Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS)

Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) logo

 Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS)

The Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) has been providing Geomatics related education to students dating back to 1948 when it was known as the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute (NSLSI). Over the years since then the survey school morphed into a well established diversified training institution for geographic sciences including survey, cartography, remote sensing and GIS.

The college has evolved to become one of the largest technical education centers in the field of Geomatics with a reputation of producing some of the Canada’s best grads. The school has changed names and programs over the years but they continues to offer a wide range of Geomatic disciplines to meet the changing need of industry. A complete history of the school was published as the Story of COGS and available to download free.

Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) - using Total Station

One of the more popular well known programs at COGS is the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences designed to add a technical hands-on component to an existing University Degree. This GIS program prepares students to join the Geomatics Industry in roles such as GIS Specialists, Technologists or GIS Analysts.

The program is broken into two semesters, the first is a common one shared with other programs such as the Advanced Diploma in Remote Sensing, the second one offers students the opportunity to specialize in a number of GIS based disciplines enabling them to build on their existing education and skill sets.

Theoretical knowledge, spatial analysis and programming is emphasized providing students with knowledge about the history of the technology coupled with the interrelationship that GIS and other sciences and technologies can generate when brought together. Students are also provided with a range of Geomatics skills beyond GIS including basic geodesy concepts, GPS surveying, Programming Fundamentals and spatial thinking / perception.

Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) - Flood Simulation Modeling with High Resolution LIDAR

The COGS program boosts that over 90% of their graduates find employment in related areas of their field based on post graduate survey and communication that they maintain with their alumni after the program has ended. They also have a mailing list that is maintained by the school and regularly used to send out related jobs to students and alumni all throughout the year. In the second semester of the program the school organizes a career fair where various companies and organizations such as ESRI come to the school to recruit graduates.

Applied Geomatics Research program is a second diploma meant to complement the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences. This program emphasizes the application of GIS in a research environment where students are paired up with outside organizations where they work on real world projects. The GIS program has been very successful due to the significant federal investment into the infrastructure of the program providing students with the latest software products, GPS equipment and even LIDAR and high-resolution aerial photography.

“Since January 2000, AGRG has conducted applied research on the application of geomatics technologies to research questions in the environmental sciences, natural resource management and health informatics sectors. The AGRG group has a particularly unique expertise in LiDar technology, being one of the few post secondary educational institutions in the world with its own airborne and ground based LiDAR systems.”

COGS also offers a few other variations of GIS programs including a two year Diploma in Geographic Sciences designed for students that do not have a University degree, a GIS for Business program where GIS is utilized for solving business related problems.


902-825-3491 /

50 Elliott Road Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

See the GIS Program page for more details.

 [source: / COGS Alumni]


Looking for all COGS graduates

Attn: COGS Alumni Network

Bob Maher has begun to research ‘the story of COGS’, a personal project for Bob and his wife, Heather who arrived in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia back in 1980 when he joined Bruce Peveril to teach the first Advanced Diploma program in Scientific Computer Programming.

COGS NSCC logoOver the next six years, the ‘survey school’ known as the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute (NSLSI) was transformed into the College of Geographic Sciences. It was a time of creativity and innovation in technical education with new programs in Business Computer programming, Computer Graphics and GIS to complement the Remote Sensing program. NSLSI was officially renamed COGS (as most people know it) in 1986.

As background research, Bob and Heather have started to interview staff who remember those years of transition. In addition, they are compiling class lists, by program and by year. This has led to the concept of a COGS Alumni Network.

Are you a COGS graduate ?

One of primary outcomes of any learning institution are its graduates. One can compile the view from the teachers’ perspective but this may be quite different than the students’ perspective. Using social media, Bob and Heather want to reach out to the COGS alumni community. We are interested in photographs, articles, stories and feedback on this project.

You can connect directly at either or or through (started but expected to expand further over xmas) – a new web site where anyone can track the project


Bob Maher and Heather Stewart


Note: See Full Memo at

[Notice republished with on behalf of B. Maher &]

British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)

BCIT – (British Columbia Institute of Technology)

Location: Burnaby, British ColumbiaBCIT GIS Program(s): Advanced Diploma
Pre Req. College or University Diploma

Info / Description:

BCIT  has more then 20 years of experience delivering advanced GIS technology programs and courses to Canadians, their GIS program has long established as one of the more reputable programs in the country for producing highly skilled and sought-after graduates.

The BCIT programs were designed for university or college graduates that have a background in a related discipline, the program helps establish GIS skills and incorporates them to work ethics where students can practice real world situations with real industry research projects or workplace practicum. The BCIT program is available as a part-time basis as well with completion ranging from 2-4 years.

Contact Info

3699 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, British Columbia
V5G 3H1

(604) 432-8378 Polytechnic Institute

Web Site:

See the BCIT GIS program page for more details.


If you are a student, facility or someone who has any more knowledge, feedback or comments to share about the GIS program at BCIT then I encourage you to share it . You can either use the contribute more info form or the comment functionality below.

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