Career Development

What Does a Surveyor Do?

Find out what a surveyor does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a surveyor.

Surveyors are responsible for measuring and mapping the Earth’s surface. They use a variety of tools and techniques to do this, including surveying instruments, GPS systems, and computer software.

Surveyors work with many different types of clients, from private individuals who want to buy or sell property to government agencies that need detailed maps for planning purposes. Regardless of their client, surveyors must be able to interpret legal documents such as deeds and titles in order to properly map out property boundaries.

Surveyor Job Duties

Surveyors have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Measure distances, elevations, slopes, and grade on the job site using surveying equipment such as theodolites and electronic Record data about land features, boundaries, and topography to create maps and other documents
  • Provide recommendations regarding environmental issues such as erosion or conservation of natural resources
  • Plan and carry out surveys to measure land for commercial or residential purposes such as subdivisions or shopping malls
  • Erect markers or monuments at specific locations to serve as reference points for future surveys
  • Plan and oversee construction projects such as building roads and bridges using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Estimate costs of labor and materials needed for projects based on drawings, plans, and specifications provided by a client
  • Plan, design, and conduct surveys to collect data on land features such as topography, soil type, and vegetation
  • Analyze data using computer software programs to determine physical features such as slope or elevation of land
  • Recommend improvements to existing structures or construction of new structures based on findings from field surveys

Surveyor Salary & Outlook

Surveyors’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of work they do. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $97,000 ($46.63/hour)

The employment of surveyors is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Growth and development will require surveyors to lay out roads, power lines, and other infrastructure. However, the use of geographic information systems (GIS) may limit the need for some surveyors. GIS can store and analyze large amounts of spatial data and allow users to view the data in different ways.

Surveyor Job Requirements

A surveyor typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most surveyors have at least a bachelor’s degree in surveying or a related field, such as mathematics, engineering or physical science. Some surveyors choose to earn a master’s degree in surveying or another related field to increase their earning potential and qualify for higher-level positions.

Training & Experience: Most surveyors receive on-the-job training from their employers. This training may last for a few weeks or a few months, depending on the complexity of the job.

Certifications & Licenses: Surveyors working in the United States must be licensed to work in their state or district. The process varies from state to state, so check the requirements in your area.

Surveyor Skills

Surveyors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the knowledge and ability to use tools and technology to complete a task. Surveyors use technical skills to operate and read surveying equipment, use GPS technology and perform calculations.

Communication skills: Surveyors often communicate with clients, engineers and other surveyors. Effective communication skills can help you convey information clearly and answer questions. You can also use communication skills to explain technical information to clients who may not have a background in surveying.

Analytical skills: Analytical skills are the ability to solve problems and make decisions based on the information you have. Surveyors use analytical skills to determine the best way to measure land and determine the accuracy of the measurements. They also use analytical skills to determine the best way to complete a survey and the best way to interpret the data they collect.

Problem-solving skills: Surveyors use problem-solving skills to find solutions to challenges they encounter during their work. For example, if a surveyor is working on a project that requires them to use a specific type of equipment that isn’t available, they can use their problem-solving skills to find a way to get the equipment they need.

Teamwork skills: Surveyors often work in teams to complete their work. For example, a land surveyor might work with an engineer to determine the best location for a new building. Working together can help surveyors complete their work more efficiently and effectively.

Surveyor Work Environment

Surveyors spend most of their time outdoors, walking over the land that is being surveyed. They use a variety of instruments, such as theodolites and GPS receivers, to measure angles and distances. They also use computers to store and analyze data. Surveyors typically work 40 hours per week, but they may work longer hours to meet deadlines. They may also work on weekends and holidays, especially if they are surveying land that is not easily accessible during the week. Surveyors typically work in teams of two or more people, so they have the opportunity to socialize while they work. However, they may also work alone for long periods of time.

Surveyor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how surveyors work. Surveyors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Drones in Surveying

The use of drones in surveying is becoming increasingly popular as it offers a number of benefits over traditional methods. Drones can be used to quickly and efficiently collect data that would otherwise take surveyors hours or days to gather.

This trend is likely to continue as more businesses realize the value of using drones in their operations. Surveyors who are able to utilize this technology will be more successful and productive than their peers.

More Focus on Data Quality

As data becomes more important in business, surveyors will need to focus on ensuring that the data they collect is accurate and reliable. This means that they will need to put extra effort into ensuring that the questions they ask are clear and easy to understand, and that the data they collect is accurate.

In addition, surveyors will need to be able to analyze data and make sense of it in order to provide valuable insights to their clients. This requires a deep understanding of statistics and data analysis techniques.

Greater Attention to Ethics

As the world becomes more connected, the field of survey research is also growing rapidly. This is due to the fact that surveys are an effective way to get feedback from a large number of people at once, which is useful for both businesses and researchers.

However, as the field grows, so too does the need for survey researchers to be aware of ethical issues. In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases where researchers have been accused of violating the trust of their subjects by manipulating data or publishing results without permission.

How to Become a Surveyor

A career as a surveyor can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work outdoors, travel, and meet new people. It also provides the chance to make a difference in the lives of others by helping them find their way.

As a surveyor, you’ll need to have a strong math and science background. You’ll also need to be able to read and interpret maps and charts. And you’ll need to be able to use surveying instruments such as theodolites and levels.

In addition to these skills, it’s important that you have good communication skills. You’ll need to be able to explain complex concepts to laypeople in simple terms. You’ll also need to be able to write clear and concise reports about your findings.

Related: How to Write a Surveyor Resume

Advancement Prospects

Surveyors who have experience and are proficient in the use of surveying instruments and software may advance to supervisory or project management positions. Some surveyors become chief of their surveying division or surveying department. Some may open their own surveying business.

Surveyors who have a bachelor’s degree in surveying science and are licensed as professional surveyors may find advancement opportunities in other related fields, such as civil engineering, mapping, or land management.

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