Surveyor Job Description

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What is a Surveyor?

A surveyor is a professional who measures and maps out the Earth's surface. They use various instruments, techniques, and mathematical tools to establish land boundaries, mark property lines, determine elevations, and create topographic maps. Surveyors also provide data for engineering, construction, and mapping projects.

Surveyors work in various industries, including land development, construction, engineering, architecture, real estate, and government. They play a crucial role in ensuring accurate measurements and assessments of land, which is essential for planning, design, and legal purposes.

What does Surveyor do?

A surveyor typically performs various tasks on a day-to-day basis. Here are some of the activities that a surveyor may engage in:

  1. Conducting site visits: Surveyors often visit the sites where they need to gather data or perform measurements. This can include boundary surveys, topographic surveys, construction surveys, or other types of surveys.

  2. Taking measurements: Surveyors use specialized equipment, such as total stations, GPS receivers, and laser scanning devices, to take accurate measurements of distances, angles, elevations, and other relevant data.

  3. Collecting data: Surveyors collect data related to the project they are working on. This data can include land or property boundaries, terrain features, existing structures, utility locations, or any other relevant information required for the project.

  4. Creating survey plans and maps: After collecting the necessary data, surveyors are responsible for creating maps, drawings, or computer-aided design (CAD) plans that accurately depict the surveyed area. This involves using software applications to analyze measurement data and create detailed plans.

  5. Analyzing data: Surveyors often analyze the collected data to ensure accuracy and identify any errors or discrepancies. They may use specialized software tools to perform calculations, cross-check measurements, and verify the results.

  6. Collaboration and communication: Surveyors frequently communicate with clients, engineers, architects, or other professionals involved in a project. This includes discussing survey requirements, sharing progress updates, addressing any concerns or issues, and collaborating to ensure that the project is executed successfully.

  7. Researching legal records: Surveyors may need to research legal records, historical documents, and previous surveys to gather information about property boundaries and ownership. This helps in accurately defining or establishing property boundaries.

  8. Conducting stakeouts or as-built surveys: During construction projects, surveyors may be involved in setting out stakes that indicate the precise positions where structures, roads, or utilities should be located. They may also conduct as-built surveys to verify that constructed elements match the required specifications.

These are some common tasks that a surveyor may perform on a day-to-day basis. However, the actual responsibilities can vary depending on the specific industry, project requirements, and the surveyor's level of expertise.

What skills are needed to be a Surveyor?

  • Technical knowledge: Surveyors need to have a strong understanding of measurement techniques, surveying equipment, and geographic information systems (GIS). This skill is essential for accurately collecting data and producing reliable survey reports.
  • Mathematical skills: Proficiency in mathematics is crucial for surveyors, as they often need to perform calculations, solve complex geometric problems, and interpret data using trigonometry and calculus.
  • Attention to detail: Surveyors must pay close attention to detail to ensure accurate measurements and precise boundaries. This skill is necessary in accurately recording data and avoiding errors that can impact the integrity of the survey.
  • Analytical thinking: Surveyors should possess strong analytical skills to assess various factors, such as site conditions, legal requirements, and project specifications. These skills help surveyors make informed decisions and provide detailed analysis in their reports.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills are essential for surveyors to interact with clients, team members, and other professionals involved in a project. It is important to clearly convey information, understand client requirements, and collaborate effectively to ensure project success.
  • Problem-solving: Surveyors often encounter unexpected challenges or discrepancies during their work, requiring them to think critically and come up with solutions. This skill enables them to overcome obstacles, adapt to changing circumstances, and deliver accurate results.
  • Time management: Surveyors need to manage their time efficiently to meet project deadlines and prioritize tasks. This skill is crucial in planning surveying activities, coordinating equipment and personnel, and ensuring timely completion of projects.
  • Physical fitness: Surveying can be physically demanding, involving long hours of standing, walking, or climbing on terrain. Good physical fitness is necessary to endure the physical demands of the job and perform fieldwork effectively.
  • Legal knowledge: Having a fundamental understanding of land laws, regulations, and surveying practices is essential for surveyors, especially when dealing with property boundaries and legal disputes. This knowledge ensures adherence to legal requirements and accurate representation of survey results.
  • Computer literacy: Proficiency in using surveying software, data processing tools, and computer-aided design (CAD) programs is increasingly important in modern surveying. This skill allows surveyors to efficiently process data, create accurate visual representations, and enhance overall productivity.

Surveyor duties and responsibilities

Top Duties of a Surveyor

  1. Conducting land surveys to determine precise measurements, boundaries, and contours of a given area.
  2. Using advanced surveying equipment and technology, such as GPS systems and drones, to collect accurate data and create detailed maps.
  3. Interpreting legal documents, land deeds, and property records to identify property lines and ownership rights.
  4. Analyzing survey data and preparing reports, maps, and drawings to present findings to clients and stakeholders.
  5. Collaborating with engineers, architects, and construction teams to provide accurate survey information for project planning and development.
  6. Conducting research and investigating historical records to gather information about properties and land use.
  7. Ensuring compliance with local regulations and guidelines related to land development and construction projects.

