/Laser vision: Geomatics class sees school in new ways

Laser vision: Geomatics class sees school in new ways

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Taylor Foxx
Staff Writer

Peering through the viewfinder, Will Livingston, a senior geomatics major from Pine Level, focuses on a miniscule point on the grassy field.
“Step to the right…. wow, too far,” Livingston calls out the fellow classmate who brandishes a tall, candycane-colored surveying pole in the middle of the Shackleford Quad. “Half a step to your left. That’s it. Don’t move!”
The student places the sharp point of the instrument into the ground that will form one of the edges of “The Burger Shack,” a local burger joint that will never serve a single customer.
The “Burger Shack” is just another exercise for Troy students studying in the job-rich field of Troy University’s Survey and Geomatics Science Program.
“We could probably put eight to ten students to work today if they were available,” said David Griffin, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Geomatics. “We regularly get calls for inquiries about our graduate students, almost weekly.”
When it comes to studying geomatics, Troy University is one of the best places to get a degree. Troy University’s prestigious program has been nationally recognized, winning 1st place at the National Society of Professional Surveyors Student Competition in 2011 and 2012.
Troy’s program also has international accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Applied Science Accreditation Commission, which allows for Troy students to get jobs internationally after they graduate.
“At our program, we have the best of the best technology, hardware and software,” said Steve Ramroop, the program director of the Surveying and Geomatics Science Program. “We have a scanner, like a photocopying machine, that sets up in the field that captures millions and millions of points.
“Using that data, you would go back to your office and make your measurements. You don’t have to spend a lot of time out in the field.”
Jobs in geomatics are greatly varied from working with digital mapping technology or GPS software, to working as landscape engineers or environmental scientists.
For Livingston, the field of geomatics is an opportunity to work in the outdoors, where he already spends a lot of his time hunting, fishing and riding 4-wheelers.
“I have had jobs before this,” Livingston said. “Hard labor in paper mills, sawmills. I have worked in construction and as a mechanic. This job you still make good, decent pay; it’s not near as strenuous and you actually use the technology that they have available now to do it.
“It means you can still go out, have an outside job and not just be behind a desk.”
Livingston’s interest in the program was solidified in the summer of 2013 when he participated in a paid internship.
“The internship offer from last summer is really what turned me on to the program. It’s just like any class you take. It’s homework, reading, studying and books. It takes an internship to see that it actually applies.”
Nationally, the average age for land surveyors is 58 years old, and as these surveyors retire, there are an abundance of job openings.
Like Livingston, students interested in getting hands-on experience can participate in paid internships over the summer. Oftentimes, these internship opportunities translate into job offers, depending on the students and the quality of their work.
Students interested in this degree can contact Steve Ramroop, the program director in his office 420 Hawkins Hall or by email at: sramroop@troy.edu.