By the time Pedro finished his time at Waterloo, he had more than a Geomatics degree to add to his résumé.

Beyond the skills he learned in the classroom, Pedro also gained real-world experience in the field, working across all three levels of government, in sectors spanning telecommunications, transportation, and agriculture.

“I chose Waterloo for the co-op program,” says Pedro, who’s currently helping York Region map out its fibre-optic network while finishing a Master of Science degree in Geography at Waterloo. “I was able to figure out the types of work I might like to do before I even graduated.”

But while “co-op didn’t fail to impress,” he says, the biggest surprise was how much Geomatics grads are in demand.

Geomatics has such a wide range of applications. It feels like every company needs at least one person like me.

It’s easy to see why, when you consider the scope of geomatics, a discipline concerned with gathering spatial data related to both the natural and built environments —and then combining this data with concepts related to computer science—to see what’s happening in our world. Even better, it means you get to play with drones and other remote-sensing technologies.

In his first year, Pedro was expecting to enjoy the computer science courses in his program, but wasn’t sure how interested he was in the environmental side of things. “Now that’s what excites me most, how geomatics can help solve deeper issues related to land management and climate change,” says Pedro.

Today, as part of his master’s program, Pedro is researching how rising Arctic temperatures affect the erosion of land and river migration patterns. “The work we’re doing has real-world implications that might help change conservation practices,” he says.

Pedro, a Geomatics graduate, watches the drone he's flying. He's using a large hand held device to control the drone's movements

As interest in geomatics grows, so does his passion. “When I was an undergrad, geomatics wasn’t well known,” says Pedro. To help raise awareness, he joined the student-led National Geomatics Competition, first as a competitor and then as the event’s chairman. “I want to see other people embrace geomatics and love it as much as I do,” he says.

Of course, there are other benefits to volunteering, including meeting people who currently work in the field. “I’m all about networking,” he says. “Talking to people and getting out there put me in touch with all the big employers and professors working in geomatics.”

“Studying geomatics was a risk, because I didn’t know I’d like it,” he says. But by opening his mind, joining clubs, volunteering, and staying committed, he’s set himself up for success while doing something he loves.

Take a risk, get involved, and stay committed. That’s what university is all about.


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