Written by special contributor
Though you may not realize it, most of us use geospatial data produced by geomatics technologies everyday.
When you check the weather report, tag your location on Instagram, or use an app like Waze to guide you to a restaurant, you’re using geospatial information. That’s information based on where you are, what’s going on in the environment, and what the geography is like around you.
Aujas graduated from the Geomatics program in Waterloo’s Faculty of the Environment. But studying in this emerging field wasn't always his plan. Aujas was initially interested in the Computer Science program, but received an alternate offer of admission to Geomatics. He remembers researching the program, and knowing immediately that it was for him.
"I was thrilled to see geography and computer science — two things I like — in the same program."
What do you learn in Geomatics?
Waterloo Geomatics students can expect a mix of fieldwork, classwork and lab time as they study geographic data, environmental analysis, and computer science (including coding). “A typical day includes a lot of lab time,” notes Aujas. “We learn how to apply the knowledge from class in different scenarios.”
Co-op is available to Geomatics students, and Aujas decided early on to take advantage of it.
"In co-op, you take skills that we’ve learned — like automation and working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) — and apply them in the real world. It’s a really good experience to apply them right away, before you even graduate from university."
Geospatial technologies have applications across many industries like business, education and urban planning. Because of co-op, Aujas had the opportunity to experience a variety of careers in both the public and private sectors before graduation.
During his first work term, he was hired as a remote sensing and geospatial analyst for Statistics Canada. (He worked with data grabbed from space satellites!). Aujas spent his second term with York Region, working with water and waste management. His third term was with the Zayo Group as an IT intern and in his fourth term, Aujas was hired as a Geomatics Engineer with BlueDot Global.
In his final co-op term, Aujas worked for the Region of Waterloo as a Student Coordinator in the Engineering and Planning department. Because of the prior experience he brought, he was able to integrate into the team and contribute in a meaningful way.
Now, Aujas brings this professional confidence with him to his career. He landed a position with the City of Oshawa as an Asset Management Data Analyst, where he works directly with clients and stakeholders, manages on-going projects, and creates custom tools to support this work. The role also provides him the opportunity to balance in-office work and time in the field.
When asked his advice for those considering the Geomatics program at Waterloo, Aujas encourages students to explore the career potential the program provides.
“Geomatics has a lot to offer. You can shape your future, however you want. You like coding? You can get job as software developer. You like field work? You can get job as field technician. You like working with data? You can get job as technologist or data analyst. The possibilities are endless.”