à la terminologie de la télédétection aérospatiale, retrieved 2019-11-04
  7. ^ Paradis, Michel (September 1981). "De l'arpentage à la géomatique". Le Géomètre Canadien (in French). 35 (3): 262.
  8. ^ Boehm, Richard G.; Mohan, Audrey (2010). "Geospatial Technology: Curricular Keystone of Applied Geography". International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research. 1 (1): 26–39. doi:10.4018/jagr.2010071602. ISSN 1947-9654.
  9. ^ Scholten, H.J.; Velde, R.; van Manen, N. (2009). Geospatial Technology and the Role of Location in Science. GeoJournal Library. Springer Netherlands. p. 1. ISBN 978-90-481-2620-0. Retrieved 2022-01-28.
  10. ^ Krawczyk, Artur (2022-11-09). "Proposal of Redefinition of the Terms Geomatics and Geoinformatics on the Basis of Terminological Postulates". ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 11 (11): 557. Bibcode:2022IJGI...11..557K. doi:10.3390/ijgi11110557. ISSN 2220-9964.
  11. ^ "Invited reply: Hydrography or hydrogeomatics?". Hydro International. 7: 34–37. 1 December 2003. ISSN 1385-4569 – via GITC BV.
  12. ^ Kamel Boulos, M. N; Roudsari, A. V; Carson, E. R (2001-06-01). "Health Geomatics: An Enabling Suite of Technologies in Health and Healthcare". Journal of Biomedical Informatics. 34 (3): 195–219. doi:10.1006/jbin.2001.1015. ISSN 1532-0464. PMID 11723701.
  13. ^ "Geomatics engineering & geographic information systems (GIS)". University of Colorado Denver- College of Engineering. University of Colorado Denver. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  14. ^ "White Mountains Community College- Spatial Information Technology Transcript Checklist". PDFFiller. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  15. ^ Hazelton, N W J (September 2005). "Surveying, Geomatics, and Engineering: A 'Structure' for a Rapidly Evolving Profession". Surveying and Land Information Science. 65 (3): 211–222. ProQuest 202972772.
  16. ^ "Department of Geomatics Engineering | Kathmandu University". Department of Geomatics Engineering. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  17. ^ Lam, Steve Yau-Wah; Yip, Tsz Leung (February 2008). "The role of geomatics engineering in establishing the marine information system for maritime management". Maritime Policy & Management. 35 (1): 53–60. doi:10.1080/03088830701848896. hdl:10397/27671. S2CID 154941027.
  18. ^ Ghosh, Jayanta Kumar; da Silva, Irineu, eds. (2020). Applications of Geomatics in Civil Engineering. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering. Vol. 33. doi:10.1007/978-981-13-7067-0. ISBN 978-981-13-7066-3.[page needed]
  19. ^ "Marshall, Wesley". Retrieved 2023-11-16.

Further reading