Before we answer the question “is geospatial engineering marketable in Kenya?”, let us first understand the course.
What is geospatial engineering as a course?
This field brings together the disciplines of computing, surveying, mapping, cartography, visualization and modeling spatial information.
What do geospatial engineers do?
These engineers use modern mapping technologies (think GIS and GPS) to map, collect, and also analyze geographic data to help government agencies and other organizations in planning how to use land optimally.
The data they get can also be used in picking out the best sites for construction/building projects as well as in planning rescues (and relief operations) during disasters.
Your potential employers here include construction/civil engineering firms (most geospatial engineering companies in Kenya are in construction/civil engineering), government agencies (including national parks), and even the army.
Typical Geospatial Engineer Responsibilities/Roles
Geospatial engineers have the following responsibilities (there are others but these are the typical ones):
- Conducting research and gathering data about a given project, for example, land use analysis (this might be for a proposed development project)
- Creating charts, maps, and other visuals to help them present data in an easier way to the public, government departments, or other firms.
- Preparing super-detailed construction drawings (including the sketches and plans) that indicate the dimensions and materials that will be used in a construction project.
- Communicating with customers to ensure they collect the correct information regarding site conditions (and design requirements)
- Conducting EIAs (environmental impact assessments) to identify potential impacts of envisioned projects on surrounding environments.
- Supervising the installation of devices/equipment like surveying instruments as well as GPS instruments/gadgets on cars or in a remote location
- Analyzing data to help identify patterns in environments and natural resources.
- Performing feasibility studies to help determine if a proposed project can be implemented successfully.
Typical Geospatial engineering jobs in Kenya
- GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Officer
- Geomaticist (at companies like KenGen)
- Geospatial Data Analyst
- Assistant Geospatial Data Analyst
- Geospatial Data Management Officer (County governments hire Geospatial Data Management Officers from time to time)
- Survey assistant (this usually needs a diploma in geospatial engineering in Kenya though you can also be hired with a Diploma in Surveying)
- GISProject Manager
Skills/Interests that you should have to pursue Geospatial engineering in Kenya
You need these skills to be successful as a Geospatial engineer:
Technical skills: These includes knowledge of software like ArcGIS, QGIS, SuperGIS, GRASS GIS, JUMP GIS, and more. Having knowledge in CAD software can be a plus.
Analytical skills: These are a must because you’ll be solving problems and making important decisions.
Communication skills: You must be a good communicator because your work involves working in teams.
Project management skills: Project management knowledge often comes in handy because you will always be expected to complete projects on time (and within budgets).
Geospatial engineering courses in Kenya
The best course to take if you want to work as a Geospatial engineer in Kenya is a Degree in Geospatial engineering.
Yeah, you can take the course at the Diploma level but there are fewer job opportunities for Diploma holders compared to degree holders so keep that in mind.
And if you did not get the required grades for a degree, you should plan on advancing to a Degree after passing the Diploma (most universities offering Geospatial engineering in Kenya will accept you if you have a Diploma).
Requirements for Geospatial engineering in Kenya
Common admission requirements for the degree:
KCSE Mean Grade: C+
Cluster requirements: You need to have a C+ in Maths, English, Physics, and Geography/Biology/Chemistry.
Other accepted qualifications: Ordinary Diploma or Higher Diploma in Cartography/ Photogrammetry/ Land Surveying plus a Mean Grade C plain in the KCSE.
Note: Unfortunately, due to competition, universities will often admit students with an A or A- in KCSE when it comes to the degree. You can, however, join with a lower grade (but not below C+) if you are self-sponsored.
Requirements for a diploma geospatial engineering course in Kenya
KCSE Mean Grade: C-
Cluster requirements: C- in Math, Physics, and English. Some institutions also need a C- in Geography
Universities offering geospatial engineering in Kenya
TUK(Technical University of Kenya) –See details
Dedan Kimathi University–See details
University of Nairobi –See details
Where to study for a Diploma in geospatial engineering
Your option right now is Diploma in Cartography/ Diploma in Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing.
You can study at these two colleges:
RCMRD(Regional Centre for mapping of resources for development) in Nairobi– Go to their website here
Kenya Institute of Surveying and Mapping(KISM) – Go to their website here
Is geospatial engineering marketable in Kenya?
It is not a bad course though it does not have as many jobs as engineering disciplines like Civil engineering, Electrical engineering, and Automotive engineering (with these you can work in a range of industries so there are more jobs for you).
The reason why it is not yet very marketable is because the Kenyan economy is not as advanced as western economies so the use of GIS professionals in planning is still not that common.
But the good thing is you can still look for a relevant job in those foreign countries- you just need to do a Google search for “geospatial engineering jobs UK”, “geospatial engineering jobs USA”, etc. and see if you can get a position that suits your qualifications and experience.
Is geospatial engineering marketable in Kenya? Recap
Geospatial engineering involves constantly using technologies like GIS and GPS to gather important information about the physical world around us.
And as we have seen, even though it does not have as many jobs like say Civil engineering in Kenya (mainly because it is still new), it can still be a good course if you adopt a good strategy.
PS: The course also goes by names such as Geospatial Engineering, Geophysics, and Geospatial Information Science in some institutions of higher learning in Kenya.
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