UP Department of Geodetic Engineering and Training Centre for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry: Specialized and Organized Act of Gathering Physical Data
Geodetic Engineering
UP Department of Geodetic Engineering

“Share your dreams and they will be inspired. Plant seed of knowledge and they will grow and reproduce beyond measures.”

– Terry A. O’Neal.

Why is education so necessary in everyone’s life? It provides you with a vision to be a leader. If you plant the seed of the knowledge, it will grow to be the powerhouse of wisdom for generations to come. For instance, when people intend to buy anything, they research and learn about it before buying. Similarly, education is the seed of knowledge that grants a person to be independent and offers him or with the power to take decisions.

Primarily, education started with the aim of educating humans about life. However, over time, as the world’s needs changed, the need for education also changed. Today, people have the liberty to choose the type of education they want. And modern pedagogies in the education sector with the inclusion of personalized learning have brought more clarity and flexibility to learning, making the entire process of learning a fun one.

In this modern era, management, engineering, and arts are some of the most prominent courses that many students opt for. However, apart from these standard courses, the Bachelor of Science in a Geodetic Engineering degree program is one of the professional courses in which students innate physical data on the surface of the earth using precision instruments in a professional and organized way.

Out of the several universities offering bachelorette programs in geodetic engineering, UP Department of Geodetic Engineering (UP DGE) and Training Centre for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (TCAGP) is the country’s leading institute based in the Philippines. The institute provides advanced creative and innovative geospatial solutions for developing society’s lifestyle.

In a conversation with The Knowledge Review, the UP DGE and TCAGP’s current Chairman and Director, Dr Jak Sarmiento, shared his learning experiences and future goals and highlighted the institute’s upcoming endeavours.

The Genesis of an Era Defining Institute

The institute was established in 1925 as the School of Surveying in the UP College of Engineering as an academic unit offering the Associate in Surveying Program. In 1937, the institute revised the associate program to a full-blown Bachelor of Science in Geodetic Engineering Degree Program, leading to the establishment of the UP DGE.

In 1964, the institute formed and integrated the Training Centre for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (TCAGP) with the UP DGE as a research or extension branch of the department.

The TCAGP develops the capacity of the DGE in nation-building by offering high-impact capacity building or research and development services and partnering with the government, private, and the international community.

Being the country’s leading institution in geospatial research and instruction, it serves the nation by grooming the aspirants through its undergraduate and graduate degree programs and various training modules.

Since its formal establishment, the department and centre have continuously enhanced their resources through constant faculty development and facility up-gradation to meet the nation’s growing demands and be the solution provider for the challenges in the global community. Today, UP DGE and TCAGP continue to be the centre of excellence for education, training and research in geodetic and geomatics engineering in the Philippines.

An Influential Leader

Dr Jak Sarmiento is an astute leader leading the Geodetic Engineering department.

During the pandemic, he led the Department through the difficult restrictions while maintaining a very high standard of faculty, staff and student care. It was because of these unparallel managerial skills he managed to retain the faculty, staff, and students.

Under Dr Sarmiento’s guidance, the institute’s department maintained high productivity in research and development. He has initiated and added two more research laboratories, while a new one is under construction as you read this.

His experience and network contributed to expanding the departments’ reach locally and internationally, bringing more engagement in the field of geodetic engineering. This ultimately exposed students to a holistic learning experience while enhancing the budget and taking essential measures to smoothen the administrative process.

Insights and Expeditions

‘Honor and Excellence’ are the core values which are also the founding stone of UP DGE & TCAGP. Further, Dr Sarmiento shared the institute’s insights (vision) and expeditions (mission).

Insights (Vision)

“The UP DGE & TCAGP’s banner is Tracing the Past. Scaling the Present. Charting the Future. The department’s foresight is to be a global geodetic and geomatics engineering institution– advancing honour and excellence in education, research, and service to society.”

Expeditions (Mission)

The mission is embodied in these three statements.

  • To nurture honourable, globally competitive, and socially responsible geodetic and geomatics professionals.
  • To advance creative and innovative geospatial solutions for enhancing society’s quality of life.
  • To partner with fellow institutions, agencies, and communities in nation-building.

Preferential Manifesto for the Trail

The UP DGE and TCAGP designed flexible courses in compliance to the Washington Accord of the International Engineering Alliance.

The department listed specializations endeavours are:

  • Land administration and real estate valuation, land surveying and subdivision planning.
  • Classical and applied geodesy.
  • Navigation, positioning, and timing.
  • Remote sensing Ÿ Photogrammetry.
  • Light detection and ranging Ÿ Digital cartography and mapping.
  • Disaster informatics for risk reduction and response.
  • Environmental Modelling and simulation.
  • Geographic information systems and visualization.
  • Infrastructure and environmental management.
  • Natural resource monitoring and development.

Cultivating Educational Quality

UP DGE and TCAGP is one of the premier national research universities, and it provides rigorous academic and practical training to students and trainees. It provides students, trainees, faculty members, and staff with a constructive and conducive culture with an environment for productive learning.

