The Geomatics program was started in 1973 at the behest of the Surveying Profession in Florida. During the program’s development period, the surveying profession was and still continues to be of immense support. The program retains geographic distinction as the only full-service Geomatics program in the southeast United States, and is viewed as a program of regional, national and international impact. The program has developed name recognition nationwide through its research program, faculty publishing in journals and faculty participation at national meetings. The strong practice-based undergraduate program has been supplemented with sponsored research activity that finds direction and solution to a wide range of issues.
At the time of its inception the program was housed in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering. In 2004, the program and 4 faculty members transferred from the College of Engineering to the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in IFAS. Since that transfer, the Program has expanded substantially. We have: (a) Secured funding from the Florida legislature to deliver the BS degree at UF/IFAS Research and Education Centers in Plant City and Ft. Lauderdale; (b) Hired 3 new faculty members to help deliver the degree program ; (c) Increased undergraduate enrollment from 40 to 43; and (d) Secured re-accreditation by ABET.
Employers recognize the need to keep up with rapidly changing technology and have enthusiastically employed graduates where available. Historically, students graduating from the program with a Bachelor’s degree receive multiple job offers with attractive starting salaries. The recent economic downturn has dimished these outcomes somewhat, but the UF Geomatics Degree is still highly valued. Students are placed in a broad range of private sector and government organizations. More than 50 percent of the graduates own their own companies and 65 percent manage or supervise a department in surveying and mapping, either in the private or public sector. Three-fourths of the graduates are registered in Florida. Masters or Ph.D. graduates move into academic careers or key leadership positions in government or industry. Achievements of graduates have been the best measure of program effectiveness. UF grads have been routinely successful in passing the registration exam. Their advancements through professional and business ranks have been most notable. Many firms and GIS/ surveying/mapping departments now are headed by UF graduates.