What Does a Land Surveyor Do?

Land surveyors determine property boundaries and prepare maps and survey plots accordingly. Read on to learn more about the job duties and working conditions of land surveyors. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Land Survey Job Description Overview

As a land surveyor, you would be involved with measuring properties and pieces of land to determine boundaries. Information about boundaries is necessary for many reasons; it helps determine where roads or buildings will be constructed, settles property line disputes, and leads to the creation of maps. The maps and land descriptions you create as a land surveyor are usually considered legally binding and you might be called on to present your findings in a courtroom setting. Because of the legal and precise nature of the work, you will need to be licensed before you may work as a land surveyor.

Important Facts About Land Surveyors

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Similar Occupations Architect, civil engineer, urban and regional planner, cartographer and photo-grammetrist
Licensure Required through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
On-the-Job Training Internships available

Duties and Responsibilities

To complete a land survey, you will perform research about the area or assignment you've been given. This may include seeking out information about previous surveys and boundary lines. You also gather new information by going into the field and taking a survey of the area, which you then use to determine boundaries or create a topography. During a land survey, you might use Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment. Because this equipment uses satellite data, it will allow you to gather information with the utmost accuracy. Once you've completed a land survey, you record your findings, often by creating official reports and maps. You may be required to present your findings to the individual or company who has ordered the survey. In many cases, you complete the work of a survey with a team.

Working Conditions

Land surveying can be a very physical job. Surveys take place in all types of locations and climates, some of which are accessible only by walking or climbing. At each location, you'll need to bring your equipment, which can be heavy or cumbersome. Some jobs may require you to travel away from your home for a night or an extended period of time.

Necessary Skills

As a land surveyor, you need to understand mathematical concepts and be able to use them for plotting and measuring. Computer skills are also a must, since you'll use various types of technological equipment to complete your work. You should be able to focus on detail and complete tasks accurately and thoroughly. To gain most of these skills, you can complete a bachelor's degree program in surveying, which is usually required for employment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov).

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by surveyors was $62,580 in May 2018. The employment of surveyors is expected to grow by 11% between 2016 and 2026, per the BLS, which is faster than the average growth compared to all other job sectors.

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