Qualifications required to be Surveyor

To become a surveyor, there are typically several qualifications and requirements that you should meet:

  1. Educational Requirements: A bachelor's degree in surveying, geomatics, civil engineering, or a related field is usually required. Some employers may accept an associate's degree or vocational training, but a higher-level degree can increase your career prospects.

  2. Licensure: In most countries, including the United States, surveyors must be licensed to practice. This typically involves passing the licensing exam administered by the respective licensing board. Licensure requirements vary by jurisdiction, so it's important to check the specific requirements for the location you plan to work in.

  3. Field Experience: Many employers prefer candidates with practical field experience in surveying. This can include working as a surveying technician or assistant to gain hands-on experience with equipment, data collection, and fieldwork.

  4. Knowledge and Skills: Surveyors require a strong knowledge of mathematics, trigonometry, geometry, and physics. Proficiency in using surveying instruments, including total stations, GPS, and digital mapping software, is also essential. Good analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills are important in this profession.

  5. Physical Stamina: Surveying often involves working outdoors in various weather conditions and terrain. Physical fitness and stamina are required to perform fieldwork such as hiking, carrying equipment, and standing for long periods.

  6. Continued Education: Staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in surveying technology and techniques is crucial. Participating in professional development activities and attending relevant workshops or seminars can help you enhance your skills and knowledge.

It's important to note that the specific qualifications may vary depending on the country, state, or employer. Therefore, it's advisable to research and understand the requirements in your specific location.

Surveyor Job Description Template


Job Brief

We are looking for an experienced surveyor to supervise field staff and ensure our projects are delivered on time. Your basic responsibilities will also include calculating land boundaries in several locations and creating maps and reports of survey results for clients.

This role requires hands-on experience with engineering instruments and knowledge of GPS and GIS systems. To succeed as a surveyor, you should also have great mathematical and analytical skills, and a good eye for measurements.

If you meet our criteria, and if you’re also organized and detail-oriented with a strong experience in this field, we’d like to hear from you.


  • Conduct surveys on land sites and properties
  • Examine previous records and evidence to ensure data accuracy 
  • Research and design methods for survey processes
  • Use equipment and tools to accurately measure land features (e.g. longitudes, latitudes)
  • Build maps, sketches, and charts
  • Supervise and provide guidance to field staff
  • Purchase and maintain equipment
  • Report on survey results and present findings to clients 
  • Collaborate with engineers and architects on several projects


  • Previous experience as a surveyor or in a similar role
  • Working knowledge of GPS and GIS 
  • Tech savvy, including familiarity with CAD software
  • Aptitude in math and problem-solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Great organizational and leadership skills 
  • Degree in Civil Engineering or a similar field
  • Valid certificate is required

What are some qualities of a good Surveyor?

A good surveyor possesses several key qualities that enable them to excel in their field. First and foremost, attention to detail is crucial for a surveyor. They must have the ability to meticulously gather and record accurate data, as even the smallest oversight can compromise the integrity of a survey. Good surveyors also have excellent analytical skills. They must be able to interpret and analyze data, maps, and documents to draw accurate conclusions and provide reliable information to clients. Additionally, communication skills are essential for a surveyor. They must be able to effectively communicate with clients, coworkers, and other professionals to understand project requirements, convey information, and address any concerns. A good surveyor is also technically proficient and stays updated with the latest surveying technology and methodologies. This enables them to efficiently and accurately carry out their surveys. Finally, a good surveyor is trustworthy and ethical, as they often handle sensitive information and must uphold professional standards and codes of conduct.

What are the salary expectations of Surveyor?

The salary expectations of a surveyor can vary depending on a number of factors, including experience, location, industry, and employer. On average, surveyors can earn a salary ranging from $50,000 to $90,000 per year. However, experienced or specialized surveyors may earn higher salaries, especially in industries such as oil and gas, construction, or engineering. Additionally, surveyors who hold professional certifications or advanced degrees may also command higher salaries. It is important to research salary data specific to your location and industry to get a more accurate understanding of what you can expect.

Who does Surveyor report to?

In most cases, a Surveyor typically reports to a senior manager or director within their organization. However, this may vary depending on the specific industry and the organizational structure.

Surveyors often work closely with a range of professionals both within and outside their organization. They may collaborate with other surveyors, engineers, architects, construction managers, project managers, and various stakeholders. They may also work alongside clients, local government officials, and landowners when conducting surveys or managing projects. The level and nature of collaboration can vary depending on the specific project and its requirements.

Last Updated 28 Sep, 2023

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