Study options

Master's Programme in Geoinformatics

Master's Programme in Geoinformatics turns students' talent and hard work into excellence. After graduating, you will be able to work effectively in many roles in the society, applying and utilizing current knowledge of geoinformatics, and to contribute to the further development of the field.
Geoinformatics students operate a drone at Aalto University.

Degree:

Master of Science (Technology)

Application period:

1.12.2020 – 4.1.2021

Language of instruction:

English

Duration:

2 years, full-time

Eligibility:

Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Technology and Engineering

Credits:

120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Engineering

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)

The application period will open 1.12.2020 09:00 (UTC+2)

Scholarships and Tuition Fees

Study languages

In the Master's Programme in Geoinformatics the language of instruction is English.

Study objectives

How is our planet changing? How can we ensure the sustainable use of natural resources? How can we understand and map the spread of diseases? Geoinformatics engineers are usually present when crucial decisions in our society are prepared. The ability to measure, model, analyse and visualise complex phenomena leads to a more informed decision making. The Master's Programme in Geoinformatics at Aalto University offers a fascinating curriculum at the intersection of science, engineering, IT and the human and social sciences.

Try to imagine a world without location data. From personal navigation, autonomous driving, urban and environmental planning to space technology, much of the innovations, services and applications we know rely on location. This degree is an excellent choice for those wanting to work on big societal challenges but also for those dreaming to make an impact locally. Upon graduating from the The Master's Programme in Geoinformatics, graduates will have:

The ability to visualise complex geospatial problems or phenomena and turn them into informative maps and 3D models. Geoinformatics represents the real world by digital models. Graduates are able to create such models and apply them to assist in crucial decision-making processes.

Relevant technical, mathematical, computational and analytical knowledge and skills. Graduates master such tasks as digital image and point cloud processing, satellite image interpretation, data analysis, network analysis, 3D measurement and modeling as well as the use of spatial statistics.

Good communication and interpersonal skills. Graduates are able to work as part of multidisciplinary teams and communicate their expertise to policy and decision makers.

A mix of broad knowledge and in-depth specialisation. In addition to a solid foundation of all aspects of geoinformatics, graduates have gained in-depth, specialised skills in one or more sub-areas of their choice.

Good project management skills. Graduates are able to run successful projects within set time constraints.

Programming expertise to create online software solutions. Graduates have – depending on their level of specialisation – basic to advanced programming skills to approach problem solving in a more effective manner.

Content of studies

The courses are carefully planned to provide students with a strong foundation to create a successful career in geoinformatics. All the major courses of geoinformatics are intended to be studied during the first year of master’s studies. Thereafter, students can choose to specialise in one or more sub-parts of the field. Students are recommended to select their area(s) of specialisation during the spring term in the first year. More detailed information on these fields can be found from the programme flyer.

  • Geodesy, positioning and navigation investigates everything that is on or near the Earth's surface. Students learn to understand the spatial dimensions of Earth as well as her full complexity as a living, moving and changing planet in space. Students also learn how modern positioning and navigation techniques can be implemented to serve our technological society, on the roads, on the sea and in the air, and even underground and indoors.
  • Laser Scanning and Photogrammetry are two major data acquisition methods providing accurate and photorealistic 3D data. Students learn how to utilise laser scanning and photogrammetry in airborne, terrestrial and mobile mapping, as well as 3D modelling projects. Detailed knowledge of error sources of instruments as well as instrument calibration and data correction in post-processing is required to ensure data quality. The main tasks in photogrammetry are not only taught in theory but students also learn how to program them. Students also learn about digital image processing and image measurements.
  • Geoinformation Technology courses turn the student into a professional geoinformatics engineer instead of a GIS user. Courses give a solid basis for understanding diverse methods in spatial analysis, even analysis of spatial big data. Students also teach themselves to implement new methods by programming. GIS software architectures, databases and visual analytics also form an essential part of the studies specialising in geoinformation technology.
  • Remote Sensing courses introduce students to the fascinating world of Earth observation. To begin with, students become acquainted with the physical basics and theories of remote sensing. They also learn to use satellite images in monitoring the environment, and understand what current and upcoming satellite missions are like. In addition, they get hands-on experience in analysing satellite data and collecting ground reference measurements using a spectrometer.
     

Topics

Geoinformatics is an interdisciplinary, cutting-edge engineering science that cooperates with many other fields of study. Besides learning about the core subjects of geoinformatics, students get skills in group work, project management, programming, scientific writing, and in many other fields that are needed in working life. To give concrete examples of the topics covered, here are some courses picked from the programme’s extensive curriculum:

  • GIS Development (5 ECTS)
  • From Measurements to Maps (5 ECTS)
  • Project Course (10 ECTS)
  • Digital Image Processing and Feature Extraction (5 ECTS)
  • Advanced Laser Scanning (5 ECTS)
     

Methods

The teaching methods are diverse and combine theoretical and practical aspects. The common studies emphasise lectures and practical assignments while project-based learning and teamwork occur more frequently in the advanced studies. Each student will get a personal Academic Advisor who will discuss studying and give guidance throughout the Master’s Programme.

The faculty includes internationally acclaimed and published specialists and researchers who are highly dedicated to their profession, resulting in a motivating and encouraging learning environment. As geoinformatics is a multidisciplinary field, active peer learning is a defining characteristic of the master’s programme. Group work assignments embrace collaboration that can leverage innovative solutions in the field. Other learning methods include individual assignments, excursions to companies, lectures by visiting experts and scientific writing.

