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Army

Geomatics Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Geomatics Technicians collect geospatial data using imagery and Global Positioning System devices and survey equipment. They capture, analyze, process, present, disseminate and manage this data to support the operations of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force.

Geomatics Technicians are members of the Military Engineering Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Their primary responsibilities are to:

  • Collect geospatial data satellite, aerial and photo imagery, Global Positioning System devices and survey equipment
  • Manage and fuse digital geospatial data and products from a wide range of sources
  • Produce digital and hard-copy maps, charts, three-dimensional visualizations and other geospatial products to help military leaders understand and move in the battle space
  • Generate and reproduce digital geospatial products
  • Distribute geospatial products from the CAF Map Depot to units in garrison and on operations
  • Provide expert geomatics advice and liaison to CAF personnel at all levels of command

Work environment

Geomatics Technicians are members of the Army, but they may be called upon to support all CAF exercises and operations, including those lead by the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Most work at a base or station is done in an office environment in a major headquarters within Canada, using high-tech computer workstations and software designed for geomatics. Geomatics Technicians are also employed aboard ships, on survey duties, and in Army units that train in the field and deploy on operations. Over the course of their career they may be offered international postings, including exchanges with the United States Army.

Career Overview

Transcript

CORPORAL NATALIE CLOUTHIER: I’m Corporal Natalie Clouthier from London, Ontario — and I’m a Geomatics Technician currently posted to the Mapping and Charting Establishment in Ottawa, Ontario.

Geomatics Technicians use the most advanced IT equipment and cutting-edge geospatial technology to create a virtual view of the landscape that’s used to plan and conduct important operations in Canada and around the world. They collect and analyze geospatial data from different sources to produce digital or paper maps using Advanced Geomatics Information Systems.

CORPORAL NATALIE CLOUTHIER: Something that we frequently do — we will give commanders a picture of what they can see from a certain point in their battlespace. And that lets them ensure that all of their equipment, all of their vehicles can maintain communication throughout the exercise. We can also give a better picture of a convoy route, for example, to avoid choke points or potential points of ambush.
Geomatics Technicians are directly involved in the military planning process and can influence decisions at the highest levels.

CORPORAL NATALIE CLOUTHIER: Because a Geomatics Technician’s role is ingrained into the Intelligence cycle, as a Private you might be called upon to brief a product to a Major or to possibly even higher than that. So having the confidence in yourself and in your work is very important as a Geo Tech.

Geomatics Technicians are an army trade, but they can work with the Army, Air Force, Navy and Special Forces to create maps and charts for all operations. Geomatics Technicians must regularly complete ground surveys to ensure the accuracy in all mapping products. This can include surveys of military airports, runways, remote sites in the North, or foreign cities overseas using highly accurate GPS receivers and other survey instruments such as LiDAR and Electronic Total Station systems.

CORPORAL NATALIE CLOUTHIER: I’m very proud of the work that I do as a Geomatics Technician. I know that the information that I provide with my products is going to be used to potentially save lives or to better inform the commanders of an operation so that the operation can be successful.

CORPORAL NATALIE CLOUTHIER: For me, the coolest part about being a Geomatics Technician is the fact that I get to let my imagination go a little bit in my projects. It takes a lot of analytical thinking to make a product, but when it comes right down to it, you have to have a creative side. And that’s what I love about it — I get to take my creativity and blend it in with the science of performing an analysis to make a really nice product.

After completing their studies, Geomatics Technicians may be posted to one of four brigades, within one of several headquarters units across Canada, or to the Mapping and Charting Establishment, the Geomatics Centre of Excellence in Ottawa. Reservists in this job return to their home unit and continue to work under supervision. In their first year on the job, Geomatics Technicians continue to develop their
soldier skills and geomatics capabilities within the trade.

CORPORAL NATALIE CLOUTHIER: You may start out at the high-readiness unit and you might see a few deployments within your first couple of years. If you start out in our web-mapping services troop, you’ll be helping maintain and develop our portal service that we offer online for digital mapping. You may choose to specialize in survey, so you might go directly into a survey troop and be deployed on survey jobs throughout the country and around the world. I think the Canadian Forces Geomatics Technicians are quite possibly the only Geomatics Technicians that see this kind of variety in their job.

CORPORAL NATALIE CLOUTHIER: The first word that comes to mind for me is “diverse.” You’re always working on a different type of product; you’re always working with a different team; you’re always working for a different client. So you’ll never see the same thing twice. So if you’re a person who likes variety in your job, and quite a bit of challenge, the Geomatics Technician trade is probably for you.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Geographic Information System Technician
  • Geodetic Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Photogrammetrist

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic military qualification – land course

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army Physical Fitness
  • Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
  • Reconnaissance Patrolling
  • Individual Field Craft

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Geomatics Technicians attend the School of Military Mapping at Algonquin College, which is a detachment of the Mapping and Charting Establishment in Ottawa, Ontario. You will receive instruction from civilian and military instructors on the following topics:

Battle space analysis and visualization products

  • Mathematics and survey
  • Photogrammetry
  • Remote sensing software and data
  • Geographic information systems and data
  • Production of geospatial data
  • Navigation systems
  • Geomatics product reproduction process
  • Computer hardware and software
  • Geomatics product distribution process

Geomatics Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Geodetic terrestrial and aerial survey training
  • Geospatial database management
  • Advanced geomatics applications
  • Advanced terrain analysis
  • Geomatics engineering diploma

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 11 with a minimum of 75 percent in College Preparatory Math (Grade 12) or Secondaire IV having a minimum of 75 percent in College Preparatory Math (Secondaire V) in Quebec.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Geomatics Technicians serve with the Canadian Army. They are employed collecting, analyzing and managing geospatial data to support CAF operations. Geomatics technicians employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at military locations within Canada.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Training for Geomatics Technicians is conducted at the School of Military Mapping at Algonquin College, in Ottawa, Ontario.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.