Surveying and Mapping Technicians
Perform surveying and mapping duties, usually under the direction of an engineer, surveyor, cartographer, or photogrammetrist, to obtain data used for construction, mapmaking, boundary location, mining, or other purposes. May calculate mapmaking information and create maps from source data, such as surveying notes, aerial photography, satellite data, or other maps to show topographical features, political boundaries, and other features. May verify accuracy and completeness of maps.
Sample of reported job titles: Aerotriangulation Specialist, Engineering Technician, Geospatial Analyst, Mapping Editor, Mapping Technician, Photogrammetric Compilation Specialist, Photogrammetric Technician, Stereoplotter Operator, Survey Technician, Tax Map Technician
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Position and hold the vertical rods, or targets, that theodolite operators use for sighting to measure angles, distances, and elevations.
- Check all layers of maps to ensure accuracy, identifying and marking errors and making corrections.
- Design or develop information databases that include geographic or topographic data.
- Monitor mapping work or the updating of maps to ensure accuracy, inclusion of new or changed information, or compliance with rules and regulations.
- Produce or update overlay maps to show information boundaries, water locations, or topographic features on various base maps or at different scales.
- Determine scales, line sizes, or colors to be used for hard copies of computerized maps, using plotters.
- Compile information necessary to stake projects for construction, using engineering plans.
- Identify and compile database information to create requested maps.
- Operate and manage land-information computer systems, performing tasks such as storing data, making inquiries, and producing plots and reports.
- Compare survey computations with applicable standards to determine adequacy of data.
- Analyze aerial photographs to detect and interpret significant military, industrial, resource, or topographical data.
- Research and combine existing property information to describe property boundaries in relation to adjacent properties, taking into account parcel splits, combinations, or land boundary adjustments.
- Calculate latitudes, longitudes, angles, areas, or other information for mapmaking, using survey field notes or reference tables.
- Compare topographical features or contour lines with images from aerial photographs, old maps, or other reference materials to verify the accuracy of their identification.
- Trace contours or topographic details to generate maps that denote specific land or property locations or geographic attributes.
- Provide assistance in the development of methods and procedures for conducting field surveys.
- Trim, align, and join prints to form photographic mosaics, maintaining scaled distances between reference points.
- Answer questions and provide information to the public or to staff members regarding assessment maps, surveys, boundaries, easements, property ownership, roads, zoning, or similar matters.
- Complete detailed source and method notes describing the location of routine or complex land parcels.
- Adjust and operate surveying instruments such as prisms, theodolites, electronic distance measuring equipment, or electronic data collectors.
- Collect information needed to carry out new surveys, using source maps, previous survey data, photographs, computer records, or other relevant information.
- Conduct surveys to ascertain the locations of natural features and man-made structures on the Earth’s surface, underground, and underwater, using electronic distance-measuring equipment, such as GPS, and other surveying instruments.
- Enter Global Positioning System (GPS) data, legal deeds, field notes, or land survey reports into geographic information system (GIS) workstations so that information can be transformed into graphic land descriptions, such as maps and drawings.
- Perform calculations to determine earth curvature corrections, atmospheric impacts on measurements, traverse closures or adjustments, azimuths, level runs, or placement of markers.
- Prepare cost estimates for mapping projects.
- Prepare topographic or contour maps of land surveyed, including site features and other relevant information, such as charts, drawings, and survey notes.
- Record survey measurements or descriptive data, using notes, drawings, sketches, or inked tracings.
- Search for section corners, property irons, or survey points.
- Set out and recover stakes, marks, or other monumentation.
- Supervise or coordinate activities of workers engaged in surveying, plotting data, drafting maps, or producing blueprints, photostats, or photographs.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
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- Analytical or scientific software — Coordinate geometry COGO software; Modeling software; Tripod Data Systems; Triton Elics International Isis (see all 18 examples)
- Categorization or classification software — PCI Geomatics eCognition
- Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Microsoft SharePoint
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D ; Bentley MicroStation ; Computer aided design and drafting software CADD (see all 19 examples)
- Data base reporting software — MicroSurvey Star*Net
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software; Database software ; Microsoft Access ; Structured query language SQL
- Desktop publishing software — QuarkXpress Passport
- Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Basic ; Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications VBA ; Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition VBScript
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Exchange
- Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software ; ESRI ArcView; ESRI Personal Geodatabase; Geographic information system GIS software (see all 16 examples)
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Bentley GeoPak Bridge; Graphics software (see all 5 examples)
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — Geomechanical design analysis GDA software; Mapping software; TELEDYNE CARIS; Tripod Data Systems COGO (see all 19 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Writer; Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
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- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
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- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
- Evaluate designs or specifications to ensure quality.
- Develop software or computer applications.
- Monitor processes for compliance with standards.
- Create maps.
- Gather physical survey data.
- Operate computer systems.
- Verify mathematical calculations.
- Explain project details to the general public.
- Calculate geographic positions from survey data.
- Assist engineers or scientists with research.
- Prepare maps.
- Document technical design details.
- Create graphical representations of structures or landscapes.
- Determine geographic coordinates.
- Enter codes or other information into computers.
- Estimate costs for projects or productions.
- Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
- Survey land or properties.
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- Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
- Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
- Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
- Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
- Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
- Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
- Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
- Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
- Letters and Memos — How often does the job require written letters and memos?
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
- Spend Time Sitting — How much does this job require sitting?
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
- Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
- Coordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
- Level of Competition — To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Interest code: CRI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$22.21 hourly, $46,200 annual|
|Employment (2020)||54,800 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Slower than average (1% to 5%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||7,000|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association for Geodetic Surveying
- American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
- GIS Certification Institute
- National Association of County Surveyors
- National Society of Professional Surveyors
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Surveying and mapping technicians
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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