The Geospatial Informatics Department recently hosted the fourth annual Geo Day in March, giving students from across Alabama and Georgia an inside look into the geospatial industry and providing hands-on experiences.
Geo Day is held every year during spring break to accommodate the hundreds of high school students and their sponsors. This year, there were 270 in attendance.
Dr. Steve Ramroop, Surveying and Geomatics Sciences Program Director, said he believes today’s students want to have careers with financial benefits and to be involved with the advanced technologies that geospatial careers include—but that many students are just not aware of the opportunities in this career field.
“We want students to know about the high demand for geospatial professionals in careers like land surveying and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and how Troy can prepare them to step into these careers,” he said.
Professionals from geospatial companies all over the southeast volunteer their time every year to present workshops on their areas of expertise. The Alabama Department of Transportation brought their Mobile Mapping Truck and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Command Center Trailer to display and demonstrate the technologies they use, and this year ALDOT added virtual reality headsets to their drone flight experience.
New to this year’s event was a demonstration of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) Technology provided by Angie Bailey of GPI Inc. where students in the workshop were able to see a scan of the room in real time. Allen Nobles from Surveying and Mapping Inc (SAM) also presented a workshop on LiDAR scanning technologies.
Wade Ward, one of the professionals from Schoel Engineering and a 2011 TROY graduate from the geomatics program, was also able to speak to a group of 25 students from his alma mater, Kinston High School. He and Jake Bonds, who also works for Schoel and graduated with a geomatics degree in 2009, represented the Alabama Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ASPLS) in their workshop.
Geospatial companies, many of whom are owned or employ TROY alumni, provided backpacks, snacks and other items for the students to remember their visit to Troy University by, and Trojan Ambassadors led campus tours.
TROY now offers two geospatial degrees, Surveying and Geomatics Sciences and Geographic Information Sciences (GIS), in addition to an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) minor. Employers contact the Geospatial Informatics Department on a regular basis seeking qualified interns and graduates to join their teams.