British Columbia Institute of

Important Notice: COVID-19 Institute response


GEOM 5120 - Geodetic Positioning 1

Geomatics Part-time Studies Course

School of Construction and the Environment

BCIT is planning for a substantial return to on-campus activity for the fall 2021 term as informed by BC Public Health Officer guidelines. Refer to each course listing for details.

Course Details

This course introduces the student to the topic of geodetic positioning through a series of lectures and assignments. Topics covered include fundamental geodetic concepts, coordinate systems and coordinate transformations, the Earth’s gravity field, geoid models and height systems as well as horizontal and vertical geodetic datums, reference systems and reference frames, and datum transformations. The course concludes with direct and inverse computations on a sphere, an ellipsoid and in three-dimensions, and an introduction to space based positioning techniques.





Fall 2021

Below is one offering of this course for the Fall 2021 term.

CRN 48146

Tue Sep 07 - Mon Dec 20 15 Weeks

Class Meeting Times

Dates Days Times Locations
Sep 07 - Dec 20 Online



Course Outline

TBD – see Learning Outcomes in the interim




  1. Internet delivery format.
  2. Departmental approval needed
  3. Students may receive approval to register for this course with completion of 2-year Geomatics diploma. To receive approval, please email your official academic transcript(s) and BCIT Student ID to If you are new to BCIT, create an ID at **IMPORTANT: The final exam must be written at an approved Exam Centre only. Details will be emailed to you after registering for the course.
  4. Important course information will be sent to you prior to your course start date. Check your myBCIT email account to access this information.

This course offering has been cancelled. Please check back next term or subscribe to receive email updates.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Outline the history of geodesy and its relevance to the current practice of geomatics engineering.
  • Discuss the uses of different geodetic reference surfaces and orientation.
  • Explain the geodetic concepts and quantities of the celestial sphere, time, latitude and longitude.
  • Apply geodetic computations using spherical and ellipsoidal earth models.
  • Relate different types of coordinate systems - Terrestrial (including Conformal Mapping), Celestial and Orbital.
  • Discuss the Earth’s Gravity Field, Gravity potential, Gravity Anomalies and the effects of Gravity on survey instruments and field procedures.
  • Discuss and discriminate between various vertical datums and geoid models used in North America.
  • Relate different height systems, including their relationships to Earth’s Gravity Field.
  • Apply height computations in different height systems.
  • Relate different types of Geodetic Datums, Reference Frames and Spatial Reference Systems used in North America.
  • Perform Datum and Coordinate System Transformation, Forward and Inverse Solutions on the ellipsoid and in three dimensions.
  • Apply corrections and reductions to terrestrial observations for gravity and ellipsoidal effects.
  • Outline the physical properties, instrumentation, applications and accuracies of some Space-Based Positioning Techniques, such as Transit Doppler, GPS, GLONASS, COMPASS, Galileo, LLR, SLR, and VLBI.

Effective as of Fall 2017

Related Programs

GEOM 5120 is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Construction and the Environment

  1. Geomatics
    Full-time   Bachelor of Science


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