A Glance Towards the Magnified Global Exposures of the Institute

The institute has many comprehensive Bachelor of Science in Geodetic Engineering (BSGE) courses highlighting the advancements in the fields of surveying, mapping, cartography, geodesy, and geomatics. These are very inclusive programs that help the students to get excellent exposure all over the world.

Apart from the bachelor’s courses, the institute also offers the Master of Science program in Geomatics Engineering (MSGmE). This course has three specialization tracks to focus on the student’s expertise and efforts in completing their graduate research thesis.

These specialization tracks are as follows:

  • Applied Geodesy.
  • Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry.

Hooking Up the Ladders for Student’s Future

In a conversation with Dr Sarmiento, he shared that the institute has the ladder for the growth of the students in their upcoming future and said, “The institute’s academic training itself builds the students’ skills for the real-life problem. The trainees and students are mentored through their inclusive research and development projects and industry partners.”

The institute has seven thematic research laboratories:

  • Applied Geodesy and Space Technology (AGST) Research Laboratory.
  • Research and Development Laboratory for Computational Geodesy (CGRD).
  • Environmental Systems Applications of Geomatics Engineering (EnviSAGE) Laboratory.
  • Geodesy and Satellite Altimetry (GeoSA) Laboratory.
  • Geomatics for Sustainability and Renewable Energy (SuRE) Laboratory.
  • Geosimulation Research (GeoSim) Laboratory.
  • Surveying and Land Valuation Research Laboratory (SurvLA).

The UP DGE & TCAGP also maintains two instructional laboratories:

  • The Remote Sensing Image Analysis Instructional Laboratory.
  • The Geographic Information Systems Instructional Laboratory.

Apart from these facilities, the institute collaborates with various government agencies and some private practitioners. The department acquired state-of-the-art equipment, which is used for better simulation and the practice of the profession and to advance the level of local geodetic and geomatics research.

Skill Enhancement Through Extracurricular or Co-curricular Activities

The institute considers extra-curricular activities as an important element in driving student engagement in the institute. Here are some of the initiatives that the institute takes to maintain a higher engagement rate, as highlighted by Dr Sarmiento:

  • UP DGE & TCAGP conducts seminars, trainings and conferences to advance the Geodetic and Geomatics Engineering Profession.
  • Partnering with government agencies and local government units in research and extension projects.
  • The department has organized the Philippine Geomatics Symposium (PHILGEOS).

Emphasizing on PhilGEOS, Dr. Sarmiento says, “The PhilGEOS is one of the Philippines Premier gatherings of geodetic and geomatics technology developers, researchers, professionals, users, and students. PhilGEOS began in 2012 and continues to be a biennial event, drawing active participation from international and local delegates.”

Dr Sarmiento also shared some recent projects that the department has implemented-

  • Development of Integrated Mapping, Monitoring and Analytical Network System for Manila Bay and Linked Environments (MapABLE).
  • A Link-Up of Geomatics and Social Science Research for the Development of Smarter Cities Project (LUNGSOD).
  • Solar PV Resource and Installation Assessment Using Geospatial Technologies (SINAG).
  • Ambient Air Remote Sensing, Modelling, and Visualization Environment (AirMOVE).

The student organizations such as the Geodetic Engineering Club and the Society of Geodetic Engineering Majors have conducted outreach events such as seminars and wellness activities (among many other activities) for their students and other institutions’ students.

A Glimpse at the Institutes Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

The institute’s Bachelor of Science in Geodetic Engineering Program was chosen by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education to be the country’s centre of Excellence in Geodetic Engineering among the 30+ schools.

In recognition of their academic accreditations and excellence in training and educating the current and future geodetic engineers, they feel very proud of the department for maintaining its consistent record of excellence in the professional Geodetic Engineers.

The Projects of the institute also received recognition from the international community. The primary awards are the Geospatial World Excellence Award for Policy Implementation (2014), Asia Geospatial Excellence Award (2014) and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Medal (2019).

Enlighten Institutes Foresight

Envisioning the institute’s future and stating the institute’s future goals, Dr Sarmiento says, “The UP DGE & TCAGP is currently preparing for growth and expansion of services while revolutionizing how things are conducted in the dynamic new normal. Some of the initiatives that are undergoing groundwork are:

  • The UP DGE & TCAGP Data Centre will store and distribute data from TCAGP-implemented research projects. The PhD in Geodetic and Geomatics Engineering Degree Program. The UP DGE & TCAGP underwent an aggressive faculty capacity building program spanning a decade to prepare for this initiative.
  • The TCAGP is upgrading into the National Geospatial Research Institute (NGRI). The formation of the NGRI, by law, will ensure that the critical services of the department to the government will remain funded and operate optimally.

These initiatives, among others, are envisioned to maintain the UP DGE & TCAGP as a powerhouse for geospatial research and propel the department to the next level of service for society.”

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