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National Geomatics Competition at UNB

This month, UNB will be hosting a National Geomatics Competition—the first of its kind for undergraduate Geomatics students in Canada.

The event will be held at UNB from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19. The event begins with an arrival and meet-and-greet on the 16; the competition begins the next day.

The competition is comprised of three-person teams from post-secondary institutions across the country, who will be given six hours to create a solution to a problem based on geomatics course content.

UNB Geomatics Engineering student and Geodesy and Geomatics Undergraduate Society (GUESS) president, Justin Collett, is the founder and chairman of the competition.

Collett explained that one of the goals for starting the competition, as listed on the event’s website, is to raise visibility of the profession and its programs.

“It’s the art and science of spatial data collection, management and storage—so for the layman, basically, geographic positioning, like what is important about that location. So boundary, monuments, spatial data like GIS (geographic information system) data, data remotely sensed through satellite imagery…that sort of stuff,” Collett said in his explanation of the field and its components.

He added that geomatic engineering can offer solutions for various aspects of our world—including things like climate change science, positioning and navigation.

Collett said he was inspired to create the competition after attending the World Mining Competition at the University of Saskatchewan. He said that he found the event to be a great way to promote the mining profession.

“I came back to Fredericton and kept hearing about how no one knows what geomatics is and there’s a lot of ‘white hair’ in the professional association, so I decided at that point it would be a good thing to start an event to promote the profession of geomatics,” said Collett.

According to its website, another of the competition’s goals is to showcase students’ skills and help them with networking.

Collett said that, given the limited amount of schools that offer geomatics programs, this event will serve as a way to bring people together.

“In bringing everyone together, we’re networking future professionals, currently students, in the industry, and current industry professionals that are—a lot of them are—looking to do recruitment at the event, so looking for summer or full-time hires,” said Collett.

Tyson Lyons, a fourth-year geomatics student at UNB, said he’s excited that geomatics students will be getting the opportunity to display their knowledge and network with potential employers.  

“It is a very unique and interesting opportunity that I have been looking forward to for weeks,” Lyons said.

The competition’s third goal is to inspire the next generation of geomatic engineers into thinking big and working hard. Collett said that he wanted to give first-year students something to take interest in, as well as look forward to.

Collett also has hopes of continuing with the NGC as an annual event.

“That kind of transition for the future in institutional memory is still a bit uncertain, but what we know now is there’s interest for next year for the University of Calgary to host the event—and the year after that for Waterloo to host the event, and I’d hope for UNB to host it in three years time.”

Photo submitted by Justin Collett.

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