The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Measure large areas of the Earth’s surface using satellite observations, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), light detection and ranging (LIDAR), or related sources.
Sample of reported job titles:
Geodesist, Geodetic Advisor, Geodetic Engineer, Geodetic Survey Director, Geodetic Surveyor, Land Surveyor, Licensed Land Surveyor
Analyze control or survey data to ensure adherence to project specifications or land survey standards.
Conduct surveys to determine exact positions, measurement of points, elevations, lines, areas, volumes, contours, or other features of land surfaces.
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.
Compute horizontal and vertical coordinates of control networks, using direct leveling or other geodetic survey techniques, such as triangulation, trilateration, and traversing, to establish features of the Earth’s surface.
Plan or direct the work of geodetic surveying staff, providing technical consultation as needed.
Assess the quality of control data to determine the need for additional survey data for engineering, construction, or other projects.
Distribute compiled geodetic data to government agencies or the general public.
Request additional survey data when field collection errors occur or engineering surveying specifications are not maintained.
Read current literature, talk with colleagues, continue education, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in technology, equipment, or systems.
Provide training and interpretation in the use of methods or procedures for observing and checking controls for geodetic and plane coordinates.
Prepare progress or technical reports.
Review existing standards, controls, or equipment used, recommending changes or upgrades as needed.
Compute, retrace, or adjust existing surveys of features such as highway alignments, property boundaries, utilities, control and other surveys to match the ground elevation-dependent grids, geodetic grids, or property boundaries and to ensure accuracy and continuity of data used in engineering, surveying, or construction projects.
Determine orientation of tracts of land, including position, boundaries, size, and shape, using theodolites, electronic distance-measuring equipment, satellite-based positioning equipment, land information systems, or other geodetic survey equipment.
Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.
Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Detailed Work Activities
Analyze operational data to evaluate operations, processes or products.
Calculate geographic positions from survey data.
Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
Maintain operational records or records systems.
Verify mathematical calculations.
Direct surveying activities.
Analyze physical, survey, or geographic data.
Explain project details to the general public.
Gather physical survey data.
Update technical knowledge.
Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
Evaluate designs or specifications to ensure quality.
Prepare operational reports.
Electronic Mail — 93% responded “Every day.”
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 85% responded “Extremely important.”
Telephone — 54% responded “Every day.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 58% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Freedom to Make Decisions — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
Duration of Typical Work Week — 52% responded “More than 40 hours.”
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 40% responded “Every day.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 50% responded “Very important.”
Structured versus Unstructured Work — 56% responded “Some freedom.”
Contact With Others — 37% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 33% responded “Every day.”
Deal With External Customers — 37% responded “Very important.”
Coordinate or Lead Others — 36% responded “Very important.”
Frequency of Decision Making — 29% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 26% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Letters and Memos — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 42% responded “Moderate results.”
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 38% responded “More than half the time.”
Time Pressure — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 36% responded “Very important.”
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 29% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 33% responded “High responsibility.”
Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “About half the time.”
- Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
- Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not.
- Related Experience
- A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
- Job Training
- Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
- Job Zone Examples
- Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, conservation scientists, art directors, and cost estimators.
- SVP Range
- 2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)
Training & Credentials
Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:
Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Surveyors.
Employment data for Surveyors.
Industry data for Surveyors.
- Median wages (2021)
- $29.62 hourly, $61,600 annual
- State wages
- Local wages
- Employment (2020)
- 46,000 employees
- Projected growth (2020-2030)
Slower than average (1% to 5%)
- Projected job openings (2020-2030)
- State trends
- Top industries (2020)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data
external site and 2020-2030 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
- State job openings
- Local job openings