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Working as a Mapping Technician

What Does a Mapping Technician Do

Surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earth’s surface. Surveying technicians visit sites to take measurements of the land. Mapping technicians use geographic data to create maps. They both assist surveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetrists.

Duties

Surveying technicians typically do the following:

  • Visit sites to record survey measurements and other descriptive data
  • Operate surveying instruments, such as electronic distance-measuring equipment (robotic total stations), to collect data on a location
  • Set out stakes and marks to conduct a survey
  • Search for previous survey points, such as old stone markers
  • Enter the data from surveying instruments into computers, either in the field or in an office

Surveying technicians help surveyors in the field on teams known as survey parties. A typical survey party has a party chief and one or more surveying technicians. The party chief, either a surveyor or a senior surveying technician, leads day-to-day work activities. After data is collected by the survey party, surveying technicians help to process the data by entering the data into computers.

Mapping technicians typically do the following:

  • Select needed information from databases to create maps
  • Edit and process images that have been collected in the field
  • Produce maps showing boundaries, water locations, elevation, and other features of the terrain
  • Update maps to ensure accuracy
  • Assist photogrammetrists by laying out aerial photographs in sequence to identify areas not captured by aerial photography

Mapping technicians help cartographers and photogrammetrists produce and upgrade maps. They do this work on computers, combining data from different sources.

Geographic Information System (GIS) technicians use GIS technology to assemble, integrate, and display data about a particular location in a digital format. They also use GIS technology to compile information from a variety of sources. GIS technicians also maintain and update databases for GIS devices.

How To Become a Mapping Technician

Surveying technicians usually need a high school diploma. However, mapping technicians often need formal education after high school to study technology applications, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Education

Surveying technicians generally need a high school diploma, but some have postsecondary training in survey technology. Postsecondary training is more common among mapping technicians where an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as geomatics, is beneficial.

High school students interested in working as a surveying or mapping technician should take courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, drafting, mechanical drawing, and computer science. Knowledge of these subjects will help in finding a job and in advancing.

Training

Surveying technicians learn their job duties under the supervision of a surveyor or a surveying party chief. Initially, surveying technicians handle simple tasks, such as placing markers on land and entering data into computers. With experience, they help to decide where and how to measure the land.

Mapping technicians receive on-the-job training under the supervision of a lead mapper. During training, technicians learn how maps are created and stored in databases.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The growing need to make sure that data are useful to other professionals has caused certification to become more common. The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) offers certification for photogrammetric technologists, remote-sensing technologists, and Geographic Information System/Land Information System (GIS/LIS) technologists. The National Society of Professional Surveyors offers the Certified Survey Technician credential.

Advancement

With many years of experience and formal training in surveying, surveying technicians may advance to senior survey technician, then to party chief. Depending on state licensing requirements, they may be able to become licensed surveyors.

Important Qualities

Concentration. Surveying and mapping technicians must be precise and accurate in their work. Their results are often entered into legal records.

Decisionmaking skills. Surveying technicians must be able to exercise some independent judgment in the field because they may not always be able to communicate with team members.

Listening skills. Surveying technicians work outdoors and must communicate with party chiefs and other team members across distances. Following spoken instructions from the party chief is crucial for saving time and preventing errors.

Physical stamina. Surveying technicians usually work outdoors, often in rugged terrain. Physical fitness is necessary to carry equipment and to stand most of the day.

Problem-solving skills. Surveying and mapping technicians must be able to identify and fix problems with their equipment. They also must note potential problems with the day’s work plan.

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Average Salary$56,524
Job Growth Rate5%

Mapping Technician Jobs

Mapping Technician Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Mapping Technician

Mapping Technicians in America make an average salary of $56,524 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $83,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $38,000 per year.
Average Salary
$56,524

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Boston, MA
Salary Range43k - 74k$57k$57,036
San Antonio, TX
Salary Range40k - 70k$54k$53,580
Lakeland, FL
Salary Range37k - 65k$50k$49,801
Marietta, GA
Salary Range35k - 62k$47k$47,208
$35k
$74k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Survey Mapping Technician
Survey Mapping Technician
Randstad
Randstad
11/21/2020
11/21/2020
$52,00011/21/2020
$52,000
Tech Job-Computer Mapping Techs Needed
Tech Job-Computer Mapping Techs Needed
Tad Technical
Tad Technical
03/03/2020
03/03/2020
$22,95703/03/2020
$22,957
Segregation and Mapping Technician 1
Segregation and Mapping Technician 1
Spokane County
Spokane County
02/19/2020
02/19/2020
$36,78002/19/2020
$36,780
Mapping Technician
Mapping Technician
New York State Civil Service
New York State Civil Service
12/18/2019
12/18/2019
$63,98112/18/2019
$63,981
Mapping Technician
Mapping Technician
Tad Technical
Tad Technical
10/30/2019
10/30/2019
$22,95710/30/2019
$22,957
See More Recent Salaries

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Mapping Technician Demographics

Gender

male

65.1 %

female

30.7 %

unknown

4.2 %

Ethnicity

White

68.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.3 %

Black or African American

6.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5 %

Portuguese

9.1 %

German

9.1 %
See More Demographics

Mapping Technician Education

Majors

Geography
27.7 %
Business
10.7 %

Degrees

Bachelors

46.6 %

Associate

24.4 %

Masters

9.2 %

Top Colleges for Mapping Technicians

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

5. Villanova University

Villanova, PA

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

8. University of Akron

Akron, OH

In-State Tuition
$11,463
Enrollment
13,676

9. Boston University

Boston, MA

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

10. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Mapping Technician

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Part Time
Internship
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Top Skills For a Mapping Technician

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 20.1% of mapping technicians listed gis on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and math skills are important as well.

Best States For a Mapping Technician

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a mapping technician. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, New York, California, and Connecticut. Mapping technicians make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $67,536. Whereas in New York and California, they would average $66,821 and $61,787, respectively. While mapping technicians would only make an average of $61,329 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Jersey

Total Mapping Technician Jobs:
262
Highest 10% Earn:
$113,000
Location Quotient:
1.1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Mapping Technician Jobs:
117
Highest 10% Earn:
$104,000
Location Quotient:
1.2
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Nevada

Total Mapping Technician Jobs:
56
Highest 10% Earn:
$100,000
Location Quotient:
1.02
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Mapping Technician Employers

1. Xcel Energy
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$49,263
Mapping Technicians Hired: 
11+
2. San Diego Gas & Electric
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$80,983
Mapping Technicians Hired: 
6+
3. Adecco
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$30,013
Mapping Technicians Hired: 
6+
4. Insight Global
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$58,060
Mapping Technicians Hired: 
4+
5. National Grid plc
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$60,874
Mapping Technicians Hired: 
4+
6. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$86,520
Mapping Technicians Hired: 
4+

Recently Added Mapping Technician Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020