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Also known as:  City Surveyor, County Surveyor, Geodetic Surveyor, Geophysical Prospecting Surveyor, Land Surveyor, Mine Surveyor, Mineral Surveyor, Registered Land Surveyor, Topographical Surveyor


Surveyors and mapping scientists pinpoint the location of property and mark its outlines. They measure and map the surface of the earth. Their work serves to establish official boundaries for land, air space, and waterways.

Surveyors determine how a parcel of land lies and write descriptions ...
for deeds, leases, and other legal documents. They also define airspace for airports and measure construction, utility, and mineral sites. The vast majority of surveyors work for engineering services or the government.

A bachelor's degree is usually required or training at junior and community colleges, technical or vocational schools. Most states require a license, for which the "straightest line" is 4 years of college, 2 to 4 years of experience, and an examination. A mapping scientist, or cartographer, usually has a bachelor's degree in a field such as engineering, forestry, geography, or a physical science.

This profession draws on the information of surveyors and surveying technicians to prepare maps. Cartographers analyze and interpret both geographical information and social data such as population size and density. Their work should be both artistically pleasing and meticulously accurate.

These are not fast-growing fields, though jobs will continue to become available as experienced professionals retire.

The surveying of land requires preparation, scheduling, and fieldwork. Some of the equipment has evolved through centuries, such as measuring tapes and tripods with viewfinders. But today, high technology is brought to bear on the process. Several satellites link a global positioning system to the survey team's receiver, for the latest in accuracy.

Other advancements include improved aerial photography and geographic information systems, which are computerized data banks of special information. What has not changed is the need to spend a lot of time outdoors hiking and climbing to find just the right spot to take a measurement.

Make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. Provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
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Conduct research in surveying and mapping methods using knowledge of techniques of photogrammetric map compilation and electronic data processing.
Survey bodies of water to determine navigable channels and to secure data for construction of breakwaters, piers, and other marine structures.
Adjust surveying instruments to maintain their accuracy.
Plan and conduct ground surveys designed to establish baselines, elevations, and other geodetic measurements.
Develop criteria for survey methods and procedures.
Coordinate findings with the work of engineering and architectural personnel, clients, and others concerned with projects.
Write descriptions of property boundary surveys for use in deeds, leases, or other legal documents.
Record the results of surveys including the shape, contour, location, elevation, and dimensions of land or land features.
Prepare and maintain sketches, maps, reports, and legal descriptions of surveys to describe, certify, and assume liability for work performed.
Determine longitudes and latitudes of important features and boundaries in survey areas using theodolites, transits, levels, and satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS).
Train assistants and helpers, and direct their work in such activities as performing surveys or drafting maps.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematical Reasoning The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Number Facility The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.