Structure of studies

Overall, the Master’s Programme in Geoinformatics comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:

  • Major studies (60 ECTS)
  • Elective studies, including a possible minor (30 ECTS)
  • Master’s Thesis (30 ECTS)

Personal Study Plan (PSP)

The Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, compiling an optimal selection of courses that are aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. PSP is also a useful tool for students to keep track of their studies. At best, it shows where students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow.

Read more on programme pages.

Internationalisation

The Master’s Programme in Geoinformatics has an international atmosphere. Being one of its kind in Finland while also acknowledged in the global arena, the programme attracts students from all over the world. The topics taught are universal by nature, and thus graduates can take their expertise to anywhere in the world – from the Arctic to the Equator. During their studies, students have multiple opportunities to gain international experience, for example by spending a semester abroad or carrying out their practical training or even master’s thesis research abroad.

Overall, Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad every year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through their studies, but also through multiple free time events, celebrations and extracurricular activities around the campus. Active tutoring programs and support services work hard to help international students integrate to the Nordic culture and feel at home in Finland.

Career opportunities

Geoinformatics is said to change the way we do decision-making. Some of the programme’s alumni create decision-making tools that monitor the global environment and help find solutions to problems such as energy crises or the uneven distribution of natural resources.
 

Many of our former students are involved in the business world. They may, for example, manage logistics chains or pinpoint the best location for a new shop. Others develop software for autonomous cars. There are many areas where their expertise is needed, and as geographic information systems is a relatively new technology, there are thousands of GIS applications still waiting to fuse into various industries.

The number of career paths available for graduates are nearly endless, but below is a breakdown of a few possible career options and typical employers:

  • Governmental positions, including government consultation, public safety and military intelligence.
  • Consultancy job in national environmental agencies or major international organisations such as the United Nations or European Space Agency
  • Working with laser scanning, photogrammetry, geodesy or remote sensing in mapping companies, consulting companies, national land survey agencies, research centres, cities, municipalities, and industrial firms
  • GIS specialist in agricultural planning
  • Geospatial epidemiologist in the health sector
  • 3D measurement and modelling expert in game development and virtual reality projects
  • Setting up their own startup
  • Embarking on an academic career in the academia
     

Aalto University has well-established career services to support students’ employment in Finland and abroad. Thanks to the flexible curriculum, many Aalto students work already during their studies and guarantee themselves entry positions before graduation. There is also a very active entrepreneurship community at Aalto, working as a springboard for founding a company.
 

Multidisciplinary opportunities

Geoinformatics combines hard engineering disciplines and environmental sciences with  human and social sciences. As GIS mapping tools, spatial analytics and data visualisation have become imperative for a wide variety of fields, geoinformatics is multidisciplinary by nature. The programme merges many branches of science and even design to prepare students for the future of work. Discourses with fields such as forestry, agriculture, urban planning, architecture and building technology occur throughout the programme.

Aalto University is well-known for bridging disciplines of business, arts, technology and science. The lively campus and freedom of choosing elective courses across the University bring students from different fields under one roof. This spontaneous multidisciplinary environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and every so often, startups.

Study paths to the Master's Programme in Geoinformatics

Alternative study paths for getting admitted to the Master’s Programme in Geoinformatics are illustrated in the figure on the right.

Post-graduate opportunities

The Master’s programme in Geoinformatics at Aalto is considered as a great foundation for doctoral studies.

Alternative study paths for getting admitted to the Master’s Programme in Geoinformatics are illustrated in the figure above.

Admission requirements

Aalto University's student selection process is competitive and paper-based. Applications that pass the eligibility check (administrative evaluation) conducted by Aalto University Admissions Services proceed to the school's programme-specific academic evaluation.

The following are used as criteria for academic evaluation in 2021:

Academic performance
What is evaluated: Grades of the previous degree/CGPA
Admission requirements: Grades need to mainly very good or excellent
Evaluated documents: Transcript of records
Criticality: Critical

Relevance of previous studies
What is evaluated: Content and quantity in relation to the applied study-option-specific requirements
What we look for in an applicant: Content suit very well or excellent to the study option
Evaluated documents: Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)
Criticality: Critical

Recognition and quality of institution
What is evaluated: Recognition and quality of the applicant's previous institution
Admission requirements: Recognized for high quality of education and research
Method of demonstrating competence: International and national rankings of higher education institutions
Criticality: Not critical

Suitability
What is evaluated: Applicant’s further applicability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies
What we look for in an applicant: Should be clearly in connection with the study option
Evaluated documents: Motivation letter
Criticality: Not critical

Other areas of competence
What is evaluated: Work experience and other acquired knowledge/achievements e.g. publications, non-formal education, competitions
What we look for in an applicant: Study-option-specific documents
Evaluated documents: Curriculum vitae, letter of references, proof of employment, publications
Criticality: Not critical

Study-option-specific documents requested:

In addition, applicants to this study-option are requested to provide the following study-option-specific documents:

  • Motivation letter (the lack of this application document will adversely affect the evaluation of your application)
  • CV (the lack of this application document will adversely affect the evaluation of your application)
  • letter of references, proof of employment, publications (optional)

You are welcome to apply to our Master’s programme if you have a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, and skills in mathematics, programming, and an interest in applying computer sciences to geoinformatics.

Contact information

With questions regarding admission to the programme, please contact Aalto University Admission Services: [email protected]  

For enquiries regarding the content of programme and studies, please contact [email protected]

Visit our admission website of the Master's Programme in Geoinformatics.

Applying to master’s programmes

The application period will open 1.12.2020 09:00 (UTC+2)

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