BS in Geodetic Engineering in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Science in Geodetic Engineering (BSGE) is a five year degree program that deals with the collection and measurement of spatial data in the surface of the earth using appropriate technologies and precision instruments. The program teaches students the scientific and methodological processing and management of gathered data for the production of spatial information systems, maps, plans, charts and other documents.

The BSGE program provides students with knowledge in the creation of geographical information systems and geographical positioning systems. It develops students’ skills in executing control surveys, mineral, hydrographic, and topographic surveys, photogrammetric surveys, gravimetric surveys and astronomical observations.

Aside from the theoretical knowledge and technical skills taught to students, the program also educates students on the laws of public lands and natural resources, land registration laws, obligations and contracts and professional ethics.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the BSGE curriculum are as follows:
  • Technical Courses:
    • Mathematics: College Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, Analytic Geometry, Solid Mensuration, Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, Differential Equations, Probability and Statistics
    • Natural/Physical Sciences: General Chemistry, Physics 1 and 2
    • Basic Engineering Sciences: Computer Fundamentals and Programming, Engineering Drawing, Computer-Aided Drafting, Statics of Rigid Bodies, Dynamics of Rigid Bodies, Mechanics of Deformable Bodies, Engineering Economy, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Safety Management
    • Allied Courses: Principles of Geology, Basic Electrical Engineering, Information and Communications Technology
    • Professional Courses: General Surveying 1 and 2, Property Survey, Construction and Industrial Surveying, Cartography, Geodetic Engineering Laws, Contracts and Ethics, Public Land Laws and Laws on Natural Resources, Laws on Property, Land Registration Laws, Photogrammetry 1 and 2, Remote Sensing, Geometric Geodesy, Physical Geodesy, Satellite Geodesy, Geodetic Surveying, Mine Surveying, Hydrography, Geodetic Astronomy, Geodetic Computations and Adjustments, Development Planning, Special Studies in Geodetic Engineering, Land Management, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Theory of Errors and Adjustments, On the Job Training (OJT)
    • Electives: Marine Cadastre, Accounting, Business Entrepreneurship, Languages, Advanced ICT
  • Non-Technical Courses:
    • Social Sciences: Social Science 1 to 4
    • Humanities: Humanities 1 to 3
    • Languages: Languages 1 to 4
    • Mandated Subjects

The lessons in the BSGE program are taught to students through classroom lectures, laboratory exercises and field visits. The teaching method for this course is unique since majority of subjects are paired with laboratory work. Students are also expected to attend scheduled seminars and educational talks set by the school where current trends, news and issues are raised related to the field of Geodetic Engineering.

During the fifth year, students need to make a thesis paper that is related to the practice of geodetic engineering. This is done under the guidance of a research adviser. After completion, the student must defend his/her work in front of his/her research teacher or any other expert in the field of geodetic engineering.

Students are also required to complete the number of hours intended for the on the job training (OJT).

Is Geodetic Engineering a profession?

Geodetic Engineering is a profession. A graduate of BSGE who passes the Geodetic Engineering Licensure Examination is called a Licensed Geodetic Engineer.

The responsibilities of a Geodetic Engineer include:
  • Analyze control or survey data to ensure adherence to project specifications or land survey standards.
  • Calculate the exact horizontal and vertical position of points on the earth's surface.
  • Verify the mathematical correctness of newly collected survey data.
  • Plan or direct the work of geodetic surveying staff, providing technical consultation as needed.
  • Assess the quality of control data to determine the need for additional survey data for engineering, construction, or other projects.
  • Maintain databases of geodetic and related information including coordinate, descriptive, or quality assurance data.
  • Conduct surveys to determine exact positions, measurement of points, elevations, lines, areas, volumes, contours, or other features of land surfaces.
  • Compute horizontal and vertical coordinates of control networks using direct leveling or other geodetic survey techniques such as triangulation, trilateration, and traversing to establish features of the earth's surface.
  • Request additional survey data when field collection errors occur or engineering surveying specifications are not maintained.
  • Compute, retrace, or adjust existing surveys of features such as highway alignments, property boundaries, utilities, control and other surveys to match the ground elevation dependent grids, geodetic grids, or property boundaries and to ensure accuracy and continuity of data used in engineering, surveying, or construction projects.
  • Determine orientation of tracts of land including position, boundaries, size, and shape using theodolites, electronic distance measuring equipment, satellite-based positioning equipment, land information systems or other geodetic survey equipment.
  • Distribute compiled geodetic data to government agencies or the general public.
  • Provide training and interpretation in the use of methods or procedures for observing and checking controls for geodetic and plane coordinates.

