WHAT DOES A LAND SURVEYOR DO? Job Description and Requirements

what does a land surveyor do

A Land Surveyor is one of the world’s oldest occupations, specializing in the measuring of land and airspace. However, it is still among the sought-after occupations, since we can’t possibly do anything on a property without consulting a land surveyor. In this article, we’ll take a look at what a land surveyor does, and the skills required to become one.

Who is a Land Surveyor?

A land surveyor is one who measures and maps the shape of the land. He collects data for civil engineering and building projects in order to create accurate site designs. As a surveyor, you will work in a fast-paced, technologically advanced business. You will spend much of your time on-site, recording the environment with technical devices. A land surveyor is able to measure on a vast scale scientifically. As a result, we refer to them as one of the civil engineers’ closest companions.

Land Surveyors are solely responsible for identifying the boundaries of land interests.

What Does a Land Surveyor Do?

As a land surveyor, you will be in charge of reviewing land using technological equipment to guarantee it is acceptable for a construction project.

A land surveyor’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Conducting environmental surveys with development projects in mind
  • Working in a variety of industries such as building, real property, cartography (maps), offshore engineering, and exploration
  • Evaluating land for redevelopment
  • Surveying airports, landfills, mines, quarries, pipeline systems, and other locations.
  • Project management and monitoring from start to conclusion
  • Making maps with GPS, surveying equipment, digital photos, and satellite photographs
  • Data analysis with geographic information systems (GIS) and chart creation with computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Monitoring land changes during the development process
  • Report writing and sharing critical information with colleagues and clients
  • Working at an office with site visits on a regular basis.

What Is The Role Of A Land Surveyor?

Land surveyors perform a number of activities such as revising boundary lines and preparing construction sites to avoid legal issues. They create survey plats and characterize the property.

A land surveyor is responsible for surveying property and plots of land in order to determine boundaries. We require information about boundaries for a variety of reasons, including:

It aids in determining the position of roads or buildings, settles property line disputes, and leads to the compilation of maps.

A land surveyor’s maps and land descriptions are usually considered legally binding. A surveyor may be called upon to present his findings in court. Because of the legal and precise nature of the profession, a land surveyor must be licensed before working.


Duties And Responsibilities of A Land Surveyor

A surveyor undertakes research into the area of assignment, which may include seeking out the history of the property, including, but not limited to, gathering information by walking into the field and observing evidence about the property, to complete a land survey.

He obtains information through field work by going out into the field and surveying the area, which will subsequently identify boundaries or build a topography

GPS (Global Positioning System) devices may come in useful during a land survey. Because this technology employs satellite data, it provides for the efficient collection of reliable information. Following the completion of a land survey, conclusions are generally documented by making official reports, public records, land records, legal documents, maps, and other documentation. Survey work is frequently conducted in groups.


A land surveyor needs to comprehend mathematical concepts and be able to utilize them for mapping and measuring parcels of land must have computer skills because you will be using various types of technology equipment and must be able to focus on detail and perform tasks accurately and fully

How Does One Become A Licensed Land Surveyor?

The prerequisites vary by state and might range from a high school diploma to a Bachelor’s Degree.

#1. Completion of High School Courses and Apprenticeships

Algebra, trigonometry, geometry, drafting, and computers are all high school courses.

This may help you prepare for this type of career. A bachelor’s degree is normally necessary, but some organizations may hire high school graduates with no post-secondary education as apprentices.

#2. Get your Bachelor’s Degree

You need a bachelor’s degree to work as a surveyor, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). Numerous universities have bachelor’s degree programs in cartography, surveying, and geography. Engineering and computer science degrees are also useful for this employment.

A surveying bachelor’s degree program will provide you with a combination of practical skills, fundamental principles, and theory. Satellite surveying and remote sensing, land information systems, survey research, statistical methodologies, and real estate law are among the courses you can choose. If you want a two-year degree, surveying programs are available at technical institutions and community colleges.

#3. Get your surveyor’s license.

Surveyors must be licensed in all states. The results of two exams administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying are accepted by the majority of states (www.ncees.org). The Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) course, for example, can be taken after you have completed your undergraduate degree. With a passing score, you can work as a surveying intern. The second exam is the Principles and Practices of Surveying (PS), which you can take after four years of supervised surveying experience.

#4. Look for Jobs

Government agencies, architectural, engineering, mining, construction, and utility firms usually look out for land surveyors. According to the BLS, approximately 44,300 persons worked as surveyors in 2014. According to the BLS, employment is predicted to fall by 2% between 2014 and 2024. These positions will be created as a result of increased demand for surveyors, particularly on infrastructure projects, as well as the retirement and turnover of present employees.

How to Get a Job as a Land Surveyor

You can obtain the necessary qualifications by enrolling in a university degree, a graduate training scheme, or an apprenticeship.

To work on a construction site, you may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.

University Requirements

You must earn a degree recognized by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Surveying, civil engineering, geomatics, and geographical information science are all relevant subjects.

