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Fabulous Fall Classes: Geomatics Laboratory

We’re taking a peek inside the classroom to offer students a sampling of what they might experience. This week we visited a land surveying lab at the Advanced Technology Center on Tidewater Community College’s Virginia Beach Campus to see learning in progress.
Inside the classroom:

Two students work together with land surveying equipment
Students Hugh Bohny and Rose Harrell
practice measuring positions using
industry-standard equipment.

Students in the Geomatics Laboratory (CIV 175) learn the basics of land surveying. The course focuses on using instrumentation, such as pacing techniques, steel tape, level, and total stations, to make basic plane surveying measurements for horizontal, vertical, and angular measurement, and includes construction survey and layout.
Why this class is fabulous:
Students practice how to accurately measure positions and gain hands-on experience in the use of industry-standard equipment, like robotic total stations. A total station is a modern surveying instrument that integrates an electronic theodolite with an electronic distance meter, which allows a student to measure angles in both the horizontal and vertical planes and distance. At $23,000 each – they’re not cheap.

“This is the tool of the trade,” said Chris Cartwright, civil engineering technology program head. “You can use it for construction layouts, grading, property surveys and topographic surveys.”

Thanks to an innovative curriculum, you can also take the geomatics lab online. Online students learn through virtual lectures and then demonstrate their practical skills to a licensed surveyor in their area who reports on their progress.

The class and lab are designed for those with busy schedules: “All of our land surveying classes are offered in the evening for students who work full-time and can’t come during the day.” For remote students, an online lab means you can complete the coursework without ever coming in to campus.
Who needs it:
CIV 175 is required for TCC’s Career Studies Certificate in Land Surveying and the Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology.
Student voices:
“I’m already a surveyor, so I’m pretty familiar with the material. I’m taking the class as a refresher because the technology has really taken off in the last 10 years. It’s helpful to come back and study the basics with all the new equipment.” – Hugh Bohny

“My company is paying for me to take this class. I work in construction and my boss bought a total station for a job we had a while back. He sent me to TCC to learn how to really use it so we can apply the technology onsite.” – Nate Burah

Student sits near land surveying equipment
Student Jovante’ Lillard will transfer into ODU’s
bachelor’s degree program in civil engineering

“I had no idea what I was going to study when I came to TCC. I had taken some drafting coursework in high school and I really enjoyed it, so I checked out civil engineering technology. It’s been a great fit for me. I’m transferring into ODU’s bachelor’s degree program in civil engineering technology this December!” – Jovante’ Lillard

“Working full time and taking the land surveying coursework gets very busy. This course is especially intense because it’s offered in just eight weeks. But I’m advancing in my career, and I like learning. The hands-on experience is great.” – Rose Harrell
About the professor:
Cartwright graduated from TCC with an Associate of Science in Engineering in 1987. From here, he earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from Virginia Tech followed by a master’s in environmental engineering at the University of Arkansas. Program head since 2002, Cartwright teaches introduction to civil engineering technology, civil drafting, fluid mechanics, mechanics and statics classes, introduction to environmental engineering, and several of the surveying courses.