More educational pathways to develop geoscience talent pipeline and deepen capabilities

NUS will soon be rolling out more learning and training opportunities in geospatial science following a partnership inked with the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). Geospatial science comprises the technologies and skills required to collect, collate, analyse, visualise and interpret large geographical datasets.

This partnership, announced with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NUS and SLA at the Singapore Geospatial Festival 2023 last month, aims to support and encourage the adoption of geospatial data, services and technologies as part of Singapore’s move towards becoming a Smart Nation.

Through the partnership, NUS and SLA, with the support from the NUS School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (SCALE), will develop a holistic Geospatial Professional Certificate programme that provides adult learners the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge geospatial technologies and equip them with the skills needed to fulfil their aspirations of having a geospatial career.

The programme expands NUS’ geoscience educational offerings. The Department of Geography offers undergraduate courses in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and a Master of Science in Applied GIS. Most recently, it also introduced Graduate Certificate in Applied GIS, tailored for professionals seeking to enhance their skills and knowledge in the field.

Geospatial science has become increasingly important in developing solutions to global challenges such as sustainability, food security, healthcare management and even rapid urbanisation, amongst others, particularly with advancement in technologies like satellite systems or GPS-enabled devices.

Commitment to support expanding demand and opportunities in the geospatial field

The wider application of geospatial science has led to the emergence of various exciting job opportunities across different industries. As geospatial data becomes increasingly integral to decision-making, the demand for professionals with expertise in this field, such as geospatial analysts, software developers, engineers and architects will continue to rise.

Professor David Taylor, Head of the Department of NUS Geography, said that the Department is continually looking for ways to bridge the talent gap in the geospatial field.

“These efforts underscore our commitment to becoming a leading institution in geospatial science, research and education. The interdisciplinary approach in designing courses and teaching ensures that our students are both technologically competent and solution-oriented geospatial science experts,” Prof Taylor added.

In addition to the new Geospatial Professional Certificate programme that’s expected to roll out next year, the Department also has plans to develop micro-credential courses that can stack towards the MSc in Applied GIS.

This is in response to demand for more flexible options for professionals to upskill in industry-relevant GIS knowledge and skills, evidenced by the positive response to the Graduate Certificate in Applied GIS which can be undertaken full time or part time.

Mr Plintolincon Jena, Principal Geospatial Engineer at SLA who has worked in the geospatial industry for more than six years has always been interested in pursuing a post-graduate qualification in GIS. “The Graduate Certificate in Applied GIS seemed to be the perfect fit for me due to the shorter duration of candidature and the fact that I could complete the course while staying fully employed,” he said, adding that the course has been thoroughly informative and has given him a deeper appreciation for the theoretical aspect of GIS.

Mr Loh Eng Chu, Senior Geomatics Engineer at SLA, agrees on the usefulness of this Graduate Certificate. He said, "As an end user I’m often inspired by the inclusiveness of Geo-enabled services in Singapore, piquing my interest to exploring the geospatial field further. The flexibility of the Graduate Certificate in Applied GIS was what attracted me to take up the course - the modular curriculum allowed me to juggle both my course and work commitments simultaneously.”

By the NUS Department of Geography from the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences