25 Survey Technician Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a survey technician, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

As a survey technician, you’ll be responsible for conducting surveys, gathering data, and creating maps and drawings of the results. Employers look for survey technicians who are detail-oriented, have good math skills, and are able to work independently.

If you’re looking for a survey technician job, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. One way to prepare for this important meeting is to learn how to answer survey technician interview questions before talking with an interviewer.

In this guide, you’ll find several samples questions and responses, including survey technician job interview questions and answers.

Common Survey Technician Interview Questions

1. Are you familiar with the use of total stations?

Total stations are a type of surveying equipment that is used to measure horizontal and vertical distances. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience using total stations, as they may be looking for someone who can use the equipment in their company. If you have experience with total stations, share what you know about them. If you don’t have any experience with total stations, let the interviewer know that you’re willing to learn how to use them.

Example: “Yes, I am very familiar with the use of total stations. I have been using them for over five years in my current role as a Survey Technician. I am comfortable setting up and operating the equipment, as well as troubleshooting any issues that may arise during its use. I also understand how to interpret the data collected by the total station and can accurately record it for further analysis.”

2. What are the different types of GPS receivers and which ones do you prefer to use?

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your knowledge of the different types of GPS receivers and how they work. This can help them determine if you have experience using a variety of these devices, which can be beneficial in the role. In your answer, try to list as many types of GPS receivers as you know about and explain what each type does.

Example: “GPS receivers come in a variety of types, each with their own unique features and benefits. The most common type is the handheld GPS receiver, which is small and portable, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking or camping. Another type is the vehicle-mounted GPS receiver, which is designed to be installed in a car or other vehicle. This type of GPS receiver provides more accurate positioning data than a handheld device. Finally, there is the stationary GPS receiver, which is typically used for surveying applications.

I prefer to use handheld GPS receivers because they are lightweight and easy to carry around. They also provide good accuracy and reliability, making them suitable for many different types of survey projects. In addition, I find that the user interface on these devices is intuitive and easy to use, allowing me to quickly get up and running without having to spend too much time learning how to operate the device.”

3. How would you describe topography? What examples can you provide?

This question is a test of your knowledge about topography and how you apply it to survey projects. Your answer should show that you understand the definition of topography, but also how it applies to surveying.

Example: “Topography is the study of landforms and terrain features. It involves mapping out the physical characteristics of a landscape, such as elevation, slope, aspect, soil type, vegetation cover, water bodies, and more. Examples of topographical features include mountains, valleys, hills, rivers, lakes, glaciers, and other natural features. Topography also includes man-made features like roads, buildings, bridges, dams, and canals.

I have extensive experience in surveying and mapping these types of features. I am proficient in using various survey instruments to measure and map elevations, slopes, aspects, and other terrain features. I am also familiar with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software used for creating digital maps and analyzing spatial data. My experience has enabled me to create accurate topographic maps that are essential for many engineering projects.”

4. What is the difference between a bench mark and a control mark?

Bench marks and control marks are two types of survey markers that technicians use to record data. Interviewers ask this question to make sure you know the difference between these two important elements of a survey. In your answer, define each term and explain how they differ from one another.

Example: “A bench mark is a reference point used to measure elevation and other vertical distances. It is typically established by the U.S. Geological Survey or local surveyors and is marked with an iron rod, pipe, or stone monument. A control mark, on the other hand, is a point of known coordinates that is used as a reference for surveying operations. Control marks are usually set up by surveyors in order to accurately locate points on the ground. They can be anything from a nail in a tree to a metal disk embedded in concrete. As a Survey Technician, I am familiar with both types of marks and understand their importance in establishing accurate measurements.”

5. Provide an example of a time when you made a mistake as a survey technician and how you resolved the issue.

Employers ask this question to learn more about your problem-solving skills and how you handle mistakes. When answering, make sure to highlight a time when you made a mistake but also the steps you took to resolve it.