An undergraduate degree requires the following: 5 GCSEs (including English and maths) at grade 4 (C) or higher, or similar 2 – 3 A levels, or equivalent

Scheme for Graduate Training

If your first degree is unrelated to surveying, you can pursue a postgraduate conversion course at a university or through an employer.

You could also advance your education by participating in an employer’s graduate training program. You could earn graduate employment as a surveying technician if you have a foundation degree or graduate diploma in surveying. After that, you might apply for RICS membership and study to become a fully trained land surveyor.

Some surveyors get their start by working for a surveying firm and taking a distance learning course through the University College of Estate Management.


One wonderful way to start out in land surveying is through an apprenticeship with a land surveying firm. Anyone above the age of 16 is eligible for an apprenticeship. You will be completely hired by your employer as an apprentice and are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be divided between on-the-job training and college training.

You could begin your career as a surveying or geospatial survey technician.

You need the following items to gain entry:

  • 4 to 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or comparable A levels
  • Working knowledge

You need work experience for employment in the construction business. You could learn this at school or by working weekends and holidays for a construction company or relative. Potential employers would always appreciate seeing work experience on your CV.


Other skills that may be useful to someone contemplating a career as a land surveyor include:

  • Engineering science, math, geography, and technology knowledge
  • Analytical thinking abilities
  • Pay close attention to detail and be meticulous.
  • Capable of acting on your own initiative
  • Outstanding verbal communication abilities
  • Ability to think and reason
  • Capable of competently using a computer and the major software programs

Can I Become A Surveyor Without A Degree?

If you do not have a degree, you may be able to attend a RICS-approved Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship. This course will have you working as a trainee quantity surveyor while studying a surveying degree part-time, gaining theoretical and practical expertise along the way.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Surveyor?

Surveying is a work-based professional training program that typically lasts two to three years.

What Kind of Salary Could You Expect as a Land Surveyor?

As you gain experience, your income as a land surveyor will rise.

In the UK, newly qualified surveyors might earn between £20,000 and £25,000 per year.

With chartered status, you can get up to £25,000 – £40,000.

Senior surveyors might make up to £70,000 or more per year.

Income varies according to region, employer, and amount of responsibility, and chartered status can boost salaries and career opportunities.

Career Development and Advancement

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors accepts applications for chartered status (RICS). This will increase your career opportunities and allow you to earn greater pay.

With experience, you could advance to the position of project or contract manager, or you could specialize in a field such as offshore engineering or construction surveying.

Some land surveyors work as consultants or subcontractors on their own.

Why Work as A Surveyor?

  • Surveying offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor work, so you won’t sit at a desk all day.
  • There is career versatility; you can work in a range of areas ranging from IT to archaeology.
  • Because surveyors are in high demand, it is easy to get work, and 95 percent of students find work within four months of graduating.
  • The pay is high; grads earn an average of $55-60k per year. 
  • Surveyors have access to cutting-edge technology and tools.
  • Surveyors can work for themselves, for private companies, or for government agencies.

Why Surveying Is Important

We rely on surveying to keep the physical world in order. Surveyors play an important part in land development, from land subdivision planning and design to the final building of roads, utilities, and landscaping.

Surveyors are in good company, as they collaborate closely with their colleagues in engineering, architecture, geology, and planning. These businesses rely on surveyors since they are the first individuals on each construction site, to measure and map the land. These key measures are then used by architects to comprehend and maximize the particular terrain while building, and by engineers to precisely and securely develop projects. As a result, surveyors verify that buildings not only fit into the landscape but can also be built.

Types of Survey

  • ALTA survey
  • Property Boundary Survey
  • Construction Survey 
  • Site Planning Survey 
  • Subdivision Survey
  • Topography Survey

Where Do Land Surveyors Get Paid The Most?

Land surveyors get paid the most in California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Connecticut.

Is There A Lot Of Math In Land Surveying?

Surveying does involve a lot of math. First off, surveyors must grasp linear algebra and error analysis. Geodesy requires surveyors to comprehend advanced mathematics, linear algebra, and error analysis.

Can A House Fail A Survey?

A house survey cannot fail, however, it might be rated adversely in terms of condition. If a house survey fails, it indicates that the house is not suitable for purchase. Because a property survey is performed prior to exchanging contracts, you are not legally required to proceed with the acquisition.

In Conclusion, 

Land Surveyors work in both the office and the field, utilizing the most advanced technology to deliver the most precise information. A Land Surveyor’s job is quite diversified and is impacted by whatever the client’s needs are. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a land surveyor do in Australia?

In Australia, a surveyor verifies that buildings are built safely and in accordance with statutory standards. He measures and analyses environmental and land information in order to design, build, and legitimize building development in Australia.

What qualifications do i need to be a surveyor?

To be a surveyor, you’ll need skills in the following areas:

  • surveying.
  • construction.
  • civil engineering.
  • building engineering

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