Surveying and mapping technicians assist surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists. Together, they collect data and make maps of the earth’s surface. Surveying technicians visit sites to take measurements of the land. Mapping technicians use geographic data to create maps. Surveying technicians assist surveyors in the field on teams, known as survey parties. Then, in the office, they help to process the data collected in the field. A typical survey party consists of a party chief and one or more surveying technicians and helpers. The party chief, either a surveyor or a senior surveying technician, leads day-to-day work activities. Mapping technicians help cartographers and photogrammetrists produce and upgrade maps. They do this work on computers, combining data from different sources.TCC programs that are right for you:
Drafting and Design Technology Programs
Most surveying and mapping technicians work for firms that provide engineering, surveying and mapping services on a contract basis. State and local governments also employ these workers in highway and planning departments. Surveying technicians work outside extensively and can be exposed to all types of weather. They often stand for long periods, walk considerable distances, and may have to climb hills with heavy packs of instruments and other equipment. Traveling is sometimes part of the job, and surveying technicians may commute long distances, stay away from home overnight, or temporarily relocate near a survey site. Mapping technicians work primarily indoors on computers. However, mapping technicians must sometimes conduct research by using resources such as survey maps and legal documents to verify property lines and to obtain information needed for mapping. This task may require traveling to storage sites housing these legal documents, such as county courthouses or lawyers’ offices. Surveying and mapping technicians typically work full time but may have longer hours during the summer, when weather and light conditions are most suitable for fieldwork. Construction-related work may be limited during times of harsh weather.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of surveying and mapping technicians is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Recent advancements in mapping technology have led to new uses for maps and a need for more of the data used to build maps. As a result, surveying and mapping technicians should have more work.
The digital revolution in mapmaking has created a need to harmonize property maps made the traditional way, with maps based on data fed into a GIS. Owners of private property will need to hire surveyors and surveying technicians to gather data in the field. Cities, towns, and counties are finding that the data gathered by surveying and mapping technicians are crucial in implementing systems integration, the process of putting onto one map all the information about wires, pipes, and other underground infrastructure. That way, a city, town, or county can upgrade the entire infrastructure a street at the same time, resulting in savings for the local government. The prevalence of smart phones and other mobile devices with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has greatly increased the use of maps for finding businesses and other destinations. Surveying and mapping technicians will be needed to provide the data for these maps and to ensure that they are accurate.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.