Example: “As a survey technician, I have made mistakes in the past. One example was when I was working on a project that required me to take precise measurements of an area. Unfortunately, I misread one of my calculations and ended up with inaccurate results.

I quickly realized my mistake and took steps to fix it. First, I double-checked all of my work to ensure that there were no other errors. Then, I recalculated the measurements using more accurate methods and tools. Finally, I re-submitted the report with the corrected information.

This experience taught me the importance of accuracy and attention to detail in this field. Since then, I’ve taken extra care to make sure that I am thorough and precise in my work. I also use multiple methods to verify my results before submitting them.”

6. If you had to choose one, what is your preferred method of surveying?

This question is a great way to determine if you are the right fit for this position. The interviewer wants to know that you have experience with all surveying methods and can adapt to different situations. In your answer, explain why you prefer one method over another and what makes it better than the others.

Example: “My preferred method of surveying is using a total station. I find that it provides the most accurate results and allows me to complete projects quickly and efficiently. With a total station, I can measure angles, distances, and elevations with precision. It also has the capability to store data for future reference, which is extremely helpful when completing large-scale projects.

I have extensive experience in operating a total station and am confident in my ability to use this tool effectively. I understand how to set up the instrument correctly and know how to adjust it for different conditions. I’m also familiar with the software used to process survey data, so I’m able to analyze the results accurately and make informed decisions.”

7. What would you do if you and your team members had different measurements for the same area?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to collaborate with others. In your answer, explain how you would work with your team members to find a solution that everyone agrees on.

Example: “If I and my team members had different measurements for the same area, I would first take a step back to review our process. I would make sure that everyone was using the same equipment and techniques, as well as double-checking any calculations or assumptions made during the survey. If there were discrepancies in the data, I would work with my team to identify where the differences came from and how we could resolve them.

I believe communication is key when it comes to resolving issues like this. By talking through the problem with my team, I can ensure that everyone understands what went wrong and how to fix it. Finally, I would document the entire process so that we have a record of how we addressed the issue and can refer to it if similar problems arise in the future.”

8. How well do you pay attention to detail? What examples can you provide?

Attention to detail is an important skill for survey technicians because they must record data accurately. Interviewers ask this question to see if you have the ability to pay attention to small details and ensure your work is accurate. When answering, explain that you are a highly organized person who can keep track of many different tasks at once. Explain that you also have excellent math skills and can make sure all calculations are correct.

Example: “I take great pride in my attention to detail. As a Survey Technician, I understand the importance of accuracy and precision when it comes to data collection and analysis. In my current role, I have been responsible for ensuring that all survey results are accurate and reliable. To do this, I pay close attention to every step of the process from collecting data to analyzing it. For example, I double-check measurements and calculations to make sure they are correct before submitting them. I also review any discrepancies between different sources of information to ensure accuracy. Finally, I use quality assurance techniques such as peer reviews to verify the accuracy of the data collected. These steps help me guarantee that the final report is both accurate and comprehensive.”

9. Do you have experience using field notebooks?

Field notebooks are a common tool for survey technicians. They allow you to record important information about the project, such as measurements and notes from meetings with clients. Interviewers ask this question to make sure that you have experience using field notebooks and how you use them. In your answer, explain what kind of field notebook you prefer to use and why.

Example: “Yes, I have extensive experience using field notebooks. In my current role as a Survey Technician, I use them on a daily basis to document survey measurements and observations. I am very familiar with the standard conventions for recording data in these notebooks, including how to properly label each page and how to accurately record all relevant information. I also understand the importance of maintaining accuracy when recording data in the notebook, which is essential for producing reliable results. My previous experience has taught me how to quickly and efficiently complete surveys while ensuring that all data is recorded correctly.”

10. When performing a survey, what is the first thing you do?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you know the steps involved in a survey. It also gives them insight into how you prioritize tasks and manage time. Your answer should include all of the steps involved in surveying, along with the order in which you perform them.

