Whether the project is measuring the depth needed for a skyscraper’s foundation or mapping backyard boundaries, a surveyor steps in to get the lay of the land. Surveyors use sophisticated technology to take precise measurements of the Earth’s surface for maps and construction projects. They prevent—or help to resolve— boundary disputes for both home and business owners by documenting legal property lines, and helping determine the exact locations of real estate and building projects. During construction, surveyors determine the precise location of roads or buildings and proper depths for building foundations. They conduct research on land records and titles to show changes to a property line, and report on restrictions, such as the type and size of structures that may be built on a property. Most surveyors work for surveying or engineering companies; some work in construction or for government offices. Although surveyors spend time in offices, fieldwork is essential, and often involves standing for extended periods and walking long distances, sometimes hauling heavy equipment, in all kinds of weather. Most work full time. Surveyors typically need a bachelor’s degree in surveying, or a related field. A license is needed to certify legal documents and provide surveying services to the public. In addition to passing the licensure exams, surveyors generally need several years’ experience working under a licensed surveyor to obtain a license.
What they do:
Measure large areas of the Earth's surface using satellite observations, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), light detection and ranging (LIDAR), or related sources.
On the job, you would:
Calculate the exact horizontal and vertical position of points on the Earth's surface.
Maintain databases of geodetic and related information, including coordinate, descriptive, or quality assurance data.
Verify the mathematical correctness of newly collected survey data.
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
computers and electronics
Arts and Humanities
using math to solve problems
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
order or arrange things
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Map creation software
ESRI ArcGIS software
Geographic information system GIS software
Analytical or scientific software
Carlson Simplicity "Sight" Survey
National Geodetic Survey NGS VERTCON
Computer aided design CAD software
bachelor's degree or master's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.