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Become A Surveyor

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Working As A Surveyor

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $82,744

    Average Salary

What Does A Surveyor 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.

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How To Become A Surveyor

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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Surveyor jobs

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Average Length of Employment
City Surveyor 5.7 years
Survey Party Chief 5.5 years
County Surveyor 4.4 years
Marine Surveyor 3.9 years
Land Surveyor 3.9 years
Geodetic Surveyor 3.5 years
Railroad Surveyor 3.3 years
Instrument Person 2.9 years
Survey Coordinator 2.6 years
Mine Surveyor 2.1 years
Surveyor Helper 2.0 years
Surveyor 2.0 years
Assistant Surveyor 1.8 years
Telephone Surveyor 1.1 years
Timber Surveyor 0.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 9.1%
Cashier 8.2%
Technician 4.7%
Crew Chief 4.5%
Volunteer 3.7%
Manager 3.6%
Top Employers After
Internship 5.9%
Cashier 5.3%
Technician 4.8%
Owner 4.4%
Manager 3.9%
Supervisor 3.6%
Volunteer 3.6%

Surveyor Demographics

Gender

Male

70.7%

Female

27.2%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

79.1%

Hispanic or Latino

11.0%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

2.0%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.1%

French

10.7%

Italian

3.9%

Chinese

3.6%

Arabic

3.6%

German

3.2%

Japanese

2.3%

Mandarin

1.9%

Russian

1.6%

Portuguese

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Khmer

1.0%

Norwegian

1.0%

Dakota

1.0%

Hebrew

1.0%

Swahili

0.6%

Carrier

0.6%

Amharic

0.6%

Urdu

0.6%
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Surveyor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.4%

Texas A&M University

8.5%

Pennsylvania State University

6.1%

Oregon State University

5.9%

West Virginia University

5.5%

University of Wyoming

5.0%

Michigan State University

5.0%

Northern Arizona University

4.8%

Utah State University

4.6%

Florida State University

4.4%

The Academy

4.1%

University of Maine

3.9%

Texas State University

3.9%

Oklahoma State University

3.7%

Brigham Young University - Idaho

3.7%

University of Florida

3.7%

Ashford University

3.7%

Mississippi State University

3.7%

Ferris State University

3.7%

New Mexico State University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

16.0%

Civil Engineering

10.2%

Surveying, Mapping, And Hydraulic Technologies

7.3%

Drafting And Design

6.5%

Geography

5.7%

Environmental Science

5.4%

Nursing

4.7%

Criminal Justice

4.7%

General Studies

4.6%

Engineering

4.3%

Biology

4.0%

Geology

3.8%

Psychology

3.5%

Computer Science

3.1%

Civil Engineering Technologies

3.0%

Natural Resources Management

2.9%

Construction Management

2.8%

Education

2.6%

Management

2.6%

Communication

2.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.7%

Other

29.2%

Associate

15.2%

Masters

10.2%

Certificate

4.6%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Surveyor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Surveyor Braemar Technical Services, Inc. Port Orchard, WA Apr 23, 2015 $127,161
Staff Surveyor Braemar Technical Services, Inc. Port Orchard, WA Aug 14, 2015 $127,121
Senior Surveyor Lloyd's Register Drilling Integrity Services, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 09, 2016 $126,806
Surveyor, Technology Associate Citadel LLC New York, NY Apr 27, 2015 $125,000 -
$140,000
Mechanical Surveyor Lloyd's Register Drilling Integrity Services, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2014 $118,414
Blow Out Preventer Subsea Surveyor Lloyd's Register Drilling Integrity Services, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 09, 2014 $118,414
Surveyor FS DET Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. Houston, TX Mar 21, 2016 $108,846
Senior Surveyor Germanischer Lloyd (USA), Inc. Sunrise, FL Nov 01, 2015 $105,000 -
$115,000
Certification & Inspection Surveyor DET Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. Katy, TX Aug 29, 2015 $100,368
Surveyor Highbury Concrete, Inc. Bronxville, NY Jun 01, 2014 $100,000
Senior Surveyor Germanischer Lloyd (USA), Inc. Sunrise, FL Sep 16, 2014 $99,324
Senior Surveyor I American Bureau of Shipping (Abs) Houma, LA Jan 14, 2016 $99,039
Senior Surveyor DET Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. Mahwah, NJ Jun 30, 2016 $98,634 -
$108,202
Senior Surveyor Germanischer Lloyd (USA), Inc. Plantation, FL Aug 29, 2015 $98,605 -
$123,876
Surveyor II American Bureau of Shipping (Abs) Panama City, FL Sep 16, 2015 $89,000
Surveyor Lloyd's Register North America, Inc. Bellevue, WA Jul 27, 2015 $88,795
Surveyor II American Bureau of Shipping (Abs) North Charleston, SC Aug 19, 2016 $88,051
Certification & Inspection Surveyor DET Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. Katy, TX Sep 05, 2014 $88,000 -
$100,500
Certification & Inspection Surveyor DET Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. Katy, TX Apr 23, 2015 $88,000 -
$100,500
Surveyor II American Bureau of Shipping Morgan City, LA Nov 12, 2014 $87,984
Surveyor II American Bureau of Shipping (Abs) Houston, TX Dec 27, 2014 $87,763
Surveyor II American Bureau of Shipping Houston, TX Nov 14, 2014 $85,779
Surveyor II American Bureau of Shipping (Abs) Morgan City, LA Sep 30, 2015 $74,755
Petroleum Surveyor Amspec, LLC Destrehan, LA Sep 06, 2016 $73,694
Surveyor Lloyd's Register North America, Inc. Iselin, NJ Sep 13, 2014 $72,446
Surveyor Lloyd's Register North America, Inc. Aurora, IL Jun 22, 2013 $72,093
Surveyor II American Bureau of Shipping (Abs) Morgan City, LA Nov 22, 2013 $71,880
Surveyors Fugro Chance Inc. Houston, TX Apr 25, 2014 $70,283 -
$80,000
Surveyors Fugro Chance Inc. Houston, TX Apr 18, 2014 $70,283 -
$80,000
Senior Surveyor Lloyd's Register North America, Inc. Plantation, FL Sep 13, 2014 $70,242

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Top Skills for A Surveyor

GPSTopographicMapsBoundarySurveysRoboticTotalStationConstructionLayoutSafetyDataCollectionTopographicSurveysSurveyDataAutoCADPipelineAs-BuiltSurveysSurveyCrewCustomerServiceSurveyEquipmentLegalDescriptionsGISLeicaTopconSurveyTechnician

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Top Surveyor Skills

  1. GPS
  2. Topographic Maps
  3. Boundary Surveys
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Navigated through desert riparian habitats using GPS
  • Operated a reflector rod and electronic measuring device for road slope staking, topographic maps and property corners.
  • Major accountabilities: Boundary surveys Topographic surveys Accurately handling measurement equipment Plotting points for contractors accurately and quickly
  • Conducted field surveying works using Robotic Total Stations and GPS.
  • Performed commercial construction layout, grade work, property, topographic surveys and elevation surveys.

Top Surveyor Employers

Surveyor Videos

A Day in the Life of a Land Surveyor

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A Career as a Chartered Surveyor

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