What are the admission requirements for the BS in Geodetic Engineering program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers.
  • General Weighted Average (GWA) requirement: there are schools that require a specific GWA upon graduation from secondary school.
  • Grade average in Mathematics and Science: some schools require students to have a minimum grade average in subjects such as Math and Science.
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Aptitude for the sciences – the foundation to survive this course is centered mainly on having a keen interest in science most especially in geology. Students must have the innate ability to understand science because although some lessons can be learned it will all stem down to whether you have a connection with the sciences or not.
  • Aptitude for Mathematics – geodesy is a subject that is very important in geodetic engineering, it is one of the key skills that you must learn and it involves a lot of math. Geometry is the field of math that is most often applied in geodesy, it is used when you try to measure the size and the shape of the earth as well as the earth’s gravity. Math is most important in this course because majority of subjects use both basic and complicated forms of mathematical equation applying it to geological problems.
  • Logical Intelligence – the ability to design and conduct experiments to test hypotheses and verify assumptions, as well as to organize, analyze and interpret data, draw valid conclusions and develop mathematical models for processes.
  • Excellent Mechanical Inclination – during the laboratory activities and most especially when you’re doing your OJT, students will be taught different geodetic engineering procedures and protocol used in the specific industry, this may entail using a lot of equipment and tools that may be difficult to use, excellent mechanical inclination is a must.
  • Analytical skills – ability to identify, formulate and solve geodetic engineering problems
  • Abstract thinking – the ability to evaluate and interpret data derived from laboratory observations and measurements in terms of their significance, and to relate them to appropriate theories
  • Detail Oriented – during scientific experiments and lab exercises you must pay attention to the smallest detail, committing even the slightest mistake will yield a different result or may even cause laboratory accidents.
  • Strong Observational skills – having strong observational skills will be very helpful when you study this course. When solving problems or doing computations and laboratory experiments your professors will demonstrate the task to you at first, however, they will do this only once and you will be left alone doing the rest thus you must be very good in observation.
  • Freehand skills – the ability to transform a design into an image through drawing and sketching
  • Computer Literacy – a wide knowledge on computers is critical to succeeding in the majority of engineering courses because much of the actual design work is done using computers.
  • Research skills – the ability to undertake in depth investigations, collecting complex data, using a variety of different approaches, in order to reach conclusions about a range of scientific issues
  • Communication skills – covering both written and oral communication; this includes the ability to present scientific information in a clear and concise manner and to discuss them intelligently, both in writing and orally.

How difficult is BS in Geodetic Engineering?

BS in Geodetic Engineering is considered a difficult course. Its curriculum contains many mathematics, science and engineering subjects which are highly complex and difficult to understand. The workload for this program is heavy as you will be doing a lot of studying, assignments, projects, field visits, etc.

Long lecture hours coupled with long laboratory hours, highly technical long exams and case analysis projects become very tiring for most students, the main reason why many shift to much easier courses.

Another difficult task is the thesis paper. Engineering thesis papers are very technical and highly factual, students need to conduct laboratory work or visit different industries to prove their argument.

Lastly, another difficult part of this program is the board examination. You need to study intensively, review every single concept and take several comprehensive and practice examinations to ensure that you’ll be able to pass the exam.

How long does it take to complete the BS in Geodetic Engineering program in the Philippines?

The BS in Geodetic Engineering program takes five years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

On the job training (OJT)

An OJT must be taken by students in the fifth year of their study. Under the OJT, students are assigned in different agencies and companies such as survey and mapping companies, construction companies, petroleum companies, utility companies, planning and engineering agencies.

During the OJT, students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practice their skills in actual settings. The program is done under the supervision of a licensed geodetic engineer in the establishment/office which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member.

The number of hours required for the OJT is 240.
(See source)

Geodetic Engineering Licensure Examination

To become a Licensed Geodetic Engineer in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Geodetic Engineering needs to pass the Geodetic Engineering Licensure Examination. The examination is conducted by the Board of Geodetic Engineering under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC). The exam is conducted once a year.

