What Does A Land Surveyor Do & What Does It Take to Become One?

What Does a Land Surveyor Do?

Land surveyors do a variety of tasks such as updating boundary lines, ensuring accurate land titling by determining property boundaries, and preparing sites for construction so legal disputes can be prevented. They produce plats of surveys and provide property descriptions to ensure clarity and accuracy in property records.

Land surveyor firm Schemmer

Land surveyors are involved with measuring properties and pieces of land to determine boundaries. Information about boundaries is necessary for many reasons:

  • it helps determine construction location for roads or buildings
  • settles property line disputes
  • leads to the creation of maps

The maps and land descriptions created by a land surveyor are usually considered legally binding. A surveyor may be called on to present his findings in a courtroom setting. Because of the legal and precise nature of the work, one needs to be licensed before working as a land surveyor.

Land Surveyors Duties and Responsibilities

To complete a land survey, a surveyor:

  • performs research about the area or assignment, which may include seeking out the history of the property including, but not limited to, gathering information by going into the field and observing evidence about the property
  • gathers information via field work by going into the field and taking a survey of the area, which will then determine boundaries or create a topography

Once a land survey is completed, findings are recorded, often by creating official reports, public records, land records, legal documents, maps, and more. In many cases, survey work is completed with a team.

Tools and Equipment

Land surveyors rely on a range of sophisticated tools and equipment to carry out their duties with the utmost precision. Some of the key instruments that stand out in the surveyor's toolkit are the Total Station and Global Positioning System.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

During a land survey, Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment may be used. Because this equipment uses satellite data, it allows the gathering of accurate information with high efficiency.

Total Stations

Total Stations are essential instruments in land surveying, enabling precise measurement of angles, distances, and elevations. They play a pivotal role in boundary definition, site layout, and topographic mapping, ensuring accuracy in property records.

Schemmer Surveyor and Technology

Land Surveyor Skills

  • needs to know his or her state laws and history of surveying
  • needs to understand mathematical concepts and be able to use them for plotting and measuring parcels of land
  • must have computer skills since you will be using various types of technological equipment
  • should be able to focus on detail and complete tasks accurately and thoroughly

What does it take to become a licensed land surveyor?

Depending on the state you are in, requirements may range from a high school diploma to a Bachelor's Degree.

Step 1: High School Courses and Apprenticeships

High school courses in:

  • algebra
  • trigonometry
  • geometry
  • drafting and computers

May help prepare you for this type of work. A bachelor's degree is usually required but high school graduates without any post-secondary education may be able to secure work as apprentices for some companies.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll need at least a bachelor's degree to work as a surveyor (www.bls.gov). You'll find many universities offer bachelor's degree programs in cartography, surveying, and geography. Degrees in engineering and computer science are also useful for this occupation.

A bachelor's degree program in surveying will give you a mix of practical skills, fundamental concepts, and theory. Courses include satellite surveying and remote sensing, land information systems, survey research, statistical methods, and real estate law. Technical schools and community colleges offer surveying programs if you're seeking a two-year degree.

Step 3: Obtain a Surveyor's License

All states require surveyors to become licensed. Most states accept the results of two exams administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (www.ncees.org). The first example, the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS), can be taken after you've completed your undergraduate degree. A passing score allows you to work as a surveying intern. The second exam is the Principles and Practices of Surveying (PS), which you are eligible to take after four years of supervised experience as a surveyor.

Step 4: Seek Employment

You'll mainly find government agencies, architectural, engineering, mining, construction, and utility companies looking to hire land surveyors. For example, land surveyors collaborate closely with civil engineers to provide critical data and measurements, facilitating the planning and design of infrastructure and construction projects.

The BLS states about 44,300 people worked as surveyors as of 2014. Employment is expected to decline two percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. These jobs will be the result of more demand for surveyors, especially on infrastructure projects, as well as the retirement and turnover of current workers.

Types of Surveying

  • ALTA Survey
  • Property Boundary Survey
  • Construction Survey
  • Location Survey
  • Site Planning Survey
  • Subdivision Survey
  • Topographic Survey

Source: Learn.org

Design with Purpose. Build with Confidence.

Schemmer is a full-service architecture, engineering and construction field services consultant. Providing responsible solutions for complex design and construction-related challenges.

Founded in 1959, we are grounded in our past but remain fully committed to the future. Located in three States and six offices throughout the Midwest, Schemmer is providing services to clients from coast-to-coast and border-to-border across the United States.

Schemmer's services include:

Contact Us Today!