A surveyor is someone who establishes official land, airspace, and water boundaries. Surveyors work with civil engineers, landscape architects, and regional and urban planners to develop comprehensive design documents. They work outdoors in many types of terrain, and they also work indoors to prepare legal documents and other reports.
What does a Surveyor do?
Surveyors typically do the following:
Measure distances, directions, and angles between points on, above, and below the earth's surface
Select known reference points and then determine the exact location of important features in the survey area using special equipment
Establish official land and water boundaries
Research land records and other sources of information affecting properties
Look for evidence of previous boundaries to determine where boundary lines are
Travel to locations to measure distances and directions between points
Record the results of surveying and verify the accuracy of data
Present findings to clients, government agencies, and others
Write descriptions of land for deeds, leases, and other legal documents
Provide expert testimony in court regarding their work or that of other surveyors
Surveyors guide construction and development projects and provide information needed for the buying and selling of property. Whenever property is bought or sold, it needs to be surveyed for legal purposes. In construction, surveyors determine the precise location of roads or buildings and proper depths for foundations and roads.
In their work, surveyors use the Global Positioning System (GPS), a system of satellites that locates reference points with a high degree of precision. Surveyors interpret and verify the GPS results. They gather the data that is fed into a Geographic Information System (GIS), which is then used to create detailed maps.
Surveyors take measurements in the field with a crew, a group that typically consists of a licensed surveyor and trained survey technicians. The person in charge of the crew (called the party chief) may be either a surveyor or a senior surveying technician. The party chief leads day-to-day work activities.
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Surveying involves both field work and indoor work. Field work involves working outdoors, standing for long periods, and walking considerable distances. Surveyors sometimes climb hills with heavy packs of instruments and other equipment, and are exposed to all types of weather. Surveyors also do many tasks indoors, including researching land records, analyzing field survey data, mapping, presenting information to regulatory agencies, and providing expert testimony in courts of law.
Travelling is sometimes part of the job, and surveyors may commute long distances or stay at project locations for a period of time. Surveyors usually work full time. They may work longer hours during the summer, when warm weather and long hours of daylight are most suitable for field work.