Starting next fall semester, students at SLCC will be able to get a degree in Geomatics, also known as land surveying. On Dec. 9 of last year, the Utah State Board of Regents decided to approve of this new degree, which is actually not that new for SLCC.
Some of the people who attended the signing of this new degree included Utah Valley University professor Dan Perry, SLCC professors Walter Cunningham and Dr. Chris Picard, and many other professors from UVU.
Geomatics is the scientific technique used to measure the angles and distance of land. This practice helps in building construction, map making, and establishing land boundaries.
“The new survey degree program is actually an old program,” said Cunningham. “Back in 1987 the Utah Council of Land Surveyors partnered up with Salt Lake Community College to create the first survey degree in the state of Utah.”
After the program at SLCC was stable, the Utah Council of Land Surveyors (UCLS) approached the state legislature and the State Board of Regents to propose a four-year degree in land surveying. Since SLCC is only a two-year school, they wanted to start a transfer program.
The first time the UCLS tried to start the transfer program, they approached Southern Utah University and failed. That is when they approached UVU, who has now changed their program to collaborate with SLCC’s program.
When the State Board of Regents signed to start this new degree, they changed the name of the degree from Surveying to Geomatics, which is a national standard.
“I’m in the International Studies program, but I’m doing the survey program here [SLCC] to be able to license,” said Trevor Hatch, a University of Utah student who works for the Surveyors Members Licensing Board.
Students who decide to get a degree in surveying will be studying geometry, engineering, trigonometry, physics, along with law. These students will have a minimum of 69 credit hours along with a Surveying Co-Op. These classes are available at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus or online.
According to an article written by Cunningham for Professional Surveyor Magazine, the surveying program has declared three major purposes that have stood over the past 23 years. The first is to provide students with little or no experience with the skills needed for employment as a surveyor. The second, to give those students already working in the profession additional knowledge needed to prepare for their professional licensing exams. And finally, to give licensed professionals the opportunity for upgrading their training on new issues and equipment in surveying.
All of the instructors who teach surveying at SLCC are members of UCLS, have their license in surveying, and are very experienced in the field.
There are currently 150 students at SLCC that are majoring in Geomatics but during the early days of this program, there were only about 4 or 5 students in each class.
The next step for the UCLS is to mandate a four-year degree in Utah to be part of the surveyors licensing process.
More information about the Geomatics degree can be found at www.slcc.edu/surveying.