Example: “When performing a survey, the first thing I do is to understand the scope of the project. This involves gathering all relevant information about the project from the client and any other stakeholders involved. After that, I will create a plan for how the survey should be conducted. This includes establishing the timeline, budget, resources needed, and any special requirements or considerations. Finally, I will develop an appropriate methodology for collecting data, such as using interviews, questionnaires, or focus groups. By taking these steps, I am able to ensure that the survey is conducted in a timely manner and produces accurate results.”

11. We want to make sure our data is as accurate as possible. What is the most important thing you do to ensure accuracy?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you understand the importance of accuracy in your work. They want to know that you have a process for ensuring data is accurate and complete. In your answer, explain what steps you take to ensure accuracy and how it helps the company’s overall goals.

Example: “Accuracy is the most important factor when it comes to surveying, and I take great pride in making sure that all of my data is as accurate as possible. To ensure accuracy, I always double-check my work and use the latest technology available for survey measurements. I also make sure to stay up to date on any new developments or changes in the industry so that I can apply them to my work. Finally, I am constantly communicating with other members of the team to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that our results are consistent. By taking these steps, I’m confident that I can provide reliable and accurate survey data.”

12. Describe your experience with using geographic information systems.

GIS is a technology that survey technicians use to collect and analyze data. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary experience with GIS to do your job well. In your answer, explain what GIS is and how you’ve used it in previous roles. If you don’t have any experience using GIS, consider talking about other types of mapping software instead.

Example: “I have been working as a Survey Technician for the past five years and I am very familiar with using geographic information systems. During my time in this role, I have had the opportunity to work with GIS software on multiple projects. I am highly experienced in creating maps, analyzing spatial data, and performing geospatial analysis.

I have also worked closely with other departments to ensure that all of their GIS needs are met. This includes providing technical support, training staff members on how to use the software, and troubleshooting any issues they may be having. My experience has enabled me to become an expert in GIS technology and I am confident that I can bring this expertise to your organization.”

13. What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills you have that relate to this position. Think about what makes you unique compared to other candidates.

Example: “I believe I am the best candidate for this position because of my extensive experience and knowledge in survey technology. I have been working as a Survey Technician for over five years, during which time I have gained a deep understanding of surveying techniques and technologies. My work has included both traditional field surveys and more modern digital methods such as GIS mapping and remote sensing.

In addition to my technical expertise, I also bring strong organizational skills and an eye for detail. I am highly organized and efficient when it comes to managing projects and ensuring accuracy in data collection and analysis. I am also experienced in using various software programs related to surveying, including AutoCAD and ArcGIS. Finally, I am committed to providing excellent customer service, which is essential in any survey technician role.”

14. Which surveying instruments do you have the most experience using?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with surveying instruments. It can also show them which ones you’re most comfortable using and how familiar you are with each one. When answering this question, it can be helpful to list all the surveying instruments you have experience using and describe what they do.

Example: “I have extensive experience using a variety of surveying instruments. I am most proficient in the use of total stations, GPS receivers, and levels. With my experience in these instruments, I can accurately measure distances, angles, and elevations to create detailed survey maps.

I also have experience with data collectors, which allow me to collect field data quickly and efficiently. This enables me to produce precise results that meet all project requirements. My knowledge of software programs such as AutoCAD and ArcGIS allows me to analyze and present data in an organized manner.”

15. What do you think is the most challenging part of being a survey technician?

This question can help an interviewer get to know you as a person and how you might fit in with their team. It also helps them understand what skills you have that could be beneficial for the job. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention something specific about surveying that you enjoy or find challenging.

Example: “I believe the most challenging part of being a survey technician is staying up to date with the latest technology and techniques. As technology advances, so do the methods used for surveying land and other areas. It’s important to stay abreast of these changes in order to ensure accuracy and efficiency when conducting surveys. This requires dedication to continuing education and training, as well as an understanding of how new technologies can be applied to existing processes.

Additionally, it can be difficult to work within tight deadlines while still ensuring quality results. Survey technicians must be able to manage their time efficiently and prioritize tasks in order to meet project goals on time. This means having strong organizational skills and the ability to multitask effectively.”