The subjects included in the exam are as follows:
  • Mathematics
  • Theory and Practice of Surveying
  • Property Surveying including Isolated, Cadastral, Mineral and Mining Surveys
  • Cartography and Photogrammetry
  • Geodesy, Geodetic Surveying and Least Squares
  • Engineering Surveys and Construction Surveying
  • Laws on Natural Resources including Laws on Property, Land Registration and Agrarian Reform
  • Laws on Obligations and Contracts
  • Code of Ethics of the Profession

In order to pass the examination, a candidate must obtain a weighted average of at least 70% with no rating below 55% in any subject.
(See sources 1, 2)

Career opportunities for Geodetic Engineering graduates

  • Jobs for licensed Geodetic Engineers (board exam passers)

    • Geodetic Engineer (working in different companies and private and public agencies) – measure large areas of the Earth's surface using satellite observations, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), light detection and ranging (LIDAR), or related sources.
    • Cartographer – study, design, produce and distribute digital and conventional maps, charts, spreadsheets and diagrams for public sector and commercial customers.
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist – creates geographic maps containing political borders, transportation networks and environmental resources by using computer software programs.
    • Geodetic Engineering Instructor – teaches geodetic engineering at universities and colleges and supervises them during field training
    • Building Surveyor – works primarily on the assessing/preparing/final account of construction management process, tendering and post-tendering, estimation, technical law (building, construction, etc) and financial control of projects.
    • Construction Surveyor – assessing/preparing/final account of construction management process, tendering and post-tendering, estimation, technical law (building, construction, etc), financial control of projects.
    • Geodetic Consultant – a geodetic engineer with wide knowledge, expertise and experience in the field and who is capable of advising various companies and agencies regarding questions that arise in the practice of geodetic engineering
    • Land Surveyor – using Total Stations, GPS, and other instruments, GEs are able to determine the reference or “control” points on which land surveys are based. After surveying, further information about the area is obtained such as market values and zonal values.
    • Municipal Surveyor – in charge of building control, public safety, operation of grant schemes, improvement and redevelopment of areas, public housing maintenance, design and construction of buildings, landscaping, direct labor organization, buildings surveying and town planning surveying
    • Photogrammetrist – a person who makes maps using photographs. Such professionals belong to a group responsible for measuring and mapping the Earth's surface, and are essential for determining geographic characteristics of boundaries, natural features and constructed features that comprise it. Photogrammetrists work in places as disparate as architectural firms, oil and gas companies and federal government agencies.
    • Hydrographer – responsible for surveying and charting coastal and inland waters. They monitor, measure, analyze and describe aspects of the water cycle, the ocean floor, currents, tide measurements and wave information
    • Remote Sensing Specialist – apply remote sensing principles and methods to analyze data and solve problems in areas such as natural resource management, urban planning, or homeland security. May develop new sensor systems, analytical techniques, or new applications for existing systems.
    • Geospatial Analyst – gather data from satellite images, and aerial photos that significantly supplement studies on earthquake and volcanic hazards, surface deformations and seismicity, ground subsidence, and other earth-related phenomena.
    • Archaeological Surveyor – makes maps, plans and sections of archaeological sites by use of land surveying and / or accurate stereo-plotting methods; dealing with magnetic and radioactive methods of locating buried objects; accurate plotting of artefacts and other archaeological finds
    • Mining Surveyor – plan preparation of surface, underground workings and geological formations, mining surveying, recording of geological and mineralogical features, ventilation, safety surveys, mineral valuation, rating, soil stability
    • Town Planning Surveyor – management of land use and development, environmental assessments, development briefs, conservation area policies, transportation strategy, countryside schemes.
    • Quantity Engineer – conducts and creates preliminary cost estimates, cost plans, bill of quantities, tendering, specifications for labor and materials, negotiating, valuations for payment, final accounts settlement, arbitrations, dilapidation scheduling, pricing of bills of quantities, proof of evidence.
    • Geodesist – make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. Provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes.
    • Geodetic Advisor – measure large areas of the Earth's surface using satellite observations, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), light detection and ranging (LIDAR), or related sources.
    • Geodetic Computator – calculates latitude, longitude, angles, areas, and other information for mapmaking from field notes secured by engineering survey party, using reference tables and calculating machine or computer.
    • Remote Sensing Surveyor – apply remote sensing technologies to assist scientists in areas such as natural resources, urban planning, or homeland security. May prepare flight plans or sensor configurations for flight trips.
  • Jobs for Non Board Passers:

    • Geodetic Technician – assists geodetic engineers in the assessment of quality control data to determine the need for additional survey data for engineering, construction, or other projects.
    • Land Assessor – prepare and maintain current data on each parcel assessed, including maps of boundaries, inventories of land and structures, property characteristics, and any applicable exemptions.
    • Appraiser – helps to establish the value of a property through examination and research.
    • LIDAR Technician – (Light Detection and Ranging Technician) – collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data.
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