The Future of Geomatics Education: GoGeomatics Interviews Verda Kocabas
GoGeomatics had the priviledge of interviewing past SAIT Academic Chair, now GIS Production Manager, Verda Kocabas. Kocabas spoke about education and the geomatics sector, as well as the difficulties geomatics programs are facing.
GoGeomatics: What are the difficulties geomatics programs face?
Verda Kocabas: Funding is always a challenge for any Geomatics post-secondary program. To utilize the most UpToDate technology and to teach all necessary technical skills needed in the field and office, these programs need software and equipment which could be very expensive.
The other challenge is to get enough applications for the programs. Most high-school students do not know what Geomatics is and what different career paths they could take.
GoGeomatics: Has there been a gradual loss of interest in geomatics as a profession or is interest higher than it has been?
Verda Kocabas: Geomatics profession is sometimes very confusing for a potential student to understand what a career could look like. It is due to the fact that Geomatics is a profession that has many different career paths. Especially with the new emerging technologies, these career paths are increasing. It is also true that there are so many different sectors that could hire a Geomatics professional. As a result, it gets confusing for the public to know what it is.
GoGeomatics: Looking across the geomatics college and university education opportunities in Canada, have you seen some programs being a more popular choice than others for incoming students, for instance, GIS as opposed to geomatics technician diplomas?
Verda Kocabas: There could be so many reasons for this. Such as high school graduate rates in the region (majority of students prefer to be close to their home), COVID pandemic, and financial difficulties.
GoGeomatics: What can we do as a sector to encourage programs and enrollment?
Verda Kocabas: Anything that can help spread the word of Geomatics to the public.
- Visit your own kids’ classes to talk about what you do.
- Attend info sessions and open houses to support local post-secondary programs
- Support post-secondary in their high school visits
- Help post-secondary with some funding support so that the potential students see what companies support certain programs.
GoGeomatics: How is low enrollment, and lack of programs, going to impact the geomatics industry in the future?
Verda Kocabas: It will ultimately affect the companies since they won’t be able to find skilled employees as quickly as they need.
GoGeomatics: What role does the government have to play (if any) in addressing issues regarding the low availability of geomatics professionals? The surveying sector in Canada is especially noted as an area with a critical lack of resources.
- Helping post secondaries with more funding.
- Helping post secondaries with educating the public on what Geomatics professionals do.
- Creating funding opportunities for work-integrated learning (coop, practicum, internships, etc…) for students to work in companies such as salary subsidies.
GoGeomatics wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to Verda Kocabas for her participation and enlightening answers.