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Hello sir,

I graduated from Secondary School recently and is about entering into the University. I like Physics a lot and have always wanted a career in Physics.  But my father is advising me to choose Geoinformatics and Surveying as a University course, as there is little or no job oppurtunities for Physicists in a third-World Country like mine. The problem is I had devoted my entire secondary School life to studying pure science subjects in that I am very good at Physics, Chemistry and Mathemics. I am not good at all at Geography cos the subject wasn't as interesting as the three affore mentioned ones, plus I think the course is hugely based on Geography. I don't know much about statistics either. I am semi-computer literate and I don't like the prospect of going out on the field to study rocks or survey lands. I like calculations and computing a lot.

Plus from my research, I found out the course is less competitive in my country, Nigeria, and job oppurtunities abound and it pays well too even as a B.Sc holder only.

So I would like to know if I have a chance at excelling in the field of Geoinformatics and Survey from my subjects prefferences.

Thanks for time.


Geoinformatics is also called GIS, or geographical information systems.  It includes cartography, remote sensing, computer mapping, photogrammetry, spacial mapping and relational data bases.

I studied Remote sensing in grad school and did work in GIS in the environmental industry.

Let me give you a little background.  Back in the 70's when the US put up the first observational satellites for use by civilian interests the field exploded.  I got in during its height and everyone thought it would go on forever.  Then the government stopped selling the data at subsidized prices and the price of a digital image tape increased 10 times from $200 to $2000.  This was so it could pay for itself.  That drove the price up an soon other countries had their own satellites up, the French with SPOT, the Russians, the Japanese, and Chinese.  The competition drove a lot of small companies out of business.  The petroleum industry was one of the largest users and they pretty much stopped using it since the cost was now ten times what it had been.  The staff I worked with shrunk from about 20 people to 5.  Soon most of the work was being done by value added companies.  Instead of large companies having their own staff, they just had a smaller compnay do it for them removing the need to maintain large staffs.

One of the problems is that it had been over sold, the advocates of the technology had promised too much and could not deliver.  The remote sensing community has never recovered.
GIS came along next and firms like ESRI sold systems and then came out with smaller systems for smaller users.  Today in the US mainly engineering firms, the planning and engineering departments of cities and government agencies use GIS.  A few large companies might too. Mostly government agency jobs.

Do a query for GIS jobs on the internet or geographical Information System jobs.

That will give you an idea of what jobs are available, what they pay and what they entail.

If you have an apptitute for math and physics look into geophysics.  Not solid earth geophysics, but exploration geophysics.  This would enable you to work in the petroleum industry doing interpretation or processing of seismic data.  Basically it is number crunching to correct the raw data, then doing mathematical extractions to enhance the data or to process and extract different amplitudes of the data to enhance its exploration use.  You would not be going out in the field.  An MS degree might be required, but many processors have BS degrees.

Go to  or to see potential jobs.


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Keith Patton


I can answer questions concerning physical and historical geology, environmental geology/hydrology, environmental consulting, remote sensing/aerial photo interpretation, G&G computer applications, petroleum exploration, drilling, geochemistry, geochemical and microbiological prospecting, 3D reservoir modeling, computer mapping and drilling.I am not a geophysicist.


I have 24 years experience split between the petroleum and environmental industries. I have served as an expert witness in remote sensing, developmental geologist, exploration geologist, enviromental project manager, and subject matter expert in geology and geophysical software development.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Photogrammetrists and Remote Sensing

Bachelor and Master of Science
Registered Geologist in State of Texas

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