16. How often do you make mistakes when performing a survey?

This question can help an interviewer determine how much experience you have as a survey technician. It can also show them how honest and self-aware you are about your skills and abilities. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention any steps you take to avoid mistakes or the types of mistakes that you make.

Example: “I understand the importance of accuracy when performing a survey, and I take great care to ensure that my work is as precise as possible. I am constantly striving for perfection in my surveys, and I make it a priority to double-check all of my measurements and calculations. That being said, mistakes do happen from time to time. When they do, I immediately identify them and take steps to correct them. I also use this opportunity to learn from my mistakes so that I can prevent them from happening again in the future.”

17. There is a bug in your GPS receiver. What would you do to fix the problem?

This question is a test of your troubleshooting skills. It also shows the interviewer that you know how to use GPS receivers and other survey equipment. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to fix the bug in the receiver.

Example: “When faced with a bug in my GPS receiver, the first step I would take is to troubleshoot the issue. This includes checking the power source and connections, as well as performing a factory reset on the device if necessary. If this does not resolve the problem, then I would consult the manufacturer’s user manual or contact their customer service team for further assistance.

If the issue persists, I am confident in my ability to use diagnostic software to identify any hardware or software issues that may be causing the bug. Once identified, I can then work to find the best solution to fix the problem. With my experience working with GPS receivers, I have developed an understanding of how they operate and what steps need to be taken when something goes wrong.”

18. What methods do you use to measure distances?

This question can help interviewers understand your technical skills and how you apply them to the job. Use examples from your experience that show your ability to use tools, perform calculations and interpret results.

Example: “I have experience using a variety of methods to measure distances. I am well-versed in the use of traditional surveying equipment such as total stations, levels, and transits. I also have experience with modern GPS technology for measuring distances. In addition, I am familiar with other techniques, such as triangulation, which can be used to accurately measure distance over large areas. Finally, I am comfortable working with aerial photographs and satellite imagery to calculate distances between points on the ground.”

19. How would you ensure that your survey measurements are accurate and reliable?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your attention to detail and commitment to quality work. Your answer should demonstrate that you understand the importance of accuracy in survey measurements and how to achieve it. You can highlight specific strategies or techniques you use to ensure accurate results.

Example: “I understand the importance of accurate and reliable survey measurements, which is why I take a very methodical approach to my work. Before beginning any survey project, I always review the specifications and requirements in order to ensure that all necessary equipment is available and functioning properly. During the actual survey process, I double-check each measurement multiple times to make sure it’s correct. After completing the survey, I compare the results with other surveys conducted in the same area to verify accuracy. Finally, I use statistical analysis to identify any potential errors or discrepancies in the data. By taking these steps, I can guarantee that my survey measurements are both accurate and reliable.”

20. Do you have experience using drones for surveying?

Employers may ask this question to see if you have experience using drones for surveying. If you do, they might want to know how much experience you have and what types of projects you’ve worked on with them. If you don’t have any experience using drones, you can talk about your interest in learning more about the technology and how you would use it if given the opportunity.

Example: “Yes, I do have experience using drones for surveying. In my current role as a Survey Technician, I am responsible for operating and maintaining the drone equipment used to collect data from aerial surveys. I am familiar with all of the software and hardware associated with this type of work, including flight planning, mission execution, and post-processing of data.

I also have experience in other aspects of survey technology such as GPS/GNSS receivers, total station instruments, and laser scanners. My skillset allows me to effectively utilize multiple types of survey equipment to ensure accurate results.”

21. Are you comfortable working in remote areas?

Employers may ask this question to make sure you’re willing to work in remote areas. They want survey technicians who are comfortable working outside and can complete their job duties without supervision. In your answer, explain that you enjoy being outdoors and have the necessary skills to work in a remote area.

Example: “Yes, I am comfortable working in remote areas. I have extensive experience surveying in rural and isolated locations. During my time as a survey technician, I have worked on projects in some of the most difficult terrain and weather conditions. My ability to work independently and stay focused on the task at hand has enabled me to complete these projects successfully.

