Do you know
where your backyard ends and your neighbor's yard begins? Have
you ever wondered how maps are created? These are questions for
a surveyor. Surveyors measure and draw what the earth's surface
involves several types of workers. One is land surveyors.
They measure land, air space, and water areas. They describe where
a certain area of land is. They explain what it looks like, and
how much is there. They put these facts in deeds, leases, and
other legal documents. Land surveyors also define air space for
airports. In addition, they measure construction and mineral sites.
Land surveyors are the leaders of survey parties (or surveying
surveyors measure large areas of the earth's surface. Geophysical
prospecting surveyors mark sites for exploration below the earth's
surface, usually related to petroleum. Marine or hydrographic
surveyors study harbors, rivers, and other bodies of water.
of worker is a survey technician. Survey technicians
help land surveyors when they go to a site. Survey technicians
use special tools and collect facts. They might hold measuring
tapes and chains. Survey technicians write notes. They also make
sketches and enter the facts into computers. Some survey parties
include helpers. They move bushes from sight lines, stick stakes
in the ground, and carry equipment.
of worker is cartographers. They collect facts about
the earth's surface. They prepare maps of large areas. Their work
is like land surveyors, but they cover larger areas. Some specialists,
called photogrammetrists, prepare maps from aerial photographs.
This group works mainly in offices. They seldom visit the sites
they are mapping.
A new type
of worker is called a geographic information specialist.
This new occupational group started because of the new technology
in satellites and computers. Geographic information specialists
combine the jobs of mapping scientists and surveyors.
study legal records. They look for previous boundaries. They record
the results of the survey. They make sure that their facts are
correct. Afterwards, they draw what the area looks like. They
make maps and write reports. Surveyors who set up boundaries must
be licensed by the State in which they work.
usually work an 8-hour day, 5 days a week. They spend a lot of
their time outdoors. Sometimes they work longer hours during the
summer, when the weather is good and the sun stays up longer.
and technicians often stand for long periods. They have to climb
hills and walk long distances. Sometimes they have to stay overnight.
They carry heavy packs of instruments and equipment. They face
all types of weather when they are outside.
also spend time in offices. While in an office, they have to make
plans, read their facts, and prepare reports and maps. Most of
the time, surveyors use computers to do math problems and draw
maps. Cartographers spend almost all their time in offices.
|How do you get ready to become a surveyor?
a licensed surveyor, most persons take surveying courses, pass
tests, and get on-the-job training. However, as technology advances,
a 4-year college degree is becoming more important for surveyors
and related workers. Junior colleges, technical institutes, and
vocational schools offer 1-, 2-, and 3-year programs in surveying
and surveying technology.
students interested in surveying should take courses in algebra,
geometry, trigonometry, drafting, mechanical drawing, and computer
should be able to see objects, distances, sizes, and other forms
in their minds. Their work has to be correct all the time, because
mistakes can cost a lot of money. Surveyors have to be able to
work with people and to work as part of a team. Learning to lead
others is another important skill.
a survey party must be in good physical shape to work outdoors
and carry equipment. They need good eyesight and hearing to communicate
by hand and voice signals.
|How much does a surveyor get paid?
half of all surveyors earned between $29,320 and $53,440 in 2002.
The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $22,260. The highest-paid
10 percent earned more than $67,700.
half of all surveying and mapping technicians earned between $22,640
and $39,070 in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than
$18,490 and the highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $48,970.
cartographers, photogrammetrists, and surveying technicians held
about 124,000 jobs in 2002. Most of the jobs are those working
for engineers, architects, and surveying firms. Some of the jobs
are in Federal, State, and local government agencies. A small
number were self-employed.
of jobs for surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and surveying
technicians is expected to grow about as fast as the average for
all occupations through the year 2012.
will be best for those with at least a college degree and strong
technical skills, such as the ability to use geographic information
|Are there other jobs like this?
Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
information about surveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetrists
and surveying technicians can be found in the Careers
|Where can you find more information?