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Marine Geomatics

Learn the essential skills for ocean mapping and coastal monitoring for environmental, renewable energy sources and transportation planning.

Four people, all wearing life jackets, work on the deck of a small boat; one woman has a laptop in front of her.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year
Graduate Certificate

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Process, analyze and interpret data captured in the terrestrial, marine and coastal environments.

In this graduate certificate program you:

  • Operate specialized acoustic mapping equipment, such multibeam echosounders and side-scan sonars, to acquire bathymetric data and detect anomalies on the seafloor
  • Install sensors on a survey vessel, configure devices and interface hardware with acquisition and navigation software
  • Manage a project from reconnaissance and planning to data acquisition and presentation of the final product
  • Set up and operate oceanographic equipment, such as tide gauges, current meters and speed of sound sensors
  • Collect three-dimensional data using the latest positioning technologies, such as Total Stations, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), commonly known as global positioning systems or GPS, and LiDAR scanners
  • Present geospatial data by generating 3D digital models using the latest geographic information systems (GIS) and computer-aided drafting (CAD) software

This program is offered at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS), Canada's largest geomatics-focused learning environment, and prepares you for a career in the global geomatics sector.

Choose NSCC

  • This unique one-year program focuses on geomatics applications in the marine and coastal environments.
  • NSCC's Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) provides a focused approach to geomatics training. COGS has earned a strong reputation among employers and geomatics professionals for the quality of the programs, hands-on training and practical learning provided to students.
  • You learn in an environment that is dedicated to geomatics training and work alongside other students studying related disciplines.
  • This program places a high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. To prepare for employment, you participate in safety awareness courses.
  • Small class sizes provide you with lots of opportunities for one-on-one interaction and support.
  • You use the most up-to-date equipment and software and get the hands-on training that makes grads the preferred choice of employers.
  • You participate in practical field exercises on a survey vessel.

Other info

  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.


Seats are available for domestic applicants only. International applicants will be waitlisted.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Annapolis Valley Campus
Classes at COGS
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2023-24 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Travel the world and generally receive above average salary.
  • Work as an online surveyor, navigator/surveyor, data processor, data analyst, GIS analyst, CAD operator or land surveyor on geoscience and construction projects.
  • Be employed by federal hydrographic mapping agencies, ocean and seabed research organizations, environmental monitoring companies, offshore construction and engineering firms, land and construction survey companies and other private surveying and engineering firms and public sector organizations.
  • Graduates are involved in numerous activities related to coastal and offshore projects, including:
    • Performing bathymetric surveys and creating nautical charts
    • Assisting engineering companies determine the feasibility and routing of offshore cables and pipelines
    • Seabed investigations for, and installation of, offshore windmills
    • Navigating vessels for offshore construction activities, such as bridges and platforms
    • Assisting with the positioning of remotely operated vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles for seabed mapping and geophysical investigations
    • Providing survey services for mapping the coastal areas for erosion and environmental applications

Future study options

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

MGEO 5001 - Introduction to Hydrography
This multi-faceted course provides learners with an introduction to the concepts and practice of hydrography, marine geology and marine geomatics. Learners acquire a working knowledge of the techniques and skills of hydrographic surveying, marine positioning and marine geology data acquisition including: an introduction to coastal zone definitions, tides, hydrographic standards, horizontal positioning systems (historic and current), vertical positioning systems, an introduction to acoustics and navigation programs, basic mathematics and charting techniques.

MGEO 5004 - Computer Essentials for Marine Geomatics
In this course learners are introduced to data manipulation techniques using spreadsheet formulas and macros, as well as scripting tools.

MGEO 5005 - Fundamentals of GNSS
Students are instructed in the use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations in the offshore environment for applications such as bathymetric positioning and marine seismic positioning. This course discusses the accuracy of autonomous GNSS as well as various types of real-time and post-processed pseudorange code and carrier phase GNSS. Time standards as they are used in GNSS are covered. The basic principles of using GNSS for calibration are discussed. The use of GNSS in integrated navigation systems is also covered.

