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Geomatics Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time

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As a member of the military, 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.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview


CORPORAL JOSHUA GORDON: I’m Corporal Joshua Gordon from Beeton, Ontario — I’m a Geomatics Technician currently serving at the Mapping and Charting Establishment in Ottawa.

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 JOSHUA GORDON: We combine multiple layers of information and we overlay it with tactical information that’s collected by field engineers and different units across the Canadian Armed Forces and compile that into a visual product that explains the battlespace to a commander. It provides them with the tactical know-how and expertise to see and predict the flow of battle and how to best assist in the area of operations.

Geomatics Technicians are directly involved in the military planning process and can influence decisions at the highest levels.

CORPORAL JOSHUA GORDON: Products produced by the lowest-level Privates and Corporals Geomatics Technicians can go all the way up to the top. Some things that we produce make it all the way to the Chief of Defence staff. You need to be prepared to brief Captains, Majors, Colonels on the products that you make and explain to them the situation.

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 Stations.

CORPORAL JOSHUA GORDON: Being a Geomatics Technician gives a great sense of satisfaction. You’re working on a product from start to finish that will aid in decision-making and can basically save lives.

CORPORAL JOSHUA GORDON: The coolest part of the job for me is having an artistic outlet and an analytical outlet. I get to work with data and colours and sort of compile them into a complete product, a finished almost work of art.

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 JOSHUA GORDON: There’s many different jobs to do. There’s our survey troop that conducts field surveys; there is Geomatics Support Squadron, which provides tactical decision aids to all sorts of clients across the country; you can also be posted to Geospatial Information and Services Squadron that works on web map services and modern web-mapping to aid in Canadian Armed Forces decisions. There are leaders that will help you along your way, teach you new tips and tricks and everything they’ve learned throughout their career, to help you establish your own techniques and build your own workflow as a Geomatics Technician.

CORPORAL JOSHUA GORDON: Every product we make goes into the process of helping make a decision so every single product that I produce gives me a feeling of satisfaction and it allows me to feel like I’m contributing to the battlespace. It gives me a challenge on a day-to-day basis. I learn things, work things out, figure out problems – it’s very rewarding

Related Civilian Occupations

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


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.

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

No previous work experience or career related skills are required. CAF recruiters can help you decide if your personal interests and attributes match the criteria for this occupation.

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 11 or Quebec Secondary 5 including Grade 11 Applied Math or Math 426 in Quebec.

Foreign education may be accepted.