I understand that safety is paramount when working in remote areas, so I always take extra precautions to ensure that I’m following all safety protocols. I also make sure that I bring the necessary supplies and equipment with me for any job.”

22. Describe a project where you had to present your results to stakeholders.

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you communicate with others and your presentation skills. Use examples from previous work experiences where you had to present information or findings to a group of people, such as management or clients.

Example: “I recently had the opportunity to present my survey results to a group of stakeholders. The project was for a local government agency that wanted to understand how their citizens felt about certain services they provided. I was responsible for conducting surveys and collecting data from residents in the area. After gathering all the information, I analyzed it and created a comprehensive report with my findings.

When presenting the results, I made sure to explain each point clearly and concisely. I also used visuals such as charts and graphs to help illustrate the data more effectively. During the presentation, I answered any questions the stakeholders had and addressed any concerns they raised. In the end, everyone was satisfied with the outcome and appreciated my thoroughness and attention to detail.”

23. Explain the differences between orthophotos, topographic maps and cadastral surveys.

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your knowledge of the different types of surveys and how they differ. Use examples from your experience to explain each type of survey, including what it’s used for and its main differences.

Example: “Orthophotos are aerial photographs that have been geometrically corrected so that the scale is uniform and the image can be used to measure distances. They are often used for mapping, land use planning and engineering projects. Topographic maps show the shape of the terrain by using contour lines which connect points of equal elevation. These maps are useful for navigation, resource management, and recreation activities. Cadastral surveys are used to define boundaries of property ownership or other legal rights. They involve measuring and recording the location of boundary markers, as well as researching public records and deeds to determine the exact boundaries of a particular parcel of land.

I am an experienced Survey Technician with over 10 years of experience in all three types of survey work. I have extensive knowledge of the principles and practices of surveying, including the use of GPS systems, GIS software, and related technologies. I am also familiar with the relevant laws and regulations governing each type of survey. With my expertise, I am confident that I can provide accurate and reliable results for your organization.”

24. How do you stay up to date with current technology and techniques related to survey work?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you are willing to learn new things and adapt to changes in the industry. Your answer should show that you have a passion for your work and want to continue learning about new developments. You can mention some of the ways you stay up-to-date with technology, such as reading trade journals or attending conferences.

Example: “Staying up to date with current technology and techniques related to survey work is something I take very seriously. As a Survey Technician, it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments in the field. To do this, I make sure to attend industry conferences and seminars whenever possible. This gives me an opportunity to network with other professionals in the field, as well as learn about new technologies and trends that are emerging.

I also read professional journals and publications regularly to keep abreast of changes in the industry. In addition, I am always open to learning from my colleagues and peers who have more experience than me. Finally, I use online resources such as blogs and forums to stay informed about what’s happening in the world of surveying. By utilizing all these methods, I ensure that I remain knowledgeable and up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field.”

25. Tell us about a time when you had to collaborate with another team member on a survey project.

When answering this question, it can be beneficial to highlight your interpersonal skills and ability to work with others. You can also use this opportunity to discuss how you used teamwork to complete a project successfully.

Example: “In my last position as a survey technician, I worked on a team of three other technicians who were responsible for surveying an entire city block. We each had our own assignments, but we often collaborated with one another when we encountered problems or questions about the data we collected. For example, if one person was having trouble finding a specific address, they would ask their teammates for help. This allowed us to get through our projects more efficiently.”

Example: “I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with another survey technician on a project for a large construction company. We were tasked with creating a detailed topographical map of the area, which included taking measurements and plotting points. I was responsible for collecting data from the field while my colleague handled the mapping process in the office.

We worked together closely throughout the entire project, communicating regularly to ensure that our work was accurate and up-to-date. I made sure to document all of the data I collected so that it could be easily transferred to my colleague. In addition, we both took part in quality assurance checks to make sure that everything was correct before submitting the final product.”


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