How I got into Surveying and Geoinformatics

A levelling Instrument

Growing up I always had a profound love for planes and aircrafts, and always wished to be an international pilot. After I was done with Primary school, I wanted to attend the Air Force Military school, Jos because it seemed like the right track to achieving my big dream, but back then my dad had a lot more interest in the Army (probably because we live in Kaduna, Nigeria and there is a lot of Army intimidation there) so he decided to send me to the Nigerian Military School, Zaria. Sometimes I wonder how I made it through there (lol) Guess that could be the topic for another article.

Anyway, after my graduation, I gained admission into Bells University of Technology, Ogun state, to the department of Mechanical engineering. The intention back then was to study mechanical engineering for my Bachelor’s degree and aeronautics engineering for my Master’s degree (a way to dive back into the aero field). But apparently after my first year in school I began to miss the military environment and decided I’d join one of the Nigerian Armed forces after graduation.

200 level started and we began taking engineering related courses proper. It was really interesting but then I began to have second thoughts as to what I could do with a mechanical engineering degree in the in the Nigerian Armed forces that could be of great importance and I found a few but wasn’t interested (Probably did a poor research cause I was already loosing interest). Another slight problem I had was there are over a thousand engineers in every aspect of the armed forces which narrowed the chances of being special. So I thought to myself, ‘what field can I deviate to that isn’t crowded and is of major importance to the armed forces?’ Took my school’s brochure and went through all the programmes it offered, having in mind I was searching for one of great importance to the armed forces. For some reason, I had computer science banging in my head with an intent focus on cyber security and then again I came across Surveying and Geoinformatics. Didn’t know anything about it then, but it had the word “Geo” (meaning earth) so I thought to myself, this has to be geography related and luckily I was really good at geography and map reading back at secondary school. So I went further to research on the programme and fortunately the more information I got, the more I was convinced it was the programme for me. The course has some military background to its history i.e talking about maps, map production, contours, coordinates, satellite imagery etc. and recalling the military movies I had watched as at that time I knew one thing for sure, every military operation needs a map and, you guessed right! Surveyors make the maps. Finally I made my decision, surveying and geoinformatics it is.

Then it was time for the harder part (well, so I thought was), convincing my dad to let me switch from one five year programme to another five year programme, after already spending two years in the first but surprisingly it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it’d be due to the assistance I got from my sister.

Currently I’m a 400 level Surveying and Geoinformatics student undergoing the SIWES (Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme), Interning at the GIS (Geographic Information System) Regiment of the Army Mapping and Survey Command, Owode Yewa. It has been an impactful experience so far, learning, using and getting to see firsthand how softwares like Surfer, ArcGIS, SASPlanet, QGIS, and Google Earth Pro etc. are used to extract geospatial data and produce maps.

With all being said, I rest my fingers for the next article and being glad everyday that I chose this career path.