What is a Land Surveyor? What Do They Do?

land surveyor

Land Surveyors conduct legal surveys in order to determine property boundaries as well as prepare or maintain accurate plans and records. Land Surveyors are employed by federal, provincial, and municipal governments as well as real estate developers, construction firms, and private land surveying companies. Land surveyors also have the option of being self-employed if they can obtain a steady influx of clients.

What Does a Land Surveyor Do?

Land Surveyors perform a number of important functions for governments and other agencies including establishing official land boundaries, using special equipment to determine precise locations of important features, and measuring distances, directions, or angles of points on the earth’s surface.

They also research land records that affect properties and look for evidence pointing to previous boundaries to determine where currently undefined boundary lines should be. They work with GPS and satellites to locate reference points to an extremely accuracy threshold.

Land Surveyors travel to many locations to measure distances and determine exact directions between points. They work with cartographers, architects, and construction managers, among others. They also prepare maps, land plots, and reports.

They are also responsible for the recording of verified and accurate land data. Land surveyors also present their findings to clients, governmental bodies and agencies, and other pertinent organizations or people. They guide development projects, construction projects, and provide land information to real estate companies for the buying and selling of houses.

How To Become a Land Surveyor

The first step to becoming a qualified Land Surveyor is earning a Bachelor’s degree in mapping, surveying, or geomatics. Persons with a high school level background in drafting, mechanical drawing, and geography are set up well for these degrees. When choosing your degree program, do research first to make sure it is approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

After you complete your ABET approved degree, an internship is a next step on your path to a land surveying career. Many universities will help you secure such an internship before you graduate, so make sure to look into that and take full advantage of the help since internships are limited and competition is fierce. During your internship, you will work under a professional land surveyor obtaining field data, compiling that data, and generating the final product.

The final step is to become licensed by passing the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying minimum standards exam. Once you pass, you will begin an apprenticeship under a licensed Professional Surveyor. Once you complete your apprenticeship, you’ll need to maintain your license and meet the renewal requirements to uphold your licensed status.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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