Calculating the curve for a new road… locating a mine… or finding the boundaries on a piece of property… all rely on the efforts of surveying and mapping technicians, who collect data and make maps of the Earth’s surface. Surveying technicians help surveyors and engineers take—and document— measurements of the land. They place stakes and search for previous survey points such as stone markers. Surveying technicians typically work full time, outdoors, in all types of weather. They stand for long periods, and may walk and climb hills carrying heavy instruments. They may need to commute long distances, or even relocate to a worksite temporarily. Mapping technicians help cartographers and photogrammetrists create maps from information databases, as well as edit and process images collected from the field. Mapping technicians typically work full time. They generally use computers in office environments, and may travel to courthouses or lawyers’ offices for research resources. Some specialize in Geographic Information Systems —or GIS— to convert data about a location into a digital format for wider use. Most surveying and mapping technicians work for engineering, surveying and mapping firms or for local government in the highway or planning department. Most surveying technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent, and learn on the job from a surveyor. Mapping technicians need experience with GIS, and often have a related associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
What they do:
Adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.
On the job, you would:
Search for section corners, property irons, and survey points.
Adjust and operate surveying instruments such as prisms, theodolites, and electronic distance-measuring equipment.
Conduct surveys to ascertain the locations of natural features and man-made structures on the Earth's surface, underground, and underwater, using electronic distance-measuring equipment and other surveying instruments.
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
product and service development
Arts and Humanities
Safety and Government
law and government
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
Hand and Finger Use
put together small parts with your fingers
hold or move items with your hands
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Foresoft CDS Cogo
Computer aided design CAD software
Map creation software
Desktop digital photogrammetry system DDPS
ESRI ArcGIS software
associate's degree or high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.