Posted in Opinion

Where are they now?

worldglobe_cogsThe photograph from David Hildebrand of the GIS class of 1986 set me off on a research path. According to my records, the graduates were, as follows:

Student Name                     First Job on Graduation (Company, Location)
xxxxxxxx                              xxxxxxxxx

I have removed their names and first jobs for reasons of privacy.


Faculty who were teaching in the GIS program.
Pat Castel
Bob Maher
David Colville

This was not the first time we prepared graduates for the GIS industry. Indeed, as part of the Scientific Computer Programming program, since 1980, we had been using GIS software as the application environment.

Just imagine, we graduated twelve+ students per year, for thirty-two years. That amounts to 384 employees for that industry. It begs David Hildebrand’s question: where are they now? Some likely remained in the industry, others likely changed careers several times. Many may no longer need to work, or are no longer with us.

In the world of social media (Facebook and LinkedIn) it should be possible to create a network of these graduates. Indeed GIS is only one technology, one program within the Geomatics cluster. In the 1980s COGS boasted three departments: Survey Engineering, Cartography and Planning, and Computer Programming.

Could a Freedom of Information (FOI) request be made to the NSCC to populate a database of these alumni? Or if the NSCC maintained the database, individuals could self identify with the College, and perhaps add their own biography and story.

In recent years, we have seen the creation of the business, GoGeomatics, by COGS graduate Jonathan Murphy. GoGeomatics hosts socials at many of the urban centres across the country. This allows interaction between Geomatics professionals within different regions. Recently, GoGeomatics has announced a new national conference, GeoIgnite in Ottawa on June 18-19th 2019.

geoignite_2These socials and the national conference are but one mechanism for sharing ideas, experiences and business opportunities. If NSCC supported a COGS alumni database, we can envisage the engagement of this resource, shared stories and examples of the application of Geomatics technology to many of the concerns of both rural and urban Canadians. Indeed the reach is global. Many of our graduates moved to the United States and elsewhere; others found jobs working on global environmental issues.

Blog Update:

This week, I have been reading David Manners book Convenient Season. It is set in the pre-Second World War era. It describes life in the Annapolis Valley from the viewpoint of a young American man, who rediscovers his country roots. There are detailed descriptions of the weather, small town living in Bridgetown, Centrelea, Round Hill.

This takes me back. When Heather and I arrived here in Summer 1980 with two young boys, we rented the old Ernest Buckler house from Bill O’Neill up in West Dalhousie. That Winter, I commuted down the mountain to teach at the NSLSI in Lawrencetown. What has changed from David Manners description of Valley life? Well, there has been a change in the climate. But the trees, the birds are very much the same. There are still many families trying to live close to the land and sea. Convenient Season? Why that title? Think about what has, and has not, changed. Every year, a new group of students arrive at COGS. They find themselves immersed in a rural lifestyle, combined with modern learning technology. Life. School. House. (


Thanks to Edward for his advice on Internet privacy, and also the graphics


David J. Manners. 1941. Convenient Season. EP Dutton, New York.




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