MGEO 5011 - Fundamentals of GIS
This course will develop learners' skills in the area of applied software techniques for the storage, analysis, manipulation and presentation of Marine Geomatics applications using a desktop Geographic Information System. Skills necessary to manipulate and display Marine Geomatics applications for end-user analysis and interpretation using ArcView GIS software will be developed. Learners will be encouraged to explore other desktop Geographic Information Systems to develop the skills necessary for user readiness and adaptability for different desktop Geographic Information Systems software.

MGEO 5012 - Geodesy and Map Projections
This course exposes learners to geodesy and map projections concepts and techniques as they are used in Marine Geomatics. The learner will be introduced to map projections, ellipsoids, datums and datum transformations; with emphasis on those encountered in the offshore marine environment. In addition, there will be hands-on exercises in computing coordinates using proprietary software. Commonly used quality control techniques for maintaining the integrity of the computed positions will be implemented as well.

MGEO 5015 - Fieldwork I
In this course students develop skills in and gain practical experience of conventional surveying. Students use automatic levels and total stations to collect measurements using a variety of surveying methods. Working respectfully in teams, students gather data in the field and perform surveying calculations to achieve survey goals. This is a heavily practical course that relies on students’ understanding of theories and concepts discussed in other courses. Students spend extended periods outside setting up, operating, and storing survey equipment. This course also contains an extensive amount of teamwork.

MGEO 5022 - Computer Aided Drafting and Design
This course will develop learners' skills in the area of applied CAD software techniques for the storage, analysis, manipulation and presentation of marine geomatics data using AutoCAD Civil3D.

MGEO 6007 - GNSS Applications
This course is divided into four modules, with three of these modules assigned to investigating the various GPS applications and the integration of these applications into GIS or CAD platforms. The fourth module will examine Remote Sensing applications by means of class instruction and two projects. In this course, the learner will further explore the five main categories of Global Positioning System applications, with emphasis on differential GPS, post processed pseudorange, real-time kinematic, and the use of static carrier phase GPS observations in establishing control for offshore applications. The principals, obtainable accuracies, and applications of the five main categories of GPS data acquisition will be delivered in both classroom demonstration and a self-directed hands-on learning environment. To achieve this, one project will be assigned for each module of the course. Project work and the chronology of events for this course will be dependent upon equipment availability.

MGEO 6015 - Fieldwork II
In this course students develop practical skills in the configuration, interfacing, and operation of sensors used in hydrographic surveying. Through practical exercises, students use these sensors and equipment to collect accurate data in underwater environments. Students also test and troubleshoot equipment to ensure accurate data collection and transmission. This is a heavily practical course that relies on students’ understanding of theories and concepts discussed in other courses. Students work in teams throughout the course to complete practical exercises.

MGEO 6020 - Marine Geoscience
Advanced hydrographic applications such as Multibeam and Side Scan Sonar systems theory, including data collection, processing and presentation are examined in this intensive course. Advanced hydrographic processing techniques are analyzed, using current bathymetric and sonar image processing software.

MGEO 6025 - CADD and Graphical Applications
This course provides learners with more advanced concepts and commands within the CAD/GIS environment. Learners will compile geospatial information and manipulate data to create mapping products using current mapping software. This module will allow learners to build on skills developed in first semester CAD and GIS courses and will provide an opportunity to explore and practice more advanced applications of geographical data and its presentation.

MGEO 6030 - Marine Construction
This course introduces learners to hydrographic positing applications used in resource development, oceanographic and environmental monitoring projects. This course introduces learners to observations, computations and integrated navigation systems used in the marine environment. Learners are required to work in a group setting and produce survey procedures for a specific application.

REMS 6095 - LiDAR Applications
Terrestrial and airborne (bathymetric) LiDAR applications are examined in this course. The course exposes learners to the various phases of a LiDAR survey: planning, acquisition, processing, and presentation.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1028 - Marine Emergency Duties A3
This course provides certification in Small Non-Pleasure Vessel Basic Safety, as designated by Transport Canada. It introduces the operational, environmental, and safety hazards associated with the operation of a small vessel and the practices required to sustain a safe operation. Material covers the use of safety equipment in both the operation of the vessel and in response